Want to be Stronger? 3 Tricks to Boost Strength

July 20, 2016

Right after weight loss and muscle building, strength is the next most popular fitness goal. Increasing your overall strength is useful inside and outside of the gym. You’ll be able to push more weight on the bench but you’ll also be able to do more activities with confidence such as playing sports or spending active time with your kids.

Let’s take a look at the top 3 techniques you can use today to start boosting your strength levels.

  1. Take Longer Rest Breaks

This may seem counterintuitive but if you want to build strength, you need to rest up between sets. The most common resting time for muscular hypertrophy (muscle growth) is 60 to 90 seconds. If you want to build strength, you should be allowing yourself to rest for 2 to 3 minutes.

Why?

Your muscle cells need that amount of time to prepare for the next set. Energy pathways in your body are very efficient and depending on HOW you lift and how much time you give yourself to rest, one of several pathways will be used. The 2 to 3 minute rest time is ideal to get ATP, or fuel for your muscles, locked and loaded. You’ll be combining longer rest breaks with our next trick. 

  1. Lift Heavy Weight

If you want to build more strength, you have to start pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. That means you’ll need to up the amount of weight you’re using. The ideal number for strength building is to use 80% of your one repetition maximum.

As the name suggests, a one repetition maximum is the absolute maximum amount of weight you can move with perfect form ONE time.

 For example:

  • On the bench press, you can move 225 lbs with perfect form ONE time
  • 80% of 225 is 180 lbs
  • To increase your strength on the bench press, you’ll use 180 lbs (or more) of weight for each set

We’d recommend taking a guess at what your 1RM is to avoid any type of muscle-related injuries (especially if you’re a beginner in the weight room). You can also start with low weight and keep adding more until you reach the ideal rep range, which is our number one trick.

  1. Use the Right Rep Range

You know how much weight to use.

You know how long you’ll be resting.

What about your set-to-repetition range?

When it comes to focusing on increasing strength, the ideal set to rep range is as follows:

  • 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions

Another way to look at it:

Bench Press

  • 3 to 5 repetitions of 180 lbs
  • 3 to 5 repetitions of 180 lbs
  • 3 to 5 repetitions of 180 lbs
  • 3 to 5 repetitions of 180 lbs

Real Life Example:

  • Maybe you’ve heard about the 5 x 5 System? That system’s primary focus is to boost strength with a secondary bonus of increasing muscle mass.

Putting It All Together

To sum it all up, here are your acute variables for your exercises:

  • 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions
  • Use 80% of your 1RM
  • Take 2 to 3 minutes to rest

 

Tell Us What You Think!

Have any tricks of your own for maximizing strength?

Let us know in the comments section below!





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