Starting from ground zero with your workout program? Looking to get as strong as possible as quickly as possible?
If you are looking to pack on lean muscle mass and develop the most functionally strong physique possible, this is for you.
Following some tried and true steps that have been proven time and time again will help ensure you aren’t wasting any time in the gym, but rather doing everything necessary to see optimal results.
Ready to get your journey going?
Let’s go over the five key steps that you need to follow in order to see maximum progress.
5 Steps to Building a Ton of Strength
1. Man up with the big five
The first thing you need to do is ditch your love-affair with curls. If you’re hitting the gym, all pumped for ‘arm’ day, your approach needs to change.
While it’s a great feeling when your muscles fill with blood and you leave the gym looking huge, the problem with this approach is that you don’t stay huge.
Muscle pumps may provide a small degree of benefits to actual strength gains, but you really need much more than that.
You need to be lifting heavy.
And heavy is not what you’ll be doing when you’re performing dumbbell hammer curls in the squat rack.
You need to instead be focusing on compound movements: multi-muscle exercises that allow you to bring maximum muscle power behind each and every rep.
Think about it this way.
Which move will allow you to exert more force?
- An exercise that only uses your biceps
- An exercise that has you recruiting your biceps along with all the muscles in your back like a bent over row
Clearly the latter. The main compound exercises that are a must-have for any guy who wants to build strength include:
- Military/barbell press
- Bench press
- Bent over rows
- Pull-ups (weighted if desired)
Only when you have these in your program can you call yourself someone who is lifting for strength.
2. Get serious with low reps
This step goes along with step one, which is getting serious about doing low rep training.
Now that you have the exercises in place that will allow you to lift heavy, you need to use the rep range that harnesses maximum strength as well.
Shoot for the 3-5 rep range.
This is low enough that you can use maximum loads while high enough to ensure you evoke strength gains and reduce your risk of excess joint strain.
Train primarily in this range, occasionally going to the 5-8 rep range for variety’s sake.
Ditch anything higher than 8 reps for the time being, unless you are choosing to add some isolation work at the end of the program.
For all compound moves, it’s 8 reps or under.
3. Eat big
Now we come to what may just be the most important step of them all: eating big.
What?!? …you might be thinking. How could eating be more important than lifting? Trust me on this one.
You can lift until the cows come home, but if you aren’t fueling your body with the proper building blocks to help build muscle and strength, you won’t be seeing results.
In fact, if you aren’t eating right, you probably won’t be lifting heavy for long either because you just won’t have the gas in the tank to do it.
One factor that is often overlooked is that what you eat daily will have a huge influence on your energy, your recovery, and your hormonal status.
If you want to get big and strong in a hurry, you need to be ensuring you have sufficient testosterone flowing through your veins, and the right diet can do that.
So what should you eat?
First, you need to check your calorie intake. While you don’t necessarily need to be in a surplus to gain muscular strength, you do need to be if you hope to gain muscle size.
Since maximum strength gains and size gains do tend to go hand in hand, a calorie surplus will never hurt your progress.
Eat at least 300 calories above maintenance level.
Unsure what your maintenance level is? Track your calorie intake for one week (assuming you are maintaining your body weight). Now you have your maintenance level.
Next, you need to be sure your diet is filled with carbohydrates. None of this ‘low carb’ business for you.
You need energy. Those on carbohydrate-reduced diets almost always see declines in strength, which is precisely what you do not want.
Aim to eat at least 40% of your total calorie intake from carbohydrates, if not a little more. Just be sure that you choose wholesome, slow-burning carbohydrates to keep blood sugar and energy stable, and to minimize fat gain.
In addition to carbs, you also need fats.
Low-fat diets are going to cause your testosterone levels to plummet, so they need to be avoided. In particular, you want to get saturated fats in.
That’s right: saturated fat. While you don’t want to go too crazy with bacon and deep fried foods daily, you do want to focus on getting some healthy sources of saturated fat in.
This means feasting on foods like whole eggs, grass-fed beef, along with a few servings of higher fat dairy from time to time.
This saturated fat will help elevate testosterone and as long as you don’t overdo it, won’t put you at any heart-health risks.
And while you’re at it, watch your fiber intake. While you do need some fiber, don’t go crazy.
Too much fiber can also lower testosterone, as was found in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A few greens are important to get in a day, but keep it at that.
Protein will, of course, also be an important component of any strength building diet as it’ll help ensure that you are giving your body the raw materials for protein synthesis.
Don’t go overboard here either. One gram per pound of body weight, provided you are taking in sufficient carbs and fats, is plenty for optimal strength gains.
4. Use the right supplements
Once your diet is in order, you should also think about supplementation.
Don’t be too quick to jump on every supplement that promises fast results, however.
You only want those backed up by science.
A smart pre-workout product should begin your supplement line-up, and it should be one devoted to giving you increased energy, endurance, and strength.
Bonus points if you can find a product that improves mental focus and stamina as well.
Jacked Factory’s Altius product achieves all of these goals while also giving you only the finest quality of ingredients.
You’ll take in citrulline malate, creatine, betaine anhydrous, beta-alanine, caffeine, methylcobalamin, Alpha-GPC, and Bioperine. Together, these will set you up for the workout of your life.
Next, you’ll also want to get a post workout supplement in place such as Jacked Factory’s Powerbuild. This post-workout is designed to stimulate the degree of lean muscle growth taking place while improving muscular strength and power.
It also helps to maximize your post-workout recovery so that you can get back in the gym again sooner to train again.
This product is not a proprietary blend, which is critical in any product you might be considering. Steer clear of proprietary blends, as they often don’t have the level of active ingredients you think they do, but rather are loaded with fillers.
This product is also free of all artificial food dyes and chemicals, so it’s one that you can feel good putting into your body.
Plus, it has clinically proven ingredients including glutamine, beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate, betaine anhydrous, L-leucine, L-carnitine, and Bioperine, all of which work together to help you see a higher level of results.
Following your pre and post workout supplement, also look for a high-quality whey protein powder, which will help you get in the necessary protein that you need.
Supplementing with a whey isolate will help you see much greater gains in total strength compared to supplementing with say a casein protein or no protein at all, as was found in a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition.
With these three supplements, you’ll have all you need to make remarkable strength improvements.
5. Maintain a warrior mindset
Finally, the last step is to maintain a warrior mindset.
You simply can’t go into the gym expecting to gain strength without being in a totally different mindset than you are during the rest of your day.
You need to be focused, you need to be aggressive, and you need to be able to go that extra mile that most people simply won’t go.
However, having a warrior mindset is about more than simply being focused. You also need to believe in yourself.
You need to stand at that bar, racked with weight, feeling confident that you can and will complete your set as intended.
This confidence will come from experience, but until you gain that experience, call upon your inner self to push you along the way.
Some tips to help get in the mindset?
- Listen to aggressive music
- Watch videos of your favorite athletes performing heavy lifts
- Listen to motivational speeches
- Get a training partner to push you along
Know that when you enter the gym, it’s time to push whatever else is going on in your life out of your mind and focus on the job you are there to do.
Don’t let yourself become distracted by others in the gym either. This is time for you. Don’t let others steal it.
If you follow the above five mentioned steps, you can go from zero to strong as quickly as possible.
Always remember that you are responsible for your own success.
Own it and take action to get started today.
Cribb, Paul J., et al. “The effect of whey isolate and resistance training on strength, body composition, and plasma glutamine.” International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 16.5 (2006): 494.
Dorgan, Joanne F., et al. “Effects of dietary fat and fiber on plasma and urine androgens and estrogens in men: a controlled feeding study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 64.6 (1996): 850-855.