7 Powerlifting Strength Secrets:
One of the most important and fundamental things to remember when learning how to increase powerlifting strength includes focusing on proper form instead of thinking about just racking on as much weight as you can. Quality reps are much more important than quantity.
Next, some strategies for increasing strength include pyramiding and drop sets. This can help prevent the body from plateauing from always doing the same weights and reps each time. Techniques can also be adjusted to focus on improving weaknesses in different lifts.
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If you’re into pressing, pulling and otherwise dominating barbells and dumbbells on a daily basis, then you need to get serious about it. Far too often, you hit the gym and blast through your normal menu of sets and reps with little to no real thought given as to how or why you’re doing what you’re doing. Simply being purposeful is a positive first step in getting stronger faster. Beyond that, you have to become an active learner – getting your arms (and brain) around as much useful information from reliable sources as possible. And, in the strength game, reliability can be measured in pounds.
James Simmons is an Air Force contracting officer – and a decorated powerlifter. Here, this airman-slash-weight room boss drops some wisdom on what it takes to get strong…everywhere…in a hurry.
1) SQUAT DEEP
How low can you go? If you want to get freaky strong, it’s time to find out. “A deep squat is an effective squat, whether your goal is to build muscle or build strength,” says Simmons. “Full-range, ass-to-the-grass squats recruit more fibers in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Although powerlifting federations vary in their ideas of a successful squat, a competition-quality squat generally means that your hips descend to or below the knees. Whether you want to compete or not, your time in the rack will be better spent doing quality repetitions, not partial reps with more weight than you can handle. Squat for results, not ego.”
2) DEADLIFT LIKE A BOSS
“A proper deadlift is a real total-body effort and there is nothing more satisfying than lifting cartoonish amounts of weight and lowering it under control. Make deads a core component of your workouts, start light, focus on your form, and enjoy the steady, satisfying gains in leg and back development, 1RM and grip strength, that come from proper, consistent deadlifting.”
3) PYRAMID UP
“The pyramid concept of increasing weight and decreasing reps from set to set within a particular exercise is not new, and yet surprisingly many beginners tend to go straight to a particular weight and lift until failure for set after set,” says Simmons. “Instead, try building towards a high point in the exercise – a weight that you hope to lift in the 2-4 rep range cleanly. The rep counts might look like this: 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2. The weight should gradually increase with each set as the reps go down. The amount of the increase per set should depend on the lift. Obviously, if you aim to finish the pyramid at a 500-pound deadlift, you will need to make bigger jumps in the weight from set to set to get there than you would to finish with a 315-pound bench press.”
And if you want to see where you belong on the strongman continuum, Simmons advocates a slightly different approach. “Periodically, maybe every 4-6 weeks, tweak this strategy to test your 1RM. If you want to simulate a powerlifting meet, finish the pyramid with three single-rep attempts, each increasing towards your new personal best. Using the 500-pound deadlift max attempt as an example, your workout might look like this: 135 pound for 12, 225 for 9, 315 for 6, 405 for 3, 435 for 1, 465 for 1, 500 for 1.” Looks easy enough, right?
Go to page 2 for the next 4 powerlifting secrets for increasing strength