Over the past couple of months I have found that one of the best ways to increase your strength, motivation and fitness levels is to get your ass to a gym with a great training environment.  I don’t think I realized exactly how important this was until I made the commitment to head out to Total Performance Sports one day a week to get some solid lifting in.

Platforms, chalk, loud metal and rock, turf and prowlers, squat racks galore and like minded individuals make this place special in my training routine.  Lindsay as well as a few friends join me one morning every weekend to destroy some weights and get stronger.  Just this morning I brought a client of mine and as soon as he was on the training floor he stated he instantly felt stronger.  Case in point. 

Today I am going to share some other quick tips that you can use tomorrow to get instantly stronger and start training with a purpose:

1. Do Grip Work

I’m sure you have all heard the saying “You are only as strong as your weakest link.”  This holds true in most situations but especially when it comes to strength.  What I have found 9 times out of 10 the weakest link in most trainees is their grip strength.  If you are doing deadlifts or a dumbbell exercise and your forearms get fatigued our you just can’t hang on for a period of time you probably need to work on your grip.  

Pick up something heavy and carry it!

The easiest way to increase your grip strength is to hammer exercises like farmers walks, deadlifts, pull-ups, dumbbell lunges, dumbbell step ups, etc.  For most people the quickest and easiest exercise to dominate is simply the farmer’s carry which I feel is HIGHLY underutilized.  As a rule of thumb, guys should be able to carry 80+ and ladies should be able to carry 40+.  Not there yet?  Get to work!

2. Work In The 3-5 Rep Range

Let’s face it, 3 sets of 10 just isn’t getting you any stronger.  You know it.  I know it.  Now it’s time to do something about it!

To get stronger you must lift heavier weights, this is a given.  Doing bodyweight exercises and curling 10lb dumbbells is all fine and dandy but if one of your goals is to get stronger you MUST lift something heavy.  When you do your biggest lift for the day (eg deadlift, squat, bench, pullup) try doing 6-8 sets of 3 rather than 3 sets of 10.  You will be lifting more weight and in most cases with better technique so it is win-win!

3. Do More Pulling

I always get guys asking me how to improve their (insert lift here) since they have been doing (insert same lift here) for years and have been at the same plateau.  Upon further inspection there is typically a hyooooge lack of pulling in their program, both horizontal and vertical.

I can’t tell you how much my lifts and strength has improved from getting really good at all types of pull-ups and rows and loading them up with some appreciable weight.  If you can’t do a single pull-up then you shouldn’t be concerned with how much you bench, learn to do a pull-up first and watch your strength increase exponentially.

4. Create Tension (a.k.a. Squeeze EVERYTHING)

Nia Shanks uses full body tension to deadlift some serious weight!

I was watching someone in the gym this morning doing deadlifts who resembled a giant wet noodle.  Like I mentioned before, you are only as strong as your weakest link.  If that link is everything in the middle of your body then you are screwed.

I will admit that learning to create total body tension is no easy task and something that you need to work at, like, all the time.  Learning to not only brace your midsection but your legs, lats, neck and earlobes will go a long way towards getting you strong as hell.  I have read about many powerful lifters that never do ‘core’ exercises but rather tense every muscle in their body for EVERY lift.  Not only will you get stronger but you may even end up with the six pack abz!

5. Follow a Plan

It wasn’t until I started tracking my numbers and following a lifting protocol for my big lifts that I started to make any serious changes to my strength.  Of course some programs are better than others but for most people anything will work as long as you follow it.  I recommend starting with something like Starting Strength, 5×5, 5/3/1, or my current program, The Juggernaut Method to start seeing some serious gains.

Important note: It is of utmost importance that you follow the damn program as it is written.  Even some of the strongest guys in the world don’t cherry pick and neither should you.  Pick a program, stick to it for more than a couple weeks, and have faith it will work.

And there you have it.  Do all of the above and you will be instantly more attractive to the opposite sex.  Promise.

Written by Steve