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8 Ways You’re Killing Your Strength Gains

8 Ways You’re Killing Your Strength Gains

  1. Are you failing to get the strength gains you want with your workouts? 
  2. Do you feel like you’ve hit a plateau in your strength training? 
  3. Is your strength training program getting you the gains you desire the most? 
  4. Are you training 5 or 6 days a week, but still not seeing the results you think you should be seeing? 

If you’re experiencing problems in making strength gains with your training then you need to evaluate what you’re doing, as well as what you might not be doing. I get it. I’ve been where you are before, but I don’t struggle with making strength gains anymore. Don’t misunderstand me I put the work in, but what I mean is that the work I put in is effective and it gets the job done now, but that’s only because of years of experience and study. With that being said I wanted to outline some things here that are probably holding you back from you being able to make your strength gains.

What’s Killing Your Strength Gains? 

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1) Poor lifting technique:

This should go without saying, but over the years I’ve witnessed plenty people butcher lifting technique when it comes to your typical big strength movements. In other words, lifts such as the squat, deadlift, and bench can typically take a dive in the quality of movement department. These big three here are common go-tos when trainees are trying to build strength and because these are the go-tos they also tend to be the most abused and misused.

Proper lifting technique requires that you manage loaded resistance with confidence and control. If you’re exerting control over a movement then you’re properly firing muscles to execute the movement. As a result, proper firing means you’re recruiting more muscle fibers and more fiber recruitment means more strength gains!

2) Poor mobility: 

So if you’re trying to perform lifts and movements and are inhibited because you lack proper mobility then you’re restricting your progress. Therefore the key to building adequate strength is making sure that you can move a given joint throughout a complete range of motion (ROM).

Therefore if your mobility is restricted then you’re compensating with other muscles that having to take up the slack from the muscles that should be performing the movement. So if you’re immobile you’re going to be weaker, period.

3) Not enough sleep:

When it comes to building strength you’ve got to have sleep. This is most important because your body does a lot of repairs to itself when you’re getting those Z’s. If you’re only getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep and thinking you’re going to continue to smash new strength gains and PR’s you’re kidding yourself. You need to make sure you’re getting getting close to 8 hours on a consistent basis.

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4) Inadequate protein intake:

If you’re stressing your body and investing the time and energy to build that strength, but then lacking the proper protein intake for your body to recover then you’re basically make as much progress as a hamster on a wheel. You’ve got to have adequate protein in order for your body to recover from the stress of training.

If you’re training to build strength and muscle you need to be consuming around 1-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight a day. You need to try to eat clean and steer clear of the cheeseburgers and fried chicken. As a result make sure to eat some baked or grilled chicken and some fish. Make sure you’re getting a variety of fruits and vegetables. This is so you’re taking in enough vitamins and minerals to enhance all other metabolic functions.

5) Poor programming:

The only way you’re going to build strength is by implementing progressive overload. The progressive overload principle involves you incrementally adding more weight and more reps to your training for a given movement over a period of time.

So this loading phase is gradual and steady which allows your body to respond and adapt to being able to better handle the load of the movement. So if you’re training program is not set up to allow you to consistently and steadily adapt to the stress of lifting then you’re not going to any stronger. Therefore there is a strategy involved here.

Consequently, if you’re setting up a program you need to make sure the goal is to systematically introduce more and more load stress over time.

6) Not enough recovery between sets:

So if you’re looking to build strength particularly for big lifts then you need to make sure you’re allowing yourself more rest time between sets. This is because when lifting heavy you’re taxing your ATP-PC system which takes at minimum about three minutes before your muscles have replenished the ATP-PC system. Therefore after three minutes your muscles should be ready for work.

7) Poor training environment:

So I’m a firm believer that an environment will have a big impact on influencing outcomes. So if you’re trying to lift in an environment that’s distracting, or ill equipped for helping you to build strength then you’re holding yourself back from building strength.

8) No deload weeks: 

A deload week involves you taking a purposeful reduction in your training intensity and volume to allow for sufficient recovery. Therefore if you’re rather consistent with training a deload week can be really good for your joint integrity. This improves performance and aids in injury prevention. If you frequently experience little tweaks and training ailments that hold back your training it could mean that you need a deload week.

Killing Your Strength Gains: The Takeaway

I hope this article was helpful if you’re not making the strength gains you’d expect from your training. Perhaps you found the reason here.

Which one of these 8 killers to strength are you guilty of doing? 

What training are you doing now to improve your strength? 

Post up and share here in the comments below.

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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