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Are You Applying The Irradiation Principle For Optimal Strength Gains?

Are You Applying The Irradiation Principle For Optimal Strength Gains?

  1. When you’re performing your lifts are you properly firing the muscles involved so you obtain optimal gains?
  2. Are you lifting and performing movements to train your body to be stronger and more resistant to injury?
  3. When performing a movement are you establishing complete control over that movement for optimal function? 

I always I like to try to leave an impression on new trainees when it comes to teaching them strength. One thing that I’ve found that surprises people and raises a few eyebrows is when I talk about the irradiation principle.

Applying The Irradiation Principle For Optimal Strength Gains

So I know you’re probably thinking Coach what is the irradiation principle

A kettlebell at ground level on the floor between the feet of a lifter with the lifter's muscular right arm grabbing the handle.

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I know it’s a got a funny name, but I promise the application is very real and very impactful. The principle of irradiation states that the firing potential of a muscle that is performing a given task can be enhanced by the firing of the other muscles’ contractions that surround it.

There are also 3 main muscle groups that give you the most bang for your buck when implementing this strategy. These muscle groups include…




To give you an example of how the irradiation principle works let’s look at the example involving a crush grip handshake.

Give the following experiment a try…

Imagine shaking a friend’s hand and trying to test your grip against theirs as you squeeze their hand.

At your first attempt squeeze their hand as hard as you can while keeping the rest of your body relaxed. Only create the tension of the hand you’re using to squeeze your friend’s hand.

Once you’ve done this relax your grip and take a minute to shake off the tension. On your second attempt crush your friend’s hand and simultaneously make a fist with the opposite hand creating tension with that hand by making a fist and contracting your forearm.

Next, flatten your abs bracing your entire midsection and perform a posterior pelvic tilt by tightening and contracting your glutes as you continue to crush the grip of your friends hand.

Assuming you execute all of this effectively your friend is going to be able to tell that your grip strength was significantly stronger on the second attempt. You’ll immediately be able to tell the difference in the tension and force that you produced with the second hand gripping effort.

Optimal Strength Gains: The Takeaway

Image of man bending down to grab two kettlebells on the floor with the suitcase deadlift movement.

In order to make optimal strength gains you MUST be proficient in functional movement. Make sure you grab my 120 day program to improve your functional strength. Click the image here above.

Notice that the 3 main muscles I used to explain the production of the additional tension on the second attempt of the handshake involve your forearms, abs, and glutes.

This is a key component as the enhanced firing potential of the muscle of your gripping hand was enhanced by your glutes, abs, and other forearm. This is the power of learning how to activate your muscles properly to take advantage of your kinetic chain of muscles.

Have you been applying the Irradiation Principle to your strength training? 

What area of your strength are you currently working to improve? 

Post up and share below in the comments! 

Apply the irradiation principle here with some functional strength gains. Also for a LIMITED TIME ONLY if you order my 120 Day Functional Fitness Plan you will be able to take advantage of my special discount bundle consisting of…

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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