Developing a training system by which you can attain the levels of strength and muscularity will always be dependent upon the individual utilizing the plan. No one program will yield the same results from person to person, however there are certain strategies that you can put in place to ensure a greater return on effort with each day you train. At the very foundation of whatever method you decide to utilize are two very important factors: how hard you train and how smart you train. We all have varying lever systems and unique range of motions as it pertains to utilizing the exercises and equipment in our gyms, so to ensure that we are getting the most out of each set we complete, here are 5 great ways to forge a training method for yourself that allows you to execute your movements at the highest levels of intensity within the safest parameters possible.
Strategy #1: Train With A Progressive Overload Approach
One of the best options to put in place for yourself while looking into the future for your strength training aspirations, is to take the progressive overload approach for your workouts. All this means is that you gradually build up your strength from week to week and record all of your lifts in a training log so that you can look back upon the previous weeks to know what you need to lift in the present. Pound by pound and rep by rep, you aim to get stronger in each subsequent workout until your reach your peak strength whereby you insert a rest period or a change of exercises to start the entire process all over again. Do not rush this process, rather simply just let it occur.
Strategy #2: Learn Your Body
Perhaps the most important strategy you can use here is to learn everything about your body and how it moves, not only on its own, but also while under resistance. This way, you can identify which movements you move fluidly through, which ones you don’t, which ones feel right and which ones put you in an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous sequence of movements right out the gate. Once you have catalogued all of this, you can then begin the progressive overloading approach to your training.
Strategy #3: Explore Your Intensity
You will never be training your hardest if you don’t employ and apply degrees of intensity to your workouts. What does this mean? Well, intensity is your only limiting factor in the gym when it comes to progress so if you ever leave a workout feeling like you could’ve done more, should’ve done more or still feel fresh and full of energy, then you didn’t apply the required amount of intensity to your workouts. So, in this case, you have to go exploring to find what intensity means to you. Pick your favorite exercise and go all out on it until you’ve got nothing left to give and then push some more like your life depended on it, and then you will have found what intensity means. This will be a learned behavior so make sure you learn it first before you apply it to everything else.
Strategy #4: Find an Eye
Someone who has an eye for correct training is the someone you want in your training camp. When you are forcing new limits for growth and utilizing intensity and progressive overload as a means to grow, you need someone there watching what you’re doing for the purposes of safety. You want to go all out just to ensure you get that one last rep. When you have someone watching you, be it a training partner or a spotter who knows what they’re doing, they can stop you right before disaster could occur. When your form breaks down and you keep going for the sake of getting just one more rep, you’re playing with fire so make sure you don’t get burned.
Strategy #5: Look Past Yourself
Most of us think we are training hard until we find someone who actually does. There is a distinct difference between someone who trains hard and someone who trains harder than everyone else and these are the people you want to be around and emulate. Stop thinking you’re the only person who goes all out with each set you complete and find someone on your level or above and train together. What will happen is an all out assault on the weights fueled by passion and intensity and as a byproduct of that, you will become more educated on what it means to train hard.
The old adage of work smarter not harder, doesn’t really apply to bodybuilding, weight training and the whole fitness endeavor because in what we do, you have to do both. Those who do both, are the ones you are either chasing or trying to be like. Rather than being in that position, find what works well for you, push your limits to the brink, learn as much as you can about your body in the process, apply all the new found information to other areas of your training, record that, incorporate more new into the plan, keep working as hard as possible and then once you’ve maxed out everything possible, you can then say that you are the one training harder and smarter.
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member