Only the strong survive, they say, so consider this your fitness survival guide—a compendium of tips, tweaks, and tutorials with one goal in mind: to make you stronger than you are now. They come courtesy of the athletes of Team Grenade.
1. Richard Elston Negative Reps
"Negative reps are a great way to get strong. The idea is to use a weight heavier than normal and have a spotter help you lift it. Then, on the negative, you lower it for a count of 3-5 seconds, which will tax your body and lead to remarkable growth. You'll activate more muscle fibers on the negative phase of a rep, resulting in a greater power output.
Team Grenade Richard Elston Wide Stance Leg press
Watch The Video - 01:24
"I like doing negatives at the start or end of an exercise. Aim for 4-6 reps. They're best used on core lifts such as the squat, bench, and deadlift. These big lifts unleash a major natural growth hormone release. This benefits the whole body by signaling lean mass increase, strength increase, and post-workout recovery."
2. Melissa Haywood Dropset Match
"To get stronger, I found that dropsets work really well. What's a dropset? I choose a weight and take it to failure, but instead of stopping, I choose a lighter weight and continue repping. When I fail again, I lower my weight again.
"All told, I might drop weight 3-4 times in the process of one dropset.
"Dropsets are easiest to perform on machines—especially if you lift alone— but with a lifting partner, you can use dropsets on just about every exercise in your regimen."
3. James St Leger Strengthen Auxiliaries
"Select your accessory exercises carefully. These moves should strengthen weak areas of the body, complement and help increase strength on each of the four main lifts, and provide balance and symmetry to your body.
"Don't fall for the temptation of using straps and belts when squatting and deadlifting. You're only as strong as your weakest link, and if those big muscles are outstripping gains in grip strength, the chasm between your strong and weak points can widen.
"Eventually, when you least expect it, this disparity will come back to bite you. And you probably won't have straps to bail you out."
James St Leger CrossFit "King Kong"
Watch The Video - 03:21
4. Melih Cologlu Implement Bands And Chains
"To gain strength, I recommend Linear Variable Resistance Training, which involves lifting with resistance bands or chains attached to your normal load.
"Let's use the barbell bench press as an example. With bands attached to the ends of the barbell, the move will become harder the higher you raise the bar, as the bands stretch.
"This technique can work wonders on big lifts such as the bench, squat, and deadlift. You can get more creative with other moves after mastering those lifts using bands or chains."
5. Jamie Alderton Test A Different Rep Max
"Don't just focus on your 1-rep maxes to determine your overall strength. In life, how often do you just have to lift a weight one time and one time only? Repetition is important on your early lifts and your max-effort lifts.
"Aim to improve numbers in your 5-rep max, your 8-rep max, and your 12-rep max. Focus mentally to prepare for these heavy lifts and get them done!
"Hitting a variety of rep ranges and tempos will enable you to hit different muscle fibers. Soon enough this will translate into more strength and more muscle!"
6. Gabriel Sey Try a 5-week, 5 x 5 Program
"I normally go through a 5-week strength phase of training, where I introduce 5 sets of 5 reps, log all my workouts to ensure progression, and increase my rest periods. I like 5 X 5 because it allows me to really trigger fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are important for strength gains.
"Added tip: Make sure you're hydrated, because your body is mostly made up of water, which cleanses your body of waste and helps transport vitamins and minerals around the body."
7. Nyisha Jordan Lift With The Basics
"To get stronger, you may need to plan better. This means tracking your lifts and poundages. Otherwise, you might not even know if you're getting stronger. When you see it in black and white—or on the screen of your smart phone—it is what it is."
"Exercise-wise, I'm big on the basics for gaining strength. I like to use compound exercises such as squat, deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, and clean and press because I feel these work more than one muscle and can strengthen all of them at the same time.
"A method I like to use a lot is the classic pyramid, whereby my weights get heavier and my reps get lower as my sets unfold. This allows the central nervous system to signal the brain that the stresses on the body are growing stronger or weaker in progressive fashion.
"This allows you to have more control over the next working set, resulting in a much stronger mind-muscle connection."