If you want to increase your strength, you will be able to do so without also getting huge. The fact is that you don’t have to increase your size in order to become stronger, but there are a number of things that you’ll need to know before getting started. The more of this information you have, the better your chances will be of succeeding.
Focus on the Amount of Weight you Lift
The amount of weight that you lift at one time will play an important part in getting you stronger while staying lean. You will find that maximal lifting is best for multi-joint exercises, including pulls, presses, deadlifts and squats. It is important that you move the weight as quickly as you can, despite how much of it there may be. This will ensure that you include lots of different fast-twitch muscle fibers with the workouts you do.
Practice Speed Lifts
One of the best things that you can do when it comes to increasing your strength without also increasing your size is speed lifts. This is a great lifting style that will help you with lifting faster and gaining a lot more power in the process. With speed lifts you should be using 60% 1RM loads, moving them as fast as you can. Bands and chains can be used for resistance to challenge yourself even more. Olympic lifts, including the clean & jerk and the snatch are ideal. Medicine balls throws along with kettlebell swings are also great ideas.
Jump training or plyometrics can be very useful for gaining strength. The “stretch shortening cycle” acclimates the body to where it becomes accustomed to storing elastic energy so as to produce stronger contractions. These plyometric exercises can be supplemented with jumping over hurdles or even doing jump squats over and over without stopping for a while.
Scrap the 5×5 Approach
Those who want to bulk up take the 5×5 approach, which means using five sets and doing five reps each. If you want to get strong but not big though, you will need to think about keeping your volume to a minimum. Instead you should be concentrating on lifting the weight as quickly as you possibly can. Make sure that you cut back on the number of training sessions you do per week so you can give your central nervous system the time it needs to heal between sessions.
Sprints and Drills
It’s also highly recommended that you use sprinting to your advantage, especially if you want to increase your speed. Doing sprint intervals or agility drills can help you with improving your strength and power when it comes to running and cutting. You will find that being able to accelerate quickly out on the field will make you stand apart from all of the other players.
Use Contrast Training to your Advantage
Contrast training involves the use of heavy strength training with plyometrics. There is a physiological mechanism that contrast training is based on, and it’s called post-activation potentiation or simply PAP. You begin with a more intense heavy strength training exercise with a five rep maximum. Then after you take a 3-10 minute break, you perform a similar plyometric exercise for anywhere from 5-10 reps.
There is quite a bit of research that indicates that plyometric exercises can really help with developing one’s power and force. If you want to start increasing your strength, it’s very important that you take the time to look into these exercises. Be careful that the break you take between the strength and plyometric exercise is not too short, because it could lead to extreme fatigue.
Longer Rest Periods
When you are training purely for muscle growth, you will only want to rest for around 30-60 seconds between each of your sets. If you are just training for strength though, you will want to increase your rest time to 2-5 minutes, depending on the specific exercise that you happen to be doing. You will be lifting heavier loads, so your body will need the longer rest periods so that you will be able to do the same number of reps in all future sets.
Strengthen your ‘Weakest Links’
One of the best things that you can do when going about trying to building strength and not size is to work on strengthening some of the weaker points of your body. Whether it is your abdominals, rotator cuff or something else entirely, there are most likely one or two areas that you can work on improving. The last thing you want is to fall victim to a “weak link” somewhere in your body, so you’ll have to make sure that you work on areas that could potentially become a problem later on.
Make basic Strength Training the Priority
The fact is that strength training is pretty basic, and it definitely shouldn’t be complicated at all. If you are really trying to focus on developing your strength above all else, make sure that you are using the proper form and standing on stable ground at all times. These are just some of the basics of strength training that you will need to keep in mind. A lot of people watch YouTube videos of people performing all kinds of outrageous strength training stunts, but that’s not what day-to-day strength training is all about.
Avoid Stretching Before Working Out
While you may have always been told to stretch before you work out, the fact is that doing so doesn’t really give you an advantage of any kind. The fact is that dynamic warm-ups are now believed to be best when it comes to preparing for a workout or exercise session. Basic state stretching can actually have a very negative effect on your body if you do it before working out. This may go against everything your coach taught you back in high school gym class, but the fact is that it’s just not true in any sense.
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