I talk about it all the time.tumblr_mbrn3oHeVf1ru1omco1_500

STRENGTH is everything.

If you’re not strong, you’re weak and being weak is NEVER good.

It’s great to be quick, agile, fast, and explosive, but if you’re lacking strength, it will eventually catch up to you at some point.

What I got for you in this article are 3 different FREAK strength training tips that you can use NOW within your training sessions to help bust through some plateaus.

FREAK Strength Tip #1 – Drop The Assistance Movements


I said it.

Drop the assistance movements.


Now before you go and get your panties in a bunch, just hear me out real quick.

A few weeks back when I was having a strategy session with a guy a on the phone I told him about some of my current strength sessions.

I wish I could have seen his face when I told him I haven’t been doing any assistance work for the last few months.

When he asked me what I did for assistance work and I said “nothing”, the phone went silent for almost 10 seconds.

He asked back in a confused voice “You don’t do assistance work!?”

I told him the straight truth.

I haven’t done any specific type of assistance work for the past few months and ALL of my strengths had gone UP.

For example, I hit a back squat PR just the other day when I hit 405 for 4 reps (That’s HEAVY for me ;)).

I’ve not ever hit that for a LEGIT 2 reps for a long time so I was pretty thrilled.

There’s definitely a time and a place for when you need to add in more assistance work, but if you’ve already been doing that for a long time now and not seeing the gains you want, maybe drop them out for a bit.

Shoot, if you’re not getting any stronger you need to do something different!

Using one of the greats as an example, Marty Gallager was famous for using this “no assistance needed” strength training approach which was PROVEN effective with some of his athletes who you may know including Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski (who squatted 1000 lbs twice)

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Like I once heard Marty say, “If you want to squat more, then SQUAT.”

Makes perfect sense and I can bet you that ol’ Kirk did a whole lot of squatting VS. spending a ton of time with assistance stuff if at all…

So try dropping the assistance movements for a while and just focus on getting yourself BETTER at the actual movement you’re trying to get stronger at.

FREAK Strength Tip #2 – Use “SupraMax” Warm Up Sets

Now, when we tend to think about “warm up sets” we think about starting light then building up to your “working set” right?

This is correct.

However, what do you think would happen if you were to warm up past what your working set would be within your training session with a heavier warm up set??

You think that working set would be a little bit easier?

Here’s an example set up to help clarify things…

Let’s say you’re Squatting and your work sets call for 5 reps @ 75% 1RM.

Let’s say your 1RM is 400

So you’re working set @ 75% would then be 300.

Simple right.

Now, instead of doing your traditional warm up sets of say 135 x 5, 225 x 5, then a few more sets at 255, then 275 before you go on to 300, what you’d do here is instead of stopping at your working set of 300, you’d shoot past it with a few more “supramax” warm up sets.

You wouldn’t want to take this too far, but what you’d do is go heavier then what your planned work set is listed at.

What I’ve found to work really well is to do a couple of sets of 1-2 reps at around 10-15% higher than my starting work set.

Only 1-2 of these extra “supramax” warm up sets is needed to be effective.

So, going back to the example that I had used above, you’d do a set of say 2-3 reps at 325, then a set of 1-2 at 325-335.

Nothing too crazy, just a few reps at a heavier weight.

What this does is fire up your nervous system a little bit more so that when you do get to your actual working set, the weight will feel light and you’ll CRUSH it.

This not only helps you bust through your work sets with what seems like more strength, but makes your reps more efficient due to your system being more awake.

This works well with squats, deadlifts, and presses.

Main thing you want to AVOID at all costs is doing too many extra warm up sets to the point that you fatigue yourself out.

Just a few extra sets is more than enough.

travis stoetzel squat

FREAK Strength Tip #3 – Embrace The Struggle

If there’s one thing you must know about strength, know this – Strength is NOT meant to be “EASY”.

With all things aside, you must understand that in order to get STRONGER, you must “embrace the struggle”.

Building Strength NEEDS to be hard.

If it’s “easy” then you’re probably not pushing it hard enough.

Now, understand that I’m not telling you to throw your form and technique out the window just so that you can train with a heavier load.

There’s a fine line between making sure it’s somewhat of a struggle and going a little bit too overboard.

Of course there will always be limits, but you’ve got to know how to push those limits just enough in order to grow safely.

What I mean is this…

If your training session calls for 5 sets of 3 reps, if you want those reps to be as effective at helping you build more strength as possible, you’ve got to make damn sure that each of these reps is as HARD as HELL to do.

YES, we want these reps to be efficient as possible in terms of range of motion, form, and technique, but pushing yourself through these reps should scare you a bit.

You should be thinking to yourself, “Oh Shit, this ain’t easy!  That was a struggle to get done”

That’s when you get stronger!

It’s like the motto I like to share a lot, “NEVER ask for EASY”.

I had this exact thought going through my head just the other day when we were hitting heavy sets of squats.

We had 5 sets of 4 reps to get done and just after the second set I was thinking to myself “Oh shit, what have I got myself into”.

Long story short I ended up hitting a PR squat of 405 x 4 reps (I hit 455 x 6 reps in college, but I’m not counting those as my form terrible and NO WHERE near where it is now! LOL)

When I got myself through those 5 grueling sets I knew I had gotten myself STRONGER that day.

It was all about embracing that struggle and accepting that fact that STRENGTH doesn’t come easy.

It’s that little bit of STRUGGLE and even a tiny bit of FEAR that you want and should seek out in order to transform.

Make sure those heavy sets scare you just a bit 😉



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