Impressed by the people bench-pressing loaded barbells at the gym? Or perhaps you’re looking to simplify your daily chores? Whatever the reason, working to improve strength is one of the best decisions you can make for your health and general well-being.
In order to build strength, you need to build lean muscle. Creating muscle mass will boost your metabolism and burn fat; lower your risk of diabetes; combat bad mental health; and ward off signs of aging, including osteoporosis and muscle decay. You can achieve all of this while increasing strength and working toward your dream body.
Our 4-step program for improving strength teaches you important things you should be doing in order to effectively build muscle. It’s the perfect muscle building guide for beginners!
Step 1: Slowly increase your dumbbell and barbell weights.
If it’s easy to shoulder-press 10 lb. dumbbells, you won’t build muscle by continuing to lift the same weight. In order to become stronger, challenge yourself to lift heavier weights. Assign 2-3 days of the week for weightlifting high weights for 5-8 repetitions. This high-weight, low-rep combo is considered the most effective for muscle building. Aim to use a weight where you struggle with the last 1-2 repetitions, but still manage to complete them with proper form.
You might also like 15 Easy Dumbbell Workouts Even Workout Haters Will Love.
Step 2: Vary your exercises.
It’s easy to repeat the same routine every time you go to the gym. If you’re sticking to a few core moves, you may be neglecting some muscles. This can be dangerous because building strength unevenly might cause some muscles to become overused and fatigued, which can lead to injury. There are hundreds of exercises you can rotate to target muscles all over your arms, shoulders, back, chest, and legs.
Step 3: Increase your protein intake.
Protein is essential for building muscle. When you lift heavy weights, muscle tissue breaks down and your body uses the amino acids in protein to rebuild it. When you’re feeling sore after a difficult workout, it means your body is working hard to rebuild better, stronger muscles. Make sure you consume enough protein to give your body all the amino acids it needs. Some of the best sources of protein are chicken, turkey, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and fish. Good vegan sources of protein include quinoa, hemp seed, soy, and seitan.
Try these 15 High-Protein Recipes for Weight Loss.
Step 4: Stretch.
It’s easy to overlook stretching when you’re trying to focus on building strength. Stretching is incredibly important for repairing muscle tissue and preventing injuries. It can help keep muscles from becoming too tense and overworked. Always stretch after your workouts. You can even assign 1-2 days of the week for foam-rolling tight muscles.
We need your feedback! Leave a comment about this article or anything else on the site in the section below.