Some people say, “good things happen to those who wait.” Well, we beg to differ. Gaining and improving strength doesn’t happen overnight. More than anything, it doesn’t happen by wishing, planning or worse, waiting. If you want to become stronger, now’s as good a time as any — so get to work.
Strength and muscular growth is a long term process that requires consistent work over a long period of time, so it’s unlikely that you will see significant muscular gains in 30 days. However, if you’re looking to build strength in a short amount of time, there are a few safe ways to speed up the process.
How to Get Stronger:
Whether you’re pumping iron in strength training class, running drills in a bootcamp class or practicing your headstand in a yoga class, it’s important to make the most out of your classes by keying in on the different exercises that you can build your strength.
- Work to increase your weights and/or repetitions
- Include bodyweight exercises in addition to your weighted exercises
- Utilize isolation movements, but also make sure to incorporate full body movements
- Improve your technique for better muscle isolation
- Work at it consistently
The first step to getting stronger is to increase your weights or the number of repetitions you’re doing in each movement.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, think back to your high school physics class. Mechanical work equals force times distance. This applies directly to your workout — you get more out of a workout if you add weight and/or increase movement. Your goal is to overload your muscles.
If for some reason you need to cut back on your weights (or you’re trying an at-home workout), increase your movement to see results.
Mix in bodyweight movements
Yes, lifting weights will obviously build up your muscles but there’s a reason why bodyweight exercises are mixed into workouts. Bodyweight workouts are an effective way to build strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. They’re a great addition to any workout because they will continue to move the muscle, but without the load of a bar, which can help with overall flexibility and mobility.
Our favorite bodyweight exercises include squats, lunges, planks and burpees.
Vary your workout routine
There are very few exercises that target every muscle in the body. In an article in Men’s Fitness, trainer Lee Boyce said, “For those who are more intermediate lifters, you should consider changing your program as soon as your muscles begin to adapt themselves to a certain style of training. When you notice a major strength plateau, or a lack of physical results, it’s a good time to consider changing the program.”
Luckily, that’s where ClassPass comes in. The app can help you find a variety of classes in your area so you can avoid that dreaded plateau.
Improve your technique
When you’re trying to gain strength, it’s easy to get focused on the numbers: how much we’re lifting, how much muscle mass we’re gaining, how much fat we’re losing, and the list goes on. Get rid of that frame of mind for the time being and focus on staying in proper form.
A number will only go so far as long as you can carry it through — and without proper technique, you won’t be able to do so. Watch yourself in the mirror, or have a friend or trainer nearby to catch your mistakes. Try filming yourself and watching the tape. In addition to preventing injury that will undoubtedly set you back, this also makes your muscles work in a more efficient fashion.
Discipline, discipline, discipline
Unless you have a personal trainer or fitness guru as your best friend, it’s up to you to get the job done. Strength won’t happen by lifting dumbbells once a week or doing a few pushups before you head to bed. Find what motivates you and do it.
In an article with POPSUGAR, trainer Liz Letchford, MS, ATC said, “your muscles will grow according to how much demand is placed on them.” And that couldn’t be more true. Letchford advocates for eccentric movements, also known as the slow, controlled resistance movements that cause your muscles to shake like crazy.
Popular moves like a slow bicep curl and negative push-up can be major players in building your strength.