Weight training is the most efficient way to develop strength. By forcing your muscles to handle loads they’re not typically used to, they eventually adapt to the stress and increase how much force they can produce. According to the American Council on Exercise, most lifters will see a 20 to 40 percent increase in strength after a few months of consistent weight training. To develop strength as quickly as possible, follow a training program designed to increase force production.
Get in two to three weight-training workouts in every week. Schedule them out evenly throughout the week so that you’re never training on consecutive days. If you lift three days a week, an appropriate workout schedule would be Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. As you increase the number of sets, work out twice a week to give your muscles more rest.
Incorporate compound weight-training exercises into your workouts. Compound exercises are ones that require movement around multiple joints. According to strength and conditioning professional Robert dos Remedios, they’re better than isolation exercises for building strength and eliciting the production of testosterone. Examples of compound exercises include back squat and bench press.
Follow a periodized training program, which means that you change your workout volume routinely so that you continue to make strength progress. For example, for the first four weeks, complete two sets of each exercise, with each set consisting of eight reps. For the following four weeks, perform four sets of six reps each.
Use an appropriate amount of weight for each exercise. To effectively build strength, each set needs to be challenging to complete. If you’re trying to do 10 reps in each set, select a weight that makes you reach exhaustion around the 10th rep. You won’t see as much gain if the weight you’re using is too light.
Organize a workout that targets all of the major muscle groups, which include the chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. A sample workout of compound exercises that hits all these muscles consists of bench press, shoulder press, lat pulldown, squats and deadlifts.
- Men's Health Power Training: Build Bigger, Stronger Muscles with Performance; Robert Dos Remedios
- American Council on Exercise: When Strength Training, is it Better to Do More Reps with Lighter Weights or Fewer Reps with Heavier Weights?
- Georgia State University’s Department of Kinesiology and Health: Strength Training
- American Council on Exercise: How Women Build Muscle