Do You Want to Get Stronger?
We’ve all heard it before “The only way to get stronger is to add weight to the bar,” but that’s not true if you are not repetitively raising the bar. Here are 5 Indisputable Steps to Build Super Strength.
1. Goal Setting
Unfortunately the fact remains that “seeing is believing,” so it is important that you set S.M.A.R.T. tangible goals. Don’t limit yourself by only saying you want to lose weight or get stronger. Further assess these goals and set new goals within them. Maybe you want to bench 500 lbs someday, okay, but until then try to aim for adding 10-15 lbs. Aim for something you can see within a short amount of time and track your progress as this will boost your workout confidence.
S.M.A.R.T Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Timely
2. Engage in Proper Form
I don’t care how much you are lifting but if your form is bad you might as well be doing steroids! Yes, that’s how extreme it is, please don’t use steroids. If you have to exercise slower, with low to no weights you will experience more life-long progress than exercising with poor form. Muscle imbalances, osteoporosis, arthritis and even death are only some of the side-effects you can experience by using bad form. So get it right!
3. Focus on Recovery
8 hours of sleep is enough to restore hormonal balance, energy for training and enough to relieve yesterday’s stressors. Make sure you maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. These are tips that will help you get the most out of every workout, there’s a reason we spend more time recovering than training.
4. No Guts, No Glory and Vice Versa
Sometimes we lose passion, motivation and our strength to carry on. At these times you just have to overcome the adversity and almost force yourself through it. This is how champions are made. If you can learn to love every minute of the process in ‘becoming great’ then you will accomplish your goals almost seamlessly.
5. Muscle Confusion by Adding Variation
Once you have built a solid foundation by consistently applying the techniques listed above we can move on to “The fun part” 😉 Your nerves might hate me for this but your body will thank me later.
Time to change things up because it’s very easy to get set in your ways, but true strength comes from restraining weakness. Try adding some of these workout variations the next time you hit the gym.
1. Upgrade Your Exercises: Typically this may only apply to a few exercises though, we learn new things every day. Strengthen your creativity. Instead of performing simple pushups, try to work your way up to performing weighted, side, pushup jacks and/ or one arm pushups. Replace your standard squats with front squats, single leg squats or both at the same time. These new challenges will keep you humble as well as provide you with variation.
2. Post Set Negative Reps: You are stronger during the negative phase of your reps. Just because you are no longer able to perform the concentric phase of a repetition, does not mean you shouldn’t continue to perform the eccentric phase of the lift. By doing this after your set you will see in increase in the number of repetitions you can perform, with that amount of weight. Are you already used to this method? Take it up a notch by using more weight than your max. Make sure you have a spotter nearby and proceed to perform a few extra negative reps with your desired amount of weight.
3. Slower Repetitions: You know those big guys in the gym who don’t really lift heavy? It’s because they are really focusing on building that mind muscle connection and making that weight feel heavy. This is a great technique for size and endurance. You are increasing your time under tension which is another way to make progress on any given exercise. Instead of busting out reps like you have a hot date waiting for you, try performing them slow, under control and with emphasis on each muscle you are looking to work.
4. Supersets: And last, but nowhere near the least in accelerating your strength progression are the supersets. There are many different types of supersets out there but I only believe and live-by one. Choose a focus exercise, make sure you are properly warmed up and hydrated. Begin by performing (a drop set) your max on that exercise, for as many reps as you can (typically a single rep), then steadily use a slightly lower weight until reaching failure on each decreasing weight. When you make it down to virtually no weight or you can’t complete a full rep, take a breath then gradually increase the weight until you reach your max again; at which point you have completed one superset. In my opinion the best benefit of the superset is the post lift pump. This is a great method for increasing endurance, gaining size and muscle definition, but is not for the faint-hearted.
Set goals, overcome and restrain weakness, use proper form – not steroids, focus on the recovery process and incorporate variations to exercises throughout your workouts. These are undeniably the best methods for obtaining strength beyond belief. At least until a few weeks from now when you’re checking yourself out in the gym’s mirror and people are giving you weird looks, from which you’ll