Advanced Program for Strength Training

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If you have spent at least six months regularly performing the Intermediate Weight Training Program, now is an appropriate time to decide between one of two options - continuing with your existing intermediate program, or graduating to the Advanced Weight Training Program.

By continuing with the intermediate program, you'll burn fat and tone and sculpt your body while maintaining or marginally improving your current levels of muscular mass, strength and density. By graduating to an advanced program, you'll realize significant gains in all of these areas. Graduating to the advanced program is totally optional. In fact, if you're not interested in putting on additional muscular bulk (and subsequently body weight), sticking with the intermediate program may be the best course of action.

This holds especially true for athletes who depend on precise form during their sports, such as golfers and tennis players. However, other types of athletes (such as football players) will greatly benefit from the additional muscular size, density and strength that comes with an advanced weight lifting routine.

The advanced strength training program is designed as a natural extension of the intermediate and beginner programs, and intended for weight lifters with at least one year of regular, continuous strength training experience. The program builds on familiar concepts while introducing new ones. It's absolutely crucial that you understand these new concepts before actually performing them during a weight training session.

Things to Achieve Prior to Beginning the Advanced Strength Training Program

If you're just entering the world of strength training for the first time, it's crucially important that you begin with the Beginner Program for Strength Training. The intermediate and advanced programs require increasingly significant levels of both knowledge regarding strength training techniques and actual experience in the weight room.

Beginning weight trainers are often tempted to move directly to the advanced program, believing that this will allow for the fastest gains in muscular mass, density and strength. In reality, moving to a higher-level program before you're sufficiently prepared will greatly increase your probability of incurring an injury. Suffering a strength training injury, especially when you're in the formative stages of your weight training career, is highly detrimental to motivation and will prevent you from performing some (or even all) exercises, at least temporarily.

In reality, the safest and most effective way to tone and sculpt your body, burn excess body fat, and realize major gains in muscle mass, strength and density is through progressive increases in intensity and periodic modifications to the routine, as well as the gradual introduction of more advanced weight training techniques. Our beginner, intermediate and advanced strength training programs are specifically designed with these concepts in mind.

The following is a list of items you must accomplish prior to graduating from the intermediate to the advanced strength training program:

  • Identify the location of the primary and secondary muscle groups, as well as how they interact with one another and their defined ranges of motion

  • Understand the proper use of each piece of weight training equipment you intend to utilize

  • Understand the correct form for each exercise

  • Complete at least one year of regular, progressive strength training overall

  • Complete at least six months of regular, progressive strength training at the intermediate level

  • Develop a solid physical structural foundation along with notable advances in muscular density and strength

  • Understand the proper number of sets and repetitions for each muscle group/exercise

  • Understand the frequency with which each muscle group should be worked, along with the proper amount of rest between same-muscle group workouts

  • Understand which muscle groups should be worked on the same day, as well as which muscle groups should be worked on separate days

  • Understand the difference between pull and push muscle groups

  • Understand the concepts and benefits related to pull/pull, push/pull and push/push strength training routines

  • Understand the purpose of pyramiding and supersetting weight training strategies

  • Differentiate between "bad pain" and "good pain"

  • Adhere to a diet that facilitates increases in lean muscle mass and density

  • Understand the various nutritional supplements and their respective purposes

  • Differentiate between "slow twitch" and "fast twitch" muscles

  • Differentiate between explosive and rhythmic exercises

  • Understand the importance of performing other forms of exercise aside from pure strength training, such as cardiovascular exercise and yoga

It's important to remember that graduating to the advanced strength training program is totally optional. If your goal is to maintain your current physique, continuing with the intermediate program and making regular modifications should suffice.

If your goal is to realize additional significant gains in lean muscle mass, strength and density, graduating to the advanced program is advised. Regardless of your intentions, you must complete all of the objectives in the above list before moving on to the advanced program.

New Concepts to Learn in the Advanced Strength Training Program

The advanced program for strength training introduces several new concepts in addition to reinforcing old ones. Depending on your level of weight training experience and knowledge, you may already have a passing familiarity with these concepts. Your familiarity should convert into a full understanding by the time you're fully engaged in the advanced program for strength training.

Some of the concepts you'll learn about as your pursue the advanced weight training program include:

    seated biceps dumbbells curls
  • The specific intent behind every exercise (i.e. whether it promotes muscle mass or muscle definition), and the appropriate exercises to use for meeting a specific goal.

  • The various types of exercises (i.e. isolation and compound), their respective benefits, and how to combine them together into a single routine

  • The specific nutritional requirements you'll need to meet in order to realize gains in lean muscle mass and strength

  • The specific nutritional supplements you can use to realize gains in lean muscle mass and strength, including:

    1. How to combine certain supplements for desired strength training effects

    2. The appropriate timing for taking various nutritional supplements

    3. The relative advantages and disadvantages of various supplements

    4. When to switch from one nutritional supplement to another

Primary Muscle Groups

If you've spent enough time with the intermediate and beginner strength training programs, you should already have a firm understanding of the various major muscle groups of the body. A table describing the location of each muscle group is provided below for your reference:

    major muscle groups
  • Abdominals: The muscles that make up the front of your mid-section.

  • Biceps: The muscles located on the front of your arm between your shoulder and elbow.

  • Calves: The muscles that make up the lower portion of the back of your leg below your knee.

  • Deltoids: The muscles that make up a large portion of the curve of your shoulder.

  • Forearms: The muscles located on the lower arm between the elbow and wrist.

  • Gluteals: The muscles of your posterior.

  • Hamstrings: The muscles located on the back of your leg between your gluteals and knee.

  • Latissimus Dorsi: The muscles located on the sides of your upper back under the arm pit.

  • Pectorals: The muscles of your chest.

  • Obliques: The muscles on the sides of your mid-section.

  • Quadriceps: The muscles located on the front of your leg between your hip and knee.

  • Trapezius: The muscles located on the sides of your neck.

  • Triceps: The muscles located on the back of your arm between your shoulder and elbow.

Nutritional Requirements for Burning Fat and Building Lean Muscle Mass

As you graduate from the intermediate strength training program to the advanced program, you'll need to fuel your body with additional calories, particularly on days when you're actively working out. This is because the advanced program calls for more intense exercises and commensurately higher levels of energy expenditure.

If you don't feed your body with the calories it needs, you won't have the energy required to perform the exercises with the appropriate level of intensity. You'll feel lethargic and less motivated to complete the workouts in the first place. Worse still, your body may turn to muscle tissue as a source of energy, which obviously defeats the purpose of any strength training workout.

Some types of calories are more valuable to strength trainers than others, however, and you'll need to understand the proper ratios of fat, protein and carbs if you wish to maximize the effectiveness of your workout. This will manifest itself in the meals you eat both before and after a workout, as well as your overall diet on non-training days.

What to Include in a Pre-Workout Meal

Post Workout Meal

One of your chief concerns as an advanced weight trainer will be what you feed your body immediately prior to a strength training session. Although outdated weight training wisdom maintains that you can eat virtually anything before a strength training session, this is not the case. When determining your pre-workout meal, you'll need to focus on the glycemic index of the given food item.

The glycemic index of a food is a measure of how fast your body will convert it to sugar (particularly glucose). The higher the number, the faster the conversion process. In terms of your pre-workout meals, you'll want to aim for a meal or snack with a low glycemic index.

Examples of low-glycemic foods include apples, peaches, oranges, spaghetti and fettucine. Eating a meal such as this will provide your body with sustained energy, ideal for energizing your workout and maximizing muscle growth and fat burning.

Alternatively, if you were to eat a high-glycemic food as a pre-workout meal, your body's insulin levels would spike, subsequently diminishing your energy stores and preventing fat burning. Insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. Examples of foods with a high glycemic index include bagels, pretzels and other foods with enriched flour listed as the main ingredient.

What to Include in a Post-Workout Meal

Eating an appropriate post-workout meal is just as important to your development as a strength trainer as eating a proper pre-workout meal. When you finish an advanced strength training workout (or any high-intensity workout for that matter), your metabolism will naturally elevate as your body craves calories to return to its baseline energy levels. If you fail to feed your body in the immediate period after a workout (approximately one hour), it may use muscle tissue as a source of energy, defeating the purpose of the workout.

When your body begins to "believe" that it's not being fed now or anytime soon, your metabolism will drop. This is your body's way of going into "survival mode" and conserving calories. As a result, your body will be more likely to store fat rather than burn it. This also explains why starvation diets are often unsuccessful in generating safe, sustained weight loss.

Instead of starving yourself following a strength training session, you must feed your body with the appropriate calories - not just any calories, but calories coming from protein in particular. In 1995, McMaster University conducted a study finding that protein synthesis increases two-fold in the 24-hour window following a strength training session. In other words, your body enters into a process in which it literally craves protein for the purpose of rebuilding and repairing muscle tissue. If you deny your body protein, it will be literally incapable of muscle growth, defeating the purpose of your workout.

Carbohydrates should also be included in any post-workout meal. In particular, you'll want to consume foods with a high glycemic index. Note that this is the opposite of what you should be eating in a pre-workout meal. Eating a high-glycemic snack immediately after a workout will allow your body to restore its energy (glycogen) supplies which were depleted during the workout, thereby preventing your muscle tissue from being burned as energy. Additional examples of high-glycemic foods include macaroni and cheese, cornflakes, baked potatoes and white rice.

Balancing the Caloric Value of Meals

Many strength trainers wonder whether it's better to eat a few larger meals or several smaller meals throughout each day. By consuming five or six smaller meals per day, you'll stabilize your energy levels, minimize insulin spikes and reduce junk food cravings. However, one meal should always stand as your largest of the day: the post-workout meal.

As a rule of thumb, advanced strength trainers should try to ensure that their post-workout meal contains approximately twice as many calories as the four or five other mini-meals they consume each day. For example, if you consume 2,400 calories spread across five total meals each day, your post-workout meal would contain 800 calories while your remaining four meals would each contain 400 calories. It's advisable to consume the 800-calorie meal as soon as possible after finishing your strength training session for the day. The vast majority of the calories included in this meal should come from protein and carbohydrates, not from fat.

Ideal Ratios for Protein, Carbs and Fat

All serious strength trainers should ensure that their post-workout meals generally contain more protein than their pre-workout meals. The reason for this is simple: your body will require more protein in the immediate aftermath of your workout than it did before the workout, because this is when protein synthesis doubles and your body requires protein in order to make gains in muscular strength, mass and density. A post-workout meal should also include less fat than a pre-workout meal in order to make room for the additional protein calories.

Despite this section's focus on pre-workout and post-workout meals, serious strength trainers must focus on ideal ratios for carbs, fat and protein at all meals if they wish to maximize gains in muscle mass, strength and density. However, different strength training goals come with different ideal macronutrient ratios. In other words, your exact dietary choices will differ depending on whether you want to tone your body and cut fat or realize major gains in muscle mass:

Adding Muscle Mass

  • Protein: 30% to 40%
  • Carbohydrates 40% to 60%
  • Fat: 20% to 30%

Muscular Toning and Sculpting with Fat Loss

  • Protein: 20% to 30%
  • Carbohydrates: 50% to 60%
  • Fat: 15% to 25%

As a rule of thumb, strength trainers should try to ensure that they're consuming a minimum of 0.8 grams to 1.4 grams of protein for each pound of body weight. If you weigh 200 pounds, for example, this means that you'll need to consume at least 160 grams of protein per day. Since each gram of protein is worth four calories, this would equal 640 calories of protein per day.

If you have a faster-than-average metabolism, or if you engage in intense exercise very frequently, you may need to consume additional protein per pound of body weight. A long-distance rower with an extremely fast metabolism, for example, would need to consume closer to 1.2 grams of protein for each pound of body weight.

In addition to these dietary considerations, advanced strength trainers must familiarize themselves with the various nutritional supplements and how they facilitate different strength training goals. Even the most ideal nutritional diets can often benefit from some type of supplementation, especially if your goal is to make significant gains in muscle mass, density and strength.

Effort and Intensity Dictate Strength Training Results

Weight Training Intensity

By the time you reach the advanced strength training program, you should already understand why effort and intensity are so crucial to progressive gains.

Simply performing the strength training exercises isn't enough. In order to make the most of any weight training program, you'll need to pay careful attention to how much weight you use for each exercise, how many repetitions you perform for each exercise, and how many sets you perform for each muscle group.

To a large extent, these figures will determine the overall intensity of your strength training workout. However, different combinations of weight, sets and reps can be utilized in order to achieve specific and targeted strength training goals.

Different Methods of Intensity for Different Goals

As a strength trainer, you'll be able to choose between two basic weight lifting methods::

  • Fewer repetitions with more weight
  • More repetitions with less weight

Both of these strategies can result in an equally intense workout, though most of the strength training community agrees that lifting large amounts of weight with fewer reps is the most efficient path to making major gains in muscular strength, mass and density. In fact, this is the method most commonly preferred by bodybuilders whose main goal is to put on bulk. This method certainly isn't exclusive to bodybuilders, however, and can be utilized by everyone from casual exercisers to endurance athletes, so long as the goal is to rapidly build muscle.

Alternatively, using smaller amounts of weight and larger amounts of reps is the preferred strength training method if your goal is to tone and sculpt your overall physique while maintaining or marginally improving muscle mass and density. This strategy is commonly chosen by individuals who are looking to add a strength training component to a weight loss program. This strategy also makes for a relatively long workout in comparison to using more weight and fewer reps, which in turn allows you to create an aerobic effect during your workout. By achieving an aerobic effect, you'll greatly enhance the calorie-burning potential of your strength training session while working your cardiovascular system.

In a recent study by McMaster University, it was suggested that both of the aforementioned strength training methods result in the same gains in muscular mass, density and strength, so long as you exercise to failure. Exercising to failure is defined as repeating a strength training exercise until you're physically incapable of completing even one additional repetition. However, the study size was small, and using the "big weights, less reps" strategy is still the fastest and most efficient ways to realize major gains in strength, mass and density.

Exercising to Failure - Is it Necessary?

Advanced strength trainers often debate as to whether it's necessary to exercise to failure in order to increase muscular mass, density and strength. Although exercising to failure is recommended for some exercises involved in the advanced program for strength training, it would be hard to argue that such a technique is necessary in all cases. For proof of this, we can look to individuals in manual labor professions, such as carpenters, construction workers and loggers. These individuals often possess significant levels of strength and muscular bulk from their careers despite the fact that their jobs never entail exercising to failure. A carpenter doesn't swing his hammer until he literally cannot swing it again, for example.

What all strength trainers can agree upon, however, is that gains in muscle density, mass and strength depend on progressive increases in intensity. In other words, you need to continually challenge your body with increasing amounts of weight and/or reps. Your body will be forced to adapt to these new challenges by building stronger muscle. Exercising to failure is just one way of achieving this.

While exercising to failure isn't the only way to build muscle mass and density, it is one of the best ways to gauge appropriate intensity levels. Consider the following example:

Your goal is to perform 3 sets of a given exercise with 15 reps per set. You load 100 pounds of resistance onto the bar and complete the first two sets. As you complete the 15th rep of the third and final set, you realize that you still have enough energy to perform 10 additional reps without a break. In this case, it's obvious that you need to load more than 100 pounds onto the bar in order to make this particular exercise effective. Finishing a set and feeling like you could perform several more reps will not result in an effective workout.

Increasing Workout Intensity with Supersetting

Supersetting is an excellent way of adding both intensity and variety to your advanced strength training routine. A super set is defined as performing sets of at least two difference exercises with minimal rest in between. You'll need to alternate between the chosen exercises for each set, and decide whether to select exercises that work a single muscle group or multiple muscle groups.

The following table is an example of a super set with four different exercises:

  • 1st set of Exercise #1
  • 1st set of Exercise #2
  • 1st set of Exercise #3
  • 1st set of Exercise #4
  • 2nd set of Exercise #1
  • 2nd set of Exercise #2
  • 2nd set of Exercise #3
  • 2nd set of Exercise #4
  • ...and so on, until you've completed all of the desired sets for each chosen exercise

Many strength trainers use super sets to overcome strength plateaus. A strength plateau is defined as the point where additional gains in density, size and strength for a given muscle group seem difficult or even impossible with your current techniques. If you find yourself in this situation, it's advisable to create a super set that focuses on the muscle group currently locked in a strength plateau. Although this workout will likely be incredibly intense, it may be exactly what's needed to surpass the plateau.

Workout speed and efficiency is another advantage of supersetting, due to the fact that super sets involve very little rest time in favor of more time spent exercising. Even the most advanced strength trainers have busy schedules, and spending less time in the gym to achieve the same end result is always preferable.

The fast pace of a super set also greatly increases the chances that you'll achieve an aerobic effect during your workout. In order to achieve an aerobic effect, you'll need to increase your heart rate to its target level and maintain that rate for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Your target heart rate, which can be calculated with our Target Heart Rate Tool, is defined as 75% of your maximum heart rate. Achieving an aerobic effect will maximize fat burning and provide you with an intense cardiovascular workout.

Increasing Strength Training Intensity with Pyramiding

Another technique commonly used to increase the intensity of a strength training workout is pyramiding, defined as using additional weight and fewer reps with each subsequent set of a given exercise. Just as with a super set, a pyramid set can be applied to a single muscle group or stretched across multiple muscle groups. Below is an example of pyramiding:

  • 1st set - 15 reps at 100 pounds
  • 2nd set - 10 reps at 130 pounds
  • 3rd set - 8 reps at 170 pounds
  • 4th set - 5 reps at 210 pounds
  • 5th set - 3 reps at 250 pounds

The opposite of a pyramid set is known as an inverse pyramid or reverse pyramid. In order to perform a reverse pyramid, you'll need to increase the reps and decrease the weight with each subsequent set.

Pyramiding offers a wide variety of advantages to advanced strength trainers:

  • Increases variety in your workout

  • Allows for thorough exhaustion of muscle tissue

  • Makes it easy to monitor strength gains, especially in terms of your weight maximums for each exercise

  • Perfect as the first exercise of your weight training session since starting with less weight gradually increases oxygen and blood flow while preparing soft tissue (muscles, tendons and ligaments) for more intense exercise (note that a proper warm-up and stretching routine is still advised before you begin the strength training portion of your workout)

Pyramiding and supersetting both represent advanced weight training techniques that you should not employ in your workout as a beginning strength trainer. Their intensity makes them ideal for those looking to blast through strength plateaus and add challenging variety to their workouts, but this same intensity may be overwhelming for novices.

Enhancing Your Workout with the Help of a Spotter

spotter for seated military press

If you're considering graduating to the advanced program for strength training, odds are very good that you've already utilized the assistance of a spotter during your weight training career. A spotter is defined as an individual who provides measured, careful assistance as you perform specific strength training exercises. Adding a spotter to your routine will greatly enhance both the safety and effectiveness of your workout. If you have a workout partner, you may have already found your spotter.

The primary responsibility of your spotter is to save you from injury when you're performing a strength training exercise. By standing or sitting in a position adjacent to you, the spotter will be ready to assist you in lifting the weight.

In order for the spotter to perform his job correctly, however, he'll need to provide assistance only when it's needed. If he provides too much assistance, it will minimize the effectiveness of the exercise and you'll end up with a suboptimal workout. If he provides too little assistance, you'll have a better chance of dropping the weight and/or injuring yourself.

Before you begin your first weight training session with a spotter for the first time, it's crucial that the two of you develop a simple system of communication. Although this may seem excessive now, it's important to remember that clearly communicating an instruction may be more difficult during the most intense portions of your strength training session, which is exactly when the spotter will be providing assistance. Avoiding a misunderstanding during an exercise could make the difference between finishing your set properlu and dropping hundreds of pounds of iron onto your body.

Performing Additional Reps Beyond Failure with a Spotter

Aside from injury prevention, the biggest advantage of using a spotter is that it will allow you to perform strength training exercises in ways that would be impossible by yourself. This concept manifests itself in a strength training technique known as forced repetitions, or an exercise rep that you perform beyond failure. When performing forced reps, the spotter's job is to begin providing assistance only once you reach the point of failure.

While forced reps are an excellent way of making major strides in muscle density, strength and mass, their effectiveness depends largely on the performance of the spotter. Ideally, the spotter should provide just enough assistance to allow you to perform two to four additional reps beyond failure. This may take some practice on the spotter's part, since applying too little assistance may cause the weight to come crashing down on your body.

Performing Negatives with a Spotter

Another strength training technique that can only be completed with the assistance of a spotter is called a negative, or a negative rep. A negative rep is defined as a repetition in which you perform the negative portion of the movement by yourself, and the positive portion of the movement with the help of your spotter. This can be done as follows:

  • Perform an exercise to the point of failure.

  • The spotter will now help you in lifting the weight through the positive portion of the rep, or the portion in which the weight is going against gravity.

  • The spotter will let go of the weight, allowing you to lower the weight to its starting position without any assistance. Known as the negative portion of the rep, this should be done slowly over the course of three to five seconds.

  • Repeat these steps to complete roughly three negative reps. At this point, you'll likely reach failure even for the negative portion of the rep.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of negatives in any workout, it's generally best to apply them to a set with a large amount of weight and a smaller amount of reps, such as 10 or fewer. If the set instead revolves around lighter weight and more reps, the negative repetitions may be too easy and your muscles won't have a significant challenge to which to adapt.

Working Muscles from Multiple Angles

As previously discussed, making strength training gains is largely about challenging your body with progressive increases in intensity. However, continually offering your body new and unique challenges encompasses more than just adding weight and reps to individual exercises. In order to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the advanced program for strength training, you'll need to confuse your muscles by working them from multiple angles. This means using multiple exercises to work the same muscle group, as well as using different muscle groups in various combinations. This will make it much easier to surpass any strength plateaus you encounter during the program.

If you're an advanced weight trainer, you should have a significant amount of experience in the weight room, as well as an understanding that your time commitments will continue for as long as you plan to strength train. Unfortunately, many strength trainers eventually quit their routines due to boredom. Constantly challenging your body with new exercises and new exercise combinations will keep motivation high and make you more likely to stick to your routine. Assuming that you can maintain motivation even without variety will not only inspire boredom and indifference, but reduce the muscle-building effectiveness of your program.

Listening to Your Body and Allowing Muscles and Joints to Recover from Injury

Advanced strength trainers should be well aware of the importance of listening to their bodies, and understand the difference between "good" pain and "bad" pain.

Good pain is a natural result of weight training, and presents itself as soreness in the muscle tissue as well as other soft tissues. It typically begins hours after your workout. This soreness is a result of tiny tears and rips in the muscle fibers, caused by strength training. When these tears and rips heal, the muscle tissue grows back with more density and volume than previously, resulting in progressive muscular growth. Soreness is an unavoidable part of this process, and serves to signal that your muscles have indeed been stimulated properly for gains in mass, strength and density.

Bad pain usually presents itself as pain that begins sharply and immediately during your weight training session. It feels sharp and sudden, typically localized in the joints, ligaments and tendons, though it's also possible in muscle tissue. Bad pain is typically a direct result of performing an exercise with the incorrect form. If you suspect that you're experiencing bad pain during a strength training exercise, discontinue the exercise immediately and (in order of severity from least to most drastic):

  • Confirm the exercise's proper form using a reliable reference

  • Reduce the amount of weight being lifted during the exercise

  • Choose a different exercise that works the same muscle group

  • Choose an exercise that works a different muscle group entirely

  • Discontinue your workout for the day

If the pain is severe and persists after several days of not working the affected area, see a medical professional immediately.

Allowing Proper Recovery Time for Sore Muscles

All strength trainers are advised to rotate between muscle groups with each subsequent weight training session within a given week. The purpose of this strategy is to give your muscles sufficient time to rest and repair before they're worked again. When your muscles feel sore, it's because they're continuing to grow in size, density and strength. You'll reduce the value of your weight lifting session and increase your risk of injury if you choose to work a given muscle group while it's still sore from a previous workout.

Getting a proper amount of sleep is crucial to your strength training progress. In fact, multiple studies have shown that as much as 95% of gains in muscular mass, density and strength occur while you're asleep. It stands to reason, then, that your progress will be impeded if you fail to sleep for at least 7 or 8 hours each night.

Advanced strength trainers are often tempted to believe that training as hard and as often as possible is the best way to maximize their gains. In reality, occasional rest days are needed in order to give your body a chance to "catch up" with the demands you are placing on it by growing stronger, denser muscle tissue. If you insist on continuing to exercise even during days off from weight lifting, you can use these days to engage in various types of cardio such as cycling, jogging and rowing.

The good news for advanced strength trainers is that the more you work out, the shorter your required recovery periods will become. This will become obvious when you think back to your very first weight training sessions, how sore you felt after them, and how much rest you needed before you felt ready to work the same muscle group again.

As an advanced strength trainer, you'll need to pay careful attention to concepts such as workout intensity, proper recovery and correctly using the assistance of a spotter. You'll strategically work muscle groups by themselves and in various combinations in order to break through strength plateaus and realize the largest gains in muscular mass and density. You'll become an expert at listening to your body and knowing exactly how far to push your muscles in order to maximize progress while minimizing the chance of injury.

Advanced strength trainers must also carefully consider and monitor their dietary habits as the nutritional requirements will be significantly greater than when they were performing a beginning or intermediate weight training routine.

shirtless barbell curl

Even if you have completely optimized your dietary intake so that it is wholly attuned to your strength training program, you may still want to consider taking a few specific nutritional supplements, particularly if your goal is to make the largest possible gains in muscular density, mass, and strength.

In addition, it is important to remember that graduating to the advanced strength training program is completely optional and up to you, even if you have spent a significant amount of time regularly performing the intermediate weight training program.

Your decision will largely depend on whether your goal is to maintain your existing levels of muscular mass, strength and density while toning and sculpting your body, or to realize progressive increases in all of the above.

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