A Guide For Increasing Strength
Do You Want to Gain More Strength?
If you’re someone who wants to really change their body, taking on a fitter more defined look while burning off body fat faster than ever, you will most definitely want to get involved with strength training.
Far too many people still jump onto the cardio bandwagon thinking that this is the best way to change the way their body looks.
Unfortunately, it really isn’t at all. While cardio training may help you burn off some calories while you do it, it’s strength training that will completely transform your body so that you look like an entirely new you.
Those who never even give strength training a try are severely shorting themselves of progress and will be incredibly disappointed with the results that they see.
Let’s have a quick look at everything that you need to know about strength training so that it becomes clear in your mind why you absolutely must take part in this form of physical activity.
The Benefits of Strength Training
The very first thing to understand is all the benefits that strength training has to offer.
5 Benefits of Increasing Your Strength:
1) Increased Resting Metabolic Rate
There first serious benefit that strength training provides is increasing your resting metabolic rate. It does this through the increase in lean muscle mass on the body, which will then cause you to burn more calories daily, even while you’re sitting on the couch watching TV.
Those who perform strength training at least three times per week will have a higher basal metabolic rate all week long, so will become resistant to fat gain.
2) Enhanced Everyday Strength
The second big benefit of strength training is that you’ll have an increased level of everyday strength. This means that you’ll be able to perform all your activities with ease and won’t struggle to do things such as walk up the stairs or carry groceries in from the house.
In addition to this, if you participate in any sports, you’ll notice that your performance increases on those as well.
3) Improved Glucose Tolerance
Moving along, you’ll also have better glucose tolerance after regularly engaging in strength training as your body will be better able to handle any carbohydrates that you feed it.
The cells will be more receptive to taking up that glucose and you’ll also have a larger storage house for glucose in the body due to the fact that you have higher amounts of lean muscle mass.
4) Enhanced Body Image
Strength training is also a very good way to help boost your body image. It’s the form of exercise that will not only help to burn off body fat, but completely change the way your body looks as well.
You’ll notice that you feel more confident around others and proud of the way that your body appears.
5) Increased Muscle Tone and Definition
Finally, last but not least, strength training is the form of exercise that will boost muscle tone and definition the most as well.
Those who aren’t doing strength training may get thin, but they’ll always have that soft look to their body. Strength training will help change that and add curves in all the right places.
The Top 5 Strength Building Exercises
So now that you’ve seen the benefits to strength training, which are the best exercises to perform?
When looking at the top strength building exercise, you want to perform the ones that will stimulate a number of muscle fibers at once. This will literally give you the best muscle building improvement for the amount of time that you’ve invested and therefore translate to overall better results.
When you’re focused on exercises that only target one smaller muscle group at a time, you’ll spend more time in the gym doing your workout session and get a far lower metabolic response to that workout as well.
The 5 Best Strength Building Exercises:
- The Bench Press
- The Deadlift
- The Squat
- The Shoulder Press
- The Barbell Row
You’ll notice that each of these exercises hit two to four different muscle groups and that by the time you’ve done all five, you’ve worked every single muscle group in the entire body.
Best of all, since you have so many muscle fibers behind you firing away when performing these lifts, that means you’ll be able to lift more weight total, therefore you’ll make strength gains that much faster.
When it comes to building muscle and gaining strength, the most important element is continuously adding more and more weight to the bar and that’s precisely what these exercises will allow you to do.
How Many Reps For Maximum Strength Gains?
Once you have your exercises set for your strength training routine, then it comes time to look at how many reps you should be performing for maximum strength gains.
The number of reps you perform during strength training will be directly correlated with how much weight you’re lifting. The more weight you lift, the fewer reps you’ll be able to do.
Since building more strength requires that you primarily focus on getting that weight higher and higher, this means that you should be focused on the rep range of 3-6 reps per set.
That is What Will Really Allow You to Lift Heavy and Push the Body Hard
If you want to build strength but also focus on gaining a bit more muscle size as well, then try and aim for reps of 6-8 reps instead.
This brings on a slightly higher total time under tension, which refers to how long the muscle is being subjected to the weight you’re lifting and will generate total size gains slightly better.
Most people will do best using a combination of both rep ranges throughout their workout week, either mixing them up in a single session or else doing one workout where the reps are kept much lower and then one workout where the reps are taken slightly higher.
Just don’t ever move beyond the 10 rep range if your goal is to gain strength because if you’re lifting a weight that many times, that’s your first indication that the weight simply isn’t heavy enough.
The Importance of Resting Between Workouts
Now that we’ve covered both exercise selection and total reps performed for your strength training workouts, it’s time to assess how much rest you should be using between those workouts.
One of the biggest mistakes some people make when developing their strength training routine is neglecting the amount of rest they take and instead thinking that the more often they hit the gym, the better.
This isn’t the case at all
You must remember that when you’re in the gym, you’re actually breaking muscle fibers down. You’re literally growing weaker and weaker with each set that you perform, which is evident by the fact that if you were to try and do the very first exercise you began your workout with at the end when you were just leaving, there’s no way that you would be able to lift the same amount of weight (or at least you shouldn’t be able to, if you’re training correctly).
Now, once you’ve broken those muscle tissues down, it’s when you’re outside of the gym resting that they’re going to be rebuilding themselves and getting stronger.
If you don’t give them this time to rebuild themselves and get stronger, the next time you go into the gym you’re just going to continue to break them down even further, thus growing weaker in the process.
Do this often enough and you may actually start to lose muscle mass on your strength training workout program rather than gain it.
If you want to see results, rest is a vital component of success
One thing to note here as well is that it’s not just the muscles that need the rest either – it’s your central nervous system.
Each time you lift a weight, there is a big stress put on the CNS. The heavier the weight, the more the stress load will be.
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing squats or the bench press, the stress will still be there just the same.
This is one reason why you may find you’re feeling very weak on your chest workout day if you’ve just completed a legs workout session the day before.
It’s not that your chest muscles are actually tired, but it’s that your CNS is still exhausted from the leg workout beating it took and therefore it’s not able to push as hard and generate the strength that you’re looking for.
Total time off completely is what’s necessary for CNS recovery, which is why that one or two days per week outside of the gym is very vital to success.
If you aren’t resting, you won’t be moving forward – period, so make sure that this is included in your strength training routine.
The Correct Nutrition For Building Muscle
Finally, the last important thing to note when developing an effective strength training routine is the nutrition that’s required for success.
If you want to build muscle and gain strength, you need to supply the body with the raw materials in order to do this. Since you can’t build muscle out of thin air, if you aren’t supplying this, then you’re wasting your time and energy in the gym. Diet and training go hand in hand, so it’s vital to get things correct.
You Must Consume Enough Calories Every Day
The first thing to focus on for nutrition for your strength training program is sufficient calories. You need to make sure your body has enough energy to complete those hard workout sessions, so aim for 16-20 calories per pound of body weight. This will be enough to get you building up some quality lean muscle mass and get a good degree of strength gains.
Once your calorie intake is set, then it’s time to focus on protein. Protein is what will supply the body with the building blocks to assemble new muscle out of, so it can’t be missed either. Aim for one gram of protein per pound of body weight and try and keep it to lean sources of protein only.
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Lean red meat
- Egg whites
- Also low fat dairy products including whey protein powder
If you eat these before and after your strength training as well as with each and every meal or snack throughout the day, you’ll have no problem meeting your requirements.
Once protein is figured out, then your carbohydrates and fats will fill out the rest of the calories you need. There are no set requirements for these two nutrients so aim to get a good mix of both that will help keep your body satisfied and your meals tasting great.
Don’t Forget Your Carbs and Healthy Fats!
Remember to place carbohydrates right before and after your weight lifting training though while keeping fat minimized because at this point your body will need those carbohydrates as a fuel source.
Failing to provide them would really limit the intensity you could work out with, so would be extremely detrimental to success.
The Best Carbohydrates Include:
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole wheat breads
- Vegetables on the carbohydrate side of things
The Best Healthy Fats Include:
- Olive oil
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
- Nuts and nut butter
- Also fatty sources of fish for your healthy fats
Getting a good variation will make your diet complete and ensure you aren’t missing out on any of your main nutrient needs.
So there you have the vital information that you need to know about strength training. When you do get a very well thought out program in place along with a proper diet, you will see remarkable changes taking place in your body due to strength training and will find you’re much happier doing your workouts as well.
While cardio sessions are very quick to get boring, with strength training there’s no end to the different exercises you can do so boredom will never be a part of the equation.