5 Reasons You’re Not Getting Stronger

5 Reasons You're Not Getting Stronger 1

We have a special guest post by Brian Carroll. If you’re into Powerlifting and haven’t heard of him, you’ve probably been hiding under a rock…

Brian is one of only a select few to ever hold a professional lifting total of bench, squat, and deadlift… in 3 different weight classes. He is also part of a rare group of lifters who have ranked in the top 10 in 3 weight classes at the same time.

Most recently he competed and won overall at the 2015 Arnold Classic for the 242 lb weight division, where his max lifts were a 1065 lb squat, 765 lb bench, and 780 lb deadlift- that’s a 2610 lb total.

So when we say Brian is going to talk to you about strength, you know it’s time to sit up straight and listen…

Now over to Brian

So, here’s where we’re at:

Between all the weak “gurus” and unqualified “coaches” out there, we have an entire industry filled with people telling you garbage that doesn’t work.

Go on YouTube and watch some videos and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. The whole internet is absolutely permeated with bad advice, “methods” that will have you spinning your wheels for years, and hustlers who have no business talking about how to get stronger.

Here, contrary to popular belief and the crap you see plastered all over social media, are 5 reasons you’re not getting stronger:

1. You’re listening to the “gurus” in the first place

We’re constantly being bombarded with cool new ways to train, trendy templates to follow, and advice from guys who’ve had one or two decent performances they’re trying to capitalize on.

So how do you weed out the good self-marketers from the guys who actually know what they’re talking about?

Qualify the person you’re taking advice from using these 5 questions I learned from Dave Tate of Elite FTS:

1. What is his/her education and background?
2. How is/was this coach’s performance in the particular sport they’re coaching?
3. Who have they trained?
4. Have they been able to make athletes better than they were before training with them?
5. Do they practice what they preach?

The key here? Don’t judge your guru by what he’s done over the past six months.

Take a look at the past decade of success he or she either had or didn’t have. To put it bluntly: the sun even shines on a dog’s ass once in a while, right?

Anyone can get something right by accident—or through blind, uneducated luck—but standing the test of time speaks volumes about a coach’s methodology.

Beware of gimmicks that fade away as quickly as the careers of the gurus who propagated them.

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2. You don’t have a short-term plan

If you’re going to the gym without a plan, you’re asking for failure. There’s no debate necessary here.

Planning ahead is the only thing you can control. You won’t be able to anticipate when you’re going to get blindsided, but when obstacles get in your way, your plan will give you a road map that won’t leave you chasing your tail.

Every time you step in the gym, there should be something you’re trying to accomplish. You’re there to correct form issues, work on your mobility or stiffness, develop a better setup, or address weak points on one of the big lifts.

Even the intention to get through your training sessions faster constitutes having a plan. It’s all cut and dried here: You have to evaluate where you are, and you need a plan that gets you where you want to be.

Every single day.

3. You don’t have a long-term plan

All short-term plans need to add up to a bigger picture plan.

Experiencing short-term success can destroy a long-term plan if you end up pushing too hard.

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Building strength is a lifetime commitment, so although it’s perfectly fine to think of things in terms of ten and twenty week blocks, you also need to know that you can’t redline your training year-round.

Always think ahead. Experiencing short-term success can destroy a long-term plan if you end up pushing too hard.

Stick to your bigger picture plan by thinking of your short-term gym goals as a snowball that’s going to keep getting bigger and bigger. Map this out, follow it, and don’t deviate from it.

If you’re constantly changing every single variable in your training, you’ll never find out what really works for you. So take the time to observe the adaptations your body is making to your training program.

4. Your form and technique suck

In the introduction to this article, I told you to check out a few videos from some of the popular gurus everyone seems to be listening to.

Once you see how weak they are, I want you to take a look at their form on the main lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift).

What you’ll find is that all the gimmick peddlers out there have the worst form and technique of anyone, and there’s no excuse for that.

At least to an extent, form is more important than strength, meaning you can’t overpower a lift to compensate for putting yourself in a bad position.

Everything works together here. You need to get stronger while simultaneously developing and locking in form and technique that suits your leverages.

If you don’t know where to go to learn how to develop proper form, I give you a ton of form cues to coach you in my book, 10/20/Life—and once you’ve learned to take advantage of proper form, your lifts will skyrocket.

Learn more about 10/20/Life here

5. You’re not attacking your weak points

We all have weak points, whether we’re talking about specific things like sticking points or general bio-motor abilities like endurance.

We’re all different in this way, but if you don’t have someone coaching you, analyzing the areas in which you need work, you’re missing out on one of the most important requirements of the strength game.

Your programming for your main lifts won’t differ very much from the next guy or girl.

After decades of research and gym experience, we’ve pretty much figured out the parameters of what works, and what doesn’t when it comes to developing strength. Your assistance work, however, should be programmed specifically to address the areas where you’re weak.

That’s the problem with the vast majority of programs out there. They’re cookie-cutter and don’t give you the ability to customize elements to your own particular needs.

Attacking weak points is easy. You see where you’re weak in the main lifts—where you miss—and you program your assistance work accordingly to turn these weaknesses into strengths.

Again, if you want more information on planning assistance work, 10/20/Life takes all the guesswork out of this.

If you’re weak off your chest on the bench press, or you’re getting stapled halfway through your squats, 10/20/Life will give you literally dozens of ways to address this and eliminate the problem.

5 Reasons you're not getting stronger

The most important thing in developing strength is consistency. When you’re told the right way to do something, you need to stick with it for 10-20 weeks to see whether it actually works. Jumping from guru to guru every two weeks is not going to make you stronger.