When starting weight training, many people focus purely on gaining size and increasing their muscle mass. Despite Pavel Tsatsouline’s height and size, he emphasises the importance of strength over size. The fitness innovator stands by the benefits of strength building as a primary focus for your workouts.
Getting stronger has so many benefits, for your physique, your overall health and your day-to-day life. If you want to work on improving your strength, here are a few tips you should be using this year.
Don’t Skip Your Warmup
Walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes and going through a mobility routine can feel counter-productive when you step into the gym and you’re rearing to go. However, taking the time to focus on your warmup can improve your performance by miles.
You’ll want to increase your body’s core temperature, and get your muscles ready for the lifts you’re about to perform. For that, some low-intensity cardio and dynamic stretching is important and will alleviate stiffness that could hinder your lifting. An extra useful warmup technique is to pyramid your weight on your biggest lifts.
High Weight, Low Reps
To build strength, you really want to be pushing the boundaries in terms of the weight you’re lifting. Opting for a higher weight with a lower rep range in a powerlifting approach will increase muscle mass and increase your strength.
However, keep in mind that you can’t be pushing in this way through your entire workout. Focus on this technique for your main compound lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press and overhead press) but opt for lower weight and higher rep range for your accessory lifts.
Practice Your Grip
Oftentimes, our bodies are much stronger than what our grip strength allows. Especially for movements like the deadlift, you might be hindered by a weak grip. Practice your grip strength in order to improve this and be able to lift more weight and get stronger.
Alternatively, consider investing in lifting gloves or lifting straps that can assist your grip when performing these exercises.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to building strength, your best tactic is to keep things simple. Many personal trainers suggest changing up your workouts regularly in order to challenge your body. This can be fun and exciting, but in order to build muscle and lasting strength, it’s best to keep things simple.
Focus on basic, foundational exercises, compound lifts and simple machines that mimic natural movements. Stick to the same routine for at least 8 weeks in order to see how you’re progressing.
Track Your Lifts
Tracking your exercises is a great way to see whether or not you’re improving your strength. Progressive overload is a non-negotiable when you’re trying to increase your strength, and if you’re writing down your weights and reps for each session, you’ll easily be able to see when you’re stagnating.
You can track your workouts this in an app, in a memo on your smartphone or even in a notebook or a piece of paper. So long as you’re consistent, this is a great way to see your progress over time.