Everyone has a different goal in mind when they first start going to the gym. Some want to know how to get stronger and some just want to lose weight. Well today we’re going to help those who want to increase their strength over all. Whether you want to improve your functional strength or you just want to know how to increase your bench press, we’ve got you covered. This is the GYMCADDY’s Team advice on how to get stronger.
As always lets cover the basics first, if you’re new to fitness then you should first make sure you have the fundamentals taken care of. The fundamentals in this case is good cardiovascular health, hand eye coordination, balance, and you can do certain body weight exercises properly. You can check out our Beginner’s Workout Routine here.
Now if you’re this far into the article that means you have the basics covered. In order to increase your strength you need to do a few things. You first need to make sure your form is good, you need to understand how to properly stretch and foam roll your muscles, you need to identify and strengthen weaker muscles that are associated with the specific lift you're working on and you need to change up your workout routine.
First thing first, if you have poor form or a bad foundation then increasing any of your lifts or overall strength is going to be an up hill battle. Whether you’re trying to increase your deadlift, squat, bench or overall strength you should first record yourself doing your lift. You should also ask your buddy (preferably one thats more experienced) to critique your form. You'd be amazed at how much you can increase your bench, squat, or deadlift by just changing your stance or focusing on certain cues. In order to improve your form you should first practice your form with high volume sets after you've had your form critiqued. This way your “new” form becomes YOUR form.
As you work on improving your form you should start to getting to know your body a little better. By this we mean understanding your muscular skeletal system and knowing which muscles tend to be tighter on a regular basis. Muscular tension is different for everyone due to their lives, but you should get to know which of your muscles tend to get tight. By stretching tight muscles you can help improve your form, correct muscle imbalances, and even help you be more explosive in a lift.
Depending on the specific lift you want to improve, you'll need to identify your weaker muscles which are associated with your lift. For example, if you wanted to increase you bench press but you’re having issues with the middle portion of the lift or the lock out then you'll want to strengthen your triceps and shoulders. Or if you want to increase your deadlift but you’re having issues with the lift off then you should work on strengthening your ham strings.
But perhaps the most important aspect of getting stronger in any lift is programming and rep ranges. The rep ranges which you work in will greatly affect your strength gains. If you’re focused on getting stronger then you should be working out in the 3-5 rep range. This means the intensity of your lifts are going to go up, but the volume of your overall workout is going to go down. After years of training we have found that the 3-5 rep range is bet suited for progressively gaining strength. Going too deep into the 1-2 rep range isn't as effective for regular training because it does tend to shock your nervous system faster and harder.
Increasing your strength for each different main lift IE Bench Press, Deadlift, or Squat requires specific training for each. We will be releasing Strength Building Workout Plans for each lift over the next few weeks. But each program follows the same fundamentals; proper form or form correction, stretching and foam rolling, strengthen weaker muscles, and working out in the 3-5 rep range.