Phase 2: Strength and Power Overview | True Muscle Trainer: 9 Weeks To Elite Fitness

Who says training to get stronger has to be slow and controlled? You’ll alternate classic strength-builders with explosive jumps and med-ball work to build strength and power!

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Welcome to the strength and power phase of the True Muscle nine-week training plan. Don’t get the wrong impression from the title, though. You won’t be training like a powerlifter or an Olympic athlete here. This is about looking the part, but also being powerful to the core.

The goal of this phase is to increase force development. That means lifting heavy weights, but also doing some more explosive exercises. Those explosive movements are the biggest change you’ll notice from Phase 1. Why train weights and explosive movements in the same workout? Both demand you to recruit more muscle tissue and maximize the strength potential of your nervous system—your software, to continue the computer metaphor from the Phase 1 overview. I want you to learn to tie together your body into a powerful coil that can lift more weight, build more muscle, and dominate any task.

Strength and explosive power are also similar in how you program them, not just what they force your body to do. For both heavy lifting and explosive lifting, the number of sets is going to be higher than what you were doing in the bodybuilding phase, and the number of reps is going to go down, usually to around 4-6 reps.

You’re going to get a lot stronger, but you’re still going to add muscle. The way we build muscle comes in two forms. We could use higher volume, like we did in Phase 1. But now that you’re adapted to that, we’re going to delve into the other method, which is more tension, from lifting higher loads. Both feed into the same goal, which is adding muscle and increasing strength.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

In this phase, you’ll follow a simple A/B/C rotation of full-body workouts, each lasting around an hour or slightly less. How long it takes for you will depend on your fitness level and familiarity with the exercises. As you get fitter over the course of the nine weeks, the workouts may get a little shorter.

If you’re accustomed to a split that has you working five or more days a week, this three-day setup might take some getting used to. I’ve designed the workouts so that each one is going to be more challenging to you than the equivalent workout was in Phase 1, and for that reason, I’d like you to perform them on nonconsecutive days.

Each one will place more demands on your nervous system than in Phase 1, and will be a lot more physically tiring because you’re using every muscle in your body. Because of that, we need to make sure you’re getting enough rest.

Each of your workouts in Phase 2 will follow this basic model:

Dynamic warm-up (use the one from the Phase 2 workout video)
Power/explosive movements
Strength movements
Your power training will encompass a few different takes on jumping and throwing, but will always include some medicine ball work. Why? I love medicine balls!

On the walls of my gym at Performance University, I have a very cool vintage picture of “Piney,” President Herbert Hoover’s schnauzer puppy, sitting on the president’s medicine balls. It was taken around 1929 at the White House, after Hoover and his colleagues invented a game called “Hoover Ball,” which he claimed “required less skill than tennis, was faster and more vigorous, and therefore gave more exercise in a short time.” Look it up online sometime, and you’ll see a truly demanding—and fun-looking!—game that requires full-body power in three dimensions.

The president’s quote also shows why, rather than program the Olympic lifts and their variations like jump shrugs and high pulls to train for explosive power, I prefer medicine balls for most athletes. Medicine balls allow you to get a similar training effect to explosive barbell lifts, but without the same level of technical demands.

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