When was the last time you met someone who stated they’d rather not be stronger than they are?
I didn’t think so!
Obviously, we’re all intrigued with the idea of leveling up with our strength. Being stronger not only increases the amount of movements we can perform in our regimes, but also just makes everyday life easier.
10 bags of groceries? No problem. Moving that heavy dresser for your parents? Cake.
The question here isn’t whether we want to be stronger … it’s how do we actually get stronger? What is the best, most efficient method?
Here I’m outlining some additional training tips you can add into your regime to start building greater strength. These work for beginners to professionals, so don’t worry.
Let’s get on it!
Lifting heavier is one of the main pieces of advice you’ll hear around how to get stronger, and that’s because it’s time-tested and true.
We focus a lot here on HIIT-style training, but even this involves movements that not only challenge you to use your bodyweight (which is pretty heavy even on a lean person), but we also increase that weight by doing inverted exercises and plyo-style movements.
In truth, adding weight will almost always increase your muscle strength and mass. Using a heavier kettlebell to move through cleans, deadlifts, and presses are a good way to add weight while still keeping movements functional, but you can also squat/press with a barbell, and toss in some traditional lifts to start building.
Ideally, you want to be lifting heavier or utilizing heavier equipment at least 3 times a week to see results.
Vary Your Training
Now, you don’t necessarily have to breakdance … but I highly suggest giving it a try as a fun workout.
The reason you want to vary your training if you’re looking to get stronger is because overall strength is ultimately several parts of your body combining together into a unified, strong whole.
What I mean by that is it’s not just the major muscle groups that make you “strong.” In reality, there are many, many smaller stabilizer muscles that help support those large muscles. If these didn’t exist, you may lack the coordination and support to effectively use those “large” muscles effectively.
Also, you can prime yourself for injury.
By varying your training, you ensure you’re strengthening all types of muscles in your body from all angles, which sets the foundation for true strength.
Try adding in different styles of training. For instance, if you mostly weight lift, add in some HIIT or interval training. Try boxing or MMA, or even pilates or (dun dun dun) breakdancing.
Add Eccentric Movements
The eccentric part of a movement is the lowering, or lengthening, part of a move.
For instance, after you curl a bicep, the part of the movement where you’re lowering the weight before curing back up again is the “eccentric” phase.
Focusing on eccentric training has proven in studies to be one of the most effective ways to build muscle strength and power. [*] Not to mention, it also strengthens the muscle as it extends, which can improve overall extension (a benefit in any sport/workout regime) and muscle coordination.
The key with eccentric training is to always focus on going slooooowww during the lowering/extension phase of the movement.
So, I know one of the unique aspects of my training is that it’s “explosive” and “rapid-fire,” however focusing on the slow lower can add major strength boosting benefits.
Take, for instance, a pushup. We’ll make it one of my clap pushups for fun.
When you push up and explode into the clap, eccentric training will have you slowly lower your chest back toward the ground, rather than just letting momentum take you there.
The same thing with squats, or even pull-ups. Pull or push up fast, then lower slowly.
If you’re doing this right, you’ll notice how quickly your muscle will fatigue compared to the standard mode of training. You may get in less reps, but this is a good thing.
As an aside, diet plays an important role in getting stronger too. Make sure you’re eating plenty of clean protein to feed those growing muscles, as well as healthy carbs (sweet potatoes, squash, etc…) and nourishing fats like olive oil and avocados.
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