Saturday, July 10, 2010

Best of the Web: Heavy-Light-Medium System for Strength and Power

For my second entry in this "best of the web" series, I've selected one of my own articles. I wrote this one for the Dragon Door website.

I have chosen this entry not necessarily because it's the best of all of my articles, but because it's probably the one article that more lifters need to read. And they need to read it because they need to give its suggestions a try.

If you're not squatting and deadlifting at least double your bodyweight, and bench pressing at least 1 & 1/2 times your bodyweight; and if you're not comparably strong on a lot of other lifts, then you have no business using multiple-split training, or using bands and chains, or using steroids, or—well, let's just say you have no business doing any of the nonsense a lot of (so-called) lifters do. You save all of that stuff until after you've laid a very good foundation of basic training. And I have no doubt that the workout in this article is the best foundation that you can lay for future—and immediate—success.

Here it is:

The Heavy-Light-Medium System for Strength and Power

For many years now, I've felt that the best all-around system of training is the heavy/light/medium system. It's great for beginning strength athletes since it teaches them how to properly regulate intensity and volume (and how to handle 3 full-body workouts in a training week). It's also great for anyone interested in not just developing strength and power, but also developing the muscle mass to go along with it. Add in the fact that it's capable of getting lifters in great condition, and I think it's hard to argue against its effectiveness.

The best-known advocate for this style of training is probably Bill Starr, who made the system popular through his classic book "The Strongest Shall Survive" (published in the '70s), and in many subsequent articles for Iron Man Magazine. Of course, Starr didn't invent the program. Before his book was published, many bodybuilders and powerlifters from the '60s and '70s used it. (Some of these lifters did prefer a medium/light/heavy system of training, however, thinking it best to save the heavy stuff for the last training day of the week.)

The purpose of the article is to show how to properly use a heavy/light/medium system. Although many people advocate this program as a good means for gaining both size and strength (a search of the many internet forums should attest to this fact), I have found that many lifters don't understand how to utilize it correctly. Since I have trained many others and myself—usually either powerlifters or football players—using the system, I believe I understand its nuances better than most. I have also used this system for extended periods of time (as long as six months), which is something that needs to be done in order to really understand any training methodology.

What follows is a week of workouts designed for anyone that's new to this style of training. Pay close attention to all of the details, and read the training plan several times before you attempt the program. After I have finished going over the program in detail, I will offer a few pointers so that you can properly tweak the system based on your goals and your level of strength fitness.
To read the full article, go here.

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