Once you begin a strength training program and fall in love with the iron (it happens); there is something super satisfying and addicting watching your PR numbers increase each month.
Following a periodised strength training program, emphasising the big compound movements with correct technique and full range of movement, is the way forward for strength gains. Strength increases not only need weights that are sufficiently heavy weight (75%+ or so 1RM), but also enough volume (sets x reps x weight), to maximally elicit the greatest amount of adaptations.
Training in the 3-5 rep range, with weights closer to 80% of 1RM mark, than the 90%+ range), tends to promote the best combination of heavy-enough weights and sustainable volumes to promote the fastest strength improvements. Training too heavy too often (90%+ of 1 RM) can generate too much neural fatigue for the amount of benefit gained, and thus prevents the building of the highest possible general strength base. This also depends on lifestyle, recovery, nutrition, sleep and stress.
The best lower body exercises for strength gains are:
* Back Squats and DB variations
* Barbell Deadlifts and DB variations
* Barbell Hip Thrusts
* Front Squats
* Barbell/DB Lunges and Split Squats
* Leg Press
* Barbell Squat Cleans
The best upper body exercises for strength gains are:
* Bench Press and DB Press
* Chin Ups/ Pull Ups
* Full Push Ups
* Lat Pulldown
* Rows - Barbell/ Single Arm/ Seated Row
* Barbell Shoulder Press
* Full Dips
Master these exercises in the lower rep range with a decent weight, then you can add in the isolated movements for higher repetitions ( 12 -25 range) and volume. For example- back extension, leg curls, leg extension, bicep curls, and tricep pushdowns.
Patience is key, technique is 100% is crucial to avoid injury and listening to your body on the day.
Do specific warm up sets of each lift before hitting your work sets.
If you feel fatigue or have been sick or you are after a big night out, this is probably not the best time to go for your PR.
Most importantly leave your ego at the door of the gym when you are coming to train!
I write monthly periodisation programs according to your specific goals. If you have no injuries and becoming stronger over time is important to you (it also enhances your bikini body), I can help you get there. Email, message or DM me to get started at firstname.lastname@example.org.
References- Scientific Principles of Strength Training- Dr Mike Israetel, James Hoffman, Chad Wesley Smith.