Strength and conditioning
By Jay Johnson
Plateaus discourage all too often for gym-goers, and those that frequent strength and weight training tend to run into roadblocks or reasons as to why they may feel as if I can’t get any stronger. You start asking yourself questions: “Have I hit my limit?", "What am I doing wrong when I’m not getting any stronger?, or possibly more commonly, the mentality of “Where do I start?
Whether you were trying to break a plateau, or starting fresh into building some strength, there are a few bullets that you should live by when trying to accomplish either one of these goals in building strength and conditioning in the gym. It’s also important to realize that just the active training in the gym with weights is not how you accomplish your strength goals to reach the levels that you look to. That may only be a very small portion of it when you summarize and look at everything in the big picture. The bullets to consider are:
- Supplementation - Supplements are great considering they give you the advantage that you need based on the output that your body is having during conditioning. This applies to both cutting, and building strength. The key on taking supplements to build strength is knowing that that is exactly what it is, a supplement. You have to have the right formula for success rather than just stuffing down any random supplements without some form of a plan. Examples of some great supplements to take to build strength during your conditioning plan include creatine, steady protein supplement, amino acids, and even possibly a testosterone booster supplement. Timing is almost just as important as the actual supplement that you’re taking is well, even if it has to do with trying to do a combination of both building strength, and losing fat.
- Calorie surplus/nutrition - Having enough fuel in the tank and most importantly the right kind of fuel will be the key for breaking plateaus and achieving your goals. Strength is built through a calorie surplus and the proper macros along side of the proper training. Timing and supplementation also means a lot with consuming calories and training
- Weight training - Obviously the way to build muscle is weight training. Own body weight training can also do the trick however true strength building in my personal opinion is going to come primarily from gradual increase in using weights. Tier your sets by starting with lighter, more controllable weight, higher reps, down to lower reps and higher weight is the key to consistent progress. Challenging yourself every training session is the best thing that you can do for breaking those milestones, and what better way to do this than with good old fashion weight training
- Tracking/goal setting - Quite possibly the most important portion of progressing, you don’t know where you’re going without knowing where you’ve been. Tracking your actual weight limits and achievements for almost every session is critical for forward movement. With every milestone hit, another goal should be set. With every backwards movement that may occur, a workaround should be utilized. There is a simple principle to follow when it comes to consistently increasing your strength through goal setting and tracking.
- Volume and Variety - Something that is typically forgotten is that strength for one particular motion is built through conditioning muscle groups that are also utilized for the same range of motion. An example would be how bench press primarily strengthens the chest, other muscle groups that are also utilized during the motion include triceps, shoulders, and even serratus. The key to building proper strength is realizing that to increase strength in one particular range of motion and eventually overall is to optimize the variety of motions so that the supporting muscle groups carry more of their load. Using this logic, completing two exercises for 2 sets each > than 1 exercise for 4 total sets
Following the bullet pointed guidelines will help your strength conditioning get to a better place however, as with most fitness plans and any form of strength training, consistency and having a plan is number one. Find a plan that’s right for you if you’re looking for something that is more specific through my tailor made plans to get you on the right track to building some muscle based on your individual goals!