If you have been trying to improve your strength but aren’t seeing results, you may just be going about it the wrong way. This is because increasing strength and explosive power involves more than just squats and bicep curls. To help you figure out where to start, below are 6 of the best exercises for gaining strength.
1. Strengthen Your Hip Flexors
Few things can restrict your potential for explosive power and put you at risk for injury more than tight hip flexors. This is why if you want to focus on your strength and flexibility, the best thing you can do for yourself is to work on this muscle group. One of the best exercises is a hip bridge:
image via WorkoutLabs.com
This exercise stretches and strengthens the hip flexors at the same time. The stronger and looser your hips are, the greater strength and power you’ll have. That’s why a program like this is key if your goal is to build maximum strength.
2. Focus on Your Back
It can be tempting to focus exclusively on the more aesthetic muscle groups such as your biceps or glutes, but as with the hip flexors, the smaller and harder-to-target muscle groups such as the lower back are integral to overall strength and preventing injury. To really target your lower back, get on the floor and do some superman exercises:
image via WorkoutLabs.com
3. Remember Your Hamstrings
The hamstrings are another often-forgotten muscle group, but you can’t work your hip flexors and lower back and ignore the back of your legs, as this could create an imbalance and put you at risk for injury. The number one way to strengthen your hamstrings is the deadlift with a barbell, which has the added bonus of also incorporating your core and lower back. Since this section is on hamstrings, the best variation of the deadlift to target them is known as Stiff-Legged Deadlifts:
image via Dark Iron Fitness
4. Take It Upstairs
When considering overall strength and power, you also want to think about your upper body. Another classic barbell move that you should incorporate into your strength routine is the standing overhead shoulder press, which works the shoulders, triceps, upper back, and upper pectoral muscles and increases core stability.
image via Fitness & Power
5. Don’t Underestimate the Pushup
The pushup may seem basic, but it’s a classic for a reason: in just one exercise and with no equipment, you can target your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. This move is also extremely versatile. You can choose to keep your hands wide or closer to your sides, feet together or apart, one handed or two, or add a jump to add some power.
image via Breaking Muscle
6. Find Your Center of Balance
If you are looking to build explosive power, then you need to be able to trust your body to remain stable and quickly re-center itself between moves. Borrowing balance poses such as Warrior III from yoga can build stability in your core as well as strengthen the smaller muscles in your ankles and legs to keep you balanced:
image via ommmm.com
As you can see, improving your strength can involve targeting some surprising and frequently underestimated muscle groups in addition to the classic power moves. Start incorporating these exercises into your strength routine, fix your tight hip flexors, and you should finally start to see the results you’ve always wanted.