Weightlifting varies somewhat from bodybuilding. Bodybuilders seek to tweak every muscle so that they are all visible for competition. A large portion of a bodybuilder’s workout program involves cardio sessions and following a specific diet in order to get the leanest form as possible.
On the other hand, weightlifters are concerned more about how much total weight can be lifted. A competitive weightlifter wants brawn and not beauty. Weightlifters tend to be less chiseled than bodybuilders, but chances are a weightlifter can press a bodybuilder over his or her head!
If you’re a weightlifter then this article provides some tips for what you need to do to maximize your lifting potential, many of which differentiate from bodybuilders.
Tip #1 – Stick with Free Weights
Free weights will produce better results than machines because the surrounding stabilizer muscles of a targeted muscle or group are utilized during free weight exercises. Machines tend to only build the targeted muscle and therefore leave the ancillary muscles weaker and underdeveloped.
Tip #2 – Work Intensely
Workout intensity should be such that you achieve complete muscle breakdown for the targeted muscles and muscle groups. Without this muscle failure, they will not be stimulated to maximum growth.
Tip #3 – Use More Weight and Lower Reps
Weight resistance provides better strength results if accomplished using more weight at lower reps. Weightlifters should use between 4 to 8 reps with high amounts of weight, which results in increased muscle breakdown and greater muscular development. Higher reps done at lower weights are geared more towards the bodybuilder as the main result produces muscle form and not necessarily strength.
However, weightlifters may want to include this lesser weight/higher reps activity in their weight training program if they want to increase endurance as well as elevate glycogen storage, which is what makes muscles looked pumped.
Tip #4 – Use the Correct Number of Sets
In order to gain maximum muscle strength, weightlifters should use a large number of sets for the large muscle groups (3-7 sets). Smaller number of sets should be used on the smaller muscle groups (1-3 sets). Remember, you want to use maximum weight amounts for maximum strength gains.
Tip #5 – Do More Work on the Big Boy Muscle Groups
Maximum strength comes from those muscle groups that can support the most weight. Therefore, build your weightlifting program around big compound lifts such as presses, deadlifts and squats.
Tip #6 – Always Seek to Lift More Weight
Don’t settle for lifting the same weight each workout. That is for maintaining strength, but will not increase it. As a serious weightlifter, you should always strive to lift more weight than you did before. Even though it may only be a 5% increase, your ability to lift that small additional amount will cause you to produce more muscle strength. You should always strive to train on the heavy side.
Tip #7 – Focus on Proper Nutrition
Your body must have the proper nutrients in order to repair itself after intense weight training sessions. Therefore, a key element for building strong muscle mass that can lift maximum loads is to adhere to a proper nutritional diet.
Tip #8 – Get Plenty of Rest
Muscles do not grow in the gym! Muscle growth occurs after the workout is over and the muscles are allowed to rest. It is during rest time that reconstruction and recovery takes place and the muscles use the nutrients from your healthy diet and nutritional supplements to repair muscle damage and recuperate for the next weightlifting routine. Therefore, you should get at least 8 hours of sleep straight through the night and even sneak in an occasional power nap, which works especially good before your next workout.