1. Lift Heavier Weights
You might never be able to lift a car over your head like Superman, but lifting heavier weights is the most effective way to increase your strength. Says Shape, “Lifting lighter weights for more reps is great for building muscle endurance, but if you want to increase your strength, increasing your weight load is key. Add compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and rows to your heavy weights and you’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll build strength.”
Heavy weights are also ideal for burning calories while reshaping your body. Adds exercise physiologist and author Dr. Jason Karp, “If women want more definition, they should lift heavier since they cannot get bigger muscles because of low testosterone levels. So, lifting heavier has the potential to make women more defined.”
2. Mix It Up
Everyone gets stuck in a fitness rut sometimes. Unfortunately, this can lead to stalls and stagnation. The old adage goes that “variety is the spice of life.” It is also the spice of any workout routine, including strength training. By using a variety of equipment — including everything from dumbbells and machines to resistance bands and medicine balls — you tax your muscles in different ways. (Take a look at our lineup of strength training and other classes aimed at helping you reach your fitness goals.)
Additionally, even small changes to hand positioning, foot positioning, and seat angles can lead to improvements in support musculature, muscle movement, and range of motion. All of this equates to enhanced strength.
3. Work All of Your Muscles
Sure, we all have trouble zones that we want to target with our workouts, but focusing exclusively on one area can lead to diminishing returns. By strength training your arms, legs, back, butt, and abs equally, you optimize strength and toning. Working all of them at once by using total-body moves is the ultimate in efficiency. Think of it this way. Superman was the whole package. Why shouldn’t you be, too?
Fitness experts also recommend quickly shifting between upper- and lower-body exercises without rest to maximize returns.
4. Forget Twice a Week
Popular workout wisdom says lifting a couple times a week is acceptable, but the truth is that it’s the bare minimum. Can you think of a superhero who would settle for that? Certified personal trainer Heather Neff told PopSugar, “Do your strength training three to four days per week and make sure you’re not doing it back to back especially if you’re doing a full-body routine — always give yourself a day in between training for the muscles to recover and grow.”
5. Do Not Underestimate Nutrition
As a Kryptonian, Superman was not powered by food. As a human being, however, you are. So which foods are best if you are trying to gain muscle? Lean red meat, fish, poultry, eggs (with the yolks), and dairy are a great place to start. Nutritionists also recommend complete vegetable proteins, such as soy, beans, and quinoa; complex carbohydrates which are low on the Glycemic Index, such as brown rice, rolled oats and sweet potatoes; healthy fats, such as olive, peanut, sunflower, canola and avocado oils, nuts, and fish; and lots of fiber.
One last thing to keep in mind? Even Superman needed a little help once in awhile. Above all else, safe and effective strength training relies on proper form. A personal trainer offers the knowledge and expertise you need to successfully build a seriously super body. Sign up for a personal trainer session at Brick Bodies to get started today.