It’s every bodybuilder’s and athlete’s goal to train with heavier weights, as this is the best way to add mass to your body. But all weightlifters reach plateaus, or periods when they aren’t getting any stronger. That’s when it’s time to change your workout routine and focus on strength training. Following are several key strategies you can implement into your training to help you increase the amount of weight you use.
Practice Strict Form
If you’re jerking the weights around, you’re preventing your muscles from getting fully stimulated, and this can prevent you from moving up to heavier weights. For example, if you hoist the bar up with your shoulders and arch your back when doing barbell curls, you’re not placing all the resistance on your biceps and are injuring your back. Instead, focus on going lighter and stricter on curls, which will force your biceps to work through a fuller range of motion. Before you know it, you’ll be adding more plates on the bar or lifting heavier dumbbells.
Employ the 25-Rep Method
Keep your total reps limited to 25. According to Bodybuilding.com, lower reps and moderate weights help build strength and mass. This means averaging five repetitions per set if you’re doing five total sets. For example, if you’re bench-pressing, do five sets of five reps or six sets of four reps.
Vary Light and Heavy Weights
Start interspersing your heavy and light workouts. For example, train heavy for one month, staying in the three to six repetition range, and then switch to lighter weights the following month. Ten to twelve repetitions is sufficient for light training. This well-known strategy shocks the muscles and forces them to grow, as you’re going from strength to more muscular endurance training in alternating months.
Add Medicine Ball to Training
Throw an 8 or 10-pound medicine ball above your head and against a wall. The explosiveness of this exercise forces your central nervous system to use more muscle fibers and can help get you out of your plateau range. When muscles are forced to work harder, the fibers increase in size. That’s how you get stronger so you can handle heavier weights.
All the weight lifting in the world won’t help you increase strength unless you eat right. Eat lean proteins such as skinless chicken, turkey, and egg whites. Also be sure to consume complex carbohydrates like brown rice, pasta, yams, green beans, and potatoes for added calories. A Chicago Weight Loss Clinic can help recommend some diets that will help to boost metabolism and burn fat as well. Stay healthy and balanced as you increase your training.
If you start incorporating some of these techniques into your training, you will soon find yourself lifting heavier weights and meeting your goals.