Obviously, there’s more than one way to workout.
There’s hypertrophy training, strength training, power training, explosive training, and so on and so forth. Each method utilizes different set / rep schemes depending on your goals.
Is there a “most important” method of training? Technically, no. Working out is working out, and you will better yourself regardless, assuming your regime and diet are in check.
There’s this guy you may or may not have heard of, and his name is Charles Staley. He is something of a mad scientist and a visionary in the field of fitness. The guy is on genius levels and certainly knows his stuff. His claim is that you can never go wrong prioritizing and working out towards strength.
From Charles’ 7 Hard Truths About Lifting article, here’s what you need to know –
- No matter what the goal, you simply can’t go wrong by making strength a priority.
- Check your ego. Allow yourself to be coached by someone more knowledgeable.
- Numbers don’t lie. If you’re getting stronger, you’re getting better.
- Stop working hard for the sake of working hard. Practice training economy and maximize the results of your efforts.
Strength is key. If you’re strong, you’re generally in shape. There are strong people who are very out of shape, but we are taking about elite athletes / bodybuilders. If you prioritize strength, your body composition goals can’t really go too haywire.
The ironic thing about strength is this: It’s the most important thing, but it’s also the hardest thing to “sell.” Strength doesn’t require fancy tools or strategies. In fact, some of the strongest men who ever lived became that way by lifting with crappy equipment, using ill-advised training strategies, and eating shitty food.
There are tons of different ways to build strength. Manipulating frequency, volume, intensity, and unorthodox methods are just some examples.
Training for strength is not the same as training for, say, a bodybuilding show. Bodybuilders focus their efforts on higher rep ranges (8-15 or so) to get their muscles big and bulgy. Does this mean they are strong? Well, they are not weak, but they are not necessarily as strong as a powerlifter or another strength athlete.
Check out this article from T-Nation, written by Charles Staley, outlining all the methods and principles of prioritizing strength, and it will surely give you some insight on why prioritizing strength training is never a bad idea
Hypertrophy? Hypertrophy is really a secondary adaptation to strength development. In other words, while it’s technically possible to develop hypertrophy without focusing on maximum strength, you nevertheless need to enforce continuous progressive overload if you expect to see continued gains in muscle mass.