3 Things You Need to Be Doing If You Want to Get StrongerJan 22, 2024
3 Things You Need to Be Doing If You Want to Get Stronger
If you're anything like me, you've used workouts on YouTube, Instagram, maybe even Pinterest, and possibly made up workouts on your own too! I will never discourage any form of movement if it's what you want to do, but I also want to help you manage expectations so that you can avoid discouragement.
We live in an era where people want to do what they're doing and get a certain outcome. And sometimes the desired outcome will not come from those particular actions. Life (and fitness) is very specific. For example, you would never put the ingredients into a pot for chili and expect to pull a blueberry crisp out of the oven. And you'd never map yourself to the store and expect to end up at your friend's house. That would be total nonsense. But that is essentially what many people do when they begin to workout. You cannot follow along with a variety of Youtube and Instagram workouts and expect to get the results of someone following a progressive and strategic program. You need the same ingredients.
If you're new to lifting and want a beginner-friendly home program, get out my workout program STRONG 1.0. I designed it for beginner lifters who want to get confident with lifting movements in their home and build strength.
But aside from that, in this post I actually want to teach you a few things you can do to alter those Youtube and Instagram workouts to be more effective for you. So to set the scene I am going to list 3 things I often see in these workouts that are not optimal for building strength and then in the paragraph following I will give you guidance on how you easily do to adjust those workouts to be more conducive for building strength. Let's get started!
1. Combination Movements
Combination movements are movements that combine the upper and lower body. Here are some examples:
- Lunge + bicep curl
- Squat + shoulder press
- Deadlift + flys
Again, those are just some examples. The reason these are not great for building strength is because your strength will always be limited by the smallest muscle group. Think about it: your biceps will fatigue WAY before your legs. This means the smaller muscle groups might build some strength, but not the larger. And even then you're limiting the smaller muscle group by exerting energy with the lower body. If you come across these in a workout, separate them. And better yet, if it's an isolation movement (like the flys or the bicep curls) put them at the end. Prioritize the compound (multi-joint) movements!
2. Light Weights
I cannot tell you what qualifies as "heavy" for you because that depends on your level. But I can give some guidance. I see a lot of women doing their home workouts with 5lb, 8lb, 12lb...and calling it strength training. Now again, movement is great. BUT...you probably lift things that weight more than that on a daily basis so you should probably use more in your workouts. Also, if you're able to lift something more than 6 times, that's not technically strength training. That is crossing over into hypertrophy. If it goes over 12 reps, then you're crossing over into muscular endurance. This is important to note because different rep ranges correlate to different energy pathways which affects your metabolism differently. To learn more about this check out my Instagram post HERE on it. To conclude on this: If you're relatively new I recommend sticking within the 8-15 rep range and the last couple reps should be VERY hard. Do not be chasing the burn as the burn does not correlate to strength.
3. Rest Times
On Youtube workouts specifically I see a lot of very short-no rest times in-between sets. But if you want to prioritize building muscle, this is a huge no. Like I mentioned above with the strength and hypertrophy rep ranges, there are also rest time ranges for these as well. When strength training the rest times should be 2-5 mins. For hypertrophy it should be between 90-120 seconds. If you feel ready to go before the rest time is up that means the weight is not heavy enough. You also should not be working the upper body while the lower is resting because while you may be switching body parts, you are not switching bodies. While the muscle is at rest, the energy systems are not. If you are working within that 8-15 rep range I mentioned above try keeping your rest times to at least 60 seconds and possibly all the way up to 2 minutes.
What else can be done?
These were just 3 things I see holding many people back from getting stronger but there are really so many more. I cover them all in my masterclass, Everything You Need to Know About Weightlifting Before You Start Weightlifting. It's a 45 min masterclass with companion workbook designed specially for those new to lifting so they can select workouts and programs most effective for themselves and even adjust workouts when needed.
My goal is to empower you to make your own decisions in fitness. You have an incredible brain and should use it when creating your life! I know life is heavy, busy, and overwhelming. While it is easier to just take someone's word for it and plop on a Youtube workout, that might just end up in more discouragement in the long run. The choice is up to you but my masterclass is there for you (for only $29) if you want a bit of independent empowerment. GRAB IT HERE!
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