Where’d all the strong people go? I mean, I hear people say they’re training to get strong, they post about how they want to get stronger and yet their actions speak very differently to their intent.
So let’s talk about 3 of the key mistakes people make when training for strength and how we can set you on the path to gigantean strength.
1. You’re a program schizophrenic.
This one…no this one..but this program is better…but now maybe I’ll go back to that one, and so the cycle continues. If you’re going to do a program, do it, don’t try it for a week then try the next best program a week later. So often I see people program hop, merge 2 programs together or change a program written by an expert so it’s unrecognisable. There are a thousand and one tried and tested strength based training protocols out there, sound, planned and progressive programs which simply WORK, but of course…you know better. Get a program and follow it, week by week hit the sets, reps and weights it asks of you and you will get stronger. There’s no elaborate secret to creating great strength it’s time with the bar, progressive overload and effort. It doesn’t happen overnight or in the first 2 weeks of a program it takes time and consistency.
On the other end of the continuum you have those who do follow a program down to its sets and reps…but then on top of this decide to max out all the time and test their one rep max every second week. NO…stop it…patience is key let the program run its course and when the day comes, you’ll be ready. Maxing out every week when it’s unplanned could be working against you, quicken the road to fatigue and possibly ruin your confidence if you’re not ready.
This is simple, so simple or it would seem it – if you want to get stronger or bigger choose to do compound movements where your body can efficiently lift maximal loads and progress. Throw out your Fit Balls, your awkwardly positioned Jefferson Squat or side lying leg press and keep it basic.
Accessory work is, for those of you whom aren’t familiar with the term, what we deem everything else after the main lift of the day. It has a purpose – it is there to address weaknesses, keep your body healthy, functioning, aid in hypertrophy or whatever other goals you may have. Do it with intent- don’t stuff around, it has a purpose so make it purposeful. You’re not going to get stronger or bigger doing standing bosu ball lateral Kettlebell raises. Choose exercises which are conducive to your goals. If you’ve got a bad deadlift lockout – work on it, if you’ve got bad grip – work on it, it doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.Begin your workouts with a main lift, one which puts you in an optimal position to lift! Squat, Front Squat, Bench, Close Grip Bench, Row, Deadlift, Overhead Press and follow it up with movements which work towards bettering your weaknesses.
3. You’re not a rabbit…why are you eating like one.
So you want to get strong, you want to get big…but you eat like a weight conscious high school girl.
“Bro I eat so much in a day it’s crazy,” I hear this a lot and just because you’re mum says you eat a lot doesn’t make it so. You need to eat to support growth, recovery and your training. If the goal is strength you don’t need to get fat, and if you are you’re probably just being a fatty and need to dial back your caloric intake a bit. Eat enough to sustain your sessions, recovery and maintain a healthy weight. If you want to ‘bulk up’ it’s a simple equation…eat more than you’re expending and if you’re not achieving this I can just simply refer you back to the equation – EAT MORE THAN YOU EXPEND!
If you’ve been training well for some time, your nutrition is actually in check and need to aid your recovery and get that extra percentage towards achieving your goals it’s time to throw in some supplements. Whey Protein Isolate, Creatine Monohydrate and a fast absorbing Carbohydrate should be your staples, but hey, go as crazy as you like!
4. You know what you don’t want.
Most people can bang on all day about what they don’t want, they don’t want to be fat, they don’t want to be weak, they want to have debt or be poor, but what DO they want.
“Oh man, I just want to be big”
That’s all good and well, but define big, what does big look like to you? Do you want to win the Mr. Olympia or do you want to look a bit better on the beach?
“I want to get strong, like.. real strong”
“Like.. real strong,” you say? What is real strong? My grandma told me I was real strong when I was 13 and helped her bring in the groceries.
Here’s what I’m getting at – You have to know where you’re heading to get there, you have to undoubtedly know what you WANT to achieve it. You have to have a strategy to get to it and know what that looks like (alongside working your arse off to make it happen!)
So what to do now? Visualize.
What does achieving your ultimate goal look like, visualize what it feels like, what emotions does it bring, what does the atmosphere feels like, heck, what does it smell and sound like. Visualize yourself attaining that ultimate goal, no matter how big or small, put yourself right there in that room/situation/moment. Don’t be vague or ambiguous, make it specific;
“I want to deadlift 300kg,” or “I want to be 100kg 7% body fat,” maybe even “I want have the biggest biceps in the gym” whatever it is know it and know it well.
So here’s what it essentially all boils down too, know what you want, stick to a program, utilize the key compound movements, consistently aim to put more weight on the bar and eat to grow, easy right? Stop spinning your wheels and go get strong!