Some rules for building strength.

Although muscle size and strength are not mutually exclusive, it is important to decide which one you want the most. This way you will be able to create a workout routine and diet plan that supports your goals. Add some serious strength to your frame with these proven strategies.

(a) Increase your maximum lifts- Start with a simple training program and be consistent. Stop missing workout and making excuses. Focus on increasing your maximum lift on the main strength exercises, such a deadlift or military press. If you are able to do more then one rap, then it is not your max at all. Lift heavier weights every time you hit the gym. Watch your form all the time. Do not just throw as much weight on the bar as possible to improve other people. Bad form can affect your progress and lead to serious injury.

(b) Perform natural strength movement- Certain exercise is better than others for building strength. These include the barbell squat, vertical/horizontal pulling and vertical/horizontal pushing. Basically, your workout should consist of pull-ups, bench press, military presses and bent over barbell rows. Once you master these primary movements, your strength will increase.

(c) Lift heavy- The key to gaining muscle strength is to lift heavy. Your body gets stronger by recruiting more fibers in a particular muscle group. Heavy training helps recruit fast-twitch muscle fiber, which has the most potential for increasing strength. Squats, dips, presses, deadlift and other compound moves can maximize strength gains, especially when using heavy weights.

(d) Eat for strength- Eating for strength is different than eating for muscle growth or fat loss. A bodybuilder requires fewer carbs and calories to reach his goals compared to power lift or a strong man. To get stronger, you have to load up on protein and carbs while increasing your calorie intake. Creatine, weight gainers, glutamine, and whey protein supplement should be a staple in your diet. Eat slow digesting carbs before training and refuel your muscle with simple carbs and first digesting protein post workout. Add dextrose, honey, maltodextrin or other sources of sugar to your protein shake after exercise. This will help your body recover faster.

Make sure your diet includes white rice, sweet potatoes, nuts, seeds, beef, poultry and other nutrient foods. Eat every two or three hours to reduce muscle loss and keep your metabolism high. Get your daily calories from quality food, not cookies, chips, or fries.

(e) Stay focused- Focus on the muscle groups bring worked and squeeze them hard. Use control eccentric movements to maximize your time under tension. If your form is less than perfect, try a different grip or pick a lighter weight. Getting stronger requires mental focus and intense volume.

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