Written by Alex Simpson
If you’re looking to bulk up and increase your strength and power for the upcoming colder months ahead, both your diet and your training will need to be revaluated and adjusted accordingly in regards to your goals and targets. Whilst the warmer summer months are mainly about building lean muscle, burning fat, and getting as shredded as you possibly can, for some, the end of the warm weather signifies the end of cutting. If this applies to you, or if you simply train for strength and power, in order for you to continue to make great progress, you will need to ensure you are making the most out of your diet and your training. If strength and power are your objectives, take a look at the following, as we look at a few strength training principles to live by.
5 Principles Of Strength Training
Focus on your weaknesses
For the average gym-goer, if for example, they don’t enjoy a certain exercise, or they aren’t very good at performing a certain exercise, they will either go through the motions when performing it, or they’ll simply ignore it altogether. True champions however, don’t shy away from their weaknesses, they instead embrace them and work on turning them into their strengths. If your flat bench barbell press leaves a lot to be desired, rather than shying away from the exercise, instead embrace it and focus on getting better. Instead of skipping the exercise, consider adding another benching day in your training routine. The only way you can improve upon your weaknesses is to practice them, so whatever it is that you struggle with or dislike, make sure you perform it twice as frequently.
Stick with the basics
We can’t tell you how frustrating it is to see people in the gym, busting their butts, only to discover that they are following an extremely complex training routine that an IFBB pro with an IQ of 140 would struggle with. People have a real knack of overcomplicating things and making things far more difficult than they need to be, and there is really no need. If you’re trying to get stronger and bigger, focus on basic tried and tested methods that have been proven to work time and time again. Instead of isometric, unilateral, decline, hypertension, cambered bar sumo deads(don’t worry, we made that exercise up to make a point), stick with good old regular deadlifts instead. Powerlifters often focus on 3 main lifts, which are: bench presses, deadlifts, and squats, and you should do the same. You can perform other exercises of course, but make sure you go with exercises and movements that have been proven to work.
Embrace compound movements
We’ve mentioned how important it is to stick with tried and tested methods which are basic and to the point, and you don’t get much more basic than a compound movement. Compound movements are absolutely ideal for building muscle and increasing strength and power, due largely to the fact that they recruit multiple muscle groups at once. Rather than isolating a muscle group, as you would expect a machine to do, compound lifts recruit multiple muscle groups to help stabilize the body, and of course, to complete the lift. These not only help to strengthen your core and stabilize your muscles, but they also help to promote explosive power by recruiting more fast-twitch muscle fibre.
In order to become stronger, you need to train heavy, which means pushing yourself harder than you may be used to. In the past, you may have stuck with an 8 – 12 rep program, in which you use weights that allow you to perform 8 – 12 reps before you begin to struggle slightly. To become bigger and stronger however, many pros recommend using heavy weights which generally result in your fatiguing after 4 – 6 reps. Low rep, heavy weight training is not a new concept, and it is certainly not the be-all and end-all when it comes to increasing strength, but at the same time, you cannot deny the results that this method of training has produced over the decades.
Adopt a ‘less is more’ mentality
There are a number of different strength training principles out there to benefit from, many of which we have listed right here, but even so, when it comes to your training, try adopting a ‘less is more’ mentality, and you will go far very quickly. By this, we mean you should focus on tried and tested movements that have been found to provide the best results FOR YOU. For example, some people would say that 6 working sets per exercise is optimal for strength increase, whereas you may have found that you respond better to 4. Rather than performing countless exercises and sets, instead, find what works for you, focus on that aspect of your training, and be sure to get plenty of rest in the process.