26) Get a Grip
Fat Gripz and Grip4orce grips are rubber sleeves that slide onto a bar or dumbbell handle, thickening it. They make your grip work harder and activate more muscles in your hands and forearms. They also spread the load more evenly across your joints to ease elbow, wrist, or shoulder pain.
27) Be Your Own DJ
If your gym plays terrible pop songs (and of course it does), crank up your own playlist. Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that rates of force and velocity development on the squat jump were greater when the lifters trained to music they chose. The researchers determined that self-selected music might enhance power production.
28) Chill With Vanilla
German researchers at Humboldt University found that the scent of vanilla reduces the startle reflex in both humans and animals. Light a vanilla candle to destress after work or to calm down an unruly pet.
29) Dip and Drive
If you’re coming back from a shoulder injury and doing overhead presses, dip your knees and use momentum to press the bar up before you start the set (i.e., do a push press). Now lower the bar to shoulder level to begin the first rep. Your stretch reflex will kick in, helping you press the bar up. Overcoming inertia at the bottom of the lift is the most dangerous part of it for the shoulders, and an initial push with the legs overcomes it.
30) Use Wave Periodization
Here’s an easy-to-follow formula for big strength and muscle gains in nine weeks—use it on any variation of a bench press, deadlift, or squat. Work up to an eight-rep max in Week 1 (the heaviest load you can handle for eight), a six-rep max in Week 2, and then a four-rep max in Week 3. Skip these lifts the fourth week, and then come back in Weeks 5, 6, and 7 with seven-, five-, and three-rep maxes, respectively. Take a break again in Week 8, and then test your one-rep max. Waving your loads like this will allow you to get progressively stronger without overtraining.