Whether you're lifting weights to build muscle, get stronger or increase your fitness and conditioning for sports, there are always ways you can speed up progress. Unless you're a complete beginner, it can take a little time to see results from your hard work and dedication in the gym, but with the right approach to training, those gains will come if you put in the effort.
Train with intensity. It may sound obvious, but you won't see results if you never challenge yourself. Staying in your comfort zone is the prime way most people fail to see progress, notes Eduardo Correa on the Flex magazine website. Challenge yourself by consistently striving to work harder.
Progress your exercises as often as possible. This relates to taking yourself out of your comfort zone, but it's important you aim to get just a little better each workout. The most common methods of progressive overload are changing your exercises, using more weight, training more often and doing more volume per workout.
Stick to a routine. Rather than just entering the gym each session with nothing but a vague idea of what you're planning to do, create a workout plan, detailing each session's exercises, sets, reps and weights. Your plan should last anywhere from one week to two or three months. If you're not confident designing your own plan, speak with a qualified trainer.
Base your routine mainly around compound exercises. These are exercises that work multiple muscle groups. Because you're activating and recruiting more muscle fibers, these work best for gaining strength and size, as well as for burning calories and losing fat.
Take short, periodic breaks from training. According to exercise researcher James Krieger of Weightology.net, you won't lose any size or strength when taking a few weeks off every few months. In fact, small breaks can help you recover and ignite your motivation for training, leading to greater long-term success.
Utilize intensity techniques to take your training to the next level. Personal trainer Ben Greenfield recommends implementing super-slow reps, forced reps where you have a partner assist you on a lift, slow negatives and supersets, where you perform exercises back to back, as ways of boosting your results.
Stay consistent. Rather than always looking for your next new program, or the latest fitness trend, just stay consistent. Commitment, enthusiasm and a positive attitude are three key -- yet often overlooked -- aspects of getting stronger and seeing results, according to trainer Dave Draper.
Eat according to your goals. If you're lifting weights to gain muscle and strength, you need to eat a surplus of calories to aid muscle growth. If you're using weight training as a way of getting leaner, however, a reduced-calorie diet will speed up fat loss and help you see the results of your training much faster.