Ok, so you want to be strong. You have been regularly attending the gym for months and noticed some great strength gains initially. But that has begun to plateau.

This article outlines the top tips for designing an effective strength training program for incredible strength gains.

Use Functional Compound Exercises

To build true strength you should use compound exercises in your strength training program that simulate real life functions.

Compound exercises involve using multiple muscle groups. Examples include squats, lunges, bench press and the snatch.

Functional exercises are exercises designed to help you become stronger in real life situations such as lifting, pushing, pulling and dragging heavy items.

Bicep curls, Tricep extensions and leg curls are not compound or functional. Isolated muscle exercises such as bicep curls can be used to supplement your training program, but their benefits are minimal and should never replace an alternative such as the pull up.

Make Sure you Rest

To get the most from your training, your muscles need rest in order to get stronger. It is during these rest periods that your muscles grow.

After training you will need a post workout snack such as a recovery protein shake, or some fruit. By eating you are creating an anabolic state for your body to build and grow.

If you fail to eat or rest your body will become catabolic and will start to break down your muscles glycogen stores for energy. By eating and sleeping you are providing your body with the fuel and the opportunity to build and adapt to the increased demands you placed upon it.

Train the Muscles Equals

It is common in the gym to see people concentrating on the mirror muscles. The mirror muscles are the pectorals, biceps, shoulders, abdominals and quadriceps.

It is important not to forget the muscles equals. The back muscles, triceps, hamstrings, lower back and calves also need to be exercised in your strength training program. These muscles form part of what is known as the posterior chain.

Without exercising these muscles you will create an imbalance causing bad posture and injury. For every push exercise you should do a pull exercise. Your body needs to operate as a unit.

Use Explosive Exercises

When training your muscles, train them explosively on the concentric phase of the lift. Explosive movements recruit the muscles fast twitch fibres. Fast twitch fibres are used for powerful explosive movements, so by training these in your exercises you will be increasing your strength.

Incorporate some Strongman Style Exercises

Strongman style exercises can induce incredible strength gains. These exercises include flipping tyres, pushing cars and dragging weighted sleds.

They are extremely functional and add more to your program than what the traditional weight room can offer.

Think about Rocky Balboa in Rocky 4. He used the equipment that was around him such as ropes, trees and mountains to train more effectively than his Russian counterpart and the lovely nice gym.

Push Yourself

The overload training principle means that you need to increase your workload regularly to give your body something to adapt to. You need to elicit the overload response by working harder during your workouts.

Each session, and week, make sure that you increase one or some of the exercise variables. You can change the exercises, number of sets, number of reps, lifting tempo, rest period or maybe most importantly the load you are lifting.

Use a step loading system to steadily increase the weight you are lifting. This will initiate the desired stress on your body needed to initiate the required strength gains.