For many of us, getting stronger is the ultimate goal. We want to be able to lift so much weight that even the girl two blocks away will be impressed. But many have tried and failed so many times they have finally given up and been tossed into the pit where the weak dwell.
It sucks to be weak, but the good news is that if you are weak, you can get strong. Here are three pitfalls to avoid on your journey.
1. Being inconsistent
One of the biggest mistakes people make is expecting to get stronger overnight. While it's true that most beginners can add 2.5 to 5 pounds onto the bar every session, strength gains are not linear.
If strength gains were linear, the world would be populated with millions of people who could Deadlift Optimus Prime for reps.
The harsh reality is that the stronger you become, the harder it is to get still stronger. Beginners often continue training because they gain strength and build muscle initially. But as they progress, the gains come much slower and the results are less noticeable. When this happens, most beginners quit. Due to the lack of "newbie" gains to motivate them, they stop taking training seriously.
I recently competed in a power lifting meet, and although I didn't place in the top three, I'm pretty happy with my personal records. It made me think about my training and how I've actually been consistent with it.
I've increased my training from three to four days per week, and I've only missed two training sessions in four months.
Seems to me that simply staying on track even when results aren't coming as fast as you wish is the secret to getting stronger.
2. Not prioritizing strength
It's easy to get distracted from your goal when aesthetics are involved. Bodybuilders look way more jacked and muscular than power lifters or strongmen. But they're only training certain muscles. Power lifters, who work on their whole-body strength, can lift way heavier than most bodybuilders.
Stick to your strength routine and you will get stronger. Don't be too concerned about whether you look as ripped as the guy who's training to make his pecs and abs pop.
3. Lifting too much volume
If a little is good, more is better right? In a world where people love excess, this is probably true. However when it comes to training, it's probably not the right thing to do.
If you lift three times a week and get stronger, will lifting five times a week turn you into the Hulk? No, it will just tire you out. Most star athletes are as strong as bulls, yet they don't spend as much time in the weight room as we might assume. In fact, their coaches probably train them with the minimum effective dose—enough to stimulate their bodies and help them gain strength.
Instead of annihilating yourself with high-repetition work every time you train, focus on fewer reps with heavier weights. If you want to move heavy weights, you need to lift heavy weights.
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