You have been training for a long time already, but you are not progressing. You always use the same weight when lifting and find it very hard to put more, so you just stick with the same routine, over and over. Don’t worry, this is a scenario that happens often at the gym and for a lot of people. Have you considered to change your training routine and exercise plan? In fact, when training, it is very important to vary, as the body gets used very easily to the same training cycle, resulting in no signs of progress.
It is also very important, now and then, to insert a period of strength training in your training plan, in which you will train your strength in order to be able to lift more weight and get better results.
Let’s have a look at the essential exercises to gain muscle strength: it’s no news that the most important are the “big three” – Squat, Deadlift and Benchpress. Why is that? Because they are compound exercises that allow you to train multiple muscle groups at the same time, making your overall power and strength increase, also in other lifts. They are also the quickest and most effective way to gain lean mass. Let’s have a closer look to them:
Muscles targeted: thighs, hips and buttocks, quadriceps femoris muscle, hamstrings, calves and back. In a nutshell, a fundamental exercise.
Functions: strengthening the bones, ligaments and insertion of the tendons. Increasing strength and size of the legs and the core. Strengthening upper back, abs, shoulder and arms that are all trained in stabilizing the weight when squatting with the proper form.
Muscles targeted: back, gluteus maximus and the surrounding hip/pelvic muscles, waist, backside, lower back, legs, arms, shoulders and trapezius.
Functions: Targeting core muscles, it helps to achieve correct posture and back straight in everyday life. It builds core strength, helping to maintain one’s balance. It develops gripping strength and it can make you gain power and mass very quickly.
Muscles targeted: pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, biceps, latissimus dorsi and even quadriceps.
Functions: The different positions of the grip work target different muscles. A wide grip works more the external part of the pecs. A narrow grip targets more the triceps, shoulders and inner chest. A regular grip works the pectoral major as a whole. Benchpressing increases power in the upper body like no other exercises, it increases bone density and the grip strength. Moreover, is the most loved exercises by male gym enthusiasts from all over the world.
There are also other exercises that are worth to be considered in this list and can help you increase your strength. I suggest combining those together with “the big three”.
Pullups: it works a lot of muscles together, it increases upper body strength and shoulder stability
Standing military press: it targets shoulders, delts, trapezius and triceps. It trains upper back and rear-delt stabilization and, being this the standing version of the military press, it will also strengthen core and legs.
Barbell curl: it primarily focuses on biceps, but trains muscles in your forearms and shoulders, too. Remember not to cheat too much on this, otherwise, it becomes useless and dangerous for your back.
Reverse Lat Pulldowns: it targets a wide range of muscles, hence it is great for developing the lats while also strengthening the shoulders, biceps and middle back.
If you go for a strength training session, remember to keep the reps amount low, while increasing weight and rest periods between sets (3-5 minutes).
These heavier loads will provide you with the necessary stress to strengthen both your muscles and nervous system, in order to be able to lift more weight and get bigger and stronger.