Workout Tips

Power Up: Build Muscle, Strength & Speed

Increase your strength and pump up your physique with this once-a-week power-training fix.


If you'’re the typical red-blooded male, you have a trait that seems to come right along with your trusty Y chromosome. That trait? The constant hunger for more. More money. More cars. More power. And, of course, more strength and size: heaps of muscle to carry around all that cash or lift that BMW overhead to impress the neighborhood kids. Of course, you can't get more than you have if you keep doing the same thing, day in and day out, hoping for magically different results. For more muscle, doing the same old bodybuilding routine week after week will just leave you spinning your spindly wheels.

Instead, you must decisively change your approach and infuse your training with power. That'’s where this results-packed workout comes in. Drop it into your regular training schedule just once a week, and you'll be on your way to building more mass and brute strength. As you incorporate the "Power-Up" workout into your regular regimen, you'’ll get stronger, of course, but you'’ll also be able to better generate speed during training.

Why is Speed Important?

When it comes to bodybuilding-style routines, the concentric (positive) contraction of each rep should be performed as quickly and explosively as possible. You should push or pull the weight as hard and fast as you can on your heaviest sets. That doesn'’t mean you should throw or bounce weights around. In fact, the weight will still move slowly, as you take 2-–4 seconds to complete the positive rep. The weight is key: It must be heavy enough that, although you move it quickly, it doesn'’t move at super-speed. Explosive power training can also rewire your body for greater physical control over your muscles. Remember how awkward you felt the first time you trained, how heavy the weight felt? After your initial sessions, the exercises didn't feel so odd, and the weight seemed lighter. Now, you can take those neural adaptations to the next level with movements that are more complex, thus creating new pathways between mind and muscle.