Training for strength and training for size are two different things altogether. Although there will naturally be an increase in some size when training for strength and vice versa, when training for size your strength will increase somewhat. However if you’re solely focussed on increasing your strength we have 5 of our top tips below.
Tip 1: Keep a log
Log your lifts, weights and reps every week. The main objective is to increase the weight, overall weight or reps completed each week. This not only demonstrates strength gains but also helps you track what methods / programmes increased your strength the most. As well as this by seeing your lifts increase on a weekly basis motivates you to keep going and push harder.
Tip 2: Keep it simple
Stick to the core lifts such as the bench press, deadlift, squat, military press and bent over rows. These are all compound exercises which engage and recruit a large number of muscle groups and will help increase your strength far better than smaller compound style exercises such as the leg extension and chest fly.
When performing your lifts make sure your form is tight and controlled. True strength is demonstrated through a controlled and full range of movement rather than a sloppy, uncontrolled and short range of movement. Furthermore, keeping the muscle under tension will recruit more muscle fibres, fatiguing more of the muscle causing more adaptations with further growth and strength improvements. Check out Dmitry Klokov and his time under tension methods on all compound lifts including the clean and snatch for more information and tips.
Tip 4: Barbells
Although body weight exercises and the use of dyno-bands can increase strength in novice trainers the more established trainer needs a greater stimulus to generate the overload needed for strength adaptations to take place. We recommend the use of barbells as the trainer can usually lift more weight than when using dumbbells. After all, blunt force trauma is the best way to increase strength.
Tip 5: Rest
This is possibly the most over looked variable when strength training. Novices will often over train or under recover which hampers their strength gains as the muscle doesn’t have the opportunity to recover and adapt. Furthermore recovery includes sleep and nutrition as well as just resting. It is important to accumulate a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night for optimum gains. The Strength Sensei who is one of the world’s leading strength coaches often refers to the importance of sleep and we recommend you give a few of his blogs a good read.
Bonus tip: Research loading methods and training methods such as Wave Sets/Training and the Hepburn Method, both of which are excellent methods for improving strength. Simple yet effective!!
Give these tips ago and drop us a line on social media or at the contact us page and let us know how you get on. Also, don’t forget to check out our up and coming courses; Click Here