Your guide to strength training
For most gym goers, increasing strength is one of the primary goals. In this blog we will discuss how to structure your training program to encourage strength gains and the benefits of doing so.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training can be an enjoyable way of training as you often see progress and this can be a motivating factor. As well as being enjoyable it also comes with many benefits on the body. Strength training can help build muscle because as you lift heavier weights week on week, you are giving your muscles a reason to grow since they need to get bigger to move the heavier weight. Strength training can also help improve bone density which is good for injury prevention. As well as these benefits, strength training also burns calories as you are increasing your heart rate and performing heavy movements.
Building A Training Program
Your training program should be designed in a way to help you increase strength on some compound movements (squat, bench press, deadlift). To start with, the easiest way to do this is by simply performing your compound movements first during your workout. This will mean you go into the exercise without any fatigue and you will be able to perform with intensity to the best of your ability.
You should aim to train 3-5x per week as the 2 days rest will be important for improving the quality of your sets and recovering after lifting heavy weights to a high intensity. You will then want to add some accessory movements alongside these compound movements for additional help. For example if you are looking to progress on bench press, adding a triceps pushdown into your program will increase your triceps strength and contribute to your bench press. Avoid making the mistake of burning out on these accessory movements before moving onto your compound lifts.
Just like how nutrition is important for body composition, it is also important for building strength. In order to build strength you should be in a calorie surplus as the food will act as fuel, helping you to progress up the weights. Following a high carb diet will also help with energy levels in the gym as it has been found that people who follow a higher carb diet have better performance in the gym. You should still aim to hit at least 1 gram of protein per lbs of bodyweight while following this high carb diet. Cyclic Dextrin is an intra-workout carbohydrate source that helps you perform each set to a high quality by reducing fatigue.
Caffeine can also be a useful tool to have pre-workout and you may find that you feel stronger to due the increase in energy levels. If you are looking for a pre-workout powder, try Warrior Rage or Warrior Rage Savage.
Form / Technique
Perfecting your technique will not only help you increase the amount that you are lifting but you will also reduce the likelihood of injuries. For example, if you tuck your elbows in on bench press you are less likely to get a shoulder injury and you will be able to lift more weight compared to when you flare your elbows. During your warm up sets you should be using the same perfect form as you would during your working sets.
By taking all of these factors into consideration and applying them to your workouts consistently, you will start to see strength gains. It is important to set long term goals as strength and muscle building isn't something that is going to happen over night therefore you should be consistent at doing the basics right over a long period of time and you will see these gains.