Get strong. Then get stronger. Those are goals you can never go wrong with.
There are so many benefits to having a pure strength building focus with your workouts. For one, they’re fun!
When you focus entirely on doing a little better than you did the last workout and gradually strive to add more weight to the bar, you’ll likely look forward to each and every session.
This means you’ll anticipate your workouts and perform them consistently, and that is the magic recipe for achieving the results you’re after.
That’s just one of the main reasons women should strength train.
Furthermore, being strong can help you achieve your other fitness goals much easier. Any trainee, whether they want to lose fat or sculpt muscle, can benefit from being stronger. The more weight you can handle, the harder you can work and, ultimately, the more results you can achieve.
And not to mention the tremendous carryover strength has to your every day life. Daily tasks become easier (for example, lugging groceries up the stairs and, let’s face it, we all try to do it in a single trip) and increased strength can help your performance in other physical activities, too.
I know from personal experience that the strength I’ve built from strength training has greatly reduced the learning curve for activities such as ski-boarding, rock climbing, and bouldering. That solid foundation of strength can improve your performance tremendously.
Bottom line: Getting stronger is always a good thing.
There are numerous methods for getting stronger, and today I want to discuss one I’ve been using with my training and with some of my clients with great success: the 54321 Method.
Before we go over how to use this method, please note I do not recommend this for beginners. Beginner strength trainees should follow a more basic program and focus on getting stronger for a given rep range first.
But if you have experience with some basic barbell and bodyweight exercises, you can give the 54321 method a shot.
54321 Method: A closer look at how it’s done.
You’ll begin by using your 10 rep maximum on a compound exercise. (Initially I used an eight rep max when I first used this technique, but then I decided to stick with a 10 rep maximum because it allows for more progression over the course of several weeks).
Choose a large, compound exercise such as a squat, bench press, chin-up, etc, and then perform a 54321 ladder with that weight.
Here’s how the 54321 ladder would look:
- 5 reps, rest
- 4 reps, rest
- 3 reps, rest
- 2 reps, rest
- 1 rep
After the 54321 ladder is completed, you’ll have performed 15 reps with your 10 rep maximum, and that’s part of what makes this such a great strength-building method.
It’s important that you improve your performance on a weekly basis, and I prefer to do that by decreasing the rest periods between the ladder sets over the course of three weeks.
- Week 1 — rest 30 seconds
- Week 2 — rest 25 seconds
- Week 3 — rest 20 seconds
This progression allows you to improve your performance by increasing the work density (performing the same amount of work in less time).
And then on Week 4, you increase the weight and start the process over once again.
As you can see, the 54321 Method is incredibly simple, and that’s the beauty of it. You don’t need anything complicated – you just need a way to progress, gradually and consistently. (And a stop watch to time your rest periods).
So put the 54321 Method to the test for yourself. Just remember to use big, compound exercises like squats, barbell presses, and chin-ups. Begin with your 10 rep maximum for each exercise, and gradually decrease the rest periods between each ladder set over the course of three weeks. One week four, increase the weight and start the process over once again.
If you want a done-for-you 10 week program that uses the 54321 Method to build strength that includes detailed workout notes, an exact progression protocol, printable workout logs, and exercise demonstration videos then…