Getting stronger requires commitment, hard work, and consistency and it goes beyond just lifting heavy weights and drinking protein shakes. Strength training helps make every aspect of your life, easier. Whether it’s carrying groceries, picking up and your kids, or even reducing chronic aches and pains, building your strength can help your overall well-being. Good news - we can help! Here are some of our best tips on how to get stronger in three simple steps.
How To Get Stronger Step 1: Pick The Right Strength Program
Picking the right strength program really depends on your goals. Are you getting stronger to live a healthier life? Do you want to get stronger so you can compete? Or are you building your strength, just to look better and feel fit? Finding your why is the start of building a great plan, defining how you can be successful and the first step to getting stronger, faster.
Once you define your ‘why’ and no matter what strength program you end up choosing, you’re going to build the most strength, using compound movements. What are compound movements? Compound movements involve multiple joints and stimulating more than one muscle group at a time. Exercises and lifts such as (Deadlifts, Push Press, Bench Press, or Back Squat) provide for a better workout because they stimulate all your major muscle groups at once. This means that you’ll build the greatest amount of strength, in the shortest period of time. Even without heavyweight, compound movements at a high-volume will still help you get stronger, faster than simply using isolated movements such as bicep curls or exercise machines.
Get Back To Basics
Most of the Instagram models that make Kim Kardashian’s booty look like a tic-tac, didn’t get their goodies by leg lifts and glute bridges on the Bosu Ball. If you want to get stronger, get back to the basics, like squats and deadlifts. Basic compound movements will be best to get stronger. Not the workouts that get you posted on Youtube.
Focus On Form
Without impeccable form, and taking the time to learn how to perform exercise movements the right way, you’ll never gain the strength, or develop your muscles into what they could be. Never sacrifice form, so you can hit a PR, or lift heavier. Check your ego at the door, and lift to get stronger, not to look cool. You’ll never be more embarrassed than the time you load up the bench press with too much weight, just so you can get stuck on the way back up. Trust me.
No matter what strength program you choose, whether it’s CrossFit or powerlifting, pause reps are a tried and true method of building strength and should be included in any strength-training program.
When you pause at the bottom of a lift, there is no momentum or stored energy you can use to extend your movement. When you pause, the only thing you have is the strength in your muscles to perform your rep. So, how long should you pause for? You only need a small pause to take advantage of the strength that pausing provides. Just long enough, so that your momentum stops and starts again.
(If you're looking to get stronger and improve your performance, we recommend our Six-Week Strength Training Program)
How To Get Stronger Step 2: Create A Meal Plan Customized For You
Nutrition is a critical component of building strength and how you can get stronger. Without the right nutrients to help your body adequately build, rebuild, and recover from your workouts, you’ll never gain the strength that you want.
Eat More Of The Right Things
You can’t just eat more and expect to get stronger. You have to eat the right things to get stronger. Nutrition is key, and it's important that you eat and plan according to what your specific goals are. So what should you eat to get stronger?
Adding quality carbohydrates to your diet is extremely important to replenish glycogen levels and provide your body with the fuel you need to perform heavy lifts and build strength.
If you’re really trying to gain strength or be more competitive, then eating quality carbohydrates such as (Sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or Quinoa) will provide the energy you need to train harder, perform heavier lifts and recover faster.
RELATED ARTICLE Complex Vs Simple Carbohydrates: Not All Carbs Are Created Equal
Eat Quality Protein
High protein anything is currently all the rage. It’s always going to be the rage. It’s never, not going to be the rage. People add protein to their ice cream, yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, and pancakes. Why though? Protein is lean and will help you build muscle mass, and get stronger. Without it, you won’t be able to meet your body goals. Protein stimulates the process of Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) which is the primary process to build new muscle mass. So, eat your protein and make it a staple within your nutrition program.
Keep in mind, not all sources of protein are created equal. Just because you ate a granola bar that said, ‘8 grams of protein’ on the wrapper, does not mean it was a quality source of protein. Eating wholesome, hormone free, organic, and grass-fed sources of lean protein avoid inflammation and help keep your body running at optimal levels, to help make you stronger. But which protein source is the best to gain strength?
High-Quality Sources of Protein
Now, just because you eat protein does not mean that you’re automatically going to get stronger. If that were the case, we’d all have superhuman strength and be slamming protein shakes for every meal of the day. So how much protein do you need to eat, so you can get stronger?
A common misconception is that the more protein you eat, the more muscle mass and strength you’ll ultimately gain. Wrong. The amount of protein you need is different for everyone and your body can only utilize so much. Also, we’re all different and have different goals and priorities.
Jorn Trommelen puts it perfectly, in his comparison of minimalists to optimists.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
It’s like this, for those of you doing high-intensity training and CrossFit, protein requirements are generally around 1.4-2.0 g/kg (or around 0.64-0.9 g/lb) of body mass, to build strength and muscle mass.
However, the basic recommendation for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram (or around 0.36 g per pound) of body mass in untrained, generally healthy adults. For instance, a 150 lb (68 kg) person would consume around 54 grams a day.
RELATED ARTICLE What Is The Best Protein For Muscle Gain
Do You Need Help With Your Nutrition?
If you're looking to get stronger and gain more muscle mass, and have no idea where to start, we can help. Swolverine offers one-on-one customized nutrition programs to help you meet your health and fitness goals and build more muscle mass and strength.
Every program that our Certified Sports & Exercise Nutrition Specialist creates is designed with each individual's specific goals and aptitude in mind. Your coach will groom through your current lifestyle, preferred foods, and nutritional habits while advising on small, medium, and large general changes that will enhance your nutritional journey and health goals. Each program comes with a
- Customized Nutrition Plan
- Customized Weekly Grocery Lists
- Exclusive Access To Our Tracking App
- Weekly Check-Ins With Your Nutrition Coach
Apply today at THE SWOLEKITCHEN
How To Get Stronger Step 3: Supplement Your Diet For Strength Gains
No one’s diet is perfect. And it never will be. I’m not going to get on my soapbox and tell you that everyone needs supplements to help optimize their nutriment, but it’s true. We all have specific dietary needs, and each one of us has different and unique nutritional needs. Some people need more CoQ10 to keep a healthy heart. Others may have joint pain and need additional Omega-3s to reduce inflammation. Then you have people like me that need a healthy amount of probiotics to keep their digestion and immune system under control. Bottom line is, that we all need to bridge the gaps in some way, shape, or form.
If your immune system is compromised, then your body is susceptible to becoming ill. And guess when your body is most susceptible to becoming sick? When you’re working out. While you’re training, you put extremely physical stress on your immune system. Micronutrients maintain every biological system in your body from your brain, heart, muscles, joints, blood circulation, and your bones. Without the right micronutrients, you won’t get the results you want and building strength.
What Are The Best Supplements For Muscle Mass And Strength?
Revisiting the minimalists vs optimists conversation, the minimalists, are those that drink protein after their workout (when they remember) and drink a standard pre-workout or creatine. Optimists, who invest a bit more effort will want to optimize each aspect of their training, such as pre, intra-, and post-workout recovery. If you’re a minimalist then you’ll definitely gain more strength over time through consistency, supplementing with kre-alkalyn and drinking your post workout shake. However, there is always a more optimized way to do things, so you can build your strength, faster.
Here are the supplements we recommend to gain more muscle and strength.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Isolate tops the list when it comes to the best supplements to gain muscle mass and strength. Whey protein isolate is a highly purified form of Whey Protein, which is rich in Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, which are essential to help build, rebuild, and repair muscle mass.
Supplementing with Whey Protein Isolate stimulates protein synthesis (muscle building) and minimizes proteolysis (muscle breakdown), which are the two biological processes that are essential to building muscle mass and strength. What makes whey protein isolate one of the best supplements for building muscle and strength is the absorption rate. Whey protein Isolate digests faster than other forms of protein, meaning that vital nutrients are delivered faster to your muscle tissues, stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
Not only that, Whey Protein Isolate, packs more protein per serving, than any other protein supplement, so you can hit the gain train, and get stronger, faster.
Kre-Alkalyn is a patented pH-corrected form of creatine.
Creatine is one of the most proven supplements you can take, to build more muscle mass and strength, at a much faster rate. Studies have consistently shown that creatine supplementation increases muscle creatine and phosphocreatine levels approximately 15-40%. So why is that good? More creatine enhances anaerobic training capacity and increases training volume.
Kre-Alkalyn Vs Creatine Monohydrate
So if creatine is so great, why is Kre-Alkalyn a better option? Kre-Alkalyn was created to address the negative side effects associated with Creatine Monohydrate, namely the toxic conversion to creatinine. Despite creatine being a great supplement, it has one problem; bioavailability, or the ability for your body to absorb it. Therefore as compared to creatine monohydrate;
- Kre-Alkalyn is not degraded to creatinine which subsequently leads to greater bioavailability
- Kre-Alkalyn solves for side effects such as bloating and cramping.
- 5 grams of Kre-Alkalyn is equivalent to about 10–15 grams of ordinary Creatine Monohydrate
- Kre-Alkalyn does not require a loading phase or de-loading phase
If you’re thinking about supplementing with creatine to help build muscle mass, kre-aklayn will no doubt be the best option.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
One of the best supplements to build muscle mass and strength are BCAAs. BCAA’s are the building blocks of protein. Unlike other essential amino acids, BCAAs have aliphatic side chains, with a branch or (a central carbon atom bound to three or more carbon atoms), distinguishing them molecularly and functionally. The use of BCAAs in sports performance is supported by a litany of clinical evidence and research that suggests BCAAs have positive effects on muscle protein synthesis, and preventing protein degradation, which provides benefits for increasing lean muscle mass, improving recovery, and increasing strength.
Therefore, taking BCAAs during or after exercise stimulates the rate of muscle protein synthesis and leads to positive protein balance, (i.e. the rate of protein synthesis is greater than the rate of protein breakdown). Why is that good? Gains, that's why! By adding BCAAs to your nutritional regimen, you’re creating a positive protein balance, or rate of protein synthesis, leading to increased lean muscle mass and strength.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT BCAA + Electrolytes + Glutamine
Beta-Alanine is a non-essential beta-amino acid, which has proven to be one of the most effective supplements in building muscle mass, endurance, and strength. Unique in its anatomy, beta alanine is a component of the histidine dipeptides carnosine and anserine, as well as vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid.
When taken as a supplement, beta-alanine passes through the bloodstream into skeletal muscle, via a beta-alanine and taurine transporter. Once in the skeletal muscle, it binds with the essential amino acid L-histidine, to form dipeptide carnosine.10 So, how does this help you build more muscle mass and strength? Beta-alanine raises blood carnosine levels. Carnosine is the bodies’ first line of defense against increased hydrogen ions, during high-intensity training.
The rise in hydrogen lowers muscle pH, which is correlated with increased muscle fatigue. Studies have shown, that supplementation with beta-alanine can increase muscle carnosine concentrations by up to 58 percent in just four weeks, and 80 percent in 10 weeks. Higher concentrations of carnosine, via beta-alanine supplementation, means less muscle fatigue, hard workouts, and increased training volume. A higher training volume means greater gains in strength.
RELATED ARTICLE The Best Supplement For Athletic Performance: Beta-Alanine
Citrulline Malate has proven to have several significant benefits for increasing strength, recovery, and endurance through different mechanisms of action.
One of the biggest benefits of Citrulline Malate is its ability to influence Nitric Oxide (NO) production through a rise in plasma L-Arginine levels. Nitric Oxide is a vasodilator, therefore widening blood vessels, increasing blood flow and circulation without increasing blood pressure. That means better muscle repair, faster recovery, and increased strength.
With higher levels of L-Arginine, Citrulline Malate also facilitates the biological process of protein synthesis, where cells generate new proteins. During this process, amino acids are absorbed into muscle cells, leading to an increase in blood insulin levels to maintain and increase muscle mass and strength. High-intensity training causes muscle anabolism and catabolism, (buildup and breakdown) of muscle tissue. Therefore, facilitating the process of protein synthesis will help produce and maintain muscle mass and strength. Which means what? Gains!
Yet another amazing benefit of Citrulline Malate, is its ability to enhance the body’s use of amino acids during your training.
In a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, 17 pre-professional male cyclists were administered 6g of Citrulline Malate two hours prior to exercise and participated in a 137-km cycling stage. Results from blood tests indicated that most essential amino acids significantly decreased their plasma concentration as a result of exercise; however, most non-essential amino acids tended to significantly increase their concentration. CM also significantly increased the plasma concentration of citrulline, arginine, ornithine, urea, creatinine, and nitrite, with a significant increase in growth hormone. This study proves that Citrulline Malate actually enhances the body’s use of amino acids, especially branched-chain amino acids during high-intensity training. (3)
RELATED ARTICLE 3 Clinically Proven Benefits Of Citrulline Malate
How To Get Stronger: Takeaway
So how can you get stronger? Well, if you implement these three simple steps into your new strength training plan, you will no doubt, build muscle mass and strength. The most important part is creating a plan, a path to success, and executing on that plan. We can give you all the advice you need on how to get stronger, but it's ultimately up to you. Find a strength program that you enjoy, create a custom nutrition plan with quality whole foods, and use high-quality supplements that are proven to get you results.