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The science of strength training states that an increase in strength is made from steady, and progressive overload. This isn’t just in terms of weight used in the gym, this refers to all training variables. Here are 6 common mistakes often made, and how to fix them, creating an explosion of new strength gain.
Single-joint exercises are where you can focus on muscle contraction, and exploiting the performance of that particular muscle group. Often the mistake is made when people employ this idea into their multi-joint movements. Not only will trying to incorporate muscle confusion lead to not being able to move big weights, but can also be rather dangerous, and a fast track to injury.
Keep your compound movements true to what they are meant to be; explosive movements to move some heavy iron, and leave “feeling the muscle” to the aesthetics crowd. You have one job; move heavy weight from A to B with perfect form.
The problem doesn’t lie in the warm-up, some cardio to raise temperature and stretching is still essential. But you are throwing around external weight, not running a 5km. Follow this general warm-up with a movement that is specific to the lift you are about to do. For instance, if you are deadlifting, spend time using much lighter deadlifts to warm-up. This is because utilising the movement that you are actually going to perform gets the motion going on all the mechanisms activated during the full lift, so it only makes sense to use this as a warm up as well.
Powerlifting is an explosive sport, so by making your training sessions focused on high reps at 60% your 1-rep max (1RM), is just not helpful. High reps are for muscle endurance, the antithesis to what strength training encumbers. Rather focus on working at 80-100% of your 1RM, which will see your strength improve tenfold, and will also guarantee that your form will be good at those levels.
Assistant movements are very important for increasing our max weights on certain lifts. However, when they stop being assistant lifts and become sub-core lifts, this is where they lose their importance. An example; we know that a heavy bench press makes up one of the three big lifts for strength, and using isolated movements for triceps is a great way to improve our bench press, because of the assistance that our triceps provide.
But if we stop focusing on bettering bench press because we have been too busy increasing our tricep extensions, that is when they become meaningless. They are auxiliary movements because they assist the core lift, so always keep that in mind when doing your isolated exercises.
There is no point in expending energy on movements you are not looking to improve. If you leave your objective for last, or even the middle, you a have already spent a great deal of energy on other movements, and now you have no more gas in the tank (or at least very little) to perform your objective. If you have used up all your glute strength on squats, how will you hope to improve your deadlift. This is why it is imperative that you know what your goal is, which movement you are looking to improve, and perform that first. This makes sure that you can pour all your focus and energy into your goal, and use the rest of your fuel for everything else.
Before competition day, there should be no real heavy lifting happening. While we want to make sure that we are ready, we also need to make sure that we are rested enough for the day. The week before, which is your De-Load week, should be about keeping in an ‘active recovery’ period, so that we can keep everything primed, while recovering from all the heavy lifting and avoiding injury. This is an extremely important period to follow, because an injury can mean all the time and effort building up has been wasted, and burning out on comp day is just as bad.
Total volume should only be at 70% of your normal training sets, and intensity should be at around 80% of your last session. This is also dependant on you, and you will need to gauge whether or not you need more rest, but never exceed this amount (rather save that extra effort for game day).
These are just some of the most common ways to surge your strength training, and while we may only be making one or two of these at one time, they make a big difference when push comes to pull.
Strength training takes a toll on the body. Make sure you have the right supplements to ensure that you are always on top of your game; a pre-workout that contains all the necessary components to increase your performance and push you further. A creatine formula to increase your ATP production which will take your strength to a whole new level. A joint health formula will keep your joints healthy and prevent conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis from creeping up in your later years. Finally, a good Essential Fatty Acids matrix will keep connective tissue and muscle lubricated, as well as provide energy and assist with mental focus.
These techniques along with a good diet and strategic supplement protocol, will demolish your strength training.