Strength training is not the same as training for size (like a body builder would). The objective is simply to get stronger. Of course the strength of a muscle is related to it size and all things being equal a large muscle will be able to exert more force than a smaller one.
Training for strength means lifting heavy weights – typically 85%+ of 1RM with reps in the 1-5 range. This doesn’t mean that all the work has to be in this range, but certainly the majority.
The key things to remember when training for strength are:
1. Focus 80% of your effort on large compound movements (dead lifts, squats, bench press, rows etc).
2. Add more weight (not necessarily EVERY session, but consistently).
Some people will say “don”t do any cardio when training for strength or it will hold you back”. Whilst there is some truth in this, I think it is vastly over stated. Sure if you want to get big, then lots of high impact cardio is going to slow your progress (the basic reason for this is that muscles can only really adapt in one way so if you asking them to increase strength and endurance at the same time, you are not going to get the maximum adaptation n any one direction – something will have to give). However, maximum strength training whilst recruiting al the muscles fibres, will primarily change the type 2b fibres. Endurance training on the other had will work the type 1 and type 2a fibres. The key however if you want to do some cardio whilst training for strength is to make sure you only it the type 1 fibres and not the type 2a. Continue reading