This is the basic principle that your program should include if you want to be strong. Good measures are the reps you complete or the total amount of weight you lift for a given exercise. Let’s use the squat for example. Say you squat 300lbs for 3 sets of 10. This would add up to 30 reps complete, and by doing so, you lifted a total of 9,000lbs. The number of reps and/or the amount of weight will vary, but should increase overtime. This is a good indicator of how much work you are actually doing, and how you are progressing. Another example could apply to runners. I would be very surprised if a runner did not know how much volume he or she put into a given week. No matter what the exercise, track your volume, and understand how it is affecting your training and overall progress.
Chances are, if you want to get stronger you probably want to get slightly, if not massively “bigger.” Now, I’m not saying you need to turn into the Pillsbury Doughboy, but in order to keep up with your exercise program; you must be eating a sufficient amount of food. A lot of people under eat, and the process of getting stronger is quite slow. However, by understanding your nutritional needs, you will become stronger, at a faster rate. So be smart, and know what you are eating. Don’t become a garbage disposal, but instead, be methodical of how you are consuming food.
It took me a long time to realize how my lack of flexibility was holding me back. If you can maintain an appropriate amount of flexibility your body will thank you in terms of joint health and muscle tightness. As an added benefit, you will be able to get into the positions your sport requires a lot easier. Stay on top of maintaining flexibility, or making your flexibility better. Instead of rushing out of the gym after your workout, just stay for a couple extra minutes and get that flexibility work in.
Try not to stay in the gym too long either before or after your workout. I suggest get your workout done, and then get the hell out of there. It’s not because we don’t like you, it is because you recover, and rebuild even better while you rest. While it may be a stretch to get 8 hours of sleep for some people, go by what you think you need and get it done. If you can, don’t live off 4 hours of sleep if you can help it.
Your body will get used to whatever you are doing, so be sure to change things up from time to time. Even if it is the speed you move the weight, the type of bar you use, or the added stuff like bands and chains. You don’t have to go crazy, but just keep a little variation in your workouts and it will save you from becoming burned out and bored. Remember, training should be fun!
Most of all, it is important to understand that getting stronger takes time. While there may be some freaks out there who can add a lot of weight to their lifts over a given year, know that it takes hard work and consistency to make big changes.