7. SQUAT LIKE A POWERLIFTER
If you want to be strong, you must have a big squat. And to have a big squat, your technique has to be solid, like that of a seasoned powerlifter. A study at Louisiana Tech University (Ruston) found that the most experienced and strongest powerlifters in their group did three things that novice lifters didn’t. They descended more slowly on the negative portion of each rep; they accelerated faster from the bottom position; and they didn’t allow their knees to track over their toes, which enabled them to go heavier without risking injury. If you want to maximize your squatting strength, we suggest you adopt these techniques ASAP.
8. STRAP UP
A Weider Research Group study found compelling evidence that one very simple training tool can help boost strength: wrist straps. Subjects performed the same back workout twice — once wearing wrist straps, the other without. In a workout comprised of pullups, dumbbell rows, wide-grip pulldowns and seated cable rows, reps per set were increased by an average of one to two when going with straps versus without. Our conclusion is simple: use wrist straps on pulling exercises — namely, back movements — to enhance both size and strength. If you’re worried about the potential of losing grip strength, do specific grip-strengthening exercises separately.
9. RELAX BEFORE LIFTING
Banging your head against a wall or listening to Pantera (or both simultaneously) before lifting may seem helpful for getting “psyched up,” but scientifically, it seems to be counterproductive. Being more relaxed may be more effective. Research out of Bridgewater College (Virginia) found that relaxation techniques were better than high-arousal techniques for providing an immediate strength boost in the bench press for selected college football players. Subjects did max reps with 225 pounds after either lying quietly in a dark room listening to soft music, watching video of aggressive football footage or using no specific technique. Results showed that players performed about two more reps after the relaxing experience than after the other two.
10. GET DYNAMIC
Although static stretching before workouts is a big no-no, dynamic stretching is anything but. This type of flexibility involves performing stretches fast and explosively, and new research shows that this method can actually increase power and strength when done before workouts. One study found a 6% greater increase in leg power when subjects performed dynamic stretching before doing leg extensions as compared to when they didn’t stretch.
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