If you’re a fitness buff, you probably already know many ways to increase your strength, as you should. Yet, if you aren’t a regular fitness enthusiast, don’t worry! Learning to increase your strength is actually pretty simple with these steps. Increasing your strength doesn’t mean you’ll get big massive muscles like bodybuilders, unless you work out in a way that makes you do so. Increasing your physical strength can actually help you reduce your weight and waistline, and trim you down while building your muscles at the same time. There are more benefits than how much you weigh when it comes to gaining strength though. Studies have proven that increasing your physical strength is a great way to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, reduce stress, reduce bone fractures, prevent falls, aid in flexibility, treat diabetes and help with depression. With the following simple ways to increase your strength, you can be assured you’ll be well on your way to a stronger body in no time!
When finding ways to increase your strength, focus on repetitions more than you focus on how much weight you can lift. Repetitions are what build lean muscle and the more you can do, the stronger you’ll become because you're building your muscles' endurance. Bodybuilders actually do the opposite and perform lower reps with higher weights. A good idea of reps is anywhere from 12-18 reps per exercise. The last rep you do should feel physically impossible, not easy, so feel free to up your reps to get to this point before you increase the amount of weight you lift.
2. Start Slow
You may have to start out lifting the smaller 3 pound or 5 pound weights and that is okay. By your 20th rep, if it feels too easy, you’re not lifting enough weight, so increase it until it starts to burn at rep 10 or 12. Then, take it slow. You can increase your weight amount over time, so don’t force your muscles to lift more weights if you can’t do at least 12 reps.
3. Agility Training
One great way to increase your strength doesn’t include hand or machine weights at all, but your own body weight instead. Try agility training, where you perform circuits of sprints, jumping jacks, squats, pushups, etc. This will increase your endurance and increase your heart strength.
High Intensity Interval Training is a fantastic way to increase your strength. HIIT includes doing alternating bouts of cardio, weights, stretches, squats and other body exercises, and it goes at a very fast pace for a timed interval amount. This is also one of the best ways to lose weight and work your heart. HIIT increases your strength by helping your muscles learn to constantly adapt to different movements and situations.
5. Get Advice
One of my favorite tips for increasing your strength is to get advice from a personal trainer or friend who knows about strength training. You can also find great tips in health and fitness magazines. Getting knowledgeable advice from a trainer about which exercises are best for you is one of the best ways to increase your strength without going in blind.
6. Try Hop Squats
Hop squats are a great way to increase your strength, because you aren’t only relying on your glutes to develop strength to squat down. You also develop your core and upper body to pull you back up into the air as you hop, and keep your back stable as you hop back down.
7. Eat Protein
One important tip for increasing your strength is to stick to a higher protein diet. It should be lower in fats and starchy carbs, but not eliminating carbs or fat entirely since your body needs them. Protein not only repairs muscles, but also feeds them, literally. Our muscles gain more strength by eating protein than carbs or fat, and our metabolisms burn more calories doing so too. Muscles that are properly fed enough will recover better, gain more strength, and look better than muscles fed a diet high in too much fat or starchy carbs. You don’t have to go on Atkins to eat this way either. Focus on lean proteins at every meal, and focus on lean protein at snack times. Be sure to eat your veggies too though!
It is very important to get enough rest when doing a strength training program. Your muscles have to recover in order to rebuild and gain strength. A good idea is to strength train 4-5 times a week and on your off days, do cardio only so you’re still active, burning calories, and chiseling away at those lean muscles you’re building. Don’t lie around on the couch the days you don’t perform strength training either. Do everyday activities around your house such as laundry, cooking, dishes, dancing, or try outings like mini golf, shopping or going for a hike or neighborhood walk. This way, your muscles are still being worked, but the muscles you focus on during strength training are not being overstimulated, which could result in injury. This increases your total body strength over time, allowing you to do more than you could imagine! Also be sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night so your muscles can repair themselves.
Gaining strength isn’t a daunting task and can actually be fun and motivating. Don’t compare yourself to others either! You’re doing this for you, and you should only judge yourself by how you improve over time. Consistency is key! What are ways you like to increase your strength?