Getting stronger is arguably one of the most common reasons why people workout. It’s up there with “I just wanna get abs for the summer.” However, plateaus & injuries all happen and people kinda get stuck in a kind of an endless cycle of no progress and eventually just give up.
It happens. People buy muscle mags and see stuff like ‘you’ll have Eddie Hall’s deadlift in four weeks if you follow this routine’ bursting out of the covers. They give it a shot and wouldn’t you know it, their deadlifts still don’t compare to Eddie Hall’s.
So, what’s the deal — is this a case of fake news and false advertising? Maybe, but they also probably don’t follow some important strength building rules.
Follow These Tips On How To Get Stronger
1. Set Your Goals
This is very important. If you don’t have a specific goal or plan, you will end up going through the motions every workout without an actual end game in mind. Set a very specific goal and plan out how many steps you need to reach it and what they should be. Be it “I’m gonna lift my one rep max twice by the end of the month” or “I’m going to start training legs by the end of the year”.
2. Don’t Doubt Yourself
When handling big weights, doubt starts creeping in. Suddenly you’re wondering whether you can really lift all that weight that you never did before. Will you feel embarrassed if you fail? Will you get hurt if you fail? Once you go down that road, there’s no going back. Believe in yourself and your strength. If you don’t succeed today, you will tomorrow.
3. Rest 3-5 Minutes Between Sets
Resting between sets is crucial when handling big weights. Your body needs to recover from the stress it just endured. Moving around numbers close to or even above your bodyweight isn’t a joke. Your body needs rest periods for recovery and for better performance in the next set.
4. Focus On Recovery
Speaking of recovery, it’s just as important as resting between sets. Giving yourself days off will do wonders for your strength. Your muscles will recover from the previous workout session and they will be locked and loaded ready for the next record setting lift.
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5. Visualize The Reps
Get underneath that bar and visualize your entire set. Visualize yourself lifting that weight and moving it before you even do it. That way, you get mentally focused on your goal and when the time comes to actually lift the weight you’re bringing your mental A-game.
6. Train With A Gym Buddy
Finding a quality gym partner will do wonders for your gains. It will give you a mental edge knowing that he’s right up there with you in the strength department and that he could very well outlift you. It can also help having someone to hype you up and give you an extra bit of motivation to workout.
7. Warm Up First
Warming up will save you the injuries and the layoffs. Doing some warm up sets before you do any hard lifting could be the difference between setting your new overhead PR or tearing up your shoulders trying to lift more than you can.
Never underestimate a good night’s sleep on gains. You charge your phone regularly, charge your body regularly as well.
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9. Eat A Lot
This is pretty much self-explanatory, isn’t it? When Rich Piana said “eat big to get big,” he wasn’t being metaphorical. If you want to be a giant, or better yet, a mutant, among men, you really do have to put in the hours in the kitchen.
10. Focus on Free Weights and Compound Lifts
Another no brainer, compound lifts like the big four (bench, deadlift, squat and overhead) are the essential lifts for getting stronger.
11. No Ego Lifting
Check your ego at the door when you start lifting. Put a focus on form and perfecting it with lower weights. When you finish that, then you can move on to bigger weights. Practice makes perfect. Start with an empty bar and work your way up.
12. Track Your Progress
Download one of those fancy fitness tracking apps and track your workout progress. It will help to put things into perspective. Seeing which lifts are lacking, which are going well, when were you at your best and when were you at your worst.