We all have different goals, targets, and aspirations in life, just as we all have our own unique passions. This is especially evident when you look at people who engage in physical activity and exercise on a regular basis. Some people love cardio and endurance work and will run for hours upon hours over each week. Others may have an interest in bodybuilding and may be looking to build muscle and burn body fat maybe. However, over the last few years, more and more people have been focussing their attention on increasing their strength levels. Strongman and woman competitions have grown in popularity, which has certainly helped, as has crossfit, which places an emphasis on building “functional strength” via bodyweight and Olympic lifts. If you’re fed up of not being as strong as you look, or would simply prefer to be stronger, here are 4 tips to help you increase your strength.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking to burn fat and increase your strength simultaneously, you may struggle as it is well documented that the more calories we consume, generally the stronger we become. That isn’t to say that it isn’t impossible, but it does require a great deal of attention to be paid to your diet. Ideally you should be consuming a meal every three hours or so, and you should ensure the foods you consume are coming from healthy sources. You will need to consume more calories than required for maintenance, but if you’re training intensely and smart enough, you can still keep fat gain to a minimum.
If you’re trying to boost your strength levels, compound lifts and exercises are simply a must as part of your training program. Compound exercises are ideal as they work more than one muscle group at the same time. Barbell bench press for example, is a compound movement as not only does it primarily work your chest, it also works your triceps, your deltoids, and a little of your core as well. Compound exercises, as they work several muscle groups, will strengthen these muscles and help promote overall strength, rather than unusually strong individual body parts.
Aim to beat each workout
Another great way of increasing strength levels and overall progress is to aim to beat your last workout. Say for example you were able to bench press 225lbs for 5 reps on one session, for the next session, aim for 6 reps perhaps, or aim for 230lbs for 5 reps perhaps. It doesn’t matter how little the increase in weight is, or even if it’s just 1 extra rep, always aim to beat your previous performance.
Increase your lifts with slight increments
On days when you’re focusing on strength increases, don’t suddenly decide to stick an additional 45lbs onto the bar, instead, increase the weight in small increments using small plates. If you’re going for a 1 rep max, perform 1 rep, place a small 2.75lb plate on each side of the bar, perform another rep, place another 2.75lb on each side, and so on.