We all know that in order to develop your strength, you have to put in time, energy and dedication (or do P90X). It’s a long term project, something you develop over years, and there are no quick fixes, no short cuts, no cheats or easy ways out that don’t involve chemicals. Or is that true? Here are a bunch of tips to help you get an edge on your next lift, to help you stack everything in your favor, and push you to the next level!

Train with someone stronger than you

It’s the same principle as running. If you pick somebody better at lifting than yourself, you’ll naturally be motivated to lift harder, better, and put more intensity into your game. You’ll learn from watching them, and their own success stories will keep you focused and on the go.

Warm up your rotator cuff

These small muscles can be delicate, and once messed up, can be a true pain to heal (ask the folk who mess up their joints doing the INSANITY workout). So be sure to warm them up right before each session: put a small medicine ball against the wall, and push at it with a straight arm. Maintaining your pressure, trace the letters of the alphabet, rolling the ball through each stroke, twice with each arm.

Go barefoot

When you’re lifting serious weight, the last thing you want is to sink into deep, spongy trainers. The harder the surface your feet stand on, the more they’ll be called to stabilize, and the more stable you’ll be. Therefore the best way to lift is barefoot, or if your gym doesn’t allow you to do so, use converse trainers, or special weightlifting shoes with hard soles.

If the bar isn’t rising evenly

If when benching, squatting, dead lifting, shoulder pressing, anything, you find one end of the bar dipping as the other rises, squeeze the bejeezus out of that end. The sudden flexion and tension with send a signal to your nervous system to amp up the strength on that side, helping you even things out.

Hold your breath

When lifting, take a deep breath breath before beginning your set, and hold it for several reps. If you’re doing a short set of five reps, try to hold it for the duration, but the key is to not breath during the actual rep. By holding your breath you lock your torso in place, and keep your body tight and strong for the whole of the workout.