Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Get stronger (here’s how)

Everybody wants to look good, but the real benefit of strength training is… well… getting stronger. Increasing your physical strength will serve you much better in the long term, whether you’re an athlete or not.

And, while the aesthetic result of working out is great, research shows that stronger people generally live longer (so there’s that). Strength and functional fitness is the way to go.

Move better, function better, perform better.

Here are a few basic tips for improving your strength (with some information borrowed from our friends at ASD Performance):

Lift Heavy

Lifting heavy (90{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} 1RM) will improve strength by recruiting high-threshold motor units. The muscle fibers associated with these motor units have the most potential for increasing strength. However, they fatigue quickly.

Exercise Selection Matters

Maximal lifting is best applied to multi-joint exercises (e.g., squats, deadlifts, presses, and pulls). Even though the weight is heavy, your intent should be to move the weight as fast as possible. This will ensure you’re recruiting as many fast-twitch muscle fibers as possible.

Incorporate Plyometrics

Otherwise known as jump training, plyometric training involves hop- and jump-type exercises that train and develop what’s called the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). The stretch-shortening cycle teaches the body to better utilize stored elastic energy to produce stronger and more forceful contractions. This improvement in reactive ability can also be explained by improvements in muscle-tendon stiffness. Body-weight or weighted plyometric can be utilized such as consecutive body-weight jumps over hurdles or continuous dumbbell jump squats.

Rest Longer

When bodybuilding or training for muscle growth, short rest periods are recommended between sets, such as 30-60 seconds. When training for strength, increase your rest to 2-5 minutes depending on the exercise. The loads lifted will require longer rest periods to ensure you complete the same number of reps in the subsequent sets. Your mental strength and ability to focus on the heavy set will also appreciate the longer break.

Get Your Protein

Most experts agree that active men and women should ingest 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of their target body weight, daily. Athletes and more experienced weightlifters may require more protein, as much as a gram (or more) per pound of their target body weight, daily. Lifting heavy weight creates a lot of muscle demand. Feed your muscles often, with lean protein from whole foods and a quality whey protein supplement.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Steve Hare
Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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