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25 Ways to Get Stronger Now

Putting on muscle isn't just about piling on more and more weight. Use these tips to work out smarter—not harder—for big results you can really see.

21. Do two or three sets of the plank as a warm-up.

Get into pushup position and then rest your forearms on the floor. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds each. You'll wake up your core, which will better support your lifts.

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22. Take a deep breath after you lift the bar out of the rack on a bench press.

Now hold it for your first two reps if you can. By not exhaling too soon, you won't lose your tight position early in the set. This takes a little practice, so avoid it if you're a beginner.

The Ultimate Powerlifter's Workout>>>

23. Keep your wrists straight during a pressing lift.

The heavier the weight gets, the more you may have a tendency to let your wrists roll back, but don't. Keeping them straight is a more natural and stable position that will allow you to complete the lift more easily. If you can't keep them straight, work on your grip strength.

24. Perform a "dynamic" warm-up instead of jogging on a treadmill or pedaling a bike.

Do bodyweight lunges, throwing exercises, or jumps — any movement in which you move your joints through a full range of motion. It will better prepare you to lift than just breaking a sweat with light cardio because it warms your muscles and joints while also prepping the central nervous system to lift heavy.

25. Squeeze the bar hard for three to five seconds.

Let go and rest for three to five seconds, and then begin your set. Squeezing the bar (it also works on dumbbells) forces that tight feeling everywhere in your body and reminds you to stay tight during the lift.

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