Why you aren't very strong

Reason #1 - You don't know what you're doing

For those of you who are new to lifting, or just outright weak, you may be halfway through an excruciating set of deadlifts and wonder…is there an easier way?

> Shall I try Romanian deadlifts next week instead?

> How many reps/days/kilograms/sets?

The list of questions is endless! But maybe you shouldn’t be asking the questions in the first place. You see, when you are first starting out in training (in fact it could be anything, a new job, new hobby etc.) you NEED someone to tell you what to do. This is important because you don’t know what you are doing! So why are you acting like you do? I think it’s because when it comes to our own body, we all believe that we are the expert….we could be wrong.


To further illustrate my point, let’s imagine that you can cook a little. You can whip up a nice Bolognese for the family, but that’s about it. Now would you go into the kitchen of a big restaurant and take over head chef duties? Would you feel comfortable doing so? Probably not…


Then why do people who have never lifted before write their own programs?! The easiest way to get bigger and stronger is to get someone who knows what they are doing to write you a program.


Reason #2 - You're not consistent


There’s nothing worse than the program hopper, the person who jumps from program to program without fully investing the time and effort necessary to make physical improvements. These people are usually the biggest moaners too, believing that most methods don’t work because they’ve tried everything!


It takes some trial and error to determine what exercises and loads work best for you. So a bit of program hopping is necessary, but you should take into account the following points.


It takes a minimum of 8 weeks of training with the same program for most long lasting increases in physical performance. This is 2 months of solid training. Whilst you will make immediate gains from any decent program (more reps than last week, more weight than last week etc.), these are almost completely neural gains.


The body will try to improve performance in the most efficient way possible, so if you want to add some muscle size, your body will adapt to make the nervous system better at your chosen exercises before it gives in and adds some muscle.


What works really well for you may not work as well for everyone else and vice versa. So beware taking the advice of someone who is raving about a particular training program, it may not work as well for you!


So when choosing and evaluating a training program, use this 3 step process to get the most out of every method you try:


1) Train on the program for a minimum of 8 weeks without changing anything


2) Keep the exercises that you got stronger on and drop the rest


3) Replace the dropped movements with similar but different exercises


Keep track of everything and use the above points every time you feel that a change is in order. Remember; it’s better to change one thing at a time with an existing program than to throw everything out and start again! If you have any more questions about this concept, just drop me an email and I’ll help you out!


Reason #3 – Training to Failure


When training for strength, training to failure is stupid. Lift a heavy weight for many repetitions and your muscles will get tired and motor control will deteriorate. If you continue until failure, your motor control will become so bad that the risk of injury increases significantly. Why risk it?


Training to failure on squats, deadlifts and bench press is a bad idea IF you are training for strength. 


Strength is a skill, practice your strength and stay fresh whilst lifting a heavy weight. Learn to stop the set when you reach ‘technical failure’. As soon as your technique worsens from your normal, solid groove and turns into a shaky, wobbly, camel-backed rep, you need to stop the set…for the sake of your strength gains as much as for your spine health.


So there you have it. Be consistent and train smart, and you'll get to where you want to be much quicker than rushing around and training like an idiot, although the second way 'feels' like you're progressing more, you're really just wasting your time. 


Practice your strength, help your body recover and you will get STRONG!


Rise above




Head Coach

Raw Strength Gym, Warrington


PS - 


Need motivation, help and a big challenge to reach your strength goals? One piece of advice: Start powerlifting correctly.


Beginners who haphazardly start powerlifting often end up hating what is a very rewarding, inclusive sport.


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Go ahead and enroll now:  http://www.rawstrength.uk/strong-powerlifting-course


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