So you’ve been spending your days in the gym trying to get strong AF, but it’s just not happening? As a coach this is definitely something I can help you with.
I’m going to get straight into the five reasons why you might not be getting stronger in gym, and also explain how you can start seeing results!
1. You are PRIORITISING the wrong exercises
Probably one of the most, if not the most important principle to any sporting endeavour is specificity. That means that if you want to get better at a particular exercise, you need to be performing that exercise, often.
In order to get stronger, you actually need to be training in a way that is specifically working towards making you stronger because that is the outcome you are trying to achieve. Just going to the gym and lifting a few weights isn’t going to work. This goes for any sport – if you want to get better at shooting a basketball, it makes no sense playing soccer five days a week.
A lot of the time people prioritise the wrong exercise because they don’t quite understand what the goal is. In this case the goal is strength, which is the maximal ability to produce force. The next step is to figure out what exercises will allow the body to produce the most amount of force. This brings us to the big three – squat, bench and deadlift. These are all compound exercises, which means they require a number of muscles to coordinate at once to move the weight. Focusing on the big three and making improvements in these exercises over time is a sure-fire way to make awesome strength, just look at powerlifters.
2. You are not lifting heavy enough
Now we know what exercises get us stronger, it’s not simply enough to do the exercises, we actually need to lift some heavy weight. My “bro years” (time wasted doing meaningless things) consisted of drop set, after drop set, after drop set. I got great pumps in the gym, but never really got stronger. My training day equated to a lot of volume, which was great for putting on muscle, but my strength didn’t start to improve until I focused on lower rep ranges (1-5) for multiple sets.
That is not to say that high rep ranges won’t build strength – if you are progressing in strength with higher reps yes, you are building strength. However studies have shown that those who train with heavy weights and low reps (1-5) experience greater strength progressions than those who train with high reps (15-30).
So next time you’re in the gym implement some heavy working sets and watch your strength start to climb.
3. You aren’t training with anyone stronger than you
Although it might be nice to walk around as the strongest of your peers, this is no way to thrive. An athlete performs at his/her best when faced with greater competition. It’s important that you surround yourself with people who are better than you and inspire you. Being a bit intimidated by your competition is healthy.
Look around at the people you train with – how strong they are is probably how strong you will be.
4. Your form is not in check.
YOU NEED GOOD FORM. I cannot emphasis this enough! You can’t build a big house without a solid foundation. Learning good form is essential for not only continued progress but for injury prevention.
This actually ties back into continued progress – we can only make progress in the gym if we aren’t injured. Getting injured is demotivating and it hinders your performance in the gym. Most of the time when a person gets injured it’s because they are trying to lift with their ego (a weight that’s too heavy) or they don’t have the correct form.
When you don’t have correct form, other parts of your body will compensate to lift the weight. Compensation is dangerous especially if you can’t get into the correct position to do a heavy squat, bench or deadlift. The main reason why people get injured with these exercises because of the inability to perform them correctly. A heavy deadlift where your back takes the load instead of your legs is a quick path to injury.
Sometimes people plateau not because of their programming, but because they are lacking the efficient movement pattern. Form is king. I want to be able to lift forever and I’m sure you do as well. Before you train hard, learn to train smart so you can continue to make progress for years!
5. You don’t have a good coach
One thing we can’t get back is time, which is why its important that we are doing the correct things and not wasting the time we have. I have come across clients who have been training for 10 years and they are still a beginner, I don’t want this to be you.
Having someone guide you through your lifting journey can save you time and can give you that accountability that we all need to some extent. Coaches have coaches and professional athletes have coaches so why can’t you? Hire someone who’s knowledgeable, experienced, gets results and has your best interest at heart. Yes, going to the gym is fun, but getting results is even more enjoyable and will help keep you motivated and consistent in the long run.
If you’d like to find out more about the services I provide, simply check out my services page here, or feel free to contact me directly! If you want to check out some incredible results from my clients too, don’t forget to also check out our transformation gallery here, and also click on each picture to hear about each person’s amazing progress and journey with Precision Performance Coaching.