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Kenneth Lo

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#AskKenneth | How can you get STRONGER? Weightlifting or Powerlifting or Bodybuilding?

#AskKenneth | How can you get STRONGER? Weightlifting or Powerlifting or Bodybuilding?

It is a tough topic to talk about. I cannot explain it in a few sentences.

First of all, Weightlifting and Powerlifting are totally two different sports, but both of them are consist of strength elements. You also can get super strong by doing one of them.

Weightlifting: Snatch and Clean & Jerk

Powerlifting: Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift

It's up to you to choose one of them. It's your choice. If you want to have better performance, you cannot do both at the same time.

How can you get stronger?

We have many different ways to develop your strength. The simple solution is the Progressive Overloading training method. It means you have to lift heavier every week or every 2 weeks. If you always lift the same weight, you cannot get any stronger.

Bodybuilding training also includes Progressive Overloading method. Generally, bodybuilding training includes two phases: accumulation and intensification.

Accumulation (Hypertrophy): high reps & low sets with high training volume. And it requires the mind-muscle connection.

Intensification: low reps & high sets, it is focusing on strength development.

Here are my favorite Progressive Overloading programs for Strength:

5 x 5


Waves 7-5-3

Waves 3-2-1


For Olympiclifting, the athletes never do more than 3 reps. The athletes chase for 1RM to 3RM.

For Powerlifting, the athletes need to develop 1RM to 5RM in the different phases.

For Bodybuilding, the athletes need to do 3-6 reps range to 10-20 reps ranges in the different phases. Normally, the bodybuilders spend months to years to develop their strength during the "off-season" or "gain phase" by lifting heavy weight with reps. Then they will do high reps with low sets when they are preparing for the bodybuilding competitions.

For the Bodybuilding training program design, you must get stronger first in order to develop your strength by doing Intensification, then shift to the Accumulation (hypertrophy) program to do tons of sets & reps.

Remember that you cannot build size without training volume (volume = sets x reps).

And you will not get bigger by only doing 1-3 reps with high intensity.

A lot of pro-bodybuilders lift very heavy weight during Gain Phase (when they're not cutting.) Therefore, every trainee's program is different depends on their goals and phases.

For the general population or body composition (my online trainees), I will recommend them to do basic strength training once they achieve their physique goals. I normally plan 5 x 5 or Hepburn or waves method for them after 12-weeks GBC program, but never ask them to lift 1RM max unless they are planning to do Olympiclifting or Powerlifting competition.

Here is my opinion, if you're strong, you can do whatever you want. You have better potential to perform better in different sports. Think your body is your engine.

Our goals in each training session are to strengthen our engines, to upgrade them.

Let me share my own experience. I did a lot of squat, bench press and deadlift when I was training at the Ultimate Performance HK. I improved a lot of strength at that time.

- Low-back Back Squat, up to 200kg

- Bench Press mid-grip, up to 140kg

- Deadlift, up to 240kg

At that time, I started to compete in the bodybuilding and mensphysique competitions, because I've built a lot of muscle mass after years (not months or weeks) of training.

Then I shift my focus on Weightlifting in Vancouver. Of course, I continue to compete in the bodybuilding competition. I also won INBF Bodybuilding Overall Champion in March 2018.

And I won 3rd place of 85kg in Pan American and Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships in May 2018.

Here is my opinion, if you are a beginner and you would like to do build some serious muscles, then Progressive Overloading training method is your foundation of training. You cannot build the peak physique without a wide base.

If you are a skinny fat guy and want to compete in the bodybuilding competition or you want to have nice physique, you must learn how to build serious muscles first before cutting phase. Otherwise, you got nothing to show after cutting. If you are 65kg guy, please don't think about cutting. You may need to spend years to put on muscle mass before cutting. This is my suggestion.

Christian Thibaudeau said "Muscles move weights. If you have more muscles, you can lift more weight. It means you get stronger with more muscle mass with proper nutrition."

Please continue to share your comments.

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