Photos by Kevin Horton
Most of us care how strong we are because let’s face it, we all like to show off a little. But truth be told, our ultimate goals involve putting pounds on our body rather than putting pounds on the barbells we lift. Still, increasing strength should be a priority, as being stronger can lead to bigger muscles. Enter our Pure Power Program.
225%: THE MAGIC NUMBER
This is a 10-week linear periodization program guaranteed to make you stronger. At the end of the 10 weeks, expect a 225% increase in strength. That’s a 25% strength gain over nine exercises for a 225% overall strength increase. The numbers in each of the three stages represent:
- Number of sets performed
- Number of reps completed on each set
- Number of weeks trained with that set/rep scheme
- So, the entire program looks like this: 5 weeks of 5 sets of 5 reps; 3 weeks of 3 sets of 3 reps; and 2 weeks of 2 sets of 2 reps, for a grand total of 10 weeks.
WHY STRENGTH TRAINING?
Getting stronger now means that when you return to your normal workouts, you’ll use more weight than before, thus placing greater overload on the muscles for more growth.
Just take a look the thickest and freakiest muscled bodies on IFBB Pro League stages—men such as Ronnie Coleman, Mamdouh Elssbiay, and Branch Warren, to name a few. The majority of the most massive physiques in bodybuilding have their roots in powerlifting, and it’s no coincidence that these men sport muscles that really are as strong as they look.
BEFORE YOU START
- To measure the gains made on the Pure Power Program, test your two-rep max on each of the nine exercises one week before starting the program. Have a spotter handy for safety.
- Begin each exercise with two or three warmups of lighter weight for 2-5 reps. Then, guesstimate the weight you can likely do for two reps on that exercise.
- If you completed two reps easily, rest for three to four minutes and try again with five to 10 more pounds.
- If you missed the two-rep mark, rest for four to five minutes and repeat with five to 10 pounds less weight.
- One week after completing the PPP, retest your two-rep max. Then go to FLEXonline.com and tell us, no, brag to everybody about how you did.
225% STRONGER: THE EXERCISES
- CHEST | Bench press
- SHOULDERS | Overhead barbell press
- BACK | Barbell row and deadlift*
- LEGS | Squat
- TRICEPS | Close-grip bench press
- BICEPS | Barbell curl
- TRAPS | Barbell shrug
- FOREARMS | Barbell wrist curl
*Deadlifts hit the back, legs, forearms, and numerous other muscle groups.
BLUEPRINT FOR POWER
To get stronger, ya gotta go heavy. That means limiting reps to the 2–6 range. However, if you want to do it right, you’ve got to have a plan. That’s the beauty of the PPP. It forces muscles to adapt to heavier workloads, thus progressively increasing strength over time.
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