There are a lot of factors that go into increasing strength and power, and there are many different causes for a discrepancy in strength among individuals.
This article, however, will be focusing primarily on the effect of neural adaptation.
It is very common for beginning lifters to substantially increase strength within the first 5-6 weeks of training.
The reason for this drastic increase in strength is largely in part a result of neuromuscular adaptation. You will most likely notice that the beginning lifter will not achieve huge increases in muscle size, but yet still be stronger.
How is this possible? How can someone gain strength without size?
- 1 Neuromuscular Adaptation: How Gaining Strength Without Size Works
- 2 An Example Of Neural Adaptation In Simpler Terms
- 3 What does the research say about neural adaptation?
- 4 Workouts Designed To Gain Strength Without Size
- 5 What lifts should you be doing?
- 6 How much rest between sets?
- 7 How many sets per workout
- 8 How many days a week should I workout?
Neuromuscular Adaptation: How Gaining Strength Without Size Works
An Example Of Neural Adaptation In Simpler Terms
What does the research say about neural adaptation?
Workouts Designed To Gain Strength Without Size
Whether you’re an athlete wanting to learn how to improve strength and performance rather than size, or you simply want to get stronger and more explosive, neuromuscular adaptation workouts are a great idea.
This requires a specific kind of weight lifting that you probably have never done or are simply not used to.
The idea of this form of weight training is not to get fatigued.
No, that is not a typo.
In this type of workout, you will be performing approximately 1-5 reps per set.
However, you are not lifting to failure or even close to failure.
There is still a possibility that if you perform 3 reps until failure you will get bigger.
If you are lifting and you notice that the weight is too heavy to explosively push the weight up, then the weight is too heavy and should be decreased.
This means you may have to use half the weight you normally use.
Every repetition must be explosive. The idea of this workout is to lift each rep as if it is your maximum lift in order to recruit as many motor units as possible.
This will allow you to enhance your neural control.
To reiterate, after each set you should not be fatigued.
The idea of this workout is not to increase your muscle size, but instead, to improve your neuromuscular control.
What lifts should you be doing?
How much rest between sets?
How many sets per workout
How many days a week should I workout?
Example Neural Adaptation Workouts
- Squat – 6-7 sets of 1-5 reps
- Leg Press – 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps
- Bent Over Barbell Row – 4-6 sets of 1-5 reps
- Seated Row – 4-5 sets of 3-6 reps
- Flat Bench Press – 5-6 sets of 1-5 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 4-5 sets of 3-5 reps
- You should not be fatigued during the workout, so rest for 3-5 minutes between set
- Perform 1-5 reps per set
- Give yourself about 3 days off every week to allow your nervous system to recover
- Ideally, you can lift each muscle group about 4 times a week
- Olympic lifts before conventional lifts
- Primary exercises before secondary exercises