One of the most common mistakes I see in the new gym goer who is looking to build strength is that they immediately begin to max out every week/session. If you are looking to build as much strength as possible this is generally NOT a good idea.

If we think about our time in the gym, we are always either training (building the skills and base to become stronger/faster/better) or testing (seeing how strong/fast we are). Most of the time these two are NOT the same thing. When I get a young guy (or girl) ask me how they should be training to improve their One Rep Max, my answer is almost always: “Sets of 6 to 12 reps, and lots of them”

Higher rep work (at lower weights) has several benefits. Firstly and perhaps most importantly, it helps to more quickly build lean muscle tissue, and almost always a bigger muscle is a stronger one. Secondly, lower intensity (weight) work has less impact on the central nervous system and hence our bodies are able to perform much more work before overtraining begins to occur. This is very important because once we are overtraining, the capacity for the body to adapt drops significantly. Thirdly, doing a higher volume style of training allows much more time to practice CORRECT TECHNIQUE and PERFECT FORM, at heavier weights these often breakdown, which is not ideal at all.

tl;dr – Most of your training should be filled with as much volume as you can tolerate, doing the exercises most specific to your goal. A great starting point is 3 to 5 sets of 8 to 12 reps in the 60 to 75% of 1rm range. If you are struggling with programming or need help progressing then please get in touch and see how Strong Fast Fit can help you.