Whether you're a beginner or an expert gym-rat, there is a few constants that will help you keep going. These are 8 of the golden rules to lifting bigger, better, and feeling stronger every time you workout!
- Lift BIG by warming up first: Looking for those big muscle gains? Don't short-change your warm-up. A good 5-10 minutes on the bicycle preceding your first light-weight sets is an effective way to kick off your training, and get the blood pumping.
- Three types of reps: It's very common to ask "How much weight should I use?" The answer depends entirely on your goals. Warm-up sets aside, if your goal is to built strength, you should do a heavy set of fewer than 6 reps. If your goal is to build muscle, choose a weight that you can do 8-12 reps. If you're looking for endurance, go with a weight that allows you to do more than 15 reps.
- Total sets per muscle group: There is no magic number of total exercises you should do per body part, however, there is a general rule. Doing 12 sets of exercises (3 sets of 4 exercises) for larger muscle groups (legs, chest, back) and 6-8 sets for smaller groups will allow you to avoid over training.
- Adopt an athletic stance: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward, knees bent, torso erect (chest out and shoulders back), feet firmly planted on the ground and your head looking forward. This is a naturally strong position and should be used for almost all standing exercises.
- Flip your grip: Looking for a new challenge? Try flipping your natural wide, overhand grip to an underhanded grip. This new grip can be used for almost all exercises, and is a great way to target muscles in a new way.
- Fake the V: Few of us are luckily enough to be born with low body-fat, or a natural V-shaped taper. So to create the illusion of a smaller waist, simply emphasize your upper back, and middle delts to a greater degree. Do a few more sets of a wide-grip movement, upright rows, and lateral raises on shoulder day and watch your waist magically shrink!
- The dumbbell advantage: Headed to the gym after work? Chances are you'll be hard pressed to find a bench to work with, let alone a barbell without a line up. So substitute the bar for the dumbbell. Changing this up can give your workout the update it may so greatly desire.
- Opposites attract: A super set is two different exercises performed back-to-back without a break. It's great for speeding up your workouts. However, if you do it for opposing muscle groups, research shows you can increase your strength rapidly. Pair muscle groups together that work in harmony. For example: biceps/triceps, back/chest, and quads/hamstrings.
Bonus: if you have good arches, try lifting without your shoes on. If you have flat feet, custom insoles can really help keep you aligned to avoid hurting your back, knees, or hips. Get your custom insoles today here.