Can You Get Stronger in a Week?
Getting strong in as little as a week is a matter of training, rest and a balanced diet. Building the strength of your muscles quickly means you must get plenty of sleep and eat a sufficient amount of protein. Reduce aerobic exercise during this time, as it drains your muscles of the fuel you need to lift heavy weights. Growth hormone is at an all-time peak while you sleep. Your body can optimally repair and grow your muscle tissue when you get quality sleep throughout the week so you become stronger.
Lift Heavy Weights
Train your chest and back on Sunday, then work your legs and abdominals on Monday, strengthening your entire body in a week.
Begin each training session with one primary exercise for each muscle group, such as flat barbell bench presses for your chest and triceps. Do lateral pulldowns for your back and biceps, squats for your legs and weighted decline crunches for your abdominals.
Lift a moderate weight for 10 repetitions as your warm-up set for each exercise. Rest for two minutes, then increase the weight by 10 percent for bench presses, pulldowns and abs. Add 20 percent for lower squats, completing only five repetitions for this second set.
Rest for three minutes, then add 5 percent more weight for the upper body exercises and 10 percent more weight for squats, completing only three to 5 repetitions.
Begin adding only 5 pounds to upper body exercises and 10 pounds to lower body exercises for subsequent sets until you can only do one or two reps. Ensure you rest for three to five minutes between these later sets. Do a total of eight to 10 sets, including your warm-up set.
Do one more exercise per muscle, such as incline barbell bench press for your chest and triceps, seated cable rows for your back and biceps, deadlifts for your legs and hanging leg raises for your abs. Follow the same pattern of a warm-up set and progressively heavier sets of no more than five repetitions.
Eat a pre-workout meal of slow-digesting carbohydrates and protein to fuel your workout, ensuring you have an ample supply of amino acids to stimulate muscle tissue synthesis. Spread 1 tbsp. of natural peanut butter and a 1/2 tbsp. of all-fruit spread over a slice of toasted sprouted grain bread. Drink a protein shake containing 1 cup of skim milk and 24 g of protein from whey protein powder with your toast one to two hours before your workout to get stronger in one week.
Drink a post-workout protein shake with 1 cup of skim milk, a 1/2 cup ice water, 48 to 72 g of protein from whey protein powder and 1 cup of frozen pineapple chunks; the fast-digesting carbohydrates in pineapple stimulates the quick absorption of amino acids and glucose into your cells, enhancing protein synthesis, which in turn increases your muscular strength.
Consume six to seven meals every two to three hours, keeping your blood sugar steady and promoting growth of muscle tissue.
Write down the weight you lift, the number of sets and the number of reps to compare with your data the following week. Train with a partner who can spot you and give some encouragement through each rep and set.
Do bench presses, squats and deadlifts in a squat cage with safety bars so you do not drop the bar on your body.
- “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning”; Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle; 2000
- “Strength and Conditioning Journal”; Protein for Sports-New Data and New Recommendations; Tim Ziegenfuss, Ph.D., et al.; February 2010
- Write down the weight you lift, the number of sets and the number of reps to compare with your data the following week. Train with a partner who can spot you and give some encouragement through each rep and set.
- Do bench presses, squats and deadlifts in a squat cage with safety bars so you do not drop the bar on your body.
Paula Quinene is an Expert/Talent, Writer and Content Evaluator for Demand Media, with more than 1,500 articles published primarily in health, fitness and nutrition. She has been an avid weight trainer and runner since 1988. She has worked in the fitness industry since 1990. She graduated with a Bachelor's in exercise science from the University of Oregon and continues to train clients as an ACSM-Certified Health Fitness Specialist.