Thinking about starting a new strength training program? Awesome! That desire is the first step. Where to start? Maybe you are getting back into it after some time off or maybe you are new to fitness and the world of weightlifting. There are a ton of programs you can do and even more information available on the internet. Focus your efforts on the essentials and save yourself time and energy. Use timeless strategies that maximize your potential, and lay the foundation for lifelong fitness and vitality.
These strategies have worked for the strongest men and women in the world and can work for you too. It takes dedication, focus and some basic equipment. I’ll provide you with the information, inspiration and resources to achieve your goals. Challenge yourself, reach your potential, and then go beyond!
You can go many directions with weightlifting. Strongman, bodybuilding, power lifting, Olympic weightlifting, general fitness, look muscular etc. The fundamentals of strength have stood the test of time and will never go out of style. What worked for Mr. Olympia in 1970 and the World's Strongest Man in 2011, will work for you.
When I joined a gym over a decade ago I made some progress, but my gains would’ve been much greater, and consistent, had I stuck to the essentials of weightlifting. Even the most accomplished bodybuilders begin their lifting careers with the basic compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses, and pull-ups. Before you decide to re-invent the wheel and do way too many exercises, on way too many machines, grab a barbell and do a few simple, yet challenging strength training exercises.
Here are some key elements to keep in mind when designing a training program.
Compound Free Weight Exercises
The “Big Four” - Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Overhead Press. No matter your level of experience, these big lifts should always have a place in your weightlifting program.
If you work your upper body, work the lower body. For every pushing movement do an equal amount (or more) pulling. If you add an element to a program you may have to take something out. Always strive for balance to achieve optimal performance.
Breaking personal records is motivating and builds confidence. It’s also fun to test your strength level and go beyond! The best programs focus on progressive loading.
Are you stronger now than you were last year? Progress is the name of
the game. Finding that inner desire can be truly invigorating. Track progress in your training log and see how far you have come, where you need to adjust, and where you want to go.
I think it’s good to have an open mind, especially in regards to fitness and health. Listen to people, ask questions, take notes. Take what you can from different sources. Just don’t get carried away and let it divert your attention from what’s important. The essentials. Reaching your goals short-term and long-term. Have an open mind but keep your core vision intact.
Set Specific Goals
If you want to gain strength on your squat and bench then set these goals. Write them down on paper and stick to a plan to achieve them. The more specific the better. Examples: gain 10 lbs., increase my bench by 20 lbs., run 30 hill sprints. Even if your goal is to build muscle while burning fat, try to make it tangible. How much weight, how many reps?
Give it Time
Want to try a new exercise? Great! Give it time though. Try it for a month or two and determine if it fits your goals and adds something substantial to your routine. The same goes for nutrition and diet plans. Whatever method you choose, give it some time before deciding if it works or not.
I have made my share of mistakes in the gym. It's beneficial to fall and get back up, that’s part of the journey. But I would be miles ahead of where I am now if I used these principles at the beginning of my fitness quest. Why waste time and energy? Use my setbacks to your advantage. Work hard at what's most effective and make consistent gains.
There are tons of programs, exercise machines, and diet plans to choose from. Fads come and go. The principles of strength remain.
For me this is a lifelong pursuit. Learn from my mistakes. Exceed all expectations!
Like a house needs a strong foundation, you do too. You can remodel a room or knock down a wall, but you need that solid concrete to build from. Stick to the essentials, and add or detract as you see fit. Give it time and reap the rewards!
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, I would love to hear from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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