6 Tips For Increasing Your Strength At The Gym
There is so much information out there on strength training that it can be really confusing for people who’ve decided to join a gym. Sadly, what happens all too often, is people jump from one routine to the next, never really giving a routine time to work, they don’t make any progress and they end up quitting.
Let’s not let that happen.
Strength training is not nearly as confusing as it might seem from surfing the web or flipping through magazines.
Here are some really simple tips you can use to increase your strength at the gym.
Stick To The Basic Exercises
Don’t get overwhelmed by the rows and rows of shiny, fancy exercise equipment at the gym. You don’t need to use it all. In fact, for increasing your strength, you really should stay away from most exercise machines.
When you’re training for strength, you don’t need a lot of different exercises. You also don’t need a lot of isolation exercises, either. If you’re not sure what isolation exercises are, they are simply exercises that try to work only one muscle (or part of a muscle) with an exercise.
Some examples would be machine lateral raises for the shoulders, or the pec deck machine for the chest. On the contrary, preacher curls or machine curls only work the bicep muscle.
But if you want to increase strength, you don’t want to isolate every little muscle. You want to engage as many muscles as possible and focus on the biggest, strongest muscles of the body, with the big, basic compound exercises.
When it comes to strength training stick to the following exercises and variations.
Barbell Squats (the leg press can be a good substitute)
Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press
Barbell or Dumbbell Shoulder Press (standing or seated)
Barbell or Dumbbell Deadlift
Barbell or Dumbbell(Almost) Stiff-Legged Deadlift
Dumbbell Lunges, both forward and backward)
Pull Ups and Chin Ups (the lat pulldown machine can be good here if you aren’t strong enough to do enough repetitions on this exercise)
When you’re trying to increase strength, focusing on these basic exercises is the key.
Stick To Low Reps
While strength and muscle are related, they aren’t exactly the same. When trying for strength increases, it’s best to stick to lower repetition sets. Keep your reps in the four to seven reps per set range.
While you might want shorter rest periods between sets for muscle building purposes, when it comes to strength training, a little more rest is better. Try resting two to four minutes between sets.
Don’t Train To Failure
Training to failure is simply doing as many reps as possible in a set, until you can’t complete a rep. When it comes to strength training you want to avoid this most of the time. It’s likely you’ll hit failure at times on the final set of an exercise and that’s okay. But don’t go to failure on every set when training for strength.
Keep The Volume Low
You don’t need a lot of sets for strength training. Choose one set per body part and perform five sets of five reps per set with two to four minutes of rest between sets. Work each exercise twice per week.
Add A Little Weight Over Time
When you can get all five reps on all five sets, add a little weight at the next workout. Don’t make big increases or you’ll hit a wall fast and burn out. A little weight over time will add up to big numbers.
By implementing these tips for increasing your strength at the gym, you’ll be well on the way to a stronger you.