Top 10 ways to get stronger

Just staying in shape or working out isn’t enough for some people – they want to really improve their strength.
Gaining strength can help a person perform daily tasks with more ease, do better in sports, feel more confident and, let’s face it, look better.
There are many different schools of thought on how to get stronger.
Here are my top 10 tips to gain strength:
1. Lift weights – Strength training with weights, whether it be free weights , kettle bells or on an exercise machine, is a great way to build strength.
2. Change it up – Instead of doing the same basic workout routine, vary the exercises, amount of weights and repetitions you do. Variety is the spice of life and also the way to a stronger body.
Perform heavier weightlifting sets some days to build raw strength and muscle and then on other days go to lighter weights and higher reps to counterbalance with muscle endurance. You’ll avoid hitting plateaus as often by creating muscle confusion.
3. Work the legs – Some people do lots of curls and bench presses, but don’t work the legs with the same effort. That’s a mistake. Make sure you put just as much energy into building leg strength as you do to working out your upper body.
Legs are the key to everything as your base and when worked out will help spark the entire body into growing.
4. Compound approach – Focus your time and energy on compound lifts – ones that incorporate multiple body parts in one exercise – rather than isolation movements. Examples of compound exercises are squats, dead lifts, clean-and-jerks and bench press.
5. Lift heavy weights – Lift heavy weights with low reps to get used to lifting more poundage. You’ll get stronger that way and increase the weight you can lift.
6. Use a weight belt – A weight belt will help provide better stability for your lower back when lifting heavier weights and help you do more.
7. Use lifting chalk – Improve your grip and get better sets, Plus, admit it, you’ll feel kinda cool using lifting chalk.
8. Breathe right – One of the biggest keys to heavy lifting is proper breathing techniques. Breathe in before the rep and then blow the weights away.
9. Get a workout partner – Find a reliable workout partner and watch your results take off. You should naturally push yourself at least a little more, a spotter will be there to help when you use bigger weights and you’ll be less likely to miss workouts knowing someone is counting on you to lift.
10. Take a break – One of the misnomers some workout novices believe is that hustle is always good in the workout room, just like on the football field or basketball court.
That’s not always true in the weight room. When you’re in the middle of a heavy set of squats or bench presses, there’s no way you should try to whip through the sets. It’s OK to take 3-4 minutes to rest and mentally prepare between “big sets.”
If you’re feeling burned out, it’s a good idea to skip a lifting day every once in a while to let the muscles rest. Don’t overtrain.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at