The only 3 ways to get Stronger....
Everyone and their mama is trying to get stronger in the gym, and rightly so. Strength is what proves our fitness, gives us a goal to strive for, keeps us out of the nursing home and also helps us improve our body composition (AKA improve health biometrics and makes us look good).
You see people trying to do it in a whole manner of different ways thinking that each way is a new type of strength training. From HIIT to aerobic conditioning, larger sets with light weights to small sets with heavy weight, and even varying the rest between sets, everyone thinks they are building strength in a new way. Fortunately, the truth is fairly simple…
ALL Strength gains from only 3 types of training
More commonly seen in bodybuilding and/or strongman type training, hypertrophy is simply enlarging tissue in the body in an attempt to also increase cell size. Essentially, muscle hypertrophy is the type of training that attempts to grow muscle size throughout the body. By breaking down muscle, protein can help repair and increase the size of the muscles torn. This, in return, allows the body to contract a larger, stronger muscle the next time it is called upon.
Simplified - Hypertrophy is your muscle damaging training utilized to increase muscle size. Increased muscle mass = more potential muscle to use
Neural adaptation is most commonly seen in weightlifting and powerlifting type training. It is highly focused on teaching your body to use its current muscle tissue and cell size to better coordinate in attempts to move weight. Essentially, your body has neurons throughout that trigger muscle fibers to contract and relax. By training in specific ways, we can teach the body to trigger more muscle fibers to contract simultaneously which allows you to move more weight. An easier way to think about it, neural adaptation allows you to contract your muscle harder/faster without needing to increase its size.
Simplified - Neural Adaptation is teaching your body better neuron coordination which, in turn, means utilizing more power in the same size muscles.
Path of Power
Most commonly seen in almost all types of strength/sport training. Path of power refers to learning better positions to apply force. Essentially, this is technique and position work used to help the body unleash more of its potential strength. If you can get into a position that allows you to use more of your stored muscle potential, then you can move more weight. Consider this type of training as your “form” work in order to more quickly and easily apply force.
Simplified - Path of Power refers to all the technique and position work your coaches (and yourself!) critic you on in order to apply more force
Utilize all 3 and you will be even stronger!
At the end of the day, everyone wants to be stronger. While you may be used to training in one specific way, working on all the 3 types of training is the best way to get stronger faster. If you can increase muscle mass, improve the neural connections and perfect those positions, you will be one strong human!