Why You're Not Getting Stronger

 

If you are an avid reader, I hope you have at least gotten this out of everything so far: Getting stronger should be a priority for anyone partaking any sort of fitness program.  

 

Strength is the foundation of many qualities.

 

If you want to become faster or more powerful, strength will play a big role. If you want to minimize your risk for injury, strength plays a big role. If you want to bend over and pick up a laundry basket without straining your back, strength plays a big role. If you want to just be better at moving in life, strength plays a big role.

 

Basically, what I am saying is, strength is a big deal.

 

Now, I have discussed before about how to get stronger. (Read this,  this, and this.) Today we are going to discuss some mistakes you may be making in the weight room that's holding you back from becoming stronger and how to fix them.

 

1) You are not using progressive overload.

 

Progressive overload refers to the gradual increase of stress placed on the body over a period of time. This is key to getting stronger.

 

The body is very, very good at adapting to the stimulus place upon it. So in order to get stronger, you have to force the body to do so.

 

Using more weight when performing an exercise is the easiest way to approach progressive overload, however adding more reps with the same amount of weight, adding more sets, increasing the range of motion, and decreasing rest time are all ways you can stimulate a new stress to the body.

 

2) You're not focusing on the basic movement patterns.

 

In order to become stronger, you have to perform movements that allow you to use a heavy weight. No matter how hard you try, bicep curls, leg extensions, lateral raises, etc. will not allow you to continually become stronger.

 

When you see really strong individuals, what are they typically doing? I guarentee it is one of these five exercises or a variation of these:

 

*Squat

*Deadlift

*Press (Bench, Overhead, Push-up)

*Pull-up/Chin-up

*Row

 

These are the fundamental movements of human beings. These exercises are compound movements that use multiple muscle groups at one time, therefor allowing us to use heavy loads. The use of heavy loads stimulates the most muscle growth and strength gain.

 

If you place a priority on the six movements, you will be surprised how much improvement you would see.

 

Simplicity works.

 

3) Your mind is holding you back.

 

I struggled with this myself about 6 months ago. I had been shooting for a 300 pound squat and 400 pound deadlift for a while and I knew I was within grasp. My workouts showed I was capable of lifting those numbers, but everytime I would go for a max I would become afraid of the numbers. I respected the weight too much. I knew I was capable, but I would start to question myself. As soon as you start to question yourself, it's over. The weight now owns you.

 

If you want to become stronger, you have to own the weight.

 

You have to trust in your training, believe in yourself, and don't allow to sound of numbers to control your ability to add weight to the bar. The day I did this, I squatted 325 - crushing the 300 barrier.

 

Once you learn that it's only a number and that all numbers are meant and capable of being beaten, then you will start to see your numbers sky-rocket.

 


 

Be strong my friends.

 

Till next time,

 

Michael

 

 

 

 

 

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