Where do I start!
There is an increasing number of people whose goal is to get stong, to be strong. This is my area of expertise and the main area that I specialise in with my work and my own training.
There are a lot of factors that you need to take into account if you want to get strong. You have GOT to work hard. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was Arnold Schwarzenegger. You will not be exercising, you will be training and you need to be willing to commit to your routine. Although you may not be training to reach athlete levels you still need to be 100% dedicated to what it is you are seeking to achieve. There are absolutely no shortcuts. You will be sore, you will be wake up some days and ask why you’re even doing it and wonder if it’s even worth it. But it is…I promise.
If you’ve never lifted before you’ll notice you will get some awesome newbie gains, and initially your strength will increase fairly quickly in the beginning. This is great to keep you motivated when you start out, but it’s important to realise that once the newbie gains have appeared, after that it’s going to slow right down and you’ll be lucky to add a another 2-3kg for the smaller muscle groups every couple of months.
You also need to think about why you want to get strong. Do you want to be able to utilize your new strength in everyday activities? If that’s the case then you need to look at endurance training methods as well as strength training, and also functional fitness. Do you want to be more aesthetically strong, have a strong physique? Then you may need to go down the bodybuilding route of training with lot’s of isolation exercises.
Do you want to get strong for something in particular? Maybe you go climbing, which will mean a lot of focus on upper body strength. I ride motorbikes and a few ladies I know felt they needed to get stronger to be able to feel more comfortable on their bigger, heavier bikes. In which case, you want to focus heavily on really making your core strength priority.
It’s not always as simple as getting strong. When strength training you’re going to be increasing the tightness in your muscles, this will be even more so when isolating muscles, this will eventually, significantly impact on your range of motion, which means poor flexibility. So you should be looking at including a really good stretching and foam rolling routine into your training too, stretch and foam roll between sets and after your session, even dedicate half an hour a day to yoga or Pilates.
Another thing you need to take into account is nutrition. Without the correct calorie intake you might as well give up because it’ll be a long road to nowhere. To build muscle you need to fuel yourself accordingly. If you’re not eating enough calories in the right macros then you’ll find it incredibly difficult reaching your goals, and it’s going to be a very frustrating time. You need to be in a calorie surplus to keep up with the demand of your training and the constant depletion of energy within your body and your muscle stores, carbs play a big factor here. Every time you put your body through a grueling strength training session you are depleting your muscles of glycogen stores (energy), which need to be replenished, if you fail to replenish this accordingly and with appropriate protein intake then you’re going to end up making no progress. remembering a good amount of protein is imperative to muscle repair and growth.
Do you still want to get strong? Work out which route you want to go down first and then source the correct methods to get you there.