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Ways to Increase your Max lifting capacity
Many who go to the gym for muscles know that lifting heavy weights is the fastest way to build muscles while light weights and high reps can get you the lean and toned look. Bodybuilders always find ways to add more plates to their bars as they know it is equivalent to their muscle size. However, increasing your one-rep max is never easy. Many weight-lifters experience a plateau after training for some time as their body gets used to the routine and their strength gain decreases.
Benefits of lifting heavier weights can include bigger muscles, increased release of growth hormone which will make you taller and bigger and increase in strength (ability to do more pull-ups, perform better with other gym equipment, etc.). Below are some ways to increase you one-rep max and break through your plateau.
Calculating your one-rep max
Most people who lift weights do not even know their one-rep max, they just lift whatever weights that they see or are available to them. Do not be ignorant and find out your one-rep max, its the only way to know if you’re improving.
Go to exrx.net/Calculators/OneRepMax.html and enter your weights lifted + reps perform. The system automatically calculates your one-rep max and gives you a list of weights that you should be able to lift at different intensity.
If you want greater accuracy, you can calculate your one-rep max with the formula: 1 RM = w * (1 + r/30) where w is the weight used and r is the number of reps completed. (the unit of w doesn’t matter). Now that you know your 1 RM you can try out the methods below. Remember to track your 1 RM consistently so that you know if the methods work.
1. Train close to your max rep constantly
Sounds pretty obvious but most people switch their training routine so often that they rarely get to train with heavy weights. In fact, if you constantly train with high rep weights it is conterproductive to increasing your one-rep max as your muscles work on increasing endurance instead of strength.
It helps to go as low as 2-3 reps with weights slightly below your max to slowly build strength. This idea of training with heavy weights may make you uncomfortable but if you stick with it you will gain muscle as well as strength.
2. Work on alternative exercises
Imagine if there’s a mountain in front of you and you want to get to the other side, would your climb the mountain or would you find alternate routes around the obstacle? In strength training terms, a plateau is the greatest obstacle for strength and muscle gains and the best way to get over it is to get around it.
If you hit a plateau (no gains) in bench press, squats, pull-ups or any other exercise you can try alternative exercise that work one of more of the body parts as the orginial exercise. For example, dumbbell rows can replace pull-ups, leg press can replace squats and weighted push-ups can substitue bench press. There are many gym equipment that allows you to perform substitutes of almost all exercise.
The theory behind this is to challenge your body in different ways, from different angles. What arnold schwarzenegger calls “shocking the muscles” and Tony Horton‘s “muscle confusion”.
3. Creative techniques
You might have doubts but the ingenious methods below works wonders at increasing your 1 RM but a little but instantly.
1. Imagination/visualisation: like what champion athletes do before competition, visualise youself already doing a heavier weight than your 1 RM. Be realistic and set reasonable goals.
2. Get mad: getting angry might cause your body to release adrenaline and venting anger on your weights can help increase muscle force.
3. Warm up: get blood flowing into your body so that it is glucose and nutrients are supplied to your muscles.
So there you go, the most effective methods for increasing your 1 RM. Hope it works for you. Help us by clicking the sharing buttons below!