This blog is not so much about how to get stronger, but rather when you should focus on strength. If you’re looking to develop a great physique that is both aesthetically pleasing and can perform well, strength is a huge part of that. However, it’s a very long process, often necessitating periods with a greater focus on building muscle over burning fat.

Having strategically timed periods of training for strength allows you to be more successful in each of these disparate endeavours, but can also shorten the process overall.

Most people switch with little planning between bulking and cutting, never really putting much thought into when they change gears. They focus on mass until they get too fat for comfort, then get lean until they’re too small for comfort.

Going from one extreme to the other is not only bad for your body, it’s also a guaranteed way to stay in the two-steps-forward-one-step-back cycle, damage your motivation and efforts.

If you’ve been training to gain mass and then cut calories drastically to get lean, you’re going to sacrifice much of the muscle you’ve built. Similarly, if you’ve been losing fat, and you jump right into a huge caloric excess, you’re going to rebound and gain back a lot of the fat you’ve worked so hard to diet off.

To prevent either of these, Master Personal Training would always program 4-8 weeks of pure strength work to help transition between a fat loss phase and a muscle building phase, and vice versa.

When people are focusing on building muscle, they’re usually training in higher rep ranges, with moderate load. Switching to low rep, high load training helps to cement gains by recruiting more fast twitch muscle fibers and creates an opportunity to slowly back off of high volume while still keeping the overall workload high, preventing loss of lean body mass. At the same time, this allows for a slow and reasonable transition from a caloric excess to a deficit.

On the other hand, let’s say you’re coming from a fat loss plan who now wants to build muscle. In this case, 4-8 weeks of strength work also makes sense. Firstly, it allows you to get stronger, which is only going to help when you switch to higher volume training; lifting more weight for more reps results in faster muscle gain.

Nutritionally, this also gives you the opportunity to slowly ramp up calories and increase the surplus bit by bit. This allows for ample recovery during the strength phase, and also prevents a massive bounce from deficit to surplus, resulting in fat gain.

In either case, you minimize the possibility for setbacks, as well as making the next phase more successful and in turn will increase your motivation levels.

So there you have: if you want to get lean, first get strong. If you want to get big, first get strong. If you’re keen to know more or understand what Master Personal Training can do to help, get in touch, we’re always happy to help and offer advice – www.masterpersonaltraining.co.uk

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