Get strong!

Ever hit a plateau and wondered how you’re going to bust out of it?

Changes occur in your body quite quickly when you impose a new form of ‘stress’ or training stimulus on it. However, if you don’t change things up sufficiently or often enough, you’ll eventually reach a point where you feel nothing is changing, and that can be so frustrating. With this workout I’ll show you how to shift your body back into gear to start making progress once again.

Strength is often overlooked in our approach to training because women are afraid of ‘bulking’ up with too much muscle, but I can assure you that it’s not weight training alone that adds massive amounts of muscle mass onto a woman’s frame.

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Training a bit heavier each week (or every 3 weeks at the very least), employs a technique called progressive overload to ensure you keep making gains. This will prompt your body to change in amazing ways, with beneficial effects on your body composition and overall look, which are just two of the many benefits of training with a plan such as this one.

This workout will be something you need to do weekly or twice weekly, if possible. Each week I aim to add 2.5kg to what you lifted previously. In so doing you’ll soon find that you’ve become stronger than ever before!

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The workout:

(Only a barbell, weight plates and bench are needed)

Perform each of the exercises for 4 sets of 10 reps at least once a week and see how you progress by adding weight each week!

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The exercises:

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With the barbell on your back, squat down as low as is comfortable by pushing your butt back and flexing at the hips.

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Squats:

With the barbell on your back, squat down as low as is comfortable by pushing your butt back and flexing at the hips. Straighten back up by extending your hips and knees. Make sure you are familiar with the deep squat position so that you do not injure yourself and so that you’re improving the movement each week.

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With the barbell at shoulder level, press it up overhead.

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Overhead shoulder press:

With the barbell at shoulder level, press it up overhead. Lower it back down under control and repeat.

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With a pulling motion, row the barbell up to your belly button, then extend your arms down again.

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Bent-over rows:

Hold the barbell with an underhand grip. Bend your knees and hinge at the hips to bend over to a 45-degree angle. With a pulling motion, row the barbell up to your belly button, then extend your arms down again.

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Lie back on a bench, unrack the bar, lower it to mid-chest level and press it upwards.

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Chest press:

Lie back on a bench, unrack the bar, lower it to mid-chest level and press it upwards.

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Semi-deadlift (not pictured):

Hold the bar with both hands in front of you using an overhand grip. Hinge at the hips and bend the knees to lower your body down slightly into a semi-squat, until only a slight bend at the knees is achieved. Bring the barbell back up from this point to an upright position by extending your legs. Do not arch your back or bend over at the waist.

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By Isilda Da Costa

Author: Tanja Schmitz

Co-Publisher at Maverick Media and until recently, Fitness Magazine editor. Tanja now manages multiple digital platforms, consults and create exciting campaigns and opportunities in the fitness industry. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.