Increasing strength is very easy to accomplish if you do not overthink the process. Gaining strength is done so in a physiological sense with the application of applying outside stress to your body.
Your body responds to this external pressure by recovering and adapting to that pressure. Down below, I have listed several methods to improve workout strength.
So, let’s get started!
3 Things you can do to improve your workout strength
1. Workout Splits
Workout splits determine how you would like to add variety to your workouts. You can allot your training by movement type, certain weight lifts, or muscle groups. Training by movement type involves 2 components: push and pull. Push movements include all of the movements that require you to push the weight away from you. Push-ups, lateral raises, and squats include push-away movements.
Pull movements include moving weight away from you. Movements such as latissimus pull-downs, seated cable rows, and bicep curls. When you opt for workout splits, you will plan to train 1-3 muscle groups per workout session.
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A push-pull training week may look like:
- Monday: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps)
- Tuesday: Legs (quadriceps, glutes, calves)
- Wednesday: Pull (back and biceps)
- Thursday: Legs (hamstrings, glutes, calves)
- Friday: Full Body HIIT
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Rest
Most workouts revolve around three popular weight lifts: deadlifts, squats, and bench press. There are many different variations to each of these lifts. These 3 moves are compound movements involving more than one joint, i.e. using more than one muscle. When developing a workout plan that includes three popular weight lifts, after performing the compound lift you would conclude with accessory lifting to fine-tune your muscles. Accessory weightlifting contains exercises such as lunges and bicep curls.
Training according to muscle groups is done commonly amongst experienced weightlifters. This allows you to single out 1-3 muscle groups for maximum strength building.
Related: Muscle Strength Vs. Muscle Endurance: The Beginner’s Guide to Getting Fit
A training regime for specific muscle groups may look like this:
- Monday: Legs (quadriceps focused)
- Tuesday: Triceps and biceps
- Wednesday: Legs (hamstrings and glute focused)
- Thursday: Back, shoulders, chest
- Friday: Core (abdominals)
2. Tempo Training
Manipulating the speed at which you perform an exercise increases its challenge, thus adding tension to the muscle leading to increased muscle strength. This is the idea behind tempo training. To give a clear idea of tempo training consider the simple push-up. On the descend, you probably do so in one second. Try lowering your body in 3 seconds. This will increase your muscle’s time under tension without adding weight to your back.
Adding a pause at the bottom of a squat or push-up or increasing the time to ascend to the start position is very hard. During a squat, lower yourself for a count of three, pause for a count of three, and then raise yourself to a count of three.
3. Progressive Overloads
With the many techniques to improve workout strength comes progressive overloads. Progressive overloads are when you gradually increase the frequency, weight, or number of repetitions in your strength training regime or decrease rest time in between sets.
Here are examples of how to do progressive overloads with barbell squats:
- Increase weight: 4 sets of 12 with 100 lbs. 4 sets of 12 with 120 lbs.
- Increase repetitions: 4 sets of 12 with 100 lbs. 4 sets of 15 with 100 lbs.
- Increase frequency: 4 sets of 12 with 100 lbs. 6 sets of 12 with 100 lbs.
- Decrease rest time: 4 sets of 12 with 100 lbs., 2-minute rest 4 sets of 12 with 100 lbs., 1-minute rest
Incorporating these helpful tips will increase musculoskeletal strength and, with the right diet, muscle size too. There is no magic system to improve your strength. Define your goals, stay persistent, keep it simple, and make a plan. Allow yourself to recover from each training session and witness steady results!