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Embarking on a strength training journey can be both exciting and challenging. Whether you're looking to get stronger or you've hit a plateau, understanding the right strategies is crucial. This post delves into expert advice on how to effectively build muscle strength and overcome training plateaus.

  1. The Foundation: Consistency and Movement Focus

The first step in getting stronger is consistency in your training routine. It's important to see exercises as movements rather than focusing solely on muscles. For example, categorize your workouts into push sessions (like chest and triceps) and pull sessions (such as back and biceps), but also remember to include lower body exercises like squats and deadlifts.

  1. The Power of Compound Movements

To rapidly gain strength, incorporate compound movements like barbell deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. These primary lifts work multiple muscles and offer more benefits compared to isolated exercises. Complement these with secondary and auxiliary movements for a well-rounded routine.

  1. Varying Repetition Ranges for Optimal Growth

One key to effective strength training is varying your repetition ranges. This approach helps in building muscle endurance and stimulating different muscle fibers. Cycle through different rep ranges, from higher reps for endurance to lower reps for strength, to keep your muscles adapting and growing.

  1. Progressive Overloading and Exercise Enjoyment

Choose exercises that you enjoy and focus on progressively overloading them. This means gradually increasing the weight or resistance over time. A varied program that cycles through different rep ranges can rapidly develop strength, especially when you stick to fundamental movements like squats, pushes, and pulls.

  1. Training Frequency and Recovery

You don't need to train excessively; two to three times a week can suffice. Most athletes benefit from total body workouts split into different days, focusing on lower and upper body movements. This approach reduces muscle soreness and aids in recovery.

  1. Overcoming Plateaus: Strategies for Continued Growth

Hitting a plateau is a common challenge. To overcome it, try changing your rep scheme, increasing exercise frequency, or introducing new exercises. Sometimes, a short period of reduced intensity (deloading) can help your body recover and break through the plateau.


Strength training is a journey of consistency, smart programming, and listening to your body. By focusing on compound movements, varying your rep ranges, and ensuring proper recovery, you can see significant improvements in your strength. Remember, it's not just about lifting heavy but also about enjoying the process and staying injury-free.

In this episode, you'll discover:

  • Foundation of Strength Training: Consistency is key, viewing exercises as movements rather than just muscle focus. Categorize workouts into push/pull sessions and include compound movements like squats and deadlifts.
  • Leveraging Compound Movements: Embrace exercises like deadlifts, squats, and bench presses to work multiple muscles and bring comprehensive benefits to strength gain. Supplement with secondary and auxiliary movements.
  • Varied Approaches for Growth: Vary repetition ranges for muscle endurance and growth, ensuring progression through diverse rep ranges. Balancing enjoyment, progression, and recovery is vital for sustainable strength gains.

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Dr. Latt Mansor:

What advice would you have for them?

Jason Curtis:

One, to get stronger. And two, if they hit a plateau, what should they do? So in terms of getting stronger, it goes back to consistency. So see things as movements. So rather than seeing it as muscles, it's fine to see it as, you know, a push session can be classed as chest and tries and a pull session can be classed as back and bice.

But you need to break it down into say legs, lower body. So squatting movements. Hinge movements, so that's like your deadlift. Single leg movements, like your lunge. Might be a Bulgarian split squat or rear foot elevated split squat. Then you've got your upper days, which is, you know, pushing movements and pulling movements.

Now, the fastest way to get strong, you can use machines, there's nothing wrong with machines. Sometimes people used to be quite dogmatic about you have to be free weights. You can use machines, but you absolutely will get stronger. As a whole, if you use the barbell and free weights, there's lots of benefits to it.

I've seen people leg press 400kg and then barely be able to squat, you know, 80kg on a barbell. Yet you see someone squat 200kg, they'll load a leg press up all day. You know, they'll do it single leg. So it, it does translate to strength. Now, basics done well, you don't have to be fancy with the programming.

So, what you want to do is work like a barbell deadlift for example, a barbell squat, a barbell bench press, strict overhead press, fundamental movements, they're called your primary lifts, so they're the lift of most importance, they have the most bang for your buck, they're working more muscles. From there you have accessory or assistance movements which for a bench press and assistance exercise would be like dumbbell press, you know, incline dumbbell press, dumbbell fly, stuff like that.

So we tend to do the big movement, the primary movement, secondary movements, which are sort of still compound in nature, meaning they work multiple joints. And then you progress to auxiliary movements, which are working single joint actions like a bicep curl. Now, the key people always ask me, what is the optimal rep range?

The optimal way to program. is to vary your rep ranges. So you're getting higher rep sets to build the muscle endurance, to build the work capacity, more metabolic stress on the muscles. And then you have That lower rep range is where you're lifting heavier weights. You know, you wouldn't be able to do more reps with that amount of weight.

But it's stimulating them fast Swiss muscle fibers. It's stimulating the neuromuscular system. So you need to work through a program. And there doesn't have to be a mass of exercise variation. It's, it's fundamentals. A back squat, a front squat, a zurcher squat, an overhead squat, all work your legs. So, often it's about choosing the exercises that you enjoy doing, and then progressively loading them.

And work for a program where you have a few weeks where you're working at. 10 reps, a few weeks where you might be working at 8 reps, working at 5 reps, working at 4 reps, working at 3 reps. So you're working through a variety of rep ranges and developing the strength and play the long game. If you work fundamental movements like squat, push and pull, and you're just consistent over a few weeks, you will see strength development rapidly.

And it doesn't have to be more than 2 or 3 times a week. Most of my athletes I program twice a week. Um, and I, rather than doing, rather than doing, um, you know, a lower body day and an upper body day, both of them are total body, but I often split it between squat, which I can class as. low body push with upper body push and then the second day I do a deadlift which I class as lower body pull with upper body pull so that's one of the training splits that I'll do but there's, you can split it however you like but I find there'll be less muscle soreness if you, if you do a whole day of squatting like a whole session of just lower body there's more risk of soreness and recovery than if you did half lower and half upper and then on the second day half lower half upper You know, just different movements.

And if you do that twice a week, and stay consistent, and don't overdo it, so you're not getting niggles and injuries, you will get stronger. When it comes to hitting plateaus, sometimes you need a little bit of recovery, you need to change the rep scheme, you need to, sometimes you do need to increase frequency, if you are really trying to push it on the bench press, you need to press more often.

So if you're like, I want my bench press to get stronger, and you're only benching once a week, then throw it into the second session. And that could be a variant of the bench press that you're just throwing at the end of the session. So even though the second session might be a squat session, you could finish with some dumbbell presses.

You know, you could finish with summit that's developing the chest because you need more frequency on that muscle. You need to be working that action more often for the neuromuscular system to really develop. But yeah, when it comes to plateaus, just exercise change. Have a little bit of deload, come back with higher intensities, you know, do some, um, exercises at single reps, just change the stressor slightly, you'll see plateaus, and actually you'll find if you just give it a little bit of time, you'll start to work through them.


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