Too many times, I see trainers and coaches place their athletes in situations that will never allow them to adapt and grow stronger. For example, I found out a client of mine had a program will at school made by their strength coach that work around MACHINE based exercises with rep ranges always in the 12-20 range! I heard about this and wanted to ban the use of machines for life!
How is a seated bicep curl machine going to help a soccer player gain speed, quickness, agility, and lower body strength?(All what is needed to play at a high level!).
Why are there NO exercises emphasizing the use of proper functional fitness that relate to his everyday demands from the sport? Some things I just won't understand!
Which it is very important you find a trainer/coach you trust and knows what they are talking about! I may be young, but I sure do have knowledge and research along with my own experience of playing sports at a high level.
So, without further due, lets get to a few reasons why YOU may not be getting stronger when training on your own!
1.) Failure to Use Progressive Overload
Yes, many of you are guilty of this. It is a basic principle here: Simply stated: The body will adapt to any stress placed upon it, and in order to get stronger, you need to make certain that you force the body to do so.
This is KEY to developing strength in any program!
There are lots of ways to add this concept to your training. Add more sets, less rest, increasing range of motion....but the big one would be to just increase the weight you are lifting and have your body adapt!
It could be easy as adding 5 pounds to your deadlift or squat! Nothing crazy, but it will go a long way in actually getting stronger!
2.) Too Much Volume
Yes, I know....We live in a society that loves to do things in excess. Even I am guilty of this. Depending on your goals(which in this case is strength), doing too much activity will hinder your ability to get stronger.
Many people tell me...."Mike, right now I am doing 3 days a week so 7 would be better right!"
Now, this is where "depending on your goals" comes into play. If your not sure if your plan is right for your goal...simply ask me.
But I am talking about strength gains.....so 7 days would NOT be ideal. Fatigue will mask an individuals true fitness level. You can't work out everyday with hopes of building strength.
While playing in college, I would always make my workouts a priority even during the season. My first year, however, I was a perfect example of this theory. I would deadlift close to a 3RM and then go out and run/practice/practice/run....and run some more!
Now, if I were to go back in the gym after that and try lifting that same 3RM....well....I guess you could say I would have a better chance at hitting the lottery! Just won't happen!
So, in season, your programs have to be adapted to fit your needs. Lifting a 3RM during a season of a soccer player will not work out in the long run due to the excess stress that is placed on the body on a daily basis!
So, with all that being said, it is very IMPORTANT to even add structured "de-loading" weeks where sets, reps, and duration is all decreased. Don't be at the gym so much. Go out and hike, golf, or try a new alternative to the gym. It will keep you from getting bored and help with your strength gains!
3.) Forgetting about The Basic Exercises
Sure, a good trainer will find and create new and challenging exercises....but when it comes down to their program, implementing the basics lifts will ultimately provide the best strength gains(which is why they are the most common).
If your coach or trainer is giving you crazy exercises on Bosu balls, and always challenging you with unilateral lifts while controlling stability....you wont see progress.
Plain and simple. You MUST have:
- SINGLE-LEG TRAINING
So, if your after strength, start your sessions with one of the big three: Squat, Pressing, or Deadlift Variations!
4.) Not Lifting Heavy Enough
This kind of goes with number one, but to add more insight....FORGET the 3x10 and higher range! Your not training for an endurance event if looking to but on muscle! Sure, if your new to exercise, you can get strong with 3x10, but the vast majority of you will adapt fairly quickly add your progress will take a sudden halt!
So, personally, I like using lower rep ranges for strength! The possibilities are endless!
And the list goes on!!
5.) You don't Eat Enough
Yes, sorry but I had to add this! Many people don't realize how different resistance training is on your body compared to cardiovascular exercise. When you run or bike, you can certainly get away with replenishing with electrolyte drinks and water! Your not breaking down muscle tissue as much as you would be if you are training with weights!
Weight lifting requires food sources as replenishment because of the breakdown of muscle tissue! They need to be repaired and fueled so they can grow!
So, if you are lifting and just drinking water afterward, you can forget about building lean muscle. In addition, you will be VERY sore and noticing a long recovery period due to the lack of nutrients available to repair the muscle!
There you have it! A few reasons that maybe your strength gains have plateaued or reached a sudden pause! Just remember, to get strong, you need to lift strong!
Until Next Time,
Stay Strong! Reach For Your Dreams! Anyone In the Way Needs to Be Forgotten!
It's Your Life! Live It The Best You Can!
CPT / Strength & Conditioning Specialist