There’s no such thing as too strong! Regardless of your health and fitness goals, gaining strength by increasing your weight with major compound movements – like the bench press, squat and deadlift – will help you get there faster. Here are three quick tips to instantly increase your strength in the big lifts!
1. SQUEEZE THE BAR AS HARD AS POSSIBLE
By squeezing the bar as hard as possible, you help to enhance your nervous system activation, which allows you to instantly become stronger. Before lifting the barbell or dumbbells, start by gripping the weight as hard as possible to unlock your true strength. You should also work on general grip strength through the use of hand grippers and farmer’s walks to increase your hand and forearm strength, which carry over to your other lifts! Perform a farmer’s walk by walking with a heavy dumbbell in each hand for timed sets.
2. KEEP YOUR CORE AS TIGHT AS POSSIBLE
Phrases like “keep your core tight” and “squeeze your abs” are pretty common coaching cues in the fitness world, and rightly so. The primary function of your core muscles is to keep your spine stable, so when doing big compound exercises, like the squat and deadlift, it is very important to keep the spine secure by utilizing the abdominals, obliques and other muscles. By tensing your core, you will not only create a safer lift, but also help to increase neural drive. If your spine is in an unstable position, your nervous system will prevent you from using all of your available strength as a protective mechanism. Make sure to squeeze your core to unlock your true strength and stay safe during the big lifts!
3. FLEX THE LATS
Your lat muscles, located on your back are some of the biggest muscles in your body. It only makes sense that activating more muscles to assist in a big lift will help to boost your strength! However, most people’s lats are left out in the cold unless being directly targeted during a movement like wide-grip pull-ups or lat pulldowns. For example, during a back squat, make sure to squeeze the bar tightly and attempt to break it in half over your back, as if you were trying to do a behind the neck pull-up. This will fire up your lats and contribute to your squat strength. Engage the lats and keep them tight during all compound movements for a big boost in strength!