M.I.G | Make sure your diet, supplementation, training and rest protocols are calculated and consistent.
Once again, the iron experts at the Mammoth Institute of Gains are here to help you take your gains to another level! This week, we’re talking strength. Follow these tried and true principles to get ridiculously strong now:
10. Make sure your diet, supplementation, training and rest protocols are calculated and consistent.
This is by far the most fundamental element to any training program. As an athlete, it is your priority to ensure that your diet, training, supplementation and rest protocols are calculated and consistent.
What does that mean?
I’ll break down the basic points of which many of you probably already know
Your macronutrient intake, meal timing and types of food all need to be worked out ahead of time. Have a plan that will give you the building blocks (food) to build that new strength. That means that you should have your food cooked, weighed out and ready to go for the next day, consistently.
Calculate a supplementation protocol that complements your diet and fills in holes. Consider the basics like a good protein powder, creatine supplement and BCAAs. Make sure you have everything you need for the day, everyday. The key is consistency
Again, be meticulous in your preparation and have a plan for the week of what body parts you are going to hit on what days and what exercises you are going to execute. Week in and week out, be consistent and don’t miss workouts.
This is often overlooked, but you should be planning your rest protocol just like your diet. Set a bed time for yourself and stick to it. Staying up all night watching episodes of Game of Thrones is not going to help you get stronger. In fact, the lack of sleep will likely contribute to diminishing strength levels in the gym. Some bodybuilders and strength athletes have sleep apnea and it robs them of good night’s sleep, every night – it can also shorten your life by 20 years. Get checked out at a sleep clinic and you might get yourself a fancy new CPAP.
9. Don’t be scared, homie.
Don’t be scared, homie. You need to believe in yourself and that you can get stronger. Eventually, if you want to get stronger, you need to get under the weight and give it a shot. You should also keep your ego in check; don’t go throwing on 500 pounds on the bench if you have only ever benched 225 pounds. Be patient and sensible in your approach and over a matter of weeks, keep pushing your limits and increasing the weight. Listen to your body and know your limits; don’t fall victim to ego lifting.
8. Set weekly mini goals that lead to you accomplishing your main strength goal at the end.
As I referred to in #9, you should progressively increase your poundage on a lift over a matter of weeks. It doesn’t have to be 45 pounds every week; it can be as little as 2.5 pounds, just make some progress. Figure out your 1 rep max, what weight increment works best for you and set a goal 10 weeks from now. Every week, accomplish your weight increases. There’s no reason you can’t lift just 2.5 lbs. more every week and in 10 weeks you will have added 25 pounds to your 1 rep max.
7. Record your lifts and hold yourself accountable.
Get a log book and record your lifts. Hold yourself accountable to your plan and track your progress. Keep it simple.
6. Use music strategically.
Everyone has that one song that fires them up for a lift. Use it like a mental supplement to jack you up for your lift. As you rest just before your weekly increase, don’t listen to music – just visualize yourself completing the lift. Then, just as you are going to execute the lift, pump up the volume, play your song and crush that lift.
5. Use various techniques to augment your training and don’t accept plateaus.
There are countless different plateau busting techniques you can use to smash through your so-called “plateau”. The fact of the matter is that they happen to everyone; the key to beating them is not accepting defeat and finding a way to work around it. Here are is list of techniques that you can look up and use to your benefit:
• Wave Loading
• Rest-Pause Sets
• High Frequency Training
• De-loading Weeks
• Explosive Reps
• Super Slow Reps
4. Get a training partner you can trust.
A good training partner is worth his/her weight in gold. You need someone that you are familiar with and that can handle the weight you are using. Remember, when you are working with your training partner, you need to verbalize to them what it is that you want from them. Tell them whether you want a lift, your rep goal, when they should help, if their hands should be on the bar etc. They are there to help you; by verbalizing the lift to them, you know that they will help you and not get in the way.
3. Don’t ignore the non-mirror muscles.
I don’t know about you, but when I look in the mirror, I can’t see my rotator cuff. But, just because I can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Without a healthy rotator cuff, I can kiss benching and even squatting goodbye (because of hand position on the bar). Don’t ignore those muscles you can’t see because without them, you could be in a world of hurt. Here are some of them:
• Rotator Cuff
• Hip Abductors & Adductors
• Spinal Erectors
2. Use appropriate rep ranges.
A common error some experienced lifters make is to always work within one rep range, like 8-12 reps. To increase your strength, you need to work in rep ranges that correlate closer to about 90% of your 1 rep max, such as 1-3 reps. You can complement this by also working in the 3-6 rep range.
1. Make sure you give yourself some time off.
The number one, most important piece of advice that I can offer up is to periodically take time off from lifting heavy. Occasionally, give yourself a break – either take a week off or go for higher reps with light weight. Your tendons and joints can only take so much pounding and abuse before they give out. We’re not all relentless cybernetic killing machines from the future sent back to kill John Connor; as puny humans, we need rest.