Ever heard that well-known saying “nothing worthwhile in life comes easy”? Well, when it comes to training, this rings especially true. We all know that when striving to achieve success, whether professionally or in our personal lives, results don’t happen overnight. Becoming stronger is no exception. While it can be tempting to naively believe that because you’ve been so committed to lifting very heavy weights twice a day over the past week, you should be noticeably stronger - the truth is that change isn’t immediate and over doing it can be disadvantageous. But don’t despair, improving your strength is worth the wait (and the hard work): it’s a fantastic way to appear leaner, burn more calories due to increased muscle mass and enhance your physical performance. We’ve summarised our top five strength boosting tips to help you sustain your mental and physical resilience throughout your muscle building journey.
Try to appreciate the process. Viewing each session as an accomplishment, which takes you one step closer to your overall goal, will awaken your positive mental attitude, allowing you to feel more contented and patient with your advancement. There are no shortcuts, nor hiding places to getting stronger, it’s about channelling your determination and finding the tenacity to regularly show up and gradually work towards specific targets. For the impatient among us, we know this can be challenge; we advise attempting to visualise the bigger picture or your end goal to help you focalise your efforts. Remember that it is extremely counterproductive to rush the process or inconsistently turn up and choose a random weight to lift on a barbell – this will only leave you more prone to injury and disheartened by your lack of progression!
Becoming overly fixated by the number on the barbell is a mistake made by many and unfortunately only results in a feeling of discouragement. Of course it’s frustrating that when starting to lift weights it’s relatively easy to increase your load, however, overtime this becomes more challenging, meaning that you have to train smarter to continue improving. Instead of feeling deflated by the struggle, try monitoring your volume load rather than just your weight on the bar. Remember this formula: volume load = set x reps x load! This means that in order achieve a high volume load you don’t always have to be lifting the heaviest weights, and what’s more, it will mean you plateau less often.
Did you know that having consistent recovery periods where you reduce your weight load can assist your body in improving its performance? Sounds counterintuitive…but a deload aids muscle restoration which is often the key to achieving greater results. We suggest placing a deload in your program every 3/4 weeks. Getting tired is not a sign of failure, in fact, recognising when your body needs rest and managing fatigue effectively is paramount for continued success. By regularly training in a constant state of fatigue, you’re more likely to reach the ‘law of accommodation’, where your body starts adapting to only being able to train in a tired state.
Execution, execution, execution! We cannot overemphasise how crucial this is! If your execution isn’t accurate you’re going to be missing out on the gains you deserve. Getting knowledgeable about your form doesn’t have to mean a total overhaul of what you’re used to, sometimes, just a few slight tweaks in certain places is all that’s needed to take full advantage of your workouts, not to mention preventing the chances of injuries occurring. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to consult a staff member at your gym, or even better yet invest in a personal training session.
Believe in yourself and select intensities that are challenging! Set yourself goals which you have to reach! As a rule of thumb, if your last few reps aren’t stretching you then the load is probably too light. On the other hand, if you’re unable to reach those last few reps, this is an indication that your load selection may have been too heavy to start with.
We hope that these bitesize tips will be easy for you to remember, refer back to and utilise during your training sessions so that you are maximising the potential of your workouts and feeling positive about your strength journey going forward!