You train day in and day out. You’re hitting all your sets and reps. But something still feels off. Maybe you’re not getting all the gains you want. Maybe you’re not building strength the way you think you should. Do you want to take your training to the next level? I bet you do. All it takes is a little know how and experimentation. Keep reading for some important tips that can help propel you ahead of the pack and turn you into the guy that everyone watches in the gym.
Building strength is a dance between hard work, determination, consistent effort, a solid training program as well as a sound diet. When all that is in place it becomes experience and wisdom that gets you to the next levels of peak fitness. This information is usually passed down from gym-goer to gym-goer and learned through trial and error. Luckily for you we’ve already learned some lessons and have created this article to give you some tricks and tips to get you past those plateaus and blast forward with your strength training.
Building Strength With Consistent Training
Strength training is a form of resistance training that induces muscular contraction building strength, endurance, muscle mass and bone density through physical exercise. Simply put, it is moving any type of weight including your own body through exercise past it’s limits in order to get stronger.
It encompasses a variety of exercise types for the overall goal of building strength and conditioning. Things like pushups, pullups, lunges, resistance training on an indoor rowing machine, climbing, jumping and throwing can all be considered strength training alongside the more commonly known modality of weightlifting.
It’s main goal and purpose is to push the body through adaptation by stimulating the neuromuscular system through a progressive systematic training plan. Depending upon your goals strength training programs can be custom tailored to meet your specific demands. For example, athletes partaking in specific sports will tend to gear their strength training routines for that particular activity. Building strength with strength training is a natural offshoot of consistent effort.
The most notable benefits of strength training are increases in strength, muscle mass and decreases in body fat. However strength training has other benefits that are often overlooked. Outside of the gym strength training can play a significant role in one’s mental and physical health plus decrease the risk of injury and chronic health problems.
Building strength through strength training increases strength, bone density, range of motion and flexibility. It can improve your cardiovascular system. This form of exercise elevates the heart rate and requires more efficient use of blood and oxygen. It affects the metabolism two-fold as it increases calories burned post-exercise through a process called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” or EPOC. It also boosts energy levels, improves mood, improves sleep quality, reduces anxiety, helps treat depression and self-esteem issues due to the increased levels of endorphins.
The Top Five Tricks and Tips For Building Strength
Getting started with strength training isn’t complicated. Before jumping into things you need to establish a baseline by performing a fitness assessment. From there you’ll want to carefully consider your goals. Why are you training? Knowing this reason will help you determine the path you want to take. The best training program for building strength is 5×5.
The 5×5 training method follows the ideas of progressive overload where you slowly increase the load placed on your muscle, putting your body in the ideal state to evolve. Progressive overload consists of adding weight in small increments only if the previous workouts sets and reps are successfully completed. A basic 5×5 strength training program consists of two lifting days, Day A and Day B. Each day will have its respective exercises. Both days will be the basis of this routine and will contain all 5 of the movements necessary to building strength, gaining muscle, and burning fat.
If you’re already set with the basics and a routine for building strength then try incorporating these tips into your exercise protocols.
Improve Your Squat with Proper Shoe Choice
- Squatting in tennis shoes is not recommended. Yes you see people do it all the time. Building strength requires the right gear. Pay attention to their feet and tell me if you notice anything going on. Ankle roll? Foot rock? For your safety and performance it is best to get a pair of weightlifting shoes or any flat bottomed shoe like Converse Chuck Taylor. A flat bottomed shoe will provide you with stability and support. Allowing you to drive out of the hole.
Improve your squats by practicing the box squat.
- If you experience difficulty squatting on your own first learn how to get out of the squat by practicing box squats. Box squats will help you learn how to keep your body tight and what it feels like to “sit” with the weight on your back. Box squats will help with building strength in the stabilizer muscles of the body as well. To perform a box squat use a bench or plyo box.
Use Your Supporting Muscles During Compound Presses
- Keeping your shoulder blades back and pinched together stabilizes you during the bench press and the overhead press. Building strength in these muscles is essential for driving up your personal best. A good way to visualize this action is to pretend you are going to pull the bar apart. Your chest and shoulders need a solid platform to push against when driving that weight up.
Hip Drive for Big Deadlifts
- The deadlift is one of the number one exercises for building strength as it’s a great compound movement. When deadlifting be sure to get your hips back and your buttocks down. At the bottom of the movement drive up first with your hips and your glutes. Pulling the bar off the floor with your back alone is not a good feeling. Be safe and increase your PR’s with proper form. Increase your deadlift. Focus on hip drive.
Switch Up Your Bench Form for Shoulder Dominant Lifters
- If you’re shoulder dominant in your benching try switching your form. The traditional bodybuilding bench press isn’t known to create massive chests, but massive front delts that cannot do it right. Building strength in the chest is done when you can properly move the weight through a full range of motion. With your arms tighter to your body, a proper arch in your lower back and your feet planted firmly on the floor you will notice the difference in your bench pressing movements.
One More Rep
When you look at it, building strength and creating the body you always desire boils down to consistent effort, hard work, a solid training program and a bulletproof diet. However when all else fails experience and wisdom that gets you to the next levels of peak fitness. Incorporating these tricks and tips into your routine can help you get past your sticked points and on to new levels you never thought possible. Always stay true to form and lift with intensity. Make every rep count.