To get strong you need to lift heavy things, regularly.
You need to lift heavy because the body requires sufficient load to stimulate its adaptation response. You need to lift heavy regularly because it takes repeated exposure to a stimulus for the body to change over time. And as the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Now don’t want you to go to the gym and start throwing around the heaviest thing you can find! You need to gradually build up your strength.
For those new to training, bodyweight exercises (not including calisthenics) are likely to be heavy enough to see an increase in strength. However if bodyweight exercises are easy for you, then you need an external resistance. That can be in many forms such as resistance bands, cables, weight machines and free weights.
It doesn’t really matter which form of resistance you choose. Your body will interpret kettlebells, machines and barbells in the same way. As long as the resistance is heavy and challenging to move, you will recruit and lay more muscle fibres to compensate. And, you will get stronger.
A question you should also be asking is; in what capacity do you want to be stronger? Is there a specific movement you want to become stronger at, like lifting you kids or grand kids onto your shoulders? Or do you want to improve your overall strength? Your answers to questions like these will give you some direction in terms of which exercises you should be lifting heavy.
If an increase in overall strength is your goal, then you want to be performing compound movements. Compound movements such as deadlifts, carries and rows use multiple joints and musculature. So if we lift heavy across different muscle groups at the same time, we can improve or overall strength very efficiently.
If your goal is to be strong at a specific movement, let’s say like picking up your kids. You probably want to start loading movements such as squats and deadlifts. You could even be more specific with variations by utilising goblet squats or landmine Romanian deadlifts.
In terms of volume, a typical strength regime will be comprised of high sets with low repetitions at a weight that lies anywhere between 70 – 90% of your 1 repetition maximum. A classic example is 5 sets of 5 repetitions. However, I do not recommend this for a beginner. If your technique and muscle activation is not on point, the likelihood of injury goes through the roof. And if you are new to weights, you won’t need that heavier resistance because you haven’t previously been lifting.
This was just a brief overview to give you an idea of strength training. There is so much more to it! If there is something specific you would like to know, please hit me up and I will be more than happy to help.