So you want to get stronger? I don’t blame you.
A lot of guys join gyms every year in order to get shredded or to put on mass. While both goals are commendable, people often neglect strength training. It might seem pointless to be very strong in today’s white-collar economy but the truth is that building your strength will be beneficial when it comes to putting on mass.
For starters you will be able to hypertrophy train with higher weights which means you can overload your muscles more effectively. Additionally you will be strengthening the muscles throughout your body which will help reduce the chance of injury down the road.
Finally, you will actually be putting on muscle from the strength training – after all, your body is going to have to change a fair bit in order to increase your bench press or squat significantly. Given that there aren’t nearly as many resources for building strength as there are for getting shredded or jacked we’ve decided to step in and help you guys out.
Check out the article below for 6 tips on how to get stronger and build some serious strength.
Get Stronger & Lift Heavier Weights Using These 6 Rules
1 – Eat a Calorie Surplus
Unless you are brand new to bodybuilding you won’t be able to train for two goals at the same time. For example – if you want to build muscle, get stronger and lose fat at the same time you won’t accomplish either goal as they require different types of training and dieting.
So if you are looking to gain strength your waistline will take a bit of a hit.
Maximizing your strength requires a calorie surplus to make sure you are able to move those heavy weights. If you are planning on hitting new PRs while staying at 6% body fat you’re simply not going to get very far.
You will likely be consuming a lot of carbs which doesn’t always go well with a fat loss diet.
What we’re trying to say here is that it’s ok to put on some weight as you are training for strength. While some of it might be fat you will also be putting on a lot of muscle mass which will help support the type of weight you are moving.
While your waistline might suffer in the short-run you will be putting on a lot of additional muscle and strength which will serve you well down the road. Getting back down to low bodyfat % will be easier and you will have a much better body to show off afterwards.
Having said that, don’t go eating tons of deep-fried junk food to fuel yourself to stronger lifts. If you find you are having a lot of trouble performing bodyweight exercises like pull-ups and dips you will know that you’ve gone too far and it’s time for a cut.
2 – Focus on One Compound Lift per Day
So you’re eating the right foods and are committed to building strength but then you step into the gym planning on setting a new PR for deadlift, bench press, squat and overhead press – all in the same day.
You need to keep in mind that these lifts put a lot of strain on not only your body but also your central nervous system or CNS. Unlike your muscles which make it obvious when they are tired, your CNS won’t outright tell you when it’s been overworked.
Instead you will simply suffer from weaker lifts and slower recovery – thinking it has something to do with your diet or form. The truth is that your CNS can only handle a certain amount of PRs in a day and as soon as you pass it you won’t be getting much bang for your buck.
Rather than trying to max out on every lift you should pick one each day and focus on it.
For example on deadlift day you perform that exercise first and focus on setting new PRs. That doesn’t mean you can’t train other compound lifts on the same day – you can and should do that, just stick to higher reps when you do them.
This gives you the benefit of a solid training session as well as an opportunity to test your PR.
3 – Strengthen your Back
Let’s be real here guys – training chest, shoulders and arms is way more popular than training back. This has lead to a generation of bodybuilders with a permanent forward slouch as their backs aren’t strong enough to hold up all the mass loaded onto the front of their bodies.
The truth is that the strength of your back is actually a lot more important than the strength of your chest and shoulders.
You see, all of the popular pressing movements like bench and shoulder press rely on having strong back muscles in order to support the lift – provided that you want to perform them in a way that is safe and doesn’t put your body at risk of serious injury.
The bench press for example depends on having a strong upper back to have a solid platform to press from. As a result, by training and strengthening the back you will see your pressing movements increase quite a bit.
Similarly, the glutes and hamstrings which are worked in the deadlift are crucial for squatting properly and without injury.
So strengthen your back muscles to get stronger in almost any major lift!
4 – Pick a Program, Stick to It and Track your Progress
Everyone’s body works a bit differently so there isn’t any single best workout for everyone.
You’ll need to spend some time experimenting with different training styles to see what works best for you. It doesn’t need to be complicated – it just needs to provide you with sustainable results.
Once you find a program that your body responds well to you need to stick to it.
If you are switching programs every other week you won’t be able to properly overload the muscles which is important when building strength. You will also want to keep a journal of all your workouts and your goals so you can track your progress.
5 – Focus on the Important Stuff
One great thing about the internet is that it provides a ton of useful information to aspiring bodybuilders (including this website!)
However, the downside is that sometimes this information is too specific and doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Remember we mentioned earlier not to overstress your CNS – well only you can know when you are about to do that.
If your program says to take 2 minutes don’t force yourself to stick to that if you feel you need an extra minute to get ready. This is particularly important for strength training when that additional minute of rest can be the difference between hitting a new PR and not hitting it.
Sometimes people hang on every word of the program they follow and as a result their performance suffers. In the long run they don’t get the type of gains they are capable of because they didn’t customize it to suit their particularly bodies.
If you training program tells you to take a certain amount of time to rest and you need more time then let your body recover. Keep in mind there is a limit here – don’t wait 20 minutes between sets which will actually just work against you!
6 – Increase your Testosterone Levels
Testosterone is the main male hormone and is absolutely crucial when it comes to building strength.
Simply put if your levels are low you will be severely limited in what you can accomplish. Unfortunately this discourages a lot of guys because they think they will never get anywhere or people just blame their lack of success on it.
Fortunately if your levels are low there are a number of ways you can increase them legally and safely. Lifting weights, eating a solid diet and supplementing properly are all crucial to making sure your levels are as high as they can be.
When it comes to supplements make sure you stick to a product that uses natural ingredients that are proven to boost testosterone levels.
As a result your higher t-level will be sustainable – unlike the effect you get by injecting yourself with synthetic hormones which is both expensive and dangerous.
Unfortunately there are many products out there that promise you mind blowing results but they contain ineffective formulas with outdated ingredients.
Do your research before supplementing with any supplement because they cost money and most of us don’t have endless supplies of money, especially not to buy ineffective supplements.
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Most Important To Remember:
- Eat at calorie surplus which means, eat more calories than you burn to support muscle growth.
- Include compound movements and focus on one compound movement in each training session.
- Strengthen your back it will help you lift more weight in almost an exercise.
- Pick a solid program and stick to it, don’t give up, track your results and see how much progress you make.
- Focus on important exercises like deadlifts, squats and bench. The isolation exercises should just be a bonus to your workouts.
- Keep your testosterone levels high, do that by training hard, getting good nutrition and supplementing with an effective testosterone booster.
If you follow these tips you will be well on your way to building a stronger, more muscular body. Building strength is difficult and certainly requires a lot of dedication and attention to form – after all, you will be lifting heavy weights which when done incorrectly can really do some damage.
Having said that when all is said and done you will be left with a great physique and the necessary platform to put on much more muscle in the future. Try sharing this article on how to get stronger with some of your skinny fat friends who do nothing but cardio and abs at the gym, maybe they’ll learn something too and probably get stronger!