How To Keep Getting Stronger Without Throwing On More Weight


Increasing muscle strength is simple for the first 4-6 weeks of your workout. The general idea is: stick to a fixed rep range and keep throwing on weight until you can’t achieve more than that number of reps, in proper form.

This is a challenge, but one that most people can easily overcome with enough discipline. However, what happens after that initial period is something that leaves¬†many people frustrated and demoralized, sometimes even to the point of quitting. Namely, after the first 4-6 weeks, your muscles are ready to develop further, but the strength of your tendons becomes a limiting factor. And as you can’t strengthen these by lifting more weight alone, you have to resort to different strategies.

An efficient strategy when you’ve reached your maximum weight is to start “milking the weight”. Instead of throwing more on the bar, make the exercise harder in different ways. Make the reps themselves harder by adding slow negatives and pauses to the workout. Once you master that, try adding more weight. This is called a progressive overload.

Put simply, the progressive overload is a way of stimulating the body to adapt and therefore grow. For this to be successful, you have to keep overloading it by challenging it with a task it isn’t accustomed to doing. Your body reacts to this by becoming stronger so that next time, you’ll be able to handle that task, whatever it is.

2The problem with this is that it can’t keep happening forever. If you keep adding 5 pounds to the bar every day, within 10 years you’d have 1,225 pounds on there. It just can’t be done, and there will be a moment when you start to plateau. However, at this moment, instead of stubbornly trying to lift more weight and potentially ending up injuring yourself, you should change the way you work out. The point is to constantly make your body work harder, and by doing so, it will continuously keep adapting and growing.

And there are other ways to make yourself work harder than just adding more weight. At this moment, it’s high time for you to start being a bit imaginative with your workout. As mentioned already, add some slow negatives, some pauses, variations to your workout and you’ll sense the difference immediately. Maybe you won’t be able to do more than one rep, and that’s nothing to be discouraged about. On the contrary, it means that you’re finally challenging your body.

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