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Sep
25
12 Easy Steps To Quickly Increase Your Strength - Oscar’s Training Articles

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1.Take creatine. This is the fuel your cells use during heavy and explosive lifting. When you have more of it stored in your cells you become a better lifter. Take 2.5g every day of creatine monohydrate. No loading or cycling required. Other positive benefits include improved bone health and better cognitive function.

2. Eat something before lifting. Working out on a empty stomach makes the training seem harder than what it actually is. Fatigue sets in quicker for someone who has gone without food compare to a fed person. In order to push some heavy weight, set yourself up for success with a meal. Make sure to give it an adequate amount of time to settle. Get some protein to spare muscle breakdown and have some carbs to fuel the machinery. Oatmeal & protein shake, sweet potato & lean beef, fruit & chicken, and etc.

3. Drink 3 cups of coffee. Caffeine and its effect on lifting is very well studied. It has been shown to help athletes lift more and experience less soreness after training. Consume in tablet form, coffee, or pre-workout.

4. Brace before lifting. In this video Kelly Starrett explains the importance of setting yourself up before lifting, stretching, and etc. Get yourself organized by squeezing your glutes and tighten up the belly - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPk2H-CCZgk

5. Visualize yourself making the lift. A group of subjects practiced mental contractions for 12 weeks without any training and they significantly improved their strength. The researchers concluded that visualization of the movements can increase muscle activation and improve strength. Envision yourself making the lift and you will become stronger. This can be done in and outside of the gym.

6. Stomp your feet. The H-reflex can potentially be excited through your lower body by stomping your feet. This effect is called post-activation potentiation and it can be triggered by electrical stimulation, heavy lifting, and perhaps “stomping” your feet. It makes the nervous system more excitable which could set you up for heavier lifts.

7. Warm-up properly. Rushing your warm-up before lifting heavy is a recipe for injury. There are thousands of ways to warm-up but the most important factor is that you actually “get warm”. 15min of low intensity aerobic work has been shown to be very effective.

8. Inhibit antagonistic tightness. All or our muscles work together in symmetry. All lifts will have one or several agonist muscle working. These muscles are also affected by their antagonist muscle. For example.

Biceps curls: Agonist = biceps, Antagonist = triceps
Jump: Agonist = glutes, Antagonist = hip flexor
Strict press: Agonist = Delts&triceps, Antagonist = lats

Having an opposing muscle being too tight makes lifting a lot harder than what it needs to be. If someone struggles with pressing weight up overhead due to a lat restriction (latissimus dorsi). Then stretching the lats out will help to move more weight. Stretching the agonist muscle (prime mover) will reduce the power output.

9. Get more sleep. Stanford’s basketball team were forced to sleep 10h per night. The improvements included improved speed, shooting accuracy, mood, and better reaction time. Now 10h of sleep is pipe dream for most working adults, however, try and get just a little bit more than usual and see if it helps. Take it easy on the caffeine (tip #3) if you workout later in the day.

10. Warm up dynamically. Stretching is great but not right before heavy lifting. Static stretching can be useful if it’s dealing with an over active antagonist muscle (tip #8). A dynamic warm-up will prime you better for heavy lifting as opposed to static stretching. However, some static stretching can be used before heavy lifting but only if it allows for better movement/positioning. The goal is to have “just enough” mobility and stiffness for the movement or lift. Hypermobility and static stretching of the prime mover will not help.

11. Drink water. Your strength declines significantly after 2% of weight lost from dehydration. Not only do you become weaker but the susceptibility for injury increases.

12. Grunt. In a study conducted in collegiate tennis players the researchers measured the effects of grunting versus no-grunting. There was a significant difference between the two. When the players were allowed to grunt they were able to produce a higher force and peak muscle activity. This carries over to lifting as well so if you wanna lift big weight, you have to get loud!

These are all easy steps that can help you lift heavier weights. The effects of these “tricks” will be small, however, small consistent steps is the only way to get really strong. Strength training is not a fast process and it requires consistency. Make sure that you enjoy the journey towards your strength goals.

If you have any question or comments about the information, consultations, personal training, and etc. please email oscar@crossft-tnt.com

Oscar Isacsson, M.S., CSCS, CF-L2
CrossFit TNT Coach



Creatine - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19727018
Pre-workout meal - http://jap.physiology.org/content/104/4/1045.short
Caffeine - http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/publishahead/The_Effect_of_Caffeine_Ingestion_on_Delayed_Onset.97670.aspx
Visualization - http://pds15.egloos.com/pds/200910/18/78/Gaining_strength.pdf
H-reflex - http://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_Docherty2/publication/7719063_Post-activation_potentiation_underlying_physiology_and_implications_for_motor_performance/links/53d6f0540cf228d363eab0e4.pdf
Warm-up - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22692116
Dynamic warm-up - http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-004-1199-x#page-1
Sleep - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21731144
Hydration - http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2008/03000/Active_Dehydration_Impairs_Upper_and_Lower_Body.18.aspx
Grunt - http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2014/12000/The_Effects_of__Grunting__on_Serve_and_Forehand.20.aspx