Training for strength is one of the more physically and mentally demanding elements of your training journey. It forces you to address any weaknesses and knuckle down through some really uncomfortable sessions and really see what your body can take.
When on a dedicated strength cycle we use a training methodology called Periodisation; this put simply is training blocks that are out together to form one big cycle over the course of a set period of time (usually a year or season). A full training block is referred to as a Macrocycle, this is usually your year of training or competitive season, sometimes it can last four years if you are an Olympian. The macrocycle is then broken down into smaller training blocks called Mesocycles, these are normally four week blocks. Finally, we would use a Microcycle to further break down our macro and mesocycles, a microcycle is a short term focus, lasting a week of the mesocycle.
This structure allows us to adapt and overload the body by adding stress over time then allowing it to recover before stressing it again so we can gradually build strength. If you structure your training season around these cycles then you can ensure you are building and recovering adequately for optimal adaptation and we can peak fitness for competition or max lift attempts.
Periodised macrocycles are very elite, we can still have the same results through what we call progressive overload. It’s a little bit simpler but just as effective. Ultimately the goal is the same, we want to increase weights and get stronger, putting the body under a certain amount of stress before we back off and let it recover. This is a training methodology we apply here at Sweat-it with our sets and reps on our compound movements.
If you were in competition training, this is predominantly based around periodised training plans, working off of percentages from max lifts. 12 week blocks before a test session before a competition are often planned to also include a de-load (reduction in weight) and then restart again on new percentages. My max back squat went up 61kg in 9 months using periodised plans.
Remember, strength is never a weakness so keep a log of what you’re doing and keep pushing those numbers up!