A lot of people are impatient and expect to grow stronger and bigger over night. Are there things you can do that can help you speed up your gains and help you lift more weight? It takes hard work and a lot of time to progressively overload all of your exercises. Even if you eat clean and have a smart workout routine, it still takes time to increase the weight on your bench press even with as much as 10 lbs.
That's what makes weightlifting a workout with long-term effects that requires long-term dedication. However, there are a few hacks that will help you increase your strength levels, thus helping you increase your weight and make more gains. Our Mava Silicone Pro Gloves will help you master these hacks and strengthen your grip! Grab this opportunity to get your own pair of Silicone Pro Gloves at a 20% OFF discount! Use code LIFTHVY7 for the discount available now on Amazon!
Strengthen Your Fist
Stand up, make a fist and squeeze as hard as you can. If you squeezed your hardest, you felt all of your arm muscles engage. That's called irradiation. When you activate one muscle, you radiate neural activity and tension in the muscles nearby and release more strength, as your muscle sends a signal to the surrounding muscles to activate them. You can apply this scientific principle to almost all of your exercises!
If you activate all your muscles, you unleash more strength! By flexing your finger in a death grip, your upper body muscles from your biceps to your pecs and lats will engage in tandem. So next time you squeeze your barbell, don’t do it just so it wouldn’t slip off. Do it consciously as a strengthening exercise. Wear a pair of silicone workout gloves to help you hold the bar easier, and giving your wrist more support. This will help you increase your weight faster than you’d expect!
Less is Heavier
Lift heavier, but lift less. If you are used with the weight you are able to lift right now for a complete set of reps, then it's time to switch it up. Increase your weight, but do shorter reps. Always increase your weight when you start feeling comfortable with it while giving your best. Reduce the number of repetitions you are going to do, once you've increased the weight.
If you do this, you will not completely exhaust yourself, and you will be able to produce maximum effort for your lift. Make sure that you pay attention to your form and lift correctly. This will enable you to lift more weight and it will help you avoid injuries. In addition, add variety. The best way to improve your squat, is to keep squatting, but if you hit a plateau, your body would've become accustomed to the same movements you've been doing.
What you can do to improve is to add unilateral movements to strengthen your secondary muscles. Return to your normal routine too, just alternate between the two from time to time. Try performing your exercises with explosive movements: lift faster (don't jerk it!), and lower your weights with controlled and slow movements for maximum results.
Master the Big Four
The best strength-building exercises are the squat, deadlift, bench press and shoulder press. There are the traditional Big Four that will help you develop a full range of motion and build more strength. While you should do various exercises and include moves that will help strengthen and build all of your muscles, make the big four the focus of your workout until you master them, and include other exercises to assist your bigger lifts.
For the big four you will use a barbell, so wear a pair of workout gloves. The gloves will protect your palms and enhance your grip. This will make the workout safer, as your barbell will not slip from your hands and you wouldn’t be exposed to the risk of getting injured because of that.
This is a compound exercise that targets your quads and engages your glutes, soleus, hams, lower back, abs and obliques into the movement.
- Position the barbell high on the back of your shoulders and grasp the sides. Dismount it from the rack and stand with a shoulder width stance.
- Squat down by bending your hips back while allowing your knees to bend froward, keeping your back straight and your knees pointed in the same direction as your feet.
- Lower yourself until your thighs are just past parallel to the floor.
- Extend your knee and hips until your legs are fully straight and you are back to your starting position.
Quick tip: begin your squat by pushing your hips back as far as you can, and keep your lower back arched enough that you feel a stretch in your hams. When your hips are bent, start bending your knees and squatting low. This will help you squat with maximal weight.
The Deadlift is a compound exercises that targets your back, but it recruits your glutes, guads, hams, soleus, traps, abs and obliques into the movement, so it's a very effective exercise.
- With your feet flat beneath the barbell, squat down and grasp the bar with a shoulder width or slightly wider overhand or mixed grip. Wear workout gloves for wrist stability and enhanced grip.
- Lift the bar by extending your hips and knees until they are straight.
- Pull the shoulders back at the top of the lift.
- Return back to your starting position by lowering the bar with a slow and controlled movement.
Quick tip: to enhance your deadlift in order to help you increase the weight, use the same stance you would to perform a jump. Place your legs in a slightly narrow position and bend down to grab the barbell. Keep your hips down and your spine neutral. Make sure your shoulders are directly above your knees.
Barbell Bench Press
This compound exercise targets your pecs and sternal, while recruiting your major pecs, delts, triceps and biceps into the movements.
- Lie supine on a bench and dismount the barbell from the rack over your upper chest, using a wide oblique overhand grip.
- Lower the weight to your chest and press the bar upwards until your arms are fully extend.
- Return to the original position by lowering the bar slowly.
Quick tip: start the exercise with your head off the bench. Keep your feet steady as you grab the bar and pull your body up and forward off the bench, until your glutes are down on the bench and your lower back is very arched, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. This will limit your range of motion for shorter and stronger pressing.
Barbell Shoulder Press
The last of the big four compound movements targets the delts and recruits the triceps, traps and serratus anterior into the movement, so it is a great upper body exercise.
- Grasp the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder width overhand grip and position the bar near your upper chest.
- Press the bar upwards until your arms are extended over your head.
- Return the barbell to your upper chest with a controlled movement.
Quick tip: when the barbell reaches shoulder level, flare your lats, because this will allow you to use more weight. Make sure your grip is not too wide, otherwise your range of motion will be compromised.
If you lift heavier weights and do shorter reps, you will definitely build more strength that in turn will help you lift heavier for longer. Make sure that you wear workout gloves to help you relieve the pressure placed on your hands by heavy weights. This will provide the much needed wrist support you need too.
Master the big four lifts to establish a solid foundation, use perfect technique and add a little bit of irradiation to your exercises. Strengthen your fist and you’ll see unexpected results in no time! While it takes time and dedication to lift more weights, these tips will help you build more strength faster. If you want to know how you can use your hands at full capacity to pump up your lifts, click here!