I want to start off by saying that I have been extremely blessed in my training career by being around some extremely knowledgeable people, all with different backgrounds and varying expertise. With that being said, when talking to people that I train and people at meets, I often find that many of them don’t know the little tricks top lifters use to increase their lifts. And the best part: anyone can do them. Here are just a few tips to try:

Belt placement

Belt placement seems pretty simple, right? Just put it around your belly and blow out... Well, not exactly. Each lift is a different beast, so why would you wear your belt the same for both?

For the squat, your belly should be used as a tool for stability and leverage. The belt is there for intra-abdominal pressure, but you can also use it to maximize the leverage you have. If you watch YouTube videos of big name lifters, you’ll see that the majority of them push the front of their belts very low—almost completely under their belly buttons. This pushes the belly up and makes it a little bigger, thus giving you a bigger base of support.

For the deadlift, a new fad has emerged that involves wearing your belt extremely high. This is amazing for lifters that tend to round over as they deadlift. The belt acts as a brace on the muscles and creates extra rigidity.

Try these out and see if they help. I’m going to bet that they will.

Lockout reps

If you watch the majority of good bench pressers versus the majority of bad bench pressers, you’ll notice one major pattern... The best benchers in the world lockout EVERY single rep they do, and they have tons of muscle mass right behind the elbow. Not only do they lockout every rep on the bench press, but they also lockout and flex the triceps on extensions and push-downs. Try to push the bar an extra inch during training. Why? Well, you have to lock a bench out in competition, don’t you?

Wrist wraps

When attempting to press maximal pounds, you want to take advantage of every little thing you can. As we all know, wrist wraps hold the wrist in place and provide. However, many people wrap their wrists completely wrong for what they are trying to do. If you are wrapping your wrist straight across, then you are missing out. If you want to get some serious support, you should try wrapping above and below the wrist like a cast. By doing this, you are setting the hand to where it cannot easily be bent, which will also help keep the bar, wrist, and elbow in line—a must for big time pressing.

Hopefully this article helps you start thinking about the little stuff that could help boost your numbers on the big three lifts. There are tons of little tricks like this that can help you reach a higher level, so reach out to experienced lifters to soak up all of the information you can. Knowledge is strength.