5 Things Every Lifter Should Know About When Following A Strength Program
1) Know where you’re starting
Know you’re 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, and 20 rep maxes on most lifts. This will allow you to know where to start at any point in a cycle based on the rep schemes being used.
Most programs will use these rep schemes in combinations or as the main rep number to build strength. This will make it easy to figure out what weight to use at any point in a program based on the percentages being used.
Start your first week lifting around 70-80% of your max on your final sets. Goal should be to get 2-4 weeks in before it starts getting heavy. Knowing your maxes will make it easy to know all percentages.
2) Find out how long the strength cycle will last.
Not every cycle is the same. Many run 6-10 weeks but every program is different. If you have a short cycle start heavier, longer cycles call for you to start a little lower or build up slower over the weeks.
Knowing how long it will go will help you know when to make sure you get to challenging weights before the cycle ends.
This way you don’t get to the end just starting to lift heavy or start and lift heavy too soon.
3) Week One should be easy.
Getting stronger isn’t about lifting heavy every week for a long time. It is about building up the overall pounds you are lifting through systematically increasing the weight you lift.
Add 5-10 pounds across all sets (including warm up) which gets you away from always lifting and loading the same weights. If you start at 70-80% this give you a few weeks to adjust until the real work starts. I like the last 3-5 weeks of every cycle to be hard.
You will de-load at a point where you have probably failed and start thinking there is no way you can lift more. The weights get too heavy, you’re beat up, you de-load, test, and then restart a new cycle slightly higher than you began the last one.
4) Wait until you feel a change in form to use belts, sleeves, wrist straps, and any other equipment tools.
After someone learns about belts, knee sleeves and anything that makes Lifting feel easier they always uss them… almost for every lift!
These are tools and big lifts need big midline strength. You should only be using you belt in training for a handful of end sets. They should be saved for competitions and time where if will give you more confidence.
If you always use them you will lose confidence without them. You get the benefit if you aren’t training the majority of the time without them. It is smarter to build up in weight until it gets hard to maintain good form then add the tools you have.
5) Track your numbers and each time you start a cycle, start heavier than the last one.
Always track where you started and ended a cycle. Not all lifting cycles are the same so you can use this to track progress across different cycles as well as when similar ones come up.
It is important to know where you started, ended, and are restarting. Not knowing your numbers is a way to make sure you don’t progress!
PS: If you want a Sample of a 3 Week Lifting Program for Olympic Lifting and Power Lifting. All of this and tons more is included on the Zeus Everything Program!