There are many good reasons to want to increase your physical strength. You might want to be more useful when executing practical tasks, like helping friends move. You might want to improve your ability to defend yourself in a physical conflict. Or you may just want to improve your own confidence.
Whatever your motivation, you need a plan in place to increase your strength safely and reliably. What does it take to increase your strength? And what’s the best way to get there?
How Does Strength Develop?
Let’s start with the basics of how strength works. Strength refers to a person’s ability to use their muscles in specific ways, such as lifting something heavy or applying force to a secondary object. Accordingly, strength is almost entirely dependent on the size of your muscles and how they function. Bigger, stronger muscles are capable of stronger feats, thereby making the people with those strong muscles stronger in all our eyes.
So how do you get bigger, stronger muscles? The simple answer is to engage in resistance training. Our bodies are designed to maintain our muscles and modify them as needed, often in response to environmental stimuli.
If you begin lifting heavy weight or facing significant resistance, you’ll create small tears in your muscle tissue, which will prompt your body to repair those muscles. If you damage them appropriately and meet your nutrition and rest needs, your body will automatically repair those muscle tissues to be stronger than they were before.
Do this with enough repetitions, over enough time, and you will inevitably become stronger.
The Essentials for Building Strength
Now let’s focus on the essentials for building strength. We already established that you need to exercise and rest to build muscle tissue, but there are some other important nuances to explore.
- Progressive overload. Your muscles very quickly acclimate to their environmental surroundings. If you lift the exact same amount of weight in the exact same way, every week, your muscles are never going to improve. Instead, you need to practice something called progressive overload; with this approach, you’ll be gradually adding to the weight you lift or adding repetitions to your routine. Bit by bit, you’ll force yourself to become stronger.
- Proper form. It’s hard to overstate just how important it is to maintain proper form in all your exercise routines. When you’re lifting weight, proper form will reduce your likelihood of injury and make sure that you work out the appropriate set of muscles on your body. Good form will also increase the efficiency of your movement so you get even more value out of your routine.
- Consistency. Working out once or twice won’t make a big difference in your strength. If you don’t continue exercising, any benefits you would have gotten will disappear. To build and maintain strength, you need to be consistent in your approach to working out.
- Adequate nutrition. The body can’t repair muscle tissue through magic. It needs proper nutrition in order to do it; that means getting a caloric surplus, so it has enough material to repair the muscle tissue easily, and getting plenty of protein, along with some other requirements. If you’re serious about building strength, you need to take a close look at what you’re eating and put together a better nutritional plan.
- Rest. It’s impossible to build muscle without adequate rest. If you lift too frequently or if you push yourself too hard, you’ll get in the way of your own progress. Additionally, it’s important to take days off between your workouts and get plenty of sleep every night.
Additional Tips for Building Strength
These are some additional tips that can help you build strength quickly, efficiently, and safely:
- Prioritize personal safety. No matter how quickly you want to build strength or what your goals are, you need to prioritize your own personal safety. Educate yourself on proper form, use the proper equipment, and never push yourself too far.
- Learn from a variety of sources. Different people and different institutions have different perspectives on strength building and exercise. Try to learn from a variety of different sources, so you can learn from all of their perspectives.
- Get individualized coaching. Consider working with a personal trainer to get individualized coaching. Not only will it increase your likelihood of doing exercises properly, but it will also serve as great motivation to keep you going.
- Prepare for plateaus. When building strength, it’s common for people to encounter plateaus – temporary obstacles that seem to prevent them from advancing any further. Prepare for these plateaus psychologically and don’t let them stand in the way of your strength-building journey.
Increasing your strength isn’t easy, but it’s also not as complicated as some people make it out to be. As long as you focus on the essentials and keep pushing yourself to new heights, your muscles will get bigger – and you’ll get stronger.