Gain Size and Strength Fast
How to gain size and strength fast is a question I get asked repeatedly. So in this post I outline a strategy for size and strength that I have used effectively. I am going to cut through the bullshit as quickly as I can I will give you the simple answer.
OK so you want to build the body and mind of an elite warrior as quickly as possible, putting on as much size and increasing your strength.
To put it in perspective, I come from an operational background both military and police having finished my career as a SWAT team leader which has provided me with a practical training ground from which I can grab the best knowledge from the harshest environments and put them to work effectively for the masses.
The reality of having served in these capacities was realizing that the knowledge around training elite special operations or tactical operators is truly relegated to the far corners of the gym, so to speak.
Trying to convince a Regimental Sgt. Major who is crazier than a shit house rat from mess tin syndrome, that doing PT different than when he was a “no bone” private (that’s a newbie), is like playing darts with cooked spaghetti…NOT happenin’.
Today there are a handful of us who have used our experience as operators either in battle or tactical operations, who are working to change the ideologies of the old guard to ensure those who come after are equipped with the knowledge and provided the skills for optimal service and longevity.
In doing so I have found that the application of this knowledge works for guys who aren’t necessarily headed into battle every day, but rather are battling the responsibilities of being a father and a husband while making sure they are at the top of their game in the corporate world.
There are some extremely smart individuals who are gathering extensive data in order to ensure both short term and long term operational longevity for those slugging it out in all of the different environments.
Now it has been both my own experience and that of my athletes, that there is a methodology that is particularly effective at producing both strength and size simultaneously.
This is a philosophy that I believe is not only critical to the warrior on the battlefield but also to members of the public who are slugging it out in their own concrete trenches…or padded cubicles
Size without strength is useless in the operational world, and as most people have found, without a strong solid body moving into your 40’s 50’s and 60’s, life can really suck. If you don’t have good foundational strength and you don’t have your health, things can become pretty unenjoyable pretty quickly.
Getting back to the methodology for exploding your mass…it lies within the integration of a couple of key the concepts. The first of which is Post-Activation Potentiation.
Post-activation potentiation is a theory that states muscle contractions grow stronger due to previous contractions. This leads to more motor recruitment and fibre recruitment or “muscle potential”, meaning you can lift more in each subsequent set of reps.
To simplify this concept, the rapid exposure to very heavy weights will stimulate the nerves running through your muscles. This stimulation, in turn, helps your muscles to generate more power when you lift.
Another important concept is neural inhibition. To lay it out as simply as possible lets just say your body has a mental brake, which is to say it has built in mechanisms which will activate to prevent you from hurting yourself. In order to overcome this protective mechanism there are specific set and rep schemes which reduce neural inhibition and allow you to lift more!
Maximum strength is the foundation for everything (power, strength endurance, force development, etc.). You can’t have strength endurance (being able to lift a sub-maximal weight repeatedly) or generate maximum force without first having strength.
So how can we implement these concepts effectively and achieve maximum benefit. Well the answer is to implement the concepts of wave loading and step loading into your training ASAP. Step loading has also been called wave ladders but the reality is it is more accurately described as step loading.
The names of both of these concepts are arrived at by virtue of the fact that if you were to draw the relationship between the volume (overall number of reps) and intensity (the load being lifted) you would see something that resembled a jagged wave. Or in the case of step loading, a set of steps.
If you’ve never heard of Wave Loading or Step Loading, you’re missing out on an exciting methodology that has been scientifically proven to gain results.
Traditional resistance training offers a lot of benefits, which is why it has been a mainstay of fitness for so many years. People have been performing 3 sets of 10-12 reps, 5 sets of 5 reps and 3 sets of 20-25 reps for decades, and seeing progress as a result (albeit limited in comparison to a more comprehensive set and rep scheme).
As with many things in life, variation holds the key to improvement and exponential growth so sometimes it’s best to change things up and try something new. Variety leads to more effective muscle recruitment and growth, and it can help to prevent “plateau-ing”.
Let’s examine Wave Loading a bit closer
Wave Loading is a unique training protocol that involves changing sets/reps and load in order to stimulate your motor units in a more complete manner. Basically, activating more of them to both increase size and strength.
Here’s a typical Wave Loading pattern:
Set #1: 3 reps of Bench Press using 85% RM (rep max).
Set #2: 2 reps of Bench Press using 88 % RM
Set #3: 1 reps of Bench Press using 92 % RM
This called a “descending pattern”, as the number of reps decreases as you increase the weight.
Here’s an “ascending” Wave Loading pattern:
Set #1: 4 reps of Squats using 88% RM
Set #2: 6 reps of Squats using 84% RM
Set #3: 8 reps of Squats using 80% RM
Set #4: 10 reps of Squats using 76% RM
The weight decreases, but the number of sets and reps increases. More advanced lifters can combine the ascending and descending patterns to work both strength and hypertrophy. You can even include drastic “spikes” in the wave. For example:
Set #1: 6 reps of Deadlifts using 200 pounds
Set#2: 1 rep of Deadlifts using 250 pounds
Set #3: 6 reps of Deadlifts using 220 pounds
Set #4: 1 rep of Deadlifts using 270 pounds
This is called a “rapid wave loading” pattern, and it is very effective for making gains !
A slightly different spin on this theory is the Step Loading protocol where the intensity will remain the same through the set but the reps will increase. It would look like this.
Set #1: 1 rep with 275 pounds
Set #2: 2 reps with 275 pounds
Set #3: 3 reps with 275 pounds
Set #4: 4 Reps with 275 pounds
Why Try Wave Loading or Step Loading?
Both of these concepts vary slightly in their application, however what you should be taking from this at this stage is that their is variation in the set and rep scheme. It is relatively easy to implement providing you do so with some structure.
Aside from bringing a touch of variety to your workouts, there are plenty of reasons you should try this type of loading in your training:
- Better Post-Activation Potentiation — Post-activation potentiation is a theory that states muscle contractions grow stronger due to previous contractions. This leads to more “muscle potential”, meaning you can lift more after completing your current workout. The rapid exposure to very heavy weights will stimulate the nerves running through your muscles. This stimulation, in turn, helps your muscles to generate more power when you lift. The result: bigger gains in terms of both strength and size.
- Varied Intensity –– Straight sets/reps engage your muscles effectively, but the consistent intensity leads to slower gains. By raising the intensity AND changing it up between sets, you encourage better muscle hypertrophy.
- Exposure to Heavy Weights –– The heavier the weight, the better the potential for growth. Very heavy weights stimulate growth and strength gains, particularly in guys who lift to optimize their health as opposed to competitive lifting. That’s not to say competitive lifters don’t make gains using these protocols, because they do, however at that level we are talking 1 or 2 kilo gains vs. 20 kilo gains in a novice lifter. Generally speaking, the higher your lifts, the greater the potential for serious size and strength gains. But, by mixing up the number of reps and the weight, you are getting those VERY heavy lifts (above 80% 1RM) without increasing your risk of injury to your joints. This leads to more effective overall performance.
As you can see, these loading protocols offers a lot of benefits, and it may be just what you need to see serious gains in strength and size!
Wave Loading with the Big Three Lifts
Now the truth of the matter is that these loading protocols can be used across a variety of different lifts.
What I have noticed however is that the measure or expression of strength is always in relation to the big three lifts. This is why you should consider using loading patterns on what we like to call the “Big Three Lifts”. They are:
Bench Presses — This is one of the most effective upper body exercises, as it engages your chest, shoulders, lats and triceps all at the same time. Essentially, it’s the upper body movement that gives you the most “bang for your buck”.
Deadlifts — Deadlifts do more than just work your lower back–they engage just about every muscle along your posterior chain. it even works your biceps and abs, making it one awesome movement.
Squats — Squats are arguably the “king” of lower body exercises. This is always open for debate and it has been written about extensively on both the pro side and con side of the topic. The fact is I love them so I still consider them king. Yes it is subjective, but most opinions are.
With squats most of the work is done by your quads (one of the largest muscle groups in the body), Squats also engage your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. And if you are properly co-contracting muscle groups you are creating tension in your trunk and tightening your arms. They’re one of the best exercises to add A LOT of weight to work your lower body.
So why are these the “Big Three Lifts” for Wave Loading? Why are they the best choice for this unique training protocol? Simple: the mechanics of these movements.
All of these movements involve a single plane of movement (up and down), which means if your form is correct and you are engaging the muscles properly then technically speaking a single plane of movement reduces the risk of injury.
While technical, these three movements are three of the most basic, and they are exercises even beginners are familiar with as opposed so moments such as the snatch or the clean or some of the other olympic lifts.
The fact that the primary muscles (chest, lower back, and quads) are supported by a lot of secondary muscles also means you get serious muscle recruitment in each exercise. Basically, by performing these three lifts, you can work the majority of your body. You don’t have to mix in Bicep Curls, Military Presses, Leg Curls, or any other exercises.
If you are really pressed for time and looking to win Mr. Olympia with these three exercises, you hit all the muscles in your body. The result: better fitness overall with less time spent if you are already pressed.
The Secret to Even Bigger Gains: Time Under Tension
“Time Under Tension” refers to the amount of time your muscles are contracted in each set or during each rep. For example, with a basic set of 10-12 reps, your muscles spend anywhere between 15 and 30 seconds under tension (depending on the speed of your lifts). Or if you are using very specific rep scheme you may spend anywhere from 4 to 10 seconds under tension in a rep!
But here’s a secret you might not have known: longer time under tension = bigger gains in strength and size.
Now there is certainly a time for speed work when it comes to moving weight but I have often observed guys moving weight as quickly as they can for no apparent reason.
To make amazing gains, you need to make sure your muscles spend sufficient Time Under Tension. This may be a bit harder with the low-rep sets (1-6), but you can still slow down your lifts to ensure that your muscles are fully contracted for a few extra seconds.
For the sets with higher reps, focus on making those lifts slow and steady. If you aren’t following a specific rep scheme then as a general practice give yourself at least a two-count in each phase (concentric and eccentric) of the workout, and it will increase the Time Under Tension for each movement. This will increase the effectiveness of the Wave Loading protocol, leading to even more visible gains in strength and hypertrophy.
Tips for Wave Loading the Right Way
If you’re going to try Wave Loading, you MUST be sure to do it right. It’s an advanced training protocol that can assist you with making amazing gains BUT only if you follow it properly in a guided format, otherwise you risk injury. Here are a few tips to help you do the Wave Loading protocol safely and correctly:
- Start slow — As an experienced lifter, your instinct is going to be to hit it AS HARD AS YOU CAN. With Wave Loading, you’re better off making your first training session a bit lighter. Not only will that help you to acclimate to the new style of workout, but it will help you find the right weight for the ascending or descending wave. If you load up too much right off the bat, you could hit fatigue too quickly–leading to a less effective workout.
- If you fail to complete a set, regardless of whether it’s set 1, set 2, or set 3, unload and make safe… sorry that’s shooting not lifting…what I mean is you’re done
- Keep your movements controlled —. You need to keep the movements tight and controlled. Don’t pause too long at the top or bottom of the exercise, but don’t rush through it either. Give yourself a two to three-count for each phase of the movement. Unless you are following a specific rep scheme.
- Find the balance –– The goal of your workout is to alternate between a higher load and higher volume, but you can’t push too hard right away. If you do, you’ll hit muscle fatigue before you’ve activated all the muscle fibers efficiently. Loading up too much can lead to less effective hypertrophy. Load up with extra weight and add a few more reps as needed, but don’t push too hard too fast.
- Manage Fatigue –– After a few sets, you’re going to feel the burn! You shouldn’t be training to failure if you want to take advantage of what we are doing in this protocol, so you need to give your body time to recover between sets. If necessary, stretch out those rest periods another minute or two. A longer rest period will not only reduce the cardiac strain, but the longer interset rest period can help to increase both muscular strength and hypertrophy.
- Change it Up –– The beauty of Wave Loading is that it is a form of “muscle confusion”, and the variety is what will keep you seeing consistent gains in strength and size. If you want to extend the effectiveness of the training protocol, keep switching it up. Don’t stick with the same ascending/descending wave pattern, but mix in different waves and spikes to maximize your workouts.
Keep these tips in mind when hitting the Wave Loading protocol like a bad-ass and if you want to make it easier then you can follow the protocol I developed for you which consists of a FULL BODY PROGRAM broken into 3 different phases – – Alpha, Bravo and Charlie Phase.
This training protocol is designed to explode your SIZE and STRENGTH and comes complete with a 100 page manual with pictures as well as VIDEO DEMOs of every exercise in the entire protocol.
Want to Get Bigger? Mass Explosion
Want to Get Stronger? Mass Explosion
Make no mistake this protocol requires the use of equipment so it can’t be done at your house unless you have a decently equipped gym like my Donut Shop.
Still Reading ? Great… Why Strength and Size Matter
The truth is that muscular strength will benefit you in EVERY area of your life!
- It makes you more durable. People with well-developed musculature are far less likely to sustain injuries, as there is a protective layer of muscle around their bones and joints.
- It increases your stamina. The fact that you’ve worked hard to build your strength means your cardiovascular system and energy distribution systems are accustomed to producing A LOT more energy than someone who spends their time sitting on a couch.
- It makes you more virile. More muscle mass usually means higher levels of testosterone and other sex hormones. Not only can this increase your sex drive, but it will increase your body’s response to stress and high-pressure situations.
- It helps you carry out your activities of daily life. Fitness is all about having the strength, endurance, and stamina to take your kids to the park, clean your house, carry the groceries, take out the trash, and do all the other tasks involved in your day. By increasing your strength and stamina, you are better able to carry out those activities.
Mass Explosion is just one way to reach your ultimate goal (fitness), but it’s a highly effective one. It’s worth considering as an option to add variety to your regular training protocols. Not only can it prevent boredom, but it can lead to serious increases in muscle strength and hypertrophy. EXACTLY what you want!
If you want to use a protocol that works, improves size and strength and is drop dead simple to follow then Mass Explosion is THE program you should be following.
GUESS WHAT ELSE?
Because I’ve seen it work for so many guys and I KNOW it will work for you, as with any program I offer I am going to take all the risk and back it with my
This is the same pledge I put on all my programs. Im so confident it WILL WORK FOR YOU that you get to test drive it for a full 60 days and if you don’t like it, you can contact my team (which is all laid out and explained in detail) and we will make sure you get a full refund the same day, No questions asked.
You see my MISSION IS TO TRANSFORM THE LIVES OF 1,000,000 Men and it starts with you.
So you see, there really is nothing stopping you from getting started on EXPLODING YOUR STRENGTH and SIZE.
Now if you decide you want to start this program here’s what will happen when you click the Big Program image below… it will take you to a secure checkout page…once you complete the checkout you will IMMEDIATELY be taken to our Portal where you can view (or download) the manual and see all of the videos.
The portal looks like this and it contains your manuals and all of the videos for the program
And you can see over 45 “HOW TO” Videos (here is a sample of what that looks like).
Click On The Image Below To Get Started
PS – If you decide the program isn’t for you that’s cool, I hope you at least learned something from the article and that you can implement it to produce some killer results in your training.
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What is the difference between the waveloading protocol and mass explosion?
Hey Nikia – Mass Explosion is the revamped Version of Wave Loading – so if you already own WaveLoading you are good to go… MassX just got a new look that’s all
Sticking to this regimen and being consistent with this program ,has only brought me positives. As an average sized athlete looking for a change, i made this program a priority. The simplicity of hard work and determination while following Mr. Lamb’s schedule he provided; helped me grow into a more confident and ever so important stronger person on and off the ice. Within a short period of time I found myself exceeding my own personal expectations, seeing results quickly. If you are trying to take yourself to the next level, i would not think twice about joining the AlphaNation.