Today I want to address absolute strength for more speed and power. With just 3-4 months in the off-season, a lot of team sport athletes struggle to build the brute strength they desire. I’ve been successful coaching athletes with this simple method to develop absolute strength…

What is Absolute Strength?

If you’re not familiar, absolute strength is the total load or resistance that you can overcome. In other words, this your one rep max – typically measured on deadlift, squat, and bench.

If you’re training to develop more absolute strength, I recommend addressing this goal at least twice a week. One session can be a general strength workout, while the other day should be focused around your one rep max. I share my favorite lift variation below). Here we can start to play with tempos and work through a modified-triphasic approach (you can learn more about this here). Overall, we’re trying to create a specific physiological response.

Simple Method for Developing Absolute Strength

Athletes only have a couple of months within their one year training season (a macrocycle) during which they can maximally stress their body in the weight room. In the span of about 3-4 months during off season, you’re cramming in all your work while the in-season training is more just maintenance. Sports like weight-lifting, strongman and power lifting give athletes an entire year to plan for developing absolute strength.

That’s why a lot of the strongest athletes in the world (aka those who can overcome the greatest resistance) have tips for building absolute strength that just don’t apply to most team sport athletes. However, with my simple method for progressive overload, I’ve seen tons of athletes gain strength during the off season using just one compound lift.

The Method: 4-3-2-5

With your compound lift, perform 4 reps during the first week, 3 reps during the second week, and 2 reps during the third week. As you drop the amount of repetitions, increase the intensity or weight. On the fourth week, you”ll then perform a de-load using 5 reps at 50% of your projected maximum.

Lift Variation

As far as variation, you don’t necessarily need to introduce too much new stimulus when it comes to supplemental strength. You can definitely incorporate unilateral or lateral movements, but if you can incrementally make absolute strength gains throughout your off-season in even one particular movement – you don’t need to change much.

I recommend the trap bar deadlift where you can switch between the handle depths and slightly vary your range of motion. At the end of the day, don’t overthink it.

Trap Bar Deadlift

If you do get to a level of strength where you can easily deadlift about 2.2 x your own bodyweight, this might be where I encourage an athlete to switch things up and vary the stimulus with new variations like a sumo or conventional deadlift or a box squat.

When it comes to developing brute strength, simple progressive overload is the way to go. If you’re looking to step your game up next season, remember that absolute strength starts in the off-season. Join hundreds of other athletes who have been successful using the Athletic Strength Formula program.

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