The more entrenched I become in the fitness industry the more I see a lot of people going for the quick fixes. Like abs in 30 minutes. I'll admit, it would be nice if some those things are true.
The cool thing is, when it comes to lifting weights, there are strategies that can be employed to actually help us become/feel stronger instantly. In other words, if we employ these strategies we will notice more explosiveness, more stability, and more ease when performing an exercise.
There are actually a ton of strategies we can use that can help, for today though I tried to choose the three that might be the simplest to employ right away.
1. Tripod - Especially for someone like myself I have flat feet. While it might have actually helped with swimming, it's not the best thing when it comes to lifting. In terms of strength, we need stability in the foot to help create better stability through your whole body. This improved stability will also help improve strength.
Essentially what the tripod means is to have our weight evenly distributed between the ball of the big toe, little toe and heel. In order to feel these three points of contact I will initially have someone lift there toes up. Once they feel those points, have them let their toes fall back to the ground. For those of us that are flat footed this will also mean pulling the ankle to the outside of the heel.
If you've done this correctly you may actually feel some pressure going through the inside middle of your foot where you have created arch. Without losing these three points of contact deadlift and squat and take notice of what I said earlier about the body having a lot more stability and even tension because of this technique.
2. Squeeze the bar - Our feet, when standing are the parts of the body that are in contact with the ground, and thus are very important. That is why I discussed the tripod technique. Our grip is the first thing that comes into contact with the weight and that is why it needs to be strong.
If the grip is weak there's no chance of being strong. That's why I love the cue to squeeze the bar. Treat it like a sponge. It's really cool what happens when we do this. Our whole body will begin to create significantly more tension throughout. Especially in the shoulders. And with this new found tension we can lift more weight and become "instantly stronger".
No wonder Popeye was so strong.
3. Pinch a penny in your glutes - Have you ever tried to hold a penny in your glutes? I can't say I have either. But I can only imagine how much you would have to squeeze to hold it there.
Our glutes are the biggest muscle group in the body so in order to be stronger they need to work. If they aren't we are not only missing out on building a lot more strength but also on protecting the back and knees.
When you're trying to get out of the bottom of a squat or a lunge, or even a push-up, etc, pinch that penny in your glutes and you'll notice yourself moving out of those positions with far greater ease.
There it is, three hacks if you will to make you stronger.