You’ll be amazed at these 4 simple fixes that will give you the ability to lift more weight in a matter of seconds.
For those of use who’ve been in the lifting game for quite a while, we know extremely well how hard it is to add even the smallest extra weight to the barbell and how patient one needs to be to keep progressing. But there are a few simple shortcuts which can help us lift more weight than normal instantly which would otherwise take us weeks, even months to achieve.
Even if you’re following a sound training plan and have an impeccable diet, it will still take some time to increase the weight on the bar on the bench press, for example. With the 4 tips in this article, you’ll be able to achieve that in one workout session.
You should always think long-term when it comes to fitness. Spiking your strength levels within only one workout session will create an optimal environment for muscle growth with each subsequent workout. Pretty soon, you will achieve a greater muscle mass, and create a chiseled physique much faster.
What is “irradiation” ? When one muscle is activated, tension is spread as well as neural activity throughout nearby areas, making you become slightly stronger in those areas. When you do the same with all muscles, you will achieve maximal strength potential.
You probably think you’re tight enough when you lift. But that’s simply not the case. Before you try each exercise, squeeze the glutes as hard as possible, tighten the core and make a fist, squeeze it hard, so that the knuckles turn white. Imagine spreading the floor with your feet before doing a squat, tearing a piece of the floor with your hands when doing a push-up and you can even try tightening your legs on some small, upper-body movements like biceps curls.
You will never be able to discern how much strength you’re leaving untapped until you start doing this. The optimal time for using irradiation is when doing low-rep heavy work in order to lift a bigger weight or at the end of a long set to do a few extra reps.
This is a very powerful technique which will help you trick the muscles into becoming stronger naturally. The way it works is that before doing the main lift, you expose the muscles to one heavy set of 1-3 reps done with around 90% of your one rep max weight. For example, let’s say your 1 rep max is 300 lbs on squats. You would do a 2-rep set with 90% of your 1 rep max. Then you can proceed to do 10 reps with 250 pounds. Post-activation potentiation will make this set will feel much lighter. You can use the same strategy for kettlebell swings to target the glutes, learn to activate the hip drive from the bottom and give your CNS (Central Nervous System) a boost.
When shocking the muscles with short, yet intense bursts of exercise, you “potentiate” the muscles and make them stronger if only temporarily. Post Activation potentiation will make the actin and myosin in your muscle fibers become more receptive to calcium, which in turn will create faster contractions in the muscle fibers and will stimulate the nervous system to produce bigger force. That’s how the principle of wave loading works.
Cut back on warm-up sets/reps
The majority of people waste too much energy on warming up. Let’s say you want to do 3 sets of 10 reps on the bench press using 225 lbs. Most people would do this for a warm-up:
140 lbs x 10-12 reps
160 lbs x 8-10 reps
180 lbs x 6 reps
200 lbs x 4 reps
Then, they’d put 225 lbs and begin their training. However, with warm-up usually, less is more. So, instead of adding 20 pounds in each subsequent set, you can use bigger weight jumps, like 50 pounds. This will have the same effect and it will save you a lot of time and unnecessary lifting.
You can also try shortening the warm-up sets to maximum 3 reps, because low reps are in this case more effective than using high reps. The real purpose of the warm-up is supposed to be acclimating the body to progressively higher loads while practicing proper form and technique at the same time.
So, back to our example with the 225 pounds, you can try this instead:
45 lbs x 5 reps (using the bar only)
100 lbs x 3 reps
140 lbs x 3 reps
180 lbs x 3 reps
This way you will feel as prepared as before and you’ll be able to lift more weight.
If you aim to lift enormous weights, make sure that you add chalk to your training toolkit.
Many pulling movements like pull-ups, deadlifts, bent-over rows etc. will make your grip give up first before the big muscles, which ultimately limits how much weight you can lift and inhibits your strength progress.
You can avoid this by putting chalk on your hands and putting some chalk on the bar too. This will get rid of any moisture, provide a stronger grip and increase surface friction by filling up all the cracks on the bar and on your hands.
This way, you’ll be able to grip the bar tighter, lift a lot more weight by allowing the big muscles to do the majority of pulling. If you haven’t used chalk when deadlifting, you’ll be amazed at the results. There are some gyms where using chalk is forbidden. Either sneak some chalk in and clean the bars later or find yourself another gym.