How to Get Strong 2

So you read How to Get Strong Part 1 and understand the rules, but what is the first thing you should do once you get in the gym?

First and foremost, work on form.

Have you ever lifted before? Do you know you have correct form? Do you think your form is perfect?

I hope you answered no to at least one of those questions, because there is always more work to do when it comes to form for big lifts. There is a continuum of things to work on as you advance and even when you are an advanced lifter you still need to drill technique?


Great question.

The simple answer is first to stay injury free and second to be as efficient as possible. If you stay injury free you will be able to train, and get stronger. If you are more efficient you will be able to lift more weight!

What you need to work on, will depend partially on experience. If you are a beginner it is the time to lay the foundation. Do not jump right to using the barbell or heck even dumbbells! DRILL form. Learn the difference between a hip hinge and a squat. Learn body awareness. If you cannot control your body in space, if you do not have this awareness, how do you expect to be able to control an external load that grows over time(weight lifted) and not eventually get injured?

What does it feel like to use your lats, what does it feel like to have a flat back, are my feet staying planted on the ground while I squat, is my core braced?

At times, it is as simple as sitting to a box to be comfortable sitting back and have confidence that you will stand back up! Once you are comfortable with body weight squats try a goblet squat. Holding the weight in front will help balance out the weight in back(your butt!) and help you stay balanced. When hip hinging conquer the cat-cow first. Learn how to rotate from your pelvis. When progressing, try using a wall and kettlebell, it can make finding the proper position a bit easier as the weight can be placed between your feet and the wall is physical feedback to touch your tailbone to.

Once you progress to weights, you will have a new center of gravity and have to learn how to keep your core braced and strong. You also want to become comfortable under the weight and know you are in fact in control. Often times, people rush to add weight to the bar and their form goes out the window. Squats become quarter squats, strong neutral backs are a thing of the past, and reps are hurried.

Take your time. Build a strong foundation.

The bigger and stronger your foundation, the more you have to build on. Your foundation is something you should be continually working on and adding too, even as you get stronger. If you need to use the bar for a month to be comfortable, DO IT! If you need to bring the box back for positive reinforcement, DO IT! If you realize you need to add bracing drills-- DO IT! Do not overlook the simple things during this phase of building your foundation.

Lastly, even advanced lifters need to drill technique and routine, to stay present in each lift and to keep their foundation strong, to keep progressing.

There is no such thing as perfect otherwise there would be no progress.

This is where efficiency becomes huge. Where is the best position FOR YOU to put your feet when you squat, where will your hands go on the barbell when you bench, are you engaging your lats while you bench, when will you breathe, where will you start with your hips on the deadlift. Yes, there are standards but everyone is built differently, and the ideal for each person is different. If form is breaking as you become strong, find the weakest link. Never forget to keep building and adding to your foundation, keep working on your technique, keep working on your weakest link, and never underestimate how much it will help to have someone review your form and give you coaching cues.
Did you miss part 1?