Ten simple steps to getting stronger now

Follow these 10 steps by Men?s Fitness.com to gain more strength (and essentially, more muscle).

1.) Own the “big four.”
The squat, deadlift, bench press, and shoulder press are the best strength-building exercises, period. The chinup and row are great moves too, but don’t make them the focus of your workout ? they can be assistance lifts to complement the bench and shoulder press, keeping your pulling muscles in balance with the pressing ones.

2.) Use barbells first.
Forget all the fad equipment. The barbell is king, the dumbbell is queen, and everything else is a court jester ? it may have its place, but it’s not essential. Start your workouts with barbell exercises, such as the “big four,” as described above. Barbells let you load a lot of weight, and lifting heavy is the first step toward getting stronger. Once your heaviest strength exercises are out of the way, you can move on to dumbbell and body-weight training.

4.) Maintain a log.
Write down your exercises, sets, reps, and the fate of each workout. Keep track of your best lifts and the most reps you’ve done with a certain weight on an exercise. Constantly strive to improve those numbers.

7.) Add weights slowly.
The main reason people plateau and stop gaining strength is that they go too heavy for too long. Abandon your ego and do your main lifts using 10% less than the most weight you can lift for the given rep range. Increase the weight each session ? but by no more than 10 pounds ? and stick with the same lifts. You’ll rarely plateau again.

To see the entire list of 10, click here.

A lot of beginners (and veterans of the gym for that matter) like to do a variety of exercises and a variety of different movements in efforts to gain muscle. But as the article notes, keeping it simple is key. Doing compound movements and keeping track of your gains is crucial. After that, everything else is just additional.

  

Test your strength with the Deadlift

Men?s Fitness.com put together a strength test using your one rep max for the deadlift exercise.

HOW IT’S DONE
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, your toes facing straight ahead. Squat down and grab the bar with an outside-shoulder-width, palms-down grip [1]. Keep your lower back in its natural arch, and drive your heels into the fl oor and push your hips forward, lifting the bar as you rise until it’s in front of your thighs [2]. Reverse the motion and return the bar to the fl oor. That’s one rep.

THE TEST
Estimate your deadlift one-rep max?the most weight you can lift for one rep?and compare it to the calculations below.

Your 1RM (one-rep max) is…
? Less than your body weight = Damn, you’re weak
? 1.25 x your body weight = You’re average
? 1.5 x body weight = You’re pretty strong
? 2 x body weight = You’re a beast!

A 200-pound guy who can deadlift 300 pounds for one rep is pretty strong. If your number falls in the weak or average categories, see below for tips on how to bring it up.

Click here to see MF.com?s guide to deadlifting more weight.

  

Rolling Triceps Extension

Men’s Fitness.com breaks down the rolling tricpes extension and why it’s ideal for building arm size and strength.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on a bench with your arms locked out above your chest [1]. Bend your elbows until the dumbbells touch your shoulders, then “roll” your shoulders back so that your elbows go beside your head and you feel a stretch in your triceps and your lats. Reverse the motion by contracting your lats and triceps simultaneously to pull your arms forward and lock out your elbows [2]. That’s one rep.

Why It Works Essentially a combination of the lying triceps extension and pullover, the rolling extension allows you to use more weight as a result of the involvement of the lats. Perform the exercise for 10-12 reps, as going too heavy for low reps can be stressful on the elbow joint. Do not explosively lock out your elbows. “This is best used at the end of your workout,” says Ferruggia, “as a finisher after dips or bench presses.”

  

Q&A with Mike Furci 2/4

In his latest question and answer session, Bullz-Eye.com Fitness Editor Mike Furci lays out the ground work to a sound diet and exercise plan, rehashes the definition of ?tone? with a reader and dispels a myth about exercising stunting your growth when you?re young.

Q: Hey Mike!
I was reading your posts on your website about how to lose love handles and I was very interested in your responses. Losing this extra weight around my waste is such a problem for me! Even though I am a very small girl I can?t seem to attain that hourglass figure — I feel like my midsection looks like a box. I was wondering if you had any advice for me concerning foods, exercises and things I need to eliminate. For instance, does alcohol really make you gain weight? Even when I do drink, I order Bacardi and Diet Coke. Recently I completely eliminated fast food, fried food and soda from my diet. Also, I don?t eat after 10 p.m., ever! But still feel like I see no results. Maybe you could set me up with the right foods to eat and when to eat them. Also what to stay away from and what I should work on at the gym to target this concern of mine. If you could get back to me I’d really appreciate it!

To read Mike?s answer, click here to read the entire Q&A article.

  

Related Posts