In strength training, the main goal is to improve your central nervous system (CNS) for it to efficiently recruit your motor units connected to your muscles. In this aspect, you want to increase your strength and power and not necessarily your mass. This is especially important if you are an athlete who needs to maintain your class in your current weight division, but would want to maximize the power of your performance.
Doing squats is a powerful way to work the muscles in your quads, hamstrings, shoulders, abs and butt. In performing the squats to overhead press, your first position is to stand with your feet within shoulder width distance. Your elbows will be bent with your hands carrying a 5-pound weight positioned at a shoulder height. Lower down to do the squat and contract in the position for a second. Use your heels to push your body to stand up while pressing your weights above your head. Do 15 reps with 3 sets.
The Romanian deadlift is an isolation exercise that works both your hamstrings and your glutes. In this variation of the deadlift, you will be holding the bar within the hip level with your palms facing down. Your back should be arched with your shoulders at your back and your knees slightly bent. Lower the bar and as you do so, move your butt as far as possible. Maintain your balance by keeping the bar close to you. Your shoulders should still be at your back with your head directed forward. You will be using the full range of flexibility in your hamstrings, just below the knee. When done properly, you should not do any further movements as this will not help you maximize your focus on the muscle groups that you should be working on. Once you have reached the bottom, move back to the first position with the assistance from your hips. Do six reps with four sets.
The barbell row is a compound exercise that targets your muscle groups in your shoulders and traps. In doing the barbell row, hold the barbell with your overhand in a distance that is less than shoulder width. The barbell should be positioned on top of your thighs, extending both of your arms and bending your elbows slightly and your back in a straight position. Breathe out as you lift the bar. Maintain a close distance between the bar and your body as you lift it up until your chin. In this lift, the range of motion should be from your elbows with your torso in a stationary position. Contract for a second and then slowly lower the bar back to your first position as you breathe in. Do six reps with five sets. When doing this exercise, you can also use a straight bar attached to a low pulley.
The bench press is a compound exercise that targets your chest, shoulders and biceps. Lie with your back on the flat bench. With your palms facing forward with a distance of shoulder width, lift the bar making it perpendicular to your torso. Inhale as you pull the bar down to your middle chest. Hold the position for a second and then slowly go back to the starting position as you exhale. Once at the starting point, contract your chest muscles for a second and then pull the bar down slowly again. Do six reps with five sets. When doing this workout, it is recommended to have a spotter to ensure your safety and correct form. You should also maintain that bar should only go down to your middle chest and not anywhere else. Choose a weight that will allow you full control as you work towards muscle failure. The bar should not bounce off your chest.
The triceps press down is a cable isolation exercise that targets your shoulder muscles. In this exercise, you will be using either a straight or an angled bar which will be attached to a high pulley. Grab the bar with your palms facing down and within a shoulder-width distance. Your torso should be straight with minimal incline forward so you upper arms are perpendicular to the floor. Face your forearms up towards the pulley. With your triceps, press down the bar up until the front of your thighs and your arms extended at maximum. The range of motion should only be at the forearms with your upper arms in a stationary position. Breathe out. Contract for a second and then breathe in as you slowly move the bar up to the first position. Do six reps of three sets.
Since the goal is to increase your strength rather than size, you need to focus on optimizing the neural drive to your muscles. With this, your weight should have a load that will only allow you six reps at the most. After your warm up, you should acclimatize your muscles for the training ahead of you. Using weights within 60 to 70 percent of your rep max will help adjust your nervous system to the heavy weight. At the same time, working on this range will not bring your muscles to failure. Do a set of 5 reps. The purpose here is to provide acclimation to your muscles so you can lift heavier weights later on.
Once you are done with this step, move on to a heavier weight which you can only lift for not more than six reps. Make sure that the weight should be sufficient enough for you to do at least five reps but not more than six in good form. If you find that you are still comfortable doing another rep, then you can increase the weight. Perform two to three true sets of intense strength training and take rests in between. At this point, you need to recharge your muscles and avoid over training.
When it comes to strength training, your exercise routine should be split in a way that allows you to work on different muscle groups in every workout. The simplest way to do this would be to have three days of strength training exercises with a one day rest in between. With the three-day split, you can focus on one of the three main muscle groups on a designated day.