The 2 Week Strength & Growth Phenomenon
By Phil Kaplan

Men. We are interesting creatures. Goal driven. Stubborn. Determined.

Historically we are hunters and warriors, thus we always need a new animal to hunt, a new mountain to climb, a new challenge to overcome. With that primary understanding of the male psyche, and the absence of daily battles or daily hunts, it's pretty simple to understand why in the weight room men always want "more, bigger, stronger." Even worse, we want it NOW!

Here's the truth I had to face and the challenge I felt I had to overcome early on in my career, when I realized that "more, bigger, stronger" wasn't working in the long run. It isn't humanly possible to get bigger, more muscular, and stronger in a linear fashion. The body has built in mechanisms that lead to the frustrating plateau, where gains seem to cease altogether. If it were possible to get stronger with each passing week, there would be men lifting dump trucks and freight trains. I've never seen it done, so I'd have to assume the limitations on rapid strength gains are very real.

Don't worry. I don't want to discourage you. In fact, I'm going to share some thrilling news. After years of independent research, I developed a strategy that will help anyone of either gender achieve strength gains . . . and amazingly, this fail-proof strength system requires a commitment to only two weeks!

OK, wait, I don't want you to misunderstand me. I'm not saying you train for two weeks, instantly transform into Superman, and then stop training completely. What I am saying is that a two-week commitment to a powerful muscle building strategy can lead to consistent gains, but of course you'll continue to train beyond the two-week period. You'll simply shift in training strategies, and in that lies the secret.

Before I expound on the technique, let's first understand some basic muscle biology. To keep matters simple, we can break muscle tissue into two distinctly different types of muscle fibers. Fast twitch fiber and slow twitch fiber.

The fast twitch fiber is the muscle fiber most prone to hypertrophy (growth). These muscles fibers are called to action rapidly to handle what is usually an all out strenuous effort. If you ever see the stereotypical powerlifter, you're looking at a predominance of fast twitch muscle fiber development.

Slow twitch fiber might be explained as "endurance" fiber. Envision a stereotypical marathon runner. He (she) looks very different than the powerlifter. The slow twitch fibers are summoned slowly but they can sustain a moderate effort for a prolonged period of time. The two-week strategy I'm about to explain suggests that you focus exclusively on the fast twitch fibers for two weeks.

Basic compound movements, requiring the recruitment of several muscle groups at once, are going to prove the most effective at stimulating strength gains. Squats. Bent Over Rows. Deadlifts. Bench Press. Shoulder Press. Curls. Dips (with added resistance if necessary). In order to optimize the strength potential of these movements, you want to challenge muscle by utilizing a level of resistance that brings you a point of momentary muscle failure in the 4-6 rep range. In other words, you want to choose a weight that will allow you to get at least four repetitions in strict form, but will leave repetitions five and six possible but challenging. That calls the fast twitch fibers to action.

At this point, any exercise physiologist reading this article would be ready to rip my head off, ranting about how this "technique" is dangerous. That's only because I haven't fully explained it. Allow me to keep my head, at least for the next few moments, and I assure you anyone with a background in exercise science will buy into the idea.

I am not suggesting you walk into the weight room, pile 300 pounds on the bar, and start squatting. That's a surefire path to injury. I am suggesting you begin with a warmup going through the movements you're about to perform with very light weights, stimulating blood flow. After about 7-10 minutes, it's time to move into the training regimen.

You're going to perform 5 sets of each basic compound movement, but you're going to do this systematically and safely. The first set will be performed for 10 repetitions with a weight with which you probably could have gotten 20. The second set will be performed for eight repetitions with a weight that you might be able to get 10-12 reps with. The third set will utilize the same weight as Set #2, but now you'll only perform six reps. At this point, the muscles are warmed up and ready to meet the fast twitch challenge. Sets #4 and #5 are the sets that kick the strength gains into high gear. These are the sets in which you'll use a weight sufficient to bring you to that point of MMF in the 4-6 rep range. If you get more than six in strict form in Set #4, you'll go up a bit for Set #5. If you can't get four reps in strict form in Set #4, you'll lighten the load a bit.

The idea is to work all of the major muscle groups in a single workout, and then allow 48 hours of recovery before doing it again. There should be three workouts per week for two weeks, amounting to a total of only 6 weight training sessions in a 14-day period.

This is where the "more is better" thought process can be detrimental. Recognize that weight training is only a stimulus for gains. Ingesting adequate nutrients for growth and energy and allowing the body to rest and recuperate are essential for these gains to take place. These workouts are intense and strenuous and 48 hours is necessary for adequate recuperation. It's also important that you do not continue this for more than 2 weeks. At that point connective tissue begins to suffer increased trauma and you run the risk of injury or overtraining.

Amazingly, even though, after this 2 week period you'll switch to a strategy that targets more of the slow twitch fiber, that stimulus of the two week training regimen will allow you to continue to see strength increases, perhaps for another two weeks. Returning to this regimen too frequently can prove overly taxing. I suggest dividing the year into four 13-week segments. Each 13 week segment should begin with two weeks of Strength & Growth training. Between Strength & Growth sessions you'll incorporate strategies that focus on endurance, balance, and fat loss, allowing the connective tissue and fast twitch fiber to effectively recuperate so 13 weeks later you're ready to hit it hard all over again.

In my programs, I always implement a 2-week Strength and Growth cycle, and with a few guidelines, it has never failed me yet. Here's an excerpt from my TRANSFORM! program, specifically, the Strength & Growth weeks.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday (for each week of a two-week period)

Squats 5 sets 10 reps 8 reps 6 reps 4-6 reps 4-6 reps
Bent Over Row 5 sets 10 reps 8 reps 6 reps 4-6 reps 4-6 reps
Deadlifts 5 sets 10 reps 8 reps 6 reps 4-6 reps 4-6 reps
Bench Press 5 sets 10 reps 8 reps 6 reps 4-6 reps 4-6 reps
Shoulder Press 5 sets 10 reps 8 reps 6 reps 4-6 reps 4-6 reps
Barbell Curl 5 sets 10 reps 8 reps 6 reps 4-6 reps 4-6 reps
Dips (w/resistance) 5 sets 10 reps 8 reps 6 reps 4-6 reps 4-6 reps


Some tips that might help stimulate even greater strength gains . . .

  • Consider a post workout recovery drink with creatine, l-glutamine, glucose, fructose, and hydrolyzed amino acids. Consider my RELOAD formula.

  • Consider GROW!, a formula designed to support muscle growth

  • Be sure to get at least 7, optimally 8 hours of sleep per night.

  • Relax on the off days.

  • Massage and active recuperation techniques might be highly beneficial.

  • Note: This Strength & Growth Training is inherent in both the TRANSFORM! Program and The Best You've Ever Been.

If You Haven't Been There Yet:

[ The Simplicity of Growth ] [ The GROW! Formula ]
[ Post Workout Supplementation ] [ RELOAD! ]
[ The Fat Burning Trick ] [ BURN! ]
[ Meal Replacements ] [ EAT! ]

Click on [ Fitness Superstore ] to get any of Phil's Proven products.

Find additional info on TRANSFORM!

Learn To Get Fit in 17 Days with The ANSWER!

Click on the [ MENU ] to explore other topics and fitness truths.

Other Pages to Explore:

Update ] Intro ] Mission ] Diets ] Supplements ] Solutions ] [ Feedback ]

e-mail Phil Kaplan

site designed and operated by
Phil Kaplan
Phil Kaplan's Fitness Associates
1304 SW 160th Ave., #337
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33326
(954) 389-0280
Fax (954) 742-3173