Test your strength
- Beginner Bro: You just started. Keep pushing!
- Gym Rat: You've mastered the basics and are on the right track.
- Fitness Fanatic: You are serious about your fitness journey.
- Elevator Legend: People are starting to recognize you at the gym.
- Strength Samurai: You master the art of lifting.
- PowerProdigy: You are a power phenomenon!
- Apex Athlete: You've reached the top of the fitness food chain. Legendary!
* The result is based on available studies
How do I get stronger?
When aiming for a stronger body, the choice of exercises is critical. There is a wealth of exercises available, each with its own unique benefits and techniques. But which are the most effective for building strength and why? In this article, we take a deep dive into some of the most popular and proven exercises that every strength training enthusiast should know. From strengthening your legs with squats to building a solid upper body with bench presses and shoulder presses, we can't forget the undeniable benefits of deadlifts and arm isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep pushdowns. Let's take a closer look at these exercises, dissect their techniques, and find out how you can get stronger with each rep and set.
Often called the "king of all exercises", the squat is a fundamental movement that not only helps us build muscle mass, but also improves our functional strength, balance and mobility. It is a compound exercise, which means that it works several muscle groups at the same time. Here's a quick overview of how to get stronger with the squat:
Of course, apologies for the misunderstanding. Let's dive deeper into the squat with some specific tips that will help you optimize the exercise:
1. Foot Placement: Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. The exact width varies from person to person, but experiment to find the position in which you feel most stable.
2. Toe Position: Pointing slightly outward (about 30 degrees) helps open the hips, allowing you to squat deeper and generate more power.
3. Depth: Try to squat parallel to the floor or deeper each time so that your hips are at or below knee height. This allows for full activation of the glutes and hamstrings.
4. Core Stability: Tighten your abs as if you were expecting a punch in the stomach. This helps stabilize your spine and reduces the risk of injury.
5. Back Position: Keep your chest up and your upper back tight. The bar should remain in a straight line above your mid-foot throughout the entire movement.
6. Breathing: Use the Valsalva maneuver: take a deep breath at the start of the movement, hold your breath during the descending and ascending phases, and exhale as you return to the upright position. This helps stabilize the core.
7. Eye Focus: Look forward or slightly down to a fixed point on the floor to keep the neck in a neutral position.
8. Elbow Position: Depending on your mobility and the style of the squat (high-bar vs. low-bar), your elbows may point slightly back or be in line with your body. Make sure they don't flutter out.
9. Variation: Consider incorporating box squats, front squats, and pause squats into your routine to target different muscle groups and address technique errors.
10. Accessories: Use assistive devices such as a weightlifting belt for extra core support during heavier sets and squat shoes for a more stable base and better leverage.
The bench press, also known as bench press, is one of the most iconic exercises in the strength training world. Targeting the pecs, shoulders and triceps, this exercise is an essential part of many strength and bodybuilding routines. Here's how to get stronger with the bench press1. Hand Placement: Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width. A grip that is too wide can put unnecessary stress on the shoulders, while a grip that is too tight puts more stress on the triceps and may minimize chest strength.
4. Chest Up: By pushing your chest up and toward the ceiling, you shorten the distance the bar has to travel and better utilize the strength of your chest muscles.
5. Barbell Pad: The bar should cross the midline of your chest, just above the nipples. This ensures the most efficient bar pad and minimizes strain on the shoulders.
6. Breathing: As with the squat, use the Valsalva maneuver. Inhale deeply as you lower the bar, hold your breath as you press, and exhale at the top of the movement.
7. Elbows: Keep your elbows slightly tucked in. If they protrude too far, this can put unnecessary stress on the shoulders.
8. Full ROM (Range of Motion): For maximum muscle activation, try lowering the bar all the way to your chest and then fully pressing it out. Avoid half-rep movements.
9. Variation: Incorporate variations such as the incline and decline bench press, as well as dumbbell presses, to target different areas of the chest.
10. Accessories: Use aids such as wrist wraps for extra wrist support and a lifting belt for extra core stability during heavier sets.
(The picture shows an incline bench press version)
Certainly! The deadlift is one of the most basic and at the same time powerful movements in the world of weight training. It simulates the simple (but not necessarily easy) process of lifting a heavy object off the ground. With the right technique and approach, the deadlift can greatly contribute to your overall strength and muscle building. Here are some specific tips to optimize this iconic lift:
1. Rod placement: Start with the bar across the middle of your feet. This is your center of gravity and the most efficient place to lift from.
2. Hand Placement: Your hands should be just outside your knees when you reach down to grab the bar, without your knees being pushed in.
3. Foot placement: Feet should be about hip-width apart with your toes pointing slightly out.
4. Back position: Keep your back straight and neutral. Rounding of the back, especially the lower back, can lead to injuries.
5. Chest ahead: Remember to push your chest forward and squeeze your shoulder blades together. This helps maintain a neutral spine.
6. Hip and Knee Extension: The power should come from simultaneously extending your hips and knees, not just lifting your lower back.
7. Head position: Look at a point on the ground several feet in front of you to keep your neck in a neutral position.
8. Full extension: Make sure you are fully upright at the top of the movement. Avoid leaning back excessively, which can strain your lower back.
9. Bar path: The bar should stay close to your body throughout the entire movement. Remember to scrape the bar against your shins as you lift it and keep it close to your thighs as you complete the movement.
10. Breathing: Use the Valsalva maneuver here as well. Take a deep breath before you lift, hold your breath as you lift, and exhale at the top of the movement.
11. Variation: Consider variations like the sumo deadlift, Romanian deadlift, and deficit deadlifts to target different muscle groups and refine your technique.
Naturally! The shoulder press, also known as the military press, is an essential exercise for building strength and mass in the shoulders. It is a pure test of upper body strength and, if done correctly, can contribute to impressive upper body physiques and improved functional strength.
1. Stability: Start with a solid foundation. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart and your core should be tight to provide stability during the lift.
2.Grip: Your hands should be just outside shoulder width. Too wide can put more stress on the shoulders, while too narrow can limit your reach and strength.
3. Bar Pad: Start with the bar at collarbone height and press straight up. The bar should move in a straight line, which may mean tilting your head back slightly to make room and then forward again as you push the bar up.
4. Elbows: Your elbows should point slightly forward at the start of the movement, not directly under the bar. This provides a more stable base to press from.
5. Full ROM (Range of Motion): Try to push the bar all the way up until your arms are fully extended, then lower it back to the starting position in a controlled manner.
6. Breathing: Inhale before pushing the bar up, hold your breath as you press, and exhale as you lower the bar.
7. Eye Focus: Look straight ahead to keep the neck in a neutral position.
8. No excessive back arch: It's normal to have a slight arch in your lower back, but don't overdo it. An arch that is too large can lead to lower back injuries and often means that the weight is too heavy or the technique is not correct.
9. Variation: Consider other variations like the Arnold press, dumbbell shoulder press, or push press to target different areas of the shoulder and vary your routine.
10. Accessories: Shoulder stabilization exercises, such as face pulls or external rotations, are great for strengthening the shoulder's stabilizing muscles and reducing the risk of injury.
Naturally! The bicep curl is one of the most popular exercises and focuses on isolating and building the biceps brachii. Although it seems like a relatively simple exercise, there are specific techniques that can help you get the most out of your bicep curl.
1. Stability: Start with your feet hip-width apart for a stable base. Make sure your upper body remains still during the movement.
2. Full ROM (Range of Motion): Start with your arms fully extended and lower the dumbbell or barbell completely at the end of each rep. A full ROM ensures maximum muscle activation.
3. Elbow Position: Your elbows should stay close to your torso and should not move forward or back during the curl.
4. No Momentum: Resist the urge to use your upper body to swing the weight up. Use a controlled movement to make sure your biceps do the work.
5. Hand Position: Depending on the grip you choose (underhand, overhand, or hammer), you can target different areas of the biceps and the underlying muscles. Experiment with different grips to fully train the biceps.
6. Breathing: Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower the weight.
7. Focus on the negative phase: In addition to raising the weight, also focus on lowering the weight in a controlled manner. This increases the time under tension for the muscle, which can contribute to muscle growth.
8. Variation: Try different curl variations like the preacher curl, concentration curl, or incline dumbbell curl to target different areas of the biceps and vary your routine.
9. Accessories: Resistance bands can provide good variety and provide constant tension on the biceps.
10. Avoid Overtraining: The biceps are a smaller muscle group and can be easily overworked. Make sure you get enough rest between training sessions and consider training them together with a different muscle group.
The tricep pushdown is a great exercise to isolate and strengthen the triceps, resulting in well-developed and defined arms. Proper execution is essential to get the maximum benefit from this exercise and avoid injury.
1. Attitude: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in the knees. Keep your upper body upright and don't lean too far forward.
2. Elbow Position: Your elbows should stay close to your body throughout the movement. They act like hinges, with only the lower part of the arm moving.
3. Full ROM (Range of Motion): Start with your elbows at about a 90 degree angle. Extend your arms fully at the bottom of the movement and return them to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner.
4. Hand position: Whether using a straight bar, V-bar or rope, make sure your grip is comfortable. A narrower grip can put more emphasis on the lateral head of the triceps, while a wider grip can target the medial head.
5. Controlled Movement: Avoid using momentum or swinging the weight. It is important that the triceps do the work. Move slowly and in a controlled manner, especially during the eccentric (down) phase.
6. Focus On Contraction: At the bottom of the movement, squeeze your triceps for optimal muscle contraction before slowly raising the weight.
7. Breathing: Exhale as you push the weight down and inhale as you return the weight to the starting position.
8. Variation: In addition to the traditional pushdown, you can vary with overhead tricep extensions or single-arm pushdowns to target the triceps from different angles.
9. Accessories: For added isolation and variety, the rope attachment for pushdowns can be helpful. When using a rope, make sure to pull your hands apart at the end of the movement for extra triceps activation.
10. Volume And Intensity: Since the triceps are often used in compound exercises such as bench presses or shoulder presses, it is important to monitor volume and intensity to avoid overtraining.
Getting stronger is a combination of several factors, ranging from your training schedule to your nutritional habits. Here are some general tips that can help you build strength effectively:
1. Progressive Overload: The key to strength gains is to constantly challenge your body by gradually increasing the load (weight, reps or sets). If you keep doing the same weight and number of reps, your progress will stagnate.
2. Consistency: Stay consistent with your training schedule. Skipping workouts or exercising inconsistently can hinder your progress.
3. Rest and Recovery: Get plenty of rest between workouts. Muscles grow and repair during rest, not during the workout itself.
4. Eat Enough: You need a positive energy balance to gain strength. This means you need to consume more calories than you burn. Also, focus on consuming enough protein to support muscle recovery and growth.
5. Train Major Muscle Groups: Exercises that target multiple major muscle groups, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, are fundamental to building strength.
6. Technique First: Make sure you master the correct technique before increasing the weight. Poor technique can lead to injuries and ineffective training.
7. Variations: Change your routine every few weeks to avoid plateauing. This may include changing the exercises, the number of reps, sets, or the rest period between sets.
8. Mind Muscle Connection: Try to focus on the muscle you are exercising. By being aware of the contraction and stretch of each exercise, you can create a more effective stimulus.
9. Supplements: Consider basic supplements such as whey protein, creatine, Turkesterone and omega-3 fatty acids. These can contribute to muscle recovery and growth.
10. Warm Up & Stretching: Start your workout with a good warm-up to prevent injury and finish with stretching to improve flexibility and aid recovery.
11. Log Keeping: Keep a training log where you record your weights, sets and reps. This can help you track your progress and see where improvements can be made.
12. Listen to your Body: If you feel fatigued or experience pain that feels different from normal muscle soreness, consider a rest day or see a professional.
Following these general guidelines will put you well on your way to effectively building strength and improving your overall fitness.