When it comes to getting stronger we could argue for eternity about the best way, what set/reps work best but in reality it all works. If it didn’t then there would just be THE way and we could save our breath arguing and focus more energy on what really matter, the training.
The aim of this article is to cut away the bullshit, give you the basics of getting stronger and letting you crack on with the task at hand.
The following 5 points are what I’ve learnt over the last 10 years of strength training and in all honestly if I had of stuck to these for the whole time, instead of getting distracted by small things, things would have gone a lot smoothly but then again I wouldn’t have learnt everything. Every cloud and all that…..
1 – Understand that the movement comes first
By this I mean that if you want to squat more then you need to master the movement first. You are practicing a skill, respect that. If you have the mobility of a crowbar then understand that you will need to improve this over time if you are to get better and more efficient at the movement otherwise it will always be your limiting factor. A simple 10 minutes of mobility everyday will help no end, just get it done.
2 – Make time for a good warm up
Now I’ve fallen victim,to this in the past. You are tight for time so you rush through the warm up in order to fit the session in, trust me when I say you are taking the short sighted view here. A good warm up is prepping your body to move better, getting everything fired up so that you can get the most out of your session. It would be far better, if you are strapped for time, to get a good quality warm up in, do your main lift of the day and do it well and then skip the back end of the session. This way you get the quality work in and don’t put yourself at undue risk of injury. This leads me into the next point of training smart….
3 – Train hard but train smart
I see a lot of people who have no problem training hard, push themselves every session but lack the ability to train smartly. When it comes to strength training more isn’t always better and quality comes before quantity, period. Do only what is necessary and make sure everything has a reason and targets an area of weakness. All too often I see people just “doing work”. Yes train hard but not at the expense of your recovery
4 – Work on your weaknesses
Its all too easy to do the stuff you are good at, I get it, we all want to lift big weights and get that Instagram video but not working on your weaknesses will only create future roadblocks. After all, the art of getting stronger is identifying and correcting weakness. I know it sucks but much like mobility it needs to be done if you are to keep lifting heavy. Don’t be known as a strong bencher just be known as strong.
5 – Recover as hard as you train
This is always the one I neglected but I’ve had to learn the hard way. Recovery between sessions and in the form of deload weeks is vitally important. Our ability to recover will vary through different stages of life. As we get older, increased stresses, kids, lack of sleep, you name it, it all takes it toll on how we recover. We are all good at breaking our bodies down so make sure we spend some time building them back up. Regular massage, mobility sessions and regular deloads work wonders. I always say to my athletes, the quickest way to get weak is to get injured. Make sure you keep your body fit and ready to train.
If you were only stick to these five points and didn't overthink all the other variables then you would certainly be on a good road to developing strength. We are always concerned with making rapid progress but consistency is key and making improvements year in year out is the answer, there aren't any short cuts to getting stronger, it's you versus the bar and if you are not careful it will break you down.