When you look at your workout tracker, are you seeing the same numbers week after week with no improvements? Are you feeling as if your strength levels have plateaued and now you need help to get to the next level?
Every powerlifter reaches that point where they believe something drastic needs to be done in order to pull more weight. Not true. Here are several ways to improve your powerlifting workout that are effective and simple to put into motion.
GET A STRONGER GRIP
Think that more exercises are needed to improve your powerlifting workout? Should you double down on the big three? While it’s important to practice your main powerlifting exercises (more on that below), it’s more important to start to fix your weak points such as grip strength.
If your grip is failing long before the working muscle, then your grip strength is costing you new personal bests. A stronger grip can help with overall lifting strength and muscular endurance because you’re able to hold on to the weight for a longer period of time.
Here are some of the best ways to improve grip strength:
Alpha Grips: Simply slide an Alpha Grip on to a barbell or dumbbell and perform an exercise as normal. By expanding the width of the bar you’re using, you significantly increase the challenge on your grip. Over time, you’ll notice a huge boost in grip strength.
Thick Bar Training: If you can get your hands on a pair of thick bars, this is an excellent way to train for grip strength. As the name implies, the thick barbell is far wider than your standard option. Just like with Alpha Grips, the thicker bar will challenge your grip strength.
Farmer’s Walk: The foundational exercise for improving grip strength, the farmer’s walk is performed by simply walking around holding a pair of extra heavy dumbbells. Make sure to maintain good form with a straight back and tight core. Hold on until failure then do it again.
Check out our article on how to increase grip strength for more proven tips and tricks.
FOCUS ON CORE STRENGTH
Another way to improve your powerlifting workout is by focusing on your core strength. What is your core? While the majority of people believe that the “core” is another term used to describe your abs, this is only one part of the bigger picture.
Imagine a band around your torso. Everything that band touches is your core. In other words, your core musculature is made up of your front abdominals, obliques (side), lower back, glutes, and hip flexors. A proper core strengthening program targets each of these muscle groups in order to provide well-rounded strength, mobility, and muscle mass.
Core training can involve both bodyweight and weighted exercises. Just as important is stretching. Before, during, and after each core workout, you should give yourself time to warm-up, stretch each muscle group mentioned above, and cool down afterward.
Here are some of the best exercises for increasing core strength:
- Abdominals: Hanging leg lifts
- Obliques: Woodchoppers
- Lower Back: Hyperextensions
- Hip Flexors: Clams (for abduction) / Seated Hip Adductor Machine (for adduction)
- Glutes: Donkey kicks
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Seems pretty obvious, right? If you want to become amazing at something, you need to practice it over and over again. There’s the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to master something – 10,000 hours! That’s a lot of deadlifts. But practice is more than mindlessly going through the motions. If you want to truly practice something, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Get in the Zone: Dedicated practice means being entirely focused on the task at hand. It’s one thing to deadlift; it’s another to forcefully contract each muscle group as you should. Put your mind completely on the task at hand. Remind yourself what you should be feeling and where you should be feeling it. If you space out for a rep, don’t count it. Do it over. Make sure that your mind is as glued to the weight as your hand.
Lift with a Friend: If you have a friend who is as dedicated to powerlifting as you are, why not do it together? Lifting with a partner keeps you accountable and it’s been shown to result in greater gains.
Get a Trainer: If you’re uncertain with your performance, posture, and form, toss your ego out and get a trainer. What you can learn from a trainer in a given hour is far more than you could teach yourself in a month. Don’t let cost scare you off from getting a trainer because it is far more expensive to learn from your mistakes and risk injury.
WILL YOU TRY ANY OF THESE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR POWERLIFTING WORKOUT?
If so, which one? Do you have your own tricks for kickstarting your progress during a powerlifting workout? Let us know on our Facebook!