Building strength requires real dedication and consistent effort, but even the most ambitious individuals can fall short along the way. There are tons of ways to sabotage your progress. Between picking the wrong exercises, using poor form, and lifting in the wrong rep ranges, boosting your strength numbers can become a complete nightmare. Use these four tips to avoid common pitfalls and boast big numbers on your favorite exercises.

Strength Tip #1 – Find a Program That Works

The villain of progress is program hopping. There are a variety of programs out there that can help you build strength. The key is to find one that works for you and your schedule. Figure out how many days a week you have to dedicate to strength training. Then, find a program that can fit your schedule. The Wendler 5/3/1 program has received a lot of publicity because it’s easy to use, and you can format it to fit almost any amount of days in the gym. Avoid jumping from program to program out of boredom. Even a perfect program takes six to eight weeks to show notable amounts of progress and even longer to show huge gains. Don’t fall short by switching workouts every two weeks.

Strength Tip #2 – Repeat Exercises Often

Too much variety is another mistake many rookie lifters make. Repeating exercises frequently allows your body to learn patterns and become extremely efficient at those particular moves. Change exercises too frequently and your body will constantly be trying to play catch up. In order to see huge gains, pick 3-4 exercises you would like to see improve. Some form of those exercises should be in your workouts at least twice a week. That means each week you are practicing that movement at least two times. You’ll notice that with each passing week your body will get more and more efficient at the moves you practice.

Strength Tip #3 – Avoid Overloading on Accessories

The main lifts are going to get you the most bang for your buck. Don’t fall prey to the notion that more is better. Doing 30 different triceps exercises is not going to help build your bench press. The majority of your lifts should be multi-joint exercises that directly enhance your primary exercises. For benching, try floor pressing or incline dumbbell presses rather than isolation arm variations. If accessory moves are a must-have in your routine, pick two of your favorite ones to include at the very end of your routine.

Strength Tip #4 – Incorporate Power Exercises

Heavy strength exercises are usually rather slow especially if you’re performing a max lift. Putting some explosive exercises like cleans, snatches, and medicine ball work will help to build strength be increasing the amount of power you’re capable of producing. Increased power means you’ll explode faster out of the bottom position of a squat leading to bigger gains in strength and size. Incorporate power exercises before your major lifts just be careful not to tire yourself out. Three sets of three to five reps should do the trick. This will get your nervous system fired up but leave you with enough juice in the tank for the heavy lifting.

Building strength requires constant work and training. If increasing numbers is your primary goal, make it the focus of your training. Consistent practice will help add strength quickly as your body gets stronger and more efficient. Incorporate these tips to see your numbers go through the roof!