Strength is a quality long revered throughout history and crosses all boundaries of gender, religion, nationality, and status.
It holds no regard for the thoughts of men and the silly things they bother themselves with. It cares not for your excuses. And it batters and maims all that wish to obtain its potential. Unforgiving. Unrelenting. Undoubtedly one of the hardest of life’s endeavors. It is to be respected, yet fought with to unyielding lengths. But those of us who choose to embark on the journey understand it to be more precious than any jewel on earth.
But what is strength?
Strength is the ability to move massive loads, to fire every fiber of your being against an unholy amount of pounds, to demand your nervous system to be your servant, more than muscle, more than fitness. While those components are important, they are not strength and they are not present for the discussion. Strength is not found under a stack of 10 sets of 15-20 sets, no, it is not found underdoing 10,000 burpees to no end, nor at the end of a weight stack for a machine. Strength is summoned under 1 heavy maximal load of a barbell. My friends, I am talking about the Bulgarian method.
This method includes doing 1 maximal effort set of a compound lift, preferably a squat, daily. This may seem counter-intuitive at a glance, considering the fitness industry’s demonizing of becoming “overtrained”, but that’s why they are about fitness, and this article is about strength. Strength takes courage, tenacity, GUTS. I say we should be more afraid of increasingly becoming “under-trained”.
This program is also very low volume, so overtraining is virtually nonexistent, and as you become conditioned to holding these HEAVY weights, physically, you become accustomed mentally. Strength requires continual improvement, progression instead of regression. Not only will you become brutally strong physically, but mentally as well. Training should be HARD. Trust me, it is hard to force yourself every day to take that squat max for a ride, but strength requires hard, it requires you to stiffen your resolve, and sometimes your normal squat max isn’t there. That’s fine, you come back the next day and try it again. Yes, friend, strength is long sought after and rarely captured, but I wish you well in this journey of the acquisition of strength…