Everyone has different goals, some want to gain muscle mass, others lose weight, some might be looking to work towards an event. Whatever you are and whatever your age there is always opportunity to introduce an element of strength training into your program.
However, there are lots of gimmicks and quick fixes out there to try and help you increase you strength. Bottom line though is that ‘there are no short cuts to excellence’, if you want to get stronger you’ll have to work hard. With this in mind I hope these four tips help you get on your way in your strength training.
- Cut out the cardio. If you want to increase strength don’t start your workout with cardio fitness (e.g. 20-30 minute run). When you do cardio work you are using a different energy system and may compromise strength gains.
- Save money, don’t use supplements. By and large I’d advise that you stay away from the supplement industry. For starters the supplement industry is not well regulated but most of all supplements are pricey. Unless you are an elite athlete that has done everything you can to improve your training techniques and program, steer clear of supplements.
- It’s about getting stronger not lifting heavier. You can often lift heavier weights if you compromise on technique. But compromising technique not only increases your risk of injury but the muscles targeted by the exercise will not get as much stimulation.
- Allow your body to recover. Plan in rest days and gradual increments in training load and intensity. There are a lot of programs on the internet that promise you get strong quick but often these programs are far too intense too soon, especially if you’re not an elite athlete. Stepping up your training load and intensity too soon will drastically increase your chances of injury.
Bottom line? Remember ‘there are no short cuts to excellence’, if you want to get stronger you’ll have to work hard! And if you need a helping hand just ask. We run a small group training program called ‘Barbell Basics’ that will introduce you to the key strength training lifts.
By Dr Laurence Houghton (PhD Sports Science)