Scientific Principles of Strength Training by Mike Israetel Summary
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There are 7 scientific principles of strength training: specificity, overload, fatigue management, stimulus recovery adaptation, variation, phase potentiation, and individual difference.
Note: There are 3 levels of strength: novice, intermediate, and advanced. An intermediate lifter can bench 225, squat 315, and deadlift 405 for at least one rep.
- 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: 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: Planning training phases to get the best muscle growth.
- Mostly used by intermediate and advanced lifters nearing a competition.
- 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).