Getting bigger and stronger with specialized variation

There are two important laws to look at when the focus is trying to get stronger.

Law of specific adaption to imposed demands: If you want to get better at a certain movement, you have to do the same exercise more.

Law of accommodation: The more you repeat an exercise, the less effective it becomes.

Now, how do you get stronger at an exercise without stalling or injuring yourself?

This can be done by specialized variety.

Specialized variety is doing the same movement pattern, but differently. There are many variables that you can utilize, such as different bars, hand placements, foot placements, loading schemes, same movement pattern exercises, etc.

A few people actually do utilize periodization in their workouts, but not enough people realize how necessary it is. Doing a different intensity each workout is key for continual progression. But it’s not only the intensity that you can vary for gains, but also the exercise.

For instance, if you want to get stronger at the deadlift, there are many types of different deadlifts that will strengthen your deadlift, such as deficit deadlifts, pause deadlifts, rack pulls, slow pull deadlifts, 1 & ½ rep deadlifts, behind the back deadlifts, etc.

If you have a sticking point around your knees, use slow pull deadlifts, 1 & ½ rep deadlifts, rack pulls and pause deadlifts.

If your sticking point is from the floor, use deficit deadlifts.

If your quads are not generating enough strength and your deadlift turns into a stiff leg deadlift, strengthen your quads and form with behind the back deadlifts.

Example workout:

Exercise Sets & Reps
Week 1 Regular deadlift 3×6-8
Week 2 Regular deadlift 4×4-5
Week 3 Regular deadlift 5×3
Week 4 Deficit deadlift 3×8
Week 5 Deficit deadlift 4×6
Week 6 Deficit deadlift 5×4

 

An alternative:

Exercise Sets & Reps
Week 1 Regular deadlift (dead stop)

Deficit deadlifts (continuous motion)

1×3

2×10

Week 2 Regular deadlift (dead stop)

Deficit deadlifts (continuous motion)

1×4

2×8

Week 3 Regular deadlift (dead stop)

Deficit deadlifts (continuous motion)

1×5

2×5

Week 4 Rack pulls

Pause deadlifts (pause at the bottom and sticking point)

2×6

2×3

Week 5 Rack pulls

Pause deadlifts

2×6

2×4

Week 6 Rack pulls

Pause deadlifts

2×4

2×5

Do the first exercise explosive and then on the second exercise, focus on slow movement, such as 2 seconds up and 4 seconds down.

If you don’t have sticking points, pause the deadlift around knee height on the concentric and eccentric as well as at the bottom for three pauses total in one rep.

 

Conclusion

This can be done for any other muscle that you want to get stronger at. If you want to get strong with bench, just focus on pressing and don’t worry so much about the exercise that you’re doing. Also, focus on strengthening your weak spots. If you do good at the regular bench but are starting to stall, and you know you struggle with close grip bench, switch to the close grip bench first for a while to strengthen that movement and then later go back to regular bench press.

 


Contact me if you need to change up your workout or need help progressing with either strength or hypertrophy.

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