Strength is an essential part of health, given how it is required for everyday tasks. It can be defined as the ability to produce maximal force against a specific resistance. There are many reasons why people want to become stronger, including sculpting a better physique, avoiding injury, enhancing sporting performance, and improving physical function.
If you are keen to increase your physical strength, this blog post is for you. Here, we will share 11 practical tips on how to get stronger. We will also highlight the importance of strength training and how many Americans today perform strength training, whether at home, in the gym, or in other settings.
How Many People Do Strength Training?
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the majority of adults in the United States do not engage in strength training for the recommended sessions per week (twice or more). Just 30.2% of people say they perform the recommended amount of muscle-strengthening activities.
Strikingly, 60% of American adults say that they do not perform any strength training on a regular basis. These are troubling numbers, given how important strength is for everyday activities. Even getting out of bed or lifting groceries relies on strength, with many sporting activities naturally relying greatly on strength for peak performance.
What Is the Importance of Exercising?
Strength training is highly effective at increasing lean muscle mass, burning calories, and reducing body fat. As we age, lean muscle mass naturally diminishes, while body fat will increase over time if nothing is done to replace this loss of lean muscle. Regardless of age, performing strength training helps to both preserve and enhance muscle mass.
Another benefit of strength training is that it helps to develop strong bones. Strength training works to stress the bones, which increases bone density. This can reduce a person’s risk of osteoporosis.
Strength training is effective for people who are looking to manage the signs and symptoms of chronic conditions. Chronic conditions that can be better managed with strength training include:
- Heart disease
- Back pain
In terms of overall quality of life, strength training can improve a person’s ability to perform everyday activities as well as engage in their favorite activities. Extra muscle mass can also contribute to better balance and a reduced risk of falls, which may allow a person to maintain their independence as they age.
As noted above, strength training can help a person to manage or lose weight. It can increase metabolism, which helps to burn more calories. Finally, regular strength training may help to sharpen thinking and learning skills among older adults.
Tips on How to Get Stronger
Let’s take a look at 11 tips you can use to improve your strength training routine and get the most out of every session.
1. Vary Your Training Tools
We can all be guilty at times of sticking to one particular type of training tool, such as dumbbells. By switching things up during workouts, you can add variety and target different muscle groups. Let’s take a look at the best tools for building strength.
Barbells are highly versatile and can be implemented into a wide range of exercises. They can be loaded with weights for muscle-building and can even be implemented into cardio workouts. Balance and coordination are essential when performing an exercise using barbells, something that isn’t as much the case with machines.
Another outstanding conditioning tool is the kettlebell. It doesn’t require a large training space and is more convenient than barbels, meaning you can work out anywhere (including in the office). Its offers options for both strength/power training as well as cardio.
Though often overlooked, it’s important to remember that your body is also a training tool. Manipulating your body against gravity can offer resistance that helps to build and maintain muscle.
From bodyweight squats to pushups, you can develop an effective workout routine without the need for weights. If you are unable to get your hands on weights or are traveling, don’t hesitate to utilize your own body in strength training exercises.
Compared to barbells, dumbbells are more convenient and are easier to store at home. Dumbbells also allow for an extended range of motion, helping to overload muscles for strength purposes.
Sylvester Stallone has spoken highly of the benefits of using resistance bands. “At my age, I’ve found the newest, hardest, toughest, most productive way [of working out] is bands.” Stallone added that an entire workout can be completed within 20 minutes using resistance bands, something that he described as “life-changing”.
A pull-up bar is about more than simply performing regular pull-ups (which are themselves highly effective for building strength). Hanging leg raises, muscle-ups, front levers, and many other exercises can be performed on the bar.
The bottom line here is that you can combine a wide range of different training tools to expand your strength training workouts. Don’t be afraid to try new tools; you may be surprised by how effective they are.
2. Do a Proper Warm-Up
To get the most out of your strength training, it is necessary to perform a proper warm-up. The benefits of warming up before exercise include:
- Helps to increase muscle and body tmerparute
- Increases amount of oxygen available to muscles
- Reduces risk of suffering an injury
- Helps to mentally prepare for an intense workout
- Increases flexibility, which helps with exercises
A gym warm-up needn’t take too much time; 5 to 10 minutes should be sufficient. It’s important that a warm-up is varied to include all of the major muscle groups, especially those that will be targeted during the workout itself.
3. Focus On Form
Proper form will help to make workouts and specific movements more effective as well as more efficient. By focusing on form, you will be able to work smarter, getting the most out of every movement. Other benefits of practicing good form include:
- Reduces the likelihood of injury
- Support oxygen flow
- Allows for consistent performance
Before attempting any strength training exercise, take the time to understand the proper movement from start to finish. You can do this by watching videos online and copying the exact movement. If you’re unsure about the purpose of a movement, it helps to read up on what muscles are being targeted.
4. Be Consistent
As with anything else related to improvement, consistency is the key. It takes time to build strength and add muscle. One review has found that it takes between 6 to 15 weeks to start seeing strength gains after starting a workout program.
We recommend that you work out 3 times per week, though many people choose to work out more than this (be careful not to overwork and risk injury). Have a set plan every time you go to the gym or start a workout so that you know which muscles you will be targeting on that particular day.
As you progress, be sure to increase the resistance in your workouts, which typically means adding more weight to barbells, increasing dumbbell weight, etc.
5. Partner With a Friend
Motivation comes and goes in the gym and sometimes it can be difficult to find the energy to even begin a workout. That’s why partnering with a friend can be so effective. With a friend/training partner, you will keep each other accountable, even when you might not feel like working out.
It is also recommended, if you are a beginner especially, to seek out the guidance of a personal trainer who can advise on the most effective exercises based on your specific goals. They will also be able to ensure that you are practicing good form during your movements.
6. Set Goals
This point comes back to motivation, which can fade after a while unless you have a specific goal or goals in mind. It’s essential to understand why you are working out.
We have touched on the benefits of working out already, so we recommend that you think about the personal reasons you have for wanting to build muscle. Setting a real goal, such as running a race, can keep you motivated.
7. Prioritize Progressive Overload
Progressive overloading refers to gradually increasing the weight/frequency/number of repetitions in a strength training routine. Simply performing the same workouts over and over again without making things more challenging will lead to your body plateauing.
To avoid a plateau, progress your workouts over time so that your muscles will continue to be challenged and will become stronger. An example of this is to perform 10 repetitions of a weight for 2 weeks and then increase either the number of repetitions or the weight being lifted. After another 2 weeks, look to change things up and challenge yourself with a new repetition number of added weight.
You may also choose to increase the frequency of sessions. As a beginner, 1 to 2 workouts per week may be sufficient. As you get stronger, increase the number of sessions to 3 or 4 per week to avoid plateauing.
8. Take Supplements
In order to ensure that you are getting the most out of your exercise, it is important to include supplements in your daily routines. Some options here include:
- SARMs (click here to buy SARMs)
- Protein supplements
- Weight gainers
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
In conjunction with a proper diet and a focused workout regime, supplements can be highly effective at helping people to reach their strength training goals. Always consult with a medical professional before taking any supplement.
9. Get Enough Rest
Rest is essential for muscle growth, so ensure that you are not overworking and that rest forms a key part of your workout regimes. While exercising, microscopic tears in the muscle tissues form. With rest, these muscles will be able to heal and grow back stronger than before.
Skipping rest days also increases the likelihood of suffering an injury, which can cause your workout routine to be disrupted. Aim to allow at least 48 hours between workouts of each muscle set. For example, you can alternate between the upper body and lower body during the week, allowing different muscle groups to get sufficient rest.
10. Pay Attention to Your Diet
Recommended foods to eat for gaining lean muscle include:
- Chicken breast
- Greek Yogurt
- Turkey breast
- Brown rice
In order to build muscle, it is recommended that you add 500 to 1,000 calories per day to your current dietary intake. During strength training, avoid overconsumption of alcohol and aim to limit your intake of foods that are high in fat and sugars.
11. Enjoy the Journey
Ultimately, strength training is a lifelong pursuit. For many, there is a specific time-related focus for gaining strength, such as competing in sports. Outside of this, strength training brings with it benefits for everyday life that lasts a lifetime.
Strength training is also a social activity, something that you can do with your friends. So, remember to smile—even when you are feeling the burn!
Essential Tips for Strength Training
The above information will prepare you for your next gym or at-home strength session and help you to get the most of out every repetition and set. In order to build strength, patience, consistency, dedication, and intensity are all key. With a good plan in place, you can achieve your goals and improve your overall health and quality of life.
Like this blog post on how to get stronger with strength training? Be sure to check out our other informative articles on a wide range of interesting topics.