As an avid lifter, you’re likely already utilizing various training techniques to help increase strength. It goes without saying that a variety of techniques integrated in a progressive manner is important to making strength gains, but there’s a lot you should be doing during the other 23 hours of the day when you’re outside of the gym. Here are five very crucial tactics to help you stay on top of your strength game when you're not training.
Tactic #1: Stretch Daily
To be truly strong, you need to be both flexible and mobile. Without adequate flexibility and mobility, your muscles will lack power and be at increased risk for injury.
The true definition of strength is to be able to move a weight under control through a full range of motion, but this requires having enough limberness to remain strong throughout each phase of the rep. It's no good being strong in one specific phase of movement--as the old adage goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.
Evidence of this can be seen when lifters struggle with squatting out of the hole. This is often due to poor hip mobility, which kills power as you drive upwards. The trick is to fix the hip problems and the power will follow. Daily stretching is a must to take your strength building efforts to the next level. Aim to stretch for at least 15-30 minutes, every day.
Tactic #2: Supplement with Creatine HCl
There are very few supplements in the world that have the staying power creatine does. Countless studies have shown that creatine is a staple in a lifters supplement regimen. This mighty supplement helps elevate ATP resynthesis during the workout by saturating the muscle cell. The result is greater strength and muscular endurance.
Interestingly, the most popular form of creatine studied, creatine monohydrate (CM) may not be your best option. This may be due to the fact that CM struggles to bypass the harsh acidic environment of the stomach, leaving much unabsorbed by the muscle. However, premium creatine supplement options, such as Creatine HCl, have been scientifically calibrated to better withstand this harsh environment--and allow for more creatine to head straight to the muscle where it can begin assisting your strength building efforts.
To support gains in strength, supplement with Kaged Muscle Patented Creatine HCl 30-60 minutes prior to training with approximately 4-6 oz. of water.
Tactic #3: Stay Hydrated
If there was ever an argument for maintaining proper hydration beyond health--it’s muscle strength. Performance can dive by as much as 80% when you're dehydrated by as little as 10%! This not only affects your ability to lift heavy weight but also your endurance for reps.
In order to keep your muscles saturated and functioning at their best, you need to consume 4-5 liters of water each day. Add a punch of flavor to your water with Hydra-Charge. This unique product contains five natural electrolytes plus tender coconut water extract to assist with hydration, and it tastes delicious!
Tactic #4: Get Adequate Sleep
To perform at such a high capacity where strength continues to climb, your body needs adequate rest. More specifically, the central nervous system (CNS) needs ample time to recover, because it engages all of the muscle fibers during intense bouts of strength training.
To safeguard your strength building efforts, aim for around 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you struggle to get a good night's sleep, try the following:
- Avoid consuming any caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime
- Read a book for 20-30 minutes to help calm your mind
- Turn off all electrical devices, including your cell phone
- Make your bedroom pitch black by investing in a good set of blackout blinds
Tactic #5: Eat for Strength
You must eat strong to grow strong. Regardless of your efforts in the gym, if you’re not consuming an adequate amount of calories--your numbers aren’t going to budge. Providing your body with sufficient energy--and then some--will ensure your muscles have a constant reserve to pull from during training. Aim for 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight and 2-3g of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight daily. You’ll also want to include healthy fats in the form of avocados, salmon, coconut oil, and the like. Fats should make up about 25-30% of your daily calorie intake.