Strength training researchers at The College of New Jersey have recently shown that athletes may experience better strength gains simply by making sure they lift heavy.

This study examined the effects of both intensity and volume of training during an “in-season” resistance training program in a group of Division III NCAA American football players. Fifty-three football players were tested in the 1 repetition maximum (1RM) bench press and 1RM squat on the first day of summer training camp and during the final week of the regular season. The subjects were required to perform 3 sets of 6–8 repetitions per exercise.

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Results revealed that training volume and training compliance were not related to strength improvements. Analysis of the programs showed that athletes training above 80% of their 1RM made significantly greater strength improvements than athletes training with lighter loads (below 80% of their 1RM) for both bench press and squat exercise.

Utilizing loads 80% of your 1RM means lots of weight lifted in the 4-6 rep range. To maximize strength this approach appears to be a must for achieving quality results.

Source: The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

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