Strength TrainingStrength, strength, strength. We know it is a hugely important component of health, fitness and performance. Some go as far as saying it is the most  important, however, this post is not about that! Being a Mobile Personal Training in Twickenham and South West London, I often take sessions with little equipment. Not everyone wants to be stuck on a lifting platform inside a gym. In fact, a large amount of them couldn’t think of anything worse, but we still need to develop strength.


3 Ways to Build Strength

Strength in itself is a very broad term, it is important that myself and my clients have a clear aim on how strong is strong enough. From here, we can manipulate exercises, sets and reps in order to reach the required level. These are my 3 favourite ways to improve strength with limited equipment.

  • Time Under Tension – keeping things static.
  • Time Under Tension – Working the eccentric phase
  • Rapid Force Production – Explosive & ballistic work


Keeping Things Static

Strength is all about producing force. As a result, we need to place the target muscles in stressful positions, where they have to produce force. Staying in these positions and creating tensions ultimately means we are producing more force. Yes, it’s not a 1 out max production of force, but it’s certainly a bigger output than a handful of steady paced half squats.

Adding resistance in the form of resistance bands can also increase the amount of force required. Once again leading to an increase in strength over time.


Working Eccentric Strength

Similarly to keeping things static, the focus of eccentric exercises is on time under tension. Controlling the ‘lowering’ phase of a lift requires force to be produced over a sustained period, while the muscles are lengthening. This causes greater levels of stress, thus creating a greater response.


Ballistic Work

Im not talking about plyometrics. Yes they will help, but they are right at the speed tip of the ‘speed / strength’ curve. Ballistic exercises aren’t continual rapid ground contacts, they are explosive efforts over a slightly longer period. They are still quick but don’t have that rebound.

Maximal force production is the goal. How much work can you create in one single rapid effort. Again, adding resistance bands means more force is required.


Combine All 3 for Strength Gains

The brilliant thing about all of the above protocols is that they can be combined. The contrast in eccentric & static tension and ballistic concentric contraction can create huge amounts of total force. Why not give this loading pattern a go: (lets just say we’re using a squat to keep it easy)

  • 5 seconds lower to parallel
  • 10 second hold at parallel
  • Max effort explosive jump
  • Repeat 5-10 times

Give it a go! Increase Glute activation by placing a mini band around your knees.