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How to Build Muscle Strength

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Obviously the reason you want to get stronger is important. It could be for a specific sport or it could be to increase the size of your muscles like bodybuilding. Whatever the reason is you want to get stronger there are a few basics concepts on strength training that might help you create a workout program that suits your needs.

1. Make the "BIG FOUR" your own

Core strength comes from increasing the weight that you can lift. The squat, deadlifts, bench-press and the shoulder press will not only increase your lean body mass but the thickness of your abdominal cavity will increase as well.

2. Use the barbell

Always start your workouts with the heavy lifts using a barbell for the Big Four. The barbell is the king on the gym floor and the dumbbell is the queen, everything else in the gym with all the other fancy equipment are just the court jesters - it still has its place, but they are not essential.

3. Keep your training simple

Don't get caught up with the latest training technique and always change something from tempo to giant sets and drop sets the list is endless. To know if you're getting stronger with the big four means you need to train the same way every time.

4. Keep a workout journal

Knowing what your best weight is and for how many reps you did it for on your last workout is valuable information and can be an essential motivation to continue training.

5. Don't over-train

Keep your workouts hard and short. When working out you need to train with maximum intensity to get results. Doing only one of the big four compound lifts for each workout with some secondary strengthening movements is enough if you train four times a week.

6. Stick to fives

When training specifically for strength sets of 5 seem to work best. Your reps will change as and when you progress but you should always try and stick to 5 sets for each movement when training for strength. Form starts to breakdown after the fifth set.

7. Cycle and add weights slowly

Reaching a training plateau can be avoided by cycling your workout routine every 6 to 8 weeks and never going too heavy for too long. Rather start off too light and slowly increase the weight the next time you do that movement. Strength comes from progressive resistance.

8. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

If you want to get stronger you need to increase your cardio capacity and doing cardio for hours at a time will only lose strength. If you shorten the rest period between sets and do more volume you will increase your cardiovascular capacity and get stronger.

9. Always balance your training

When you train one side of your body then you have to do the other side. When training the agonist never forget the antagonist. For example, if you are gonna do squats for your quads then you need to do lunges or leg curls for your hamstrings. Generally, there is an accepted ratio of two-to-one for pulling movements and pushing movements.

10. Form is everything

To know exactly how to perform the Big Four takes practice. The only way you can concentrate on lifting a heavier weight is when you are totally comfortable with the way you are doing the movement. If you are in doubt, ask someone who knows.

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