Strength is the foundation of everyday acts of athleticism (like hitting a 300-yard drive in golf) Opens a New Window. and not-so-human feats (like J.J. Watt’s 5’1″ box jump Opens a New Window. ). Strength isn’t limited to muscle size and capacity. When you get stronger, you’re better able to lose weight, run faster, and hit harder.
Convinced you need to work on your strength? We’ve got 10 no-frills tips to help you make everything in your life feel just a little bit easier (and much lighter).
1. Own the “big four”
The squat, deadlift, bench press, and shoulder press are the best strength-building exercises, period. The chinup and row are great moves too, but don’t make them the focus of your workout—they can be assistance lifts to complement the bench and shoulder press, keeping your pulling muscles in balance with the pressing ones.
2. Use barbells first
Forget all the fad equipment. The barbell is king,
3. Keep it simple
Some trainers make their clients lift with a certain rep speed,
4. Maintain a log
Write down your exercises, sets, reps, and the fate of each workout. Keep track of your best lifts and the most reps you’ve done with a certain weight on an exercise. Constantly strive to improve
5. Don’t overdo it
Try to stick to three or four lifts per workout. Keeping your workouts short helps you take advantage of hormonal surges. When you do too many exercises in a session, at least some of them get done half-assed. All you need is one main lift per workout (one of the big four), one or two assistance lifts (for keeping the body in balance and further strengthening the muscles that perform the main lift), then core or specialty work at the end (abs exercises or some forearms or calves moves, depending on your goals). Doing any more lessens your results.
6. Think five
You should rotate many different rep
7. Add weights slowly
The main reason people plateau and stop gaining strength is that they go too heavy for too long. Abandon your ego and do your main lifts using 10% less than the most weight you can lift for the given rep range. Increase the weight each session — but by no more than 10 pounds — and stick with the same lifts. You’ll rarely plateau again.
8. Take to the hills
Cardio is a must if you want to be lean and healthy, but long-distance running or cycling increases levels of hormones that break down muscle tissue. To get stronger while getting leaner, do cardio in short, intense bursts. Go to a moderately steep hill and sprint to the top, then walk back down. When you’re ready, sprint again. In your first workout, do only half as many sprints as you think you could. In your next workout, do two more sprints than you did the first time. Continue adding two sprints to your workouts until you can’t improve anymore. Then do sets of sprints.
9. Balance your training
Whatever you do for one side of the body, you must do for the other side. Follow that rule in your workouts and you should be able to avoid injury and muscle imbalances. If you’re doing squats (mainly a quad exercise), also do Romanian deadlifts (which hit the hamstrings hard). Your chest exercises should be balanced with back-training lifts. You don’t necessarily have to do your balance work in the same session, but it should be done in the same week. In general, follow a ratio of two-to-one between your pulling-and-pushing movements. So if you bench-press on Monday (and most of the world seems to), you can do chinups on Tuesday and bent-over lateral raises on Thursday, for example. Every other pressing exercise you do should follow this formula.
10. Do it right
You may think you know how to perform the big four, but you could probably get more out of them. Here are some quick pointers for each one.
Squat: Begin the squat by pushing your hips back as far as you can. Keep your lower back arched and you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. When your hips are bent, begin bending your knees and squatting low. This is what you need to squat maximal weight.
Deadlift: Use the same stance you would to perform a jump — your legs should be narrowly placed. When you bend down to grab the bar, keep your hips down and your back straight, with your shoulders directly over your knees.
Bench Press: Start with your head off the bench. Keeping your feet steady, grab the bar and pull your body up off
Culled from Mens Journal