3 Reasons You’re Weak And What To Do About It

After working with many, many clients in person and online, I’ve had a lot of experience seeing programs, habits, and methods that people use. When they don’t work, they often hire me for help. I’m going to cover the 3 biggest problems I’ve surveyed, and give you quick and easy solutions to help solve them. As the title suggests, this is article is for lifters who are trying to get stronger and bigger, but just can’t seem to get the variables correct to see the results.

Let’s first get into the problems, then discuss the solutions.

  1. They don’t lift heavy.
  2. They do the wrong lifts.
  3. Their form looks like ass.

A bonus fourth part of this, and maybe the most important is simply that their program just sucks. I mean “found at the back of Muscle and Fitness from 2008” sucks. I’ll actually be covering this point in another post coming up. This is by no means an exhaustive list, I could add many, many more problems people have, but if you can solve these three things, you can accidentally get stronger than you are now.

The Problems, Detailed

They Don’t Lift Heavy

This means I see a lot people wanting to get stronger but they want to stick with their shitty rep scheme of 3×12 that they’ve been hammering away at for the past 4 years. If you want to build strength on a lift, you need to lift a weight that is heavy enough that you won’t be able to lift it for 12 reps. Even 8-10 is a little light.

There is definitely a time and a place for higher rep work even in a strength program, but not on every single lift.

They Do The Wrong Lifts

I see a lot of people coming to me saying they want to increase their squat and deadlift and then their lower body exercises consist of 2 sets of squats and deadlifts, then a bunch of ab work. Then they have 3-4 days of 10 exercises for every portion of the biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back etc…

Or worse yet. They want to get strong but aren’t even squatting or deadlifting because “they run 3 times  a week and that’s a good lower body workout.” Keep telling yourself that with your chicken legs homie! 

Their Form Sucks

Often people actually have the top two problems solved. The next issue is that their form is so awful I herniate a disc just watching them. Look, if you can’t go to the gym and do the lifts you want to do, you won’t get stronger.

 It’s that simple.

If you wanted to get really good at riding a bike, would you sit on your ass and visualize riding a bike, or get on a bike and do it?

The same is true with lifting. If you want to get better, you need exposure to the proper lifts, and you need to hammer them again and again. If you are unable to do that because you are constantly injured from lifting with awful form, then you won’t get strong.

The Solutions

They Don’t Lift Heavy

Here is the solution: lift heavy! That is all.

Just kidding, but for real, get away from your high rep ranges that haven’t been producing results for years and try something new. A simple method I like to consider when trying to get strong is the rule of 10 (Check out Dan John). You lift for as many sets as you need in order to reach 10 total work reps. How you reach 10 total reps is up to you, but you lift heavy weight for all of them. This means the following set/rep schemes are fair game:

10×1

2×5

1×1, 3×3

3×3

4×2

5×2

You can see that these all add up to 9-10 total reps. Do that with a reasonably heavy weight for the next 3 months on all your big lifts and you will get stronger than you are currently.

They Do The Wrong Lifts

Priority for getting stronger is the lifts that have the most potential to add weight to. These take precedence over everything. This means:

  • The squat, bench, deadlift, overhead pressing and rowing take precedence over everything. The first three being the most important. Do at least 1 of them in every damn workout.
  • These exercises should be placed first in your training session
  • These exercises should have the most sets in your training session
  • These exercises should have the most focus of all the exercises in your training session

Go do them and their variations on a weekly basis.

Their Form Sucks

This is one that can’t necessarily be fixed so quickly. Honestly, you have to put some effort into learning how to lift properly. Starting Strength is a great resource. Here are some videos I shot of tutorials for the big 5 exercises that you can get started with. You can also film yourself doing them, and feel free to send them to me at kyle@kylegrieve.com and I’ll critique you.

Barbell Overhead Press

Barbell Squat

Barbell Bench Press

Bent Over Barbell Row

Conventional Deadlift

Sumo Deadlift

Now you have a few ways to solve your problems of working your ass off in the gym and not seeing the results you feel you’ve earned!

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