Get Strong Or Die Trying
Whether they care to admit it or not, every man wants to posses hand crushing grip strength, a back of steel, and Gorilla like power. Not only that, we are now seeing a growing number of women that are breaking boundaries, and records in the strength athletic sports, and this is having a carry over into main stream fitness. The fact is….both men and women want to be stronger!
Being strong has some amazing benefits, and carry over into the real world as well as sports performance, whether it’s changing tyres, moving furniture, lifting groceries or carrying your children. As a chartered physiotherapist I also believe that great strength bolsters your skeletal stability, and as such decreases the risk of joint injury. Sounding good so far?
The problem is that most gym users think that awesome power, such as deadlifitng 2.5 to 3 times body weight is unattainable, unless you have X-Men genetics, or experiment with PEDS,! But I’ll let you into a little secret…with the right training program, the specific nutrition, and a commitment to regular training anyone can be a stronger version of themselves!
|‘If the bar ain’t bending then you’re just pretending!’
This article will give you a small insight into getting stronger and get you on the road to some enviable strength gains. So lets begin with three top tips to get you started on your journey…….
1. Perform the Compound Lifts;
From Wendler to Westside, all the top S&C coaches will preach the same sermon….if you want to get strong then you have to deadlift, squat, bench press and overhead press. These movements recruit huge amounts of muscular contraction, and neural activation, and are the key ingredients in any strength athletes program. In order to get the most from these movements, the athlete should perform 3-5 working sets of 1-5 reps with a load somewhere between 85 -110% of your one rep max. The rest periods between sets should be lengthy, at around the 5 minute mark, as the entire focus should be on moving the most amount of weight, with good form, as explosively as possible.
2. Eat for Gains;
In order to get stronger you must fuel your body for recovery, and performance. So don’t expect to get stronger, and diet at the same time! Now this isn’t an excuse to eat junk food all day long, but it does mean that you have to be accountable for your gains by eating the right foods, frequently, and on a consistent basis. Firstly work out your basal metabolic rate, your activity levels and the macro-nutrients needed to gain muscle. Devise an eating plan with good healthy foods, and stick to it for the duration of your training program. Remember nutrition is as important, if not more important than the training itself so don’t neglect this!
3. Sleep Like a Baby;
Ok so you’ve pulled your heavy deadlifts, and eaten your way through more beef than a Texas Cattle Ranch, so what now? Well this is my favourite ingredient in the strength recipe. Sleep! Thats right, your body doesn’t grow when your training or eating, it grows when your resting, and the best form of rest for muscle, tendon, ligament and nervous system regeneration is sleep. Try to get between 8-10 hours of quality sleep per day, and throw in 40 minute power-naps whenever you get the chance – especially after your post-training meal to optimise Human Growth Hormone production.
So what else is there then? Well I’m a big believer in the basics, and at Elite Sporting Performance we spend a great deal of our time focusing on the basic components of strength & conditioning, and nutrition for optimal performance. We have learned that there are no short cuts to success, and no substitute for hard work. So suck it up, lift heavy, eat well and enjoy your new found strength!