How to Get Stronger: Strength Training Basics

In a nutshell, the way to get stronger is to push your self to progressively lift heavier weights, eat enough to support muscle growth and glycogen replenishment, and rest enough to allow the body to heal, grow, and replenish.

Obviously, any form of weight training where progressive resistance is added means you are getting stronger, but, there are special techniques for training for strength primarily – as opposed to size – which mean you can get the desired results quicker.

A strength orientated program will include the following elements:

Compound Exercises:

Strength training is all about lifting in a way which allows each muscle to work its very best (along with other muscles) to lift something. It’s the body working as a system, and as such, compound exercises are optimal for strength training (although some isolation work may be of benefit.)

Such important compound exercises are squats, dead lifts, bench presses, bent over rows and military presses.

Low Reps:

Strength is all about lifting as much as you can, but, the rules of the muscle needing to achieve some level of fatigue – just like in bodybuilding – in order to grow and come back bigger and stronger still hold true. The trick is to use a heavy enough wait so you can only lift it for a low amount of repetitions before coming close to failing (you should certainly be close to failure on the last reps of the last set of an exercise.)

Repetitions of 3 – 5 are normally used in strength training, with single rep maxes thrown in maybe once a month to test ultimate strength, and also give the body and mind a positive shock. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of one rep maxes, but never make it a regular thing because it’ll work against you mentally and physically.

Plenty of Rest:

Believe me; strength training is super-tough on the body. If you don’t give yourself time to recover, you’ll quickly run yourself down and become over trained. What you need to do is follow a program which runs for maybe 3-4 days. For strength, I prefer a 3 day split (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

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