Do you remember when you first started training and you were increasing the weight used on most lifts almost every session?
Do you remember seeing physique improvements damn near every few weeks?
What about now? Are you stuck using the same amount of weight with little or no improvement?
Do you feel as if your physique is not changing at all, no matter how hard you train and how well you eat?
Well, let me start off by saying that this is very normal and happens to most intermediate lifters. They train a certain way in the beginning, it gives them incredible results, so they swear by the given approach. Problem is, as they get further into their training age, they also get closer to their genetic limits. You see, as a beginner, your body is nowhere near its genetic limits and thus is able to recover and adapt quite fast. This explains why someone who is starting out is able to increase the weight by 5-10 lbs on any given lift every 2 days (If they are on a program fit for beginners). However, someone who has been training for 2 years may take 1-2 months to add half that much to a given lift.
But don’t be alarmed…there is one thing you can add to your current routine; right now, to help you accelerate your progress. That one thing is called Strength Training…that’s right! Contrary to popular belief, training heavy for low reps is a critical component to a better physique as a natural intermediate lifter.
3 Physique Enhancing Benefits of Strength Training for Natural Lifters
1. Increased Muscle Density
There are two types of muscular hypertrophy. One which is triggered by bodybuilders and the other is triggered by power lifters. In the past, you’ve probably heard that an 8-12 rep range is essential for building overall muscle size, and this is true, especially for a beginner. However, if you are an intermediate lifter who refuses to incorporate strength training, you may be leaving some size on the table.
Let me explain…
Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy: This is the type of hypertrophy that bodybuilders will typically aim for. It is responsible for increasing the size of the muscle cells in order for them (the cells) to increase the amount of water and glycogen they can store. This is great and is the main contributor to a bigger and more muscular physique.
Myofibrillar Hypertrophy: This is the type of hypertrophy that is triggered from power lifting/strength training and is responsible for increased strength and increased size of certain muscle fibers.
What this means to you…
An intermediate lifter who trains only in an 8-12 rep range will eventually find it extremely difficult to increase their workload (the amount of weight used). Not to mention, if they were to ever get injured and/or be forced to stop training for more than a few weeks, they will begin to appear flat and deflated quite quickly.