7 strength training techniques that work

Once you know your way around a gym, starting a new strength-training routine is relatively easy. What is difficult? Stick with it.

“What I like to talk about with my clients is that this is a lifestyle, and it takes a long time to see those gains,” says Kayla JeterA certified functional strength coach who is the brand ambassador for both Lululemon And Garmin. “Consistency over intensity is definitely the name of the game.”

Jeter started strength training when he was 12, when he first got serious about volleyball (he later went on to play for the University of Tennessee and then professionally), and over the years he has taught her while in the gym. So much about what really helps you see results—and what doesn’t.

His 7 strength-training techniques work

Jeter She fills us in on the top strength-training techniques that work for her, including her favorite exercises, her go-to gear and the mantra she lives by.

1. Before jumping, he warms up any muscles he will be using

Like any good coach, Jeter stresses the need to “wake up and warm up your body, especially your core and nervous system” before any workout. He sees this period as a way to activate and prime his muscles, while also improving tissue length and density in the process. Using his favorite way to do all that, is through foam rolling mini bandAnd doing dynamic mobility exercises like needle thread or Cat-Cow.

Get ready for your workout with one of Jeter’s favorite mobility exercises:

2. He sticks to what works

Instead of jumping on every last fitness trend train, Jeter prioritizes exercises that she knows will pay off. “When I think about the movements that I go back to over and over again, week after week, month after month, year after year, it’s really the same unsexy thing,” she says. It means squats For strong quads, Raises calves To help his running strategy, and Single leg step up For motor control and stability.

3. She considers her feet as her foundation

When we focus on the big muscles in our body—abs, glutes, biceps—it’s easy to forget about the smaller ones we’re standing on. But feet are the foundation of any sustained movement, so if they don’t anchor us properly, it can cause problems up the chain.

Before he begins any movement, Jeter makes sure his feet are grounded like a tripod: “So the ankle, big toe, and pinky toe are really planted on the ground to support the body,” he says. It helps provide stability and prevent injury.

4. He makes sure his core is firing

Although you’ll often hear trainers tell you to “activate your core,” the cue is meaningless if you don’t know how to do it. So Jeter gets a little more specific. “I tell people to think about two things: If someone punched you in the stomach—you’d buckle, wouldn’t you? And as soon as you pull your rib cage toward your hip bone, you wrap this wrap from your belly button to the side of your back. Create,” she says.

Jeter focuses on those two cues—while allowing enough room to breathe through 360 degrees—to help protect his spine in any exercise.

5. He wears the gear that serves him—and lifts him up

Jeter swears by the brand as a Lululemon ambassador strong feelings Training Shoes ($128). “When you’re strength training, you want to feel supported,” she says. “And as someone who does dynamic movements in the gym, in these shoes I feel like I can change a direction, I can do a step-up, I can sprint and still feel supported and have a distraction-free experience.”

He recommends wearing your “super suit” anytime you’re working out. For her, it’s an all-black outfit, perhaps with pops of color in her shoes. (Favorite pieces include Lululemon Wunder Train Tights Because of their high waist, and Find your speed shorts with their bouncy, flowy, sexy cuts.) “If I wear all black to the gym, business is going to drop,” she says with a laugh. But it’s not just about fun dressing up—You want to wear something that makes you feel confident and competent, bringing out the strongest version of you.

6. He prioritizes sleep

We’re all working on something, and for Jeter that’s getting more sleep. Although he has long been able to work only five and a half hours per night, he is trying to do more like seven hours these days. Because he knows that, for any of his other strength-training techniques to work, he needs a solid foundation of rest. “You can only train the abilities that you have recovered,” he said.

Research shows that a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep. But Jeter knows the value of sleeping hard. “It’s where your brain takes out the junk, it’s where muscles are repaired, it’s where you just rejuvenate and refresh,” she says.

7. He aims for improvement, not perfection

Jeter’s father was a professional football player, and he told him to always strive to do his best – knowing that “your best” changes from day to day. Now, Jeter lives by aiming to be one percent better every day. “It means one percent more effort than the day before, more focus, more intention,” she says “If one percent is laying, you know, starfish on the mat, then hey, we’re better off.”

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