Big Neechi shares his guide for building up strength in your lifts while also avoiding injury.

So you’ve hit a plateau in your workouts. It happens to everyone. After months of motivating progress, you hit a wall and now suddenly you can’t lift up increasing weight anymore. Have you hit your physical possible limit? Probably not. Instead, you’ve likely hit the level that separates intermediate lifters from advanced. At this point it’s about discovering the right adjustments to take your strength to the next level. In our latest GI Exclusive, Big Neechi details how to best increase weightlifting strength without getting injured.

Once you’ve hit a natural wall in weightlifting – it can be difficult to overcome the plateau. It can also become incredibly frustrating and demotivating. That’s why we turned to Big Neechi, who has a degree in exercise science programming, on what to due when you want to start lifting even more weight.

It becomes a delicate balance. If you try to push too far past your weight too soon – you could end up injuring yourself. That’s why Big Neechi stresses the importance of warming up and slowly building towards your max weight (and beyond). This not only helps avoid injury, it helps build muscle more effectively.

The biggest mistake lifters make is to rush towards a personal record right away. Without progressively increasing weight and starting with a warm up – you’ll never see real strength improvement. This is because you’re not working your muscles as effectively. Instead, you tire out fast under your max weight.

Big Neechi also stresses the importance of compound exercises for building strength. These are moves such as the deadlift that target multiple muscle groups. While it’s also important to use isolated exercises to tone specific body parts, compound exercises will push you the furthest towards increasing strength.

You might be asking, how many reps should I be doing per set? Big Neechi recommends going with shorter reps and higher volume to build up strength. But he again warns against going straight to your max weight at the start of an exercise.

Both lower weight and high reps and high reps and lower weight can be effective for muscle growth. But focusing on the heavy volume will certainly lead to more immediate strength improvements.

At the end of the day, building strength and exercise is a science. You need to try your best to leave your ego at the door. No matter how much you want a certain method to work – it doesn’t beat tried and true methods determined by years of scientific research and experience.

You can watch Big Neechi explain how to improve your strength for weightlifting in detail by watching our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.