Hard work is necessary to develop maximum strength. Do not confuse "hard work" with "more work." It does not take a great amount of time to develop maximum strength if the work is performed at the highest intensity level.
There are literally hundreds of ways to increase strength. Whether a few repetitions with heavy weights are performed, or many repetitions with lighter weights are performed, an athlete will get stronger.
The only known scientific fact regarding weight lifting is that progressive overloads build muscles. Progressive overloads can be simply defined as, "Whatever you do today, you want to do more tomorrow."
The following ingredients are necessary for gaining strength:
- Resistance: Work out with barbells, dumbbells, machines, manually and/or any other obscure object with weight, such as buckets of sand to anvils. These tools of resistance are not as important to the development of strength as the methods in which these tools are used in training.
- Progressive Overload: Making your muscles do more work than in the previous workout. You can achieve progressive overloads by performing more repetitions, lifting heavier weights or reducing rest time between sets.
- Variety: The human body strives to reach a constant state of homeostasis. Weight lifting disrupts the homeostasis. The body's disruption is growth. Once growth occurs, a new disruption must occur in order to continue additional growth. Changing repetitions, weights, sets and/or order of exercises provides the necessary variety. Variety also creates excitement in training and tends to eliminate boredom.
- Rest: It is generally accepted that 48 hours of rest between workouts is necessary for growth to take place. One of the reasons for lack of growth in the weight room is over-training. Over-training is training too often or too much. If a weight continually feels heavier than normal, chances are you haven't gotten weaker; you just haven't recovered from previous workouts. In this situation, it is recommended that you take an extra day's rest.
The quality and intensity of exercise are the keys to reaching your full potential. Every time you train, you must be competitive. You are trying to improve. You are competing against your previous workout. You are always trying to get those last, very intense reps.