Sorry for the clickbaity style headline and while I wouldn’t consider any of these things “secrets” by any stretch of the imagination but the stupid shit I see people doing on a daily basis leads me to believe that they are actually secrets.
“You wanna know the secret to getting strong?
Squat heavy, every week for 10 years, you’ll get there.”
Firstly, I want to point out that this isn’t just for powerlifters, although these things certainly work for powerlifters too.
There’s a great quote from Eric Cressey (mostly coaches baseball players in the states through his awesome facilities Cressey Sports Performance)
“If you aren’t getting stronger you need to examine your program
If you’re not trying to get stronger you need to examine your head”
Strength is absolutely paramount for any physique/sporting goals that you might have. It’s funny that the biggest, most jacked guys or the girls in the best shape are often really strong too isn’t it?
So here’s my secrets:
1. Add more weight to the bar.
This might sound obvious at first but how many times do you see people training or doing programs where they lift the same weights, for the same amount of sets and reps that they always have?
I don’t care how fancy your program’s periodisation is, at some stage to get stronger you need to lift more than you have before.
2. Make technique a priority
This one is so criminally underrated by most people. We have some really strong people in the gym here, but every day every set/rep is analysed and scrutinised to find ways to improve technique. If you have question marks over your technique then go find someone that can fix that for you. Or go find a trainer that knows what they’re talking about. There’s enough good information online that you should be able to learn good technique. Record your sets if you train alone so that you can see what’s going wrong.
3. Attack your weak points
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Where in the strength curve of a lift are you weakest? Does your deadlift stick at the knee? Do you collapse half way up when you squat? Can you not break a bench press off your chest? Use special exercises to fix them weakness. Deficit deadlifts, paused squats, wide grip bench with a 3 count pause on your chest are just some ways to fix them problems. Then make sure you hammer the weaker muscles with accessory exercises.
4. Get around people that drive you to be stronger.
With the internet these days that doesn’t even have to be in the gym. There are communities of people online pushing each other every day to get better. Obviously having a group of people around you pushing you is going to help. Reliable, consistent training partners are one of the most valuable tools you can have. People that won’t let you get away with bitching out, or will give you serious grief if you do are going to drive you to get better and better.
5. Find a program you like, stick to it, run with it.
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Find a program that resonates with you for some reason, don’t think you know more than the person who designed the program and make a million changes to it (if you do that you’re not following the program) and work your bollocks off.
Almost any program will work (I ran 5/3/1 for nearly 2 years) 5/3/1, starting strength, 5th set, 5×5, whatever. Just find a plan, be consistent and do the work.
These are the only “secrets” to getting stronger. Be consistent, be aggressive in your pursuit of strength and don’t be a bitch.