Increase Strength without increasing body weight?

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ninjackn
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Increase Strength without increasing body weight?

Post by ninjackn » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:34 am

Is there any advice on getting stronger and lifting more without putting on more weight?

Even if you "eat clean" you'll still gain more mass and your body fat % can only go so low. How do those record power lifters and Olympic champions do it? Genetics?
Last edited by ninjackn on Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Ironman
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Post by Ironman » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:20 am

Low volume mostly.

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Post by Matt Z » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:27 pm

It's partly genetics and partly training style.

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Stephen Johnson
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Re: Increase Strength without increasing weight?

Post by Stephen Johnson » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:47 pm

ninjackn wrote:Is there any advice on getting stronger and lifting more without putting on more weight?
It depends on the fitness and experience levels of the lifter. A newbie who is in poor condition can greatly increase his strength without gaining weight. But an experienced lifter in good shape isn't going to get stronger without getting bigger. He can structure his program to emphasize strength over hypertrophy, but he will still get a little bigger in the process.

To get stronger, do low volume, heavy lifting using the basic compound freeweight exercises (squats, deadlifts, presses and rows) and match your calorie intake to your activity level. Sooner or later, though, you'll hit a wall with your progress if you stay at the same weight.

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Re: Increase Strength without increasing weight?

Post by KPj » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:32 am

I train for 'relative strength' and recently have been finding it very difficult to keep weight the same. Stephens exactly right after a while and even at low volume getting stronger without getting bigger doesn't seem to happen. I've actually been doing a lot more speed work recently to try and get around this but, whilst you initially get stronger without getting bigger, as soon as you 'tap in' to your new found speed with max lifts and therefore, gain on those, you then gain in bodyweight, too.

There's deffinitly a 'sweet spot' when it comes to calorie intake and volume. That sweet spot changes as you get stronger or heavier, too. After a while at the same weight it's like your body just 'wants' to be heavier. Recently I just seemingly jumped from 175 to 180 without doing anything in particular other than having a little burst of progress on some of my lifts. At 175 i'm quite lean (lower abs are visible). I wreckon getting to 185-190 would be easy for me right now. I actually started training like this at 155-160 and just assumed that it would work like the text book say and, low volume and not going overboard with calories would keep my weight the same but it never happened at all. One guy I train with is 230 and says he's never done what you could call a hypertrophy program (although there is a lot of overlap between a strength and size based routine).

I'm certainly no expert on the best way to do this but i'm pluggin away trying to get better at it. I think if I got super ripped whilst maintaining strength I could get below 175 with the same strength. I know lightweight lifters generally cut as much fat as possible before the competition with the aim of just keeping the strength they have which effectively makes them stronger. The comps that I have went to see, the best light weight lifters are always quite ripped. One about 6 months there was a 165 lifter who pulled 605lbs. Oh as a last random point, I think being short helps. This guy was about 5'5. I'm 5'7.

Going by my best lift (DL), i've pretty much stalled at 2.8x bodyweight (very specific!). Been shooting for 3x BW on DL for ages now. Funny thing is I hit 2.7x BW about 10-12 months ago at about 165-170. In between then and now, i've been lifting more weight but at a higher BW which effectively means i'm not really progressing. So, all that time and I've increased by 0.1x BW. My best recent DL wasn't a true 1RM though, just a 'heavy single' so I could potentially improve on that, might be able to make that progress '0.2x BW'.

So, to answer your question on 'how they do it' - um, I don't really know :smile:

KPj


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Post by stuward » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:38 am

Another difference besides lower volume, between training for strength and training for size is whether to train to failure or not. Training to failure is an effective technique for size building but is counter productive with strength building. As well, when training for size you usually want to minimize time between sets to encourage muscle fatique, where with strength training, you want maximize recovery between sets so you can lift heavy more often.

For strength training less is often more. Try to get about 15-25 good reps per movement per workout and you only need 1 heavy workout every several days depending on how advanced you are. If you go more than about 4 days between heavy workouts, you may need to do a light workout in between to maintain conditioning.


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