What do you need to do to get stronger? The answer to this question can be found in a carefully planned program. Getting stronger involves proper nutrition, strength training, supplementation, and a variety of resources that can be specifically designed to meet that goal.
The foundation of a strength training program is resistance training. The Center for Disease and Control defines strength training as “physical activity intended to increase muscle strength and mass.”
To increase in strength, you will need to lift weights. However, there is more to it than that. Everyone’s body and nervous system are different; nevertheless, the following tried and tested methods on how to get stronger should be at the heart of a well rounded strength training program:
1. Compound Exercises
Compound movements involve the motion of more than one joint in the body. These movements make your muscles work harder by recruiting more muscle fibers than simple isolation exercises.
Compound movements should be the foundation of your weight training program. Examples of compound exercises are: squats, pull ups, military press, bench press, and deadlifts.
2. Progressive Overload
One of the key ingredients to gain strength is to continually add weight to your training routine. To gain strength, you need to challenge your muscles during every workout.
As soon as you feel that the repetitions of any particular exercise become easy, it’s time to add weight. You can set goals to lift more weight every time you train.
3. Effective Routine
You may need to experiment with several different programs until you find one that works for you. Because everyone’s body is different, what works for one person may not be effective for the other. When designing your routine, keep it simple, and remember to utilize compound exercises.
4. Avoid Machines
Machines can be effective in helping to tone your muscles; however, free weights are a better option for gaining muscle mass and strength. Machines balance the weight for you, while free weights force you to control the weight yourself during the entire range of motion.
This will effectively recruit more muscle fibers and help to increase your overall strength.
When you do negatives, you should be accompanied by a workout partner or a trainer. The partner will assist you in lifting more weight than you could do alone. For example, during the bench press, add more weight to the bar than you usually lift.
Have your partner spot you, then lift the weight off the rack and slowly bring it down to your chest. Your partner will then assist you as you press the weight off your chest and put it back onto the bar.
6. Positive Attitude
Like many sports, your attitude will ultimately dictate your possible success or failure. When you’re in the gym, you should visualize yourself lifting heavy weight. Also, use your imagination to form a mental picture of the positive outcome that is associated with lifting heavier weights.
Don’t underestimate the power of your mind. When you exercise your body, simultaneously train your mind to think positive. A good attitude will pay dividends in your fitness program.
During intense training, it’s vital to consume enough calories to adequately fuel your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you gain muscle, your body needs a bigger “engine” to effectively burn calories.
Although it’s crucial to eat plenty of food, it’s just as important to eat healthy. Calories that are received from junk food are wasted calories.
You should eat food such as chicken and fish that contain sufficient amounts of protein.
During training, protein will be the building block for your muscle gains, and should be at the foundation of your diet.
Don’t fall victim to overtraining. Many eager weight lifters feel that they have to spend countless hours in the gym to get stronger. That’s not the case; sometimes less is better than more.
If you feel extremely sore before a workout, take the day off. Sleep also plays an important role in getting stronger. During sleep, your muscles will repair themselves after a long day of training.
9. Training Partner
Bring a friend or workout partner to the gym with you. By working out with a partner, you can see tremendous benefits. A partner can spot you during heavy lifts, and can help to motivate you during training.