5 Essential Strength Building Tips

Josh’s crew warming-up for bench presses at Boss of Bosses

Whether you’re into CrossFit, Olympic lifting, or even if you’re crazy enough to wrestle alligators while brewing moonshine, strength is your golden ticket to success!

And hey, if you’re trying to impress that smokin’ hot girl at the Allsup’s gas station in rural West Texas, trust me, being jacked ain’t gonna hurt your chances!

Now, picture this: folks that are broke trying to teach you how to get rich, or these so-called business professors who’ve never even run a lemonade stand leading you astray. Pathetic, right? 

But fear not, my friends, because I’m about to share some battle-tested secrets that will skyrocket your gains and have been proven by my record-setting clients and myself in the trenches.

So, put on your big-boy pants and get ready for the ride of your life. We’re about to unleash the, what I consider, 5 essential strength-building tips looking to make the fastest possible gains in strength with minimal time stuck at plateaus!

  1. Start-off Right.

Stepping into the gym with a mindset of lifting very heavy weights is serious business, so you’re

likely eager to get right under the bar. But, hold up a sec. Every, and I’ll repeat, every, big lift

starts with a thorough warm-up. It’s easy to dismiss this part of the workout but ultimately it has a huge impact on your ability to generate maximum force.

The benefits of a proper warm-up are well documented, but among the myriad benefits are more efficient movement patterns and increased mental readiness. No successful lifter today foregoes this critical step, so why should you?

At Circle Jerk Fitness, warming-up might include static stretching or quickly downing a pre-workout protein shake, but if you want to get as strong as possible, you need to include warm-up sets with submaximal weights on the lift you’re performing. If you’re squatting, warm-up by squatting; use this same logic for cleans and bench presses, or any lift, for that matter. Warming up in specific manner will get you mentally and physically ready to dominate.

An added benefit of doing warm-ups is additional volume. Volume is weight x sets x reps, so

squatting progressively heavier weights for four sets of five reps (none close to failure) is a

significant amount of extra training volume without adding time to workouts.

  • Prioritize What Comes First In Your Workout

Strength is a skill. You’ll most effectively display this skill when fresh, so that’s why you want

to do the most demanding, heavy exercises early in your workout. Of course, these movements

are always multi-joint in nature, like rows, presses, squats, or pulls. These movements build the

most strength, require the heaviest loads lifted, and demand the highest levels of coordination.

You’ll derive the greatest benefit and yield the best performances by prioritizing the most

important core movement first in your workout.

  • Watch Mental Movies 

Brain activity precedes movement. That doesn’t sound earth-shattering but consider that among the strongest men in the world, correct movement patterns are visualized before they’re ever performed. Former Eastern-Bloc sports scientists put this into practice nearly three-quarters of a century ago, which made then-Soviet athletes nearly untouchable.

Take 10-15 minutes a day to visualize yourself lifting with optimal form. Find a quiet spot, turn

the lights off, lie down, and relax; visualize yourself as vividly as possible, integrating sight,

sound, and feeling. See yourself performing your strength movements with optimal technique in a dominating style.

An experiment conducted by Dr. Judd Biasiotto at the University of Chicago was done where he split participants into three groups and tested their free-throw percentage. After the established a baseline, Biasiotto had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour. The second

group only visualized themselves making free throws but did not actually practice; the third

group did nothing. After 30 days, all three groups were retested. The first group improved by 24 percent, but shockingly, the second group improved by 23 percent without ever shooting a free throw. As expected, the third group didn’t improve at all.

See yourself doing right and you’ll do right!

  • Grease the Groove

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. It works exactly the same in

strength training. Pavel Tsatsouline, in his book Power To The People, described how a neurological groove needed to fire in a certain sequence and intensity. In essence, he was saying that you needed to practice the same movement over and over with correct technique to build the skill of strength.

And then do it some more.

Some folks believe that it takes 10,000 correctly performed repetitions to master a movement.

Every rep you perform in training, from your first warm-up to your heaviest set, provides an

opportunity to perform a rep correctly. So, take advantage of the opportunity to literally get better every rep!

  • Get Explosive with Your Training

The more explosive a lift, the stronger it will be. Your muscles and your central nervous system

don’t know the actual amount of weight on the bar you’re lifting, but they do know muscle

tension and force produced.

You may have slept through physics class in school, but some basic knowledge can be applied to

strength training. Consider force = mass multiplied by acceleration. Doing your lighter sets with

maximal acceleration through the entire range of motion is called compensatory acceleration.

training (CAT). Greater amounts of force exerted into the bar will create higher amounts of

muscle tension. This will, most importantly, build strength but also aid in muscle hypertrophy because you recruit a higher amount of fast-twitch muscle fibers (the ones with the most potential for growth). 

When training your core multi-joint movements, after you warmed up, whether the weight is

light or heavy, have the intent to move the bar as fast as possible! You’ll produce higher amounts of force, the weight will feel lighter, and “the intent” will produce limit and explosive strength adaptations.

Final Thoughts

Most people like to contrast differences between successful strength athletes. Instead, I look for commonalities among the strongest people in the world and developed this list of 5 factors so you can see what makes them stand out. Right now is the time to get started.

Build serious strength with Josh’s newest XXL Strength and Size program HERE.