As pretty as you may look.. When it comes down to the test of might. Do those muscles lift as much as they look like they do?
Strength training is can be time consuming and difficult. Or you can make it not suck as much. I was a fairly strong guy, but when I started to powerlift I need to build a firm foundation of overall strength that I could then progress from. You might feel that you can hit a lift really well, but one muscle may compensate for the weakness of another. I felt this in my squats. My hamstrings could support the weight, but my hips and lower back would give out first.
If you’re experiencing a similar feeling in your lifts you might need to bring the weight back down and start again. Otherwise, you will plateau and be unable to further your overall lift. If you keep training on too heavy of a weight those muscles will have a harder time catching up. The same is to be said if your form starts compromising. If you continue to train with the compromised form then you’re not going to improve the muscles to lift under proper form.
Building a Foundation
When I first started focusing on my strength I tried the 5X5 Stronglifts program. It’s great because it’s easy to track, focuses on the main lifts, and you can see results. It’s based on slowly increasing your weight by subtle increments every day. They have an app that allows you to easily keep track of all your lifts and even has a timing system to make sure your increments in between lifts are consistent. The workouts are all compound movements and there are only 3 different exercises per workout. Which I’ll admit it can get mundane if you like to explore the gym, but it’s challenging and can help you excel in your strength.
The website is a great source for proper lifting form and has some really good articles. It has a very useful section of what to do if you do plateau and principles to help move past that. For me I found that I was able to increase my numbers drastically and when I hit a plateau I deloaded and was able to address my weak areas that were holding my overall lift back. I was very surprised by how one muscle group could hinder my overall progression.
If you’re looking to branch more into fundamental compound lifts this is a great resource. I highly recommend downloading the app to go along with your workouts. I have to say, the results won’t come quick or easy. There aren’t any shortcuts and any that you try will hurt you in the long run. After months of training you’ll be able to see how much your numbers have improved. At first it might be discouraging to start with lower weights, but don’t let your ego get the best of you. Best of luck.