Scientific Principles of Strength Training by Mike Israetel Summary


  • Specificity: Train lifts and do cardio that you know contribute directly to your goals. Ex) Do more heavy squats to improve your squat. Run more to improve cardio.
  • For powerlifting, focus on squat, bench, deadlift, and aerobic cardio.


  • Overload: Either add weight to the bar or add reps or sets to progressively get stronger.
  • Progressively adding weight to the bar (linear progression) is best for novice lifters.
  • Adding reps or sets (volume) is best for intermediate and advanced lifters.

Fatigue Management

  • Fatigue management: Take rest days, deloads (reduce the weight or volume), or do movements with low injury risk.
  • Find a balance between too much or too little volume.
  • Ex) Runners could switch to biking or swimming to give bones, joints, and connective tissue time to recover.

Stimulus Recovery Adaptation

  • Stimulus recovery adaptation: Do 2–4 sessions per muscle group per week. Take rest days between sessions.
  • Don’t use stimulants like caffeine or ammonia because it takes longer to recover.


  • Variation: The manipulation of training variables to prevent stalling and injury.
  • Ex) Instead of always doing wide grip bench press, do close grip, incline, or dumbbell. This allows certain muscle fibers to recover.
  • Variation is mostly for intermediate and advanced lifters.

Phase Potentiation

  • Phase potentiation: Planning training phases to get the best muscle growth.
  • Mostly used by intermediate and advanced lifters nearing a competition.

Individual Difference

  • Although everyone is slightly different, everyone must adhere to these 7 principles of strength training.
  • Ex) There is no one who develops more muscle without overload (principle of overload).
  • Ex) There is no one who can do distance running to maximally develop their squat strength (principle of specificity).




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