Muscular strength is the amount of force your muscles can exert against resistance. Resistance can be anything, really: weights (dumbbells, barbells) or even the force of gravity (as in bodyweight exercises such as push-ups or pull-ups). Developing muscular strength is crucial for a healthy, well-balanced body.
The development of muscular strength has many positive effects. It dictates how heavy a weight we can lift, how large our muscles appear, and how easily we are able to perform basic lifting-based activities. It often has a close relationship with our success in sports and other athletic activities. To neglect the nurturing of muscular strength is to put yourself at a tremendous disadvantage, athletically and aesthetically.
Why is it so important? Have you ever seen somebody who eats well and exercises but never lifts weights? It’s not a pretty sight. They are thin, sure, but there’s no definition.
Muscular strength usually correlates with muscle definition. Basically, it makes you look healthy and fit.
But that’s not all: taking a balanced approach to muscular strength development is also important. Have you ever seen people who lift weights with their upper bodies but forget about their lower bodies?
It’s where the term “chicken legs” comes from. It just looks unnatural. Nobody wants a mammoth upper body resting on tiny chicken legs. Balance is best.
In order to develop a great physique, proper development of muscular strength, which means a balanced approach, is a must. But how can we develop and improve our muscular strength?
The answer is quite simple: lift things, repeatedly. All right, that may be a bit of a oversimplification. But not by much. The truth is that there are many ways to build muscular strength, but they all follow the same principles: to increase the strength of a muscle you must exercise it — not only that but you must push it toward its physical limits.
When you work out by lifting weights, you are effectively making microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. When the muscle repairs itself, it rebuilds the tissue stronger than before.
So now that we know what it takes to build muscular strength, what are the best ways to do it?
When people think about building strength and muscle, lifting weights is likely the first activity to come into their minds.
But just lifting weights isn’t enough. The key to improving strength is to lift heavy.You must lift a heavy enough weight to make your muscles struggle. In a way, you must convince your muscles that they need to become stronger to do what you’re trying to do.
Compound movements are the exercises that use several large muscle groups to perform. Included in this category of movements are:
- Bench press / Push-ups
- Shoulder press
These lifts and exercises use many of the largest muscles in the body and you must expend much energy to perform them. While isolated lifts, such as bicep curls, are fine for targeting specific muscles, compound movements activate several muscle groups and are the best lifts to perform to increase overall muscular strength.
The strength you exhibit is only as strong as your weakest muscles.
For example: Strong pectorals are necessary at the bottom of a bench press rep, while strong triceps are necessary toward the top. A weakness in either of these muscles will cause decreased strength in your bench press.
So if your triceps are weak and you struggle near the top of your bench press rep, then after you perform your bench press lifts you can isolate your triceps muscles, by doing exercises such as triceps extensions, to improve your bench press strength.
Figure out which of your muscles are weakest, and after you perform your compound exercises and lifts, isolate your weak muscles and focus on making them stronger to benefit your overall strength.
Some people are so determined to get bigger muscles that they devote all of their free time to the gym, lifting weight after weight.
While their hearts are in the right place, they are shooting themselves in the foot. The next best thing you can do for building muscular strength, other than lifting heavy weights, is to give your body ample time to rest and recover after a strenuous workout.
Once you have all the above guidelines down, it can be helpful to add supplements to your workout efforts. The type of supplements you use will depend on your fitness goals.
If your goals are to increase muscular strength, then there are certain supplements that will be more beneficial than others. What types of supplements are the most beneficial for someone looking to gain muscular strength?
Often considered the most important type of supplement to take for any fitness goal, whey protein is an abundant source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), according to Wikipedia, and responsible for stimulating protein synthesis. Consumption of whey protein soon after completing strenuous exercise boosts muscle hypertrophy (i.e. muscle building).
There are hundreds of companies that sell whey protein, but only a few of them have absolutely outstanding reputations of consistently offering the highest-quality products. The best brands that sell whey protein are:
- Optimum Nutrition
Choosing any products from the above brands will give you high quality whey protein.
Practically nothing gets a person more psyched to work out than a pre-workout supplement. These supplements usually come in powder form and are mixed with water and drank around 30-40 minutes before working out.
Just like with whey protein, many brands exist but a few pre-workout products tower above the rest. Choosing any of the following pre-workout supplements brands will likely result in a mind-blowing workout:
- Optimum Nutrition
A great dietary supplement to take, regardless of your current body type or fitness goals, is a multi-vitamin. A multi-vitamin helps provide your body with necessary nutrients you may not be getting enough of through diet alone.
A couple of very reputable multi-vitamins supplements are made by Optimum Nutrition and Rainbow Light (which is 100% all-natural).
There you have it. Now you know the best ways to increase muscular strength, and on top of this you know the best dietary supplements to help you with this goal.
The next steps are all on you. Purchase the supplements you want to try and get to the gym!