4 Laws to Strength Training
The four forgotten laws of building muscle and strength are so simple that they are often overlooked. Training is not supposed to be complicated, it should actually be as simple as possible If you want to increase muscle mass and build strength then you need to focus on four things: Proper technique, utilizing tempo, progressive overload and improving your weaknesses.
If you’re serious about building muscle and getting stronger, then sit down, grab a pen or pencil and keep reading.
Why Proper Technique is so important
Proper technique leads to proper muscle activation. I see this over and over again. People want to put more weight on the bar because it looks great, but in reality it doesn’t actually make them any better because they are doing it wrong. You aren’t actually using your legs properly if your hips shoot up every time you do a squat or if you are excessively shrugging your shoulders into your ears when you’re doing a lateral raise.
If you want bigger pecs, legs, back, etc.., then you have to know how to actually engage the muscle and use it during the lift. Not only will you increase muscle size, but muscular strength as well. If you haven’t been using your lats and squeezing your chest when you bench, your max will fly off the charts when you begin to use the right muscles.
Using proper technique is one of the most overlooked aspects of training because everyone wants to rush to get to the heavy weight. Trust me on this! Take your time to learn to move correctly. You will keep yourself from getting injured and set yourself up for long term success in the weight room that you would never see if you kept doing things the wrong way!
Tempo is KING For Muscle Mass and Building Serious Strength!
You HAVE to start using tempo for your exercises if you really want to see major improvements. What I mean by tempo is, lowering or raising the weight down at a slower rate than normal. We can use tempo in both the eccentric, lengthening phase, or the concentric, shortening phase, of a lift.
Utilizing tempo has been shown in numerous studies to help with increased muscle mass, build strength and improve tendon elasticity and strength. The reason being due to the slow and controlled movement puts lets reflexive forces on the joint/tendon, while at the same time increasing time under tension, thus resulting in a stronger tendon and joint.
It has also been shown that the eccentric action of the muscle is about 40%-60% stronger than the concentric action. Meaning I could lower 400lbs on a back squat from the start of the squat to the bottom, but I may only be able to stand up 315lbs. If we never utilize tempo, then the ecccentric action is never fully worked to the capacity it can handle.
So now take a 315lb squat and lower it down at a 5 second pace and then squat it up as fast as possible. Now the eccentric action is getting 5 more seconds of time under tension at the heaviest load I could squat, thus strengthening the muscle as a whole.
Not only will tempo keep you healthy and strong, but it will reinforce great technique, which will only improve your lifts even more!!
Here are a few peer reviewed articles regarding the benefits of adding tempo into your training:
Steady Progressive Overload to Build Strength
I see this one time and time again. There’s just randomness to what’s being done in the weight room. This week I’m doing 225. Next week, I’m gonna do 275 because I want to try to max out and see if i somehow got way stronger?? The next week it’s five reps then 10 the next week. Nothing makes sense…
It is going to be a lot harder to increase muscle mass and build strength if there is no consistency in your training program. As a brand new lifter, you will still see some adaptation and growth because you’re starting from nothing. However, for those of you that have been lifting for years, you have got to have a plan.
There is no need to feel like you have to “trick” your body by always doing different exercises or rep schemes. The key is to make small changes over time to continually adapt to the greater stimulus. Here is a simple example of what that can look like from week to week:
Week 1: Bench Press – 4 Sets x 8 reps @ 75% of your 1RM
Week 2: Bench Press – 5 Sets x 8 reps @ 75% of your 1RM
Week 3: Bench Press – 4 Sets x 6 reps @ 78-80% of your 1RM
Week 4: Bench Press – 5 Sets x 6 reps @ 80% of your 1RM
Progressive overload is consistency from week to week on weight lifted or reps completed. The reps go up one week, but the weight remains the same. Then the weight goes up, but the reps go down. Nothing is random, there is a plan and a pattern to everything. That’s how you build long lasting change and create strength over time.
Focus on Weaknesses
If you want to stay healthy and see greater improvements in your main lifts you need to work on your weaknesses. This is a tough one because no one likes to work on their weaknesses, right? It’s so easy to do the things we’re great at and neglect the ones we aren’t because not many people like the feeling of struggle.
What is important to remember is that your whole body works together. You don’t just use your legs when you squat. You tighten up your back, you brace your core to create stiffness, your hamstrings, quads and glutes work together during the lift, your feet and ankles support you the whole time. Everything is more complex than what you might realize.
That’s why training the whole body is important, but also the weak areas. You can only be as strong as your weakest link. Your legs might be strong enough to squat 400lbs, but if your core is weak, there is no way you are standing that weight back up. The bar is gonna bend you right in half.
Taking time to strengthen the accessory muscles involved in major lifts will benefit your tremendously by aiding in stabilization and giving that extra bit of strength you have been searching for. Stronger over head position, build your rotator cuff, healthy knee joints, tempo full range of motion split squats or terminal knee extensions. You can do countless movements for just about every muscle, so take the time to do it.
Working on be tough, and figuring out where to start can be a challenge thing to do if you don’t have that level of experience available, to see thousands of thousands of thousands of reps, to be able to know how exactly to do that.
Let Us Help You Build The Strength You Want
The magic happens when you can combine these four steps into your training program. You will be able to train longer into your life, increase muscle mass and build strength all because you took the time to do it the right way. Lifting should be a lifetime process, not a quick 6-week program that ends up getting you injured or little to no results.
I know it can be a challenge to know where to start with all of this, but thats where we come in! We know the exact plan to get you to where you want to be because we assess every person on an individual level. Based off our assessment we build you a custom program to fit your exact needs.
If you are looking for a gym in Topeka that has qualified professionals, you need to reach out. We are also now offering online remote programming for those who live outside the Topeka are. Don’t waste another second, click the link to join now —-> https://lionheartapf.com/join/