What’s up Gaggle!?
For a period of about three months before moving out to Utah, I found myself going through the motions. My lifts were stagnant and my lack of progression was slowly kicking my butt mentally. Days were long and I found myself straying away from my focus-get strong while loving what I do. Through a period of self-reflection I reignited the flame and found myself progressing like never before as I shifted my focus to a re-education to strength.
My principles of strength have grown, matured…and I have a started discovering my own ‘strength values’.
Without further ado,
The top 5 Ways to Progress your Strength:
- Increase intensity: When lifting weights, you should not find yourself stuck in a ‘rut’ if you are lifting weights the right way. Squats, deadlifts, bench press, pullups, overhead press…all of those movements we love that involve so much- work your butt off on squeezing out an extra rep or two when your body tells you ‘no’. The intensity of the lift/movement should constantly progress – and when you push past that comfort zone, is when your body is being forced to get stronger. A good friend once told me that his favorite ‘goal’ while weight lifting was to make his last working set this week his first working set in four weeks. Constant intensity progression is the most effective way to get stronger.
- Use a high intensity, low rep scheme. If you find yourself hanging out in the 15-20 rep scheme for months at a time and find yourself pumping out the same weight week after week, you are missing out big time. Your body’s energy system for pure strength and power is developed in sets that last less than 20 seconds. It would be good to up the weight and decrease the time under tension in a set to get a true measure of strength!
- Conversely, if you find yourself only working the rep range of 1-5, you are doing yourself a disservice. The higher rep ranges will help your body train a more stable position for a long period of time. Muscular endurance may not have a huge impact on the primary lift if you are a powerlifter…but it will have a huge impact on all the other structure around the tissue. Speed work, endurance work, plyometric movements and greater time under tension will help to solidify bone, tendon, ligament as well as muscular density throughout the lift.
- Unilateral movements – When I see folks in the gym stick with the big movements, it makes me happy. But when it comes to defining and fixing movement patterns, there is nothing better than breaking up the training regiment and working one side at a time. The amount of stability, symmetry and coordination single sided movements take will make anyone stronger and more stable. When you build your exercise program, you should always program single sided exercises. Hugely important for keeping that physical structure in check!
- Introduce speed and power training to your program. Tempo in training is important. Powerlifting is slow, olympic weightlifting is fast – the best thing about both types of training is that there is a huge degree of carryover. That’s not to say that the best weightlifters will be the best powerlifters or vice versa, but the progression and tempo used in both styles of training will carryover. Introduce powerful movements in your bench press by adding band resistance, introduce strength movements in your weightlifting my hitting some front squats for weight.
Progression is dependent on your body’s ability to adapt to the stress you put on it. If you decide to keep diving into the same workouts with the same intensities, you’ll plateau. You don’t have to do anything crazy – contrary to popular programs that tell you that you always have to vary your movement. Just know what you are training for, develop the best program possible with the most carryover and attack it. There is nothing like breaking through a mental barrier!
Today I dive into the different ways to progress your strength!