You’ve followed all the rules. Eat plenty of protein? Check. Sleep at least seven hours a night? Check. Balance cardio and strength? Train your whole body? Rest? Check, check, check.
Yet you still can’t get past this plateau. You’re still lifting the same amount of weight you were last month. You’re not losing muscle — but you’re not gaining it, either. What gives? How are you supposed to keep making progress if you’re already doing everything you’ve been told?
There’s more. They’re small things, but they still count. Want to know how to get stronger? These tips will increase your lifting power and help you build mass in no time.
1. RECOVER WITH CARDIO
Cardio alone won’t give you the results you want, but there’s a reason varying your workouts is the most common recommendation for any weight or training goal. “Rest” doesn’t always mean you have to stay home. A short, leisurely spins on a stationary or outdoor bike on your day off from strength training is beneficial for recovery and continued muscle growth. Eating a nutrient-rich diet and consuming balanced protein powders will also significantly help with the recovery process.
2. MIND THOSE HIPS
A little pain is worth the gain, but too much can knock you off your feet — literally. Most people fall prey to hip pain (and less effective workouts as a result) because they don’t take the time to stretch out that part of their bodies. Loosen up your hip flexors for better strength and cardio workouts, and less time spent trying to lift through the pain.
Agility training is important for everyone, not just your favorite pro athletes. It’s easy to neglect these kinds of workouts, but it’s time to add them to your typical workout routine. Explosive moves activate muscles you don’t use as often during your typical cardio and strength workouts. “Full body” training really means your whole body. Box jumps (even if it’s a small box to start) and similar exercises are perfect for beginners.
4. HANG AT THE BAR
No, not THAT bar (some studies suggest alcohol and fitness don’t mix well, so don’t even consider it). Weight machines and free weights are all great tools for building lean muscle, but you can’t forget about the horizontal bar — your key to lifting more than you ever have before. Grasping and holding onto the bar helps improve your grip strength. Add some pull-ups while you’re at it for a stronger back.
5. HAVE A LITTLE CAFFEINE
You probably didn’t expect to find coffee on this list — but if you did, here’s why it matters. A single cup of coffee around 45 minutes before your strength workout could increase your lifting power. You don’t need much more than a regular cup for this effect to kick in, but it’s helpful to consider your timing, especially if you’re a regular coffee drinker and also tend to work out earlier in the day. Most pre-workout supplements contain caffeine and are a good alternative for those who don’t like coffee.
6. EAT YOUR VITAMIN E
If you’re dedicated to learning how to get stronger, you can’t forget about what you’re eating. Foods with vitamin E contain antioxidants, which help heal your muscle cells as these areas recover from intense training sessions. Nuts and seeds, spinach, sweet potatoes and avocados are all worthwhile sources of antioxidants and other important nutrients to aid in muscle repair and growth.
Did you know you can completely transform your body in just 45 days? Build muscle, lose weight, and gain the energy and strength you’ve always wanted. Try our MP45 program for results you didn’t even know were possible.