Two Simple Ways To Gain Strength

There are two super simple, sure fire approaches that will have you constantly progressing and hitting new personal bests week after week…

1. Increase max load

By this I mean if you benched 100kg for 5 reps as your heavy lift last week

…then this week you want to try to slowly build up to 102.5kg for a set or two.

At SH we use this principle when we utilise the 20-rep squat protocol and on days when we test maximum strength (the most weight you can lift for 1, 3 or 5 reps).

The aim here is small continual increments every week, gradually increasing the maximum load that can be lifted.

So all you’ve got to do is lift a little bit heavier than last week.

The second simple approach is…

2. Increase total load

Here’s what I mean…

Get ready for a bit of basic maths.

3 sets of 5 reps at 90kg, plus 2 sets of 5 reps at 100kg means you lifted 90kg 15 times and 100kg 10 times.

Therefore your total load for that lift would be 2350kg.

90kg x 15 + 100kg x 10 = 2350kg.

So in your next session you could simply increase total load by (after warming up) lifting 90kg for 1 x 5 and 100kg for 4 x 5.

90kg x 5 + 100kg x 20 = 2450kg

The max load has remained the same

(still 100kg)

…but total load has increased which means you’ve progressed from last week despite having not lifted heavier

But you did lift the heaviest weight you can lift MORE times, which is still a win.

Keep using this process until you hit…

100kg for 5 x 5


100kg for 4 x 5 and 105kg for 1 x 5


100kg for 3 x 5 and 105kg for 2 x 5

And so on.

All the while increasing total load and eventually max load too.

Using a mix of these two simple strategies, especially on a very basic strength scheme such as 5 x 5, will help keep you progressing week by week in one way or another

Max load goes up, total load goes up or both go up.

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Mike Waywell