Starting to do Strength Training is like embarking on your, once in a lifetime, most rewarding journey. Indeed, it is a journey that will teach you about the most important part of life: about yourself, about your mind, body and soul which lie at the core of how you experience this world.
However, as with any other path you take, it is really crucial to have a vivid picture, from the beginning, on what is that you want to accomplish and experience. Of course, if you want to get injured, frustrated and hurt, then you will just go about doing things in a completely thoughtless manner. But since, this is very unlikely to be true for you, and you are more curious about starting your journey in the most enjoyable, safe and rewarding way possible, then there are some things you need to know first.
First and foremost, you do need to have the basic knowledge and understand of the key principles, which are integrated in a successful strength training program. This will get you on a good start, so once you have build this strong foundation, the rest will come more easily and naturally. Because it all comes down to: focusing on the fundamentals and not get lost in the details. For example, you will get more benefit from squatting 100lbs with the right technique, rather than squatting 140lbs with poor form and feeling fatigued, where you expose yourself to injuries. So, if you do understand the basic principles from the get go, Strength Training can become a quite simple way of training- especially at the beginning, where your body will easily adapt to any new stimulus you provide it with.
This Guide is designed to give you an easy to understand breakdown of the key principles in Strength Training, so you can succeed and reap the benefits from embarking on your new health journey.
Here is what you Must consider first:
Learn the Basic Movements & Exercise Selection
This will be the number one key component of your success in the world of strength training. If you don’t know what exercises to do and how to do them in a correct and safe way, then you are pretty much bound to fail: with no results and potentially even injuries. This being said, you want to use multi-compound movements, where you use several different muscle groups, working together simultaneously, in the most simple variation possible. For example, if you are an absolute beginner, not only in strength training but in training as a whole, then starting with bodyweight movements would be optimal for you. Such movements, include Air Squats, Push Ups, Sit Ups , Lunges etc..Focus on a selective number of movements and practice them continuously. Maybe, for now, you could even call it practice, not training. Just as you would practice cooking the same meal over and over again until you get the perfect dish, the same goes for your practice with bodyweight movements. Or if you want to be a good Tennis player, you will first practice ball serve or the different ways to hit the ball, over and over again until it starts to feel natural to you. To add a bit more of an intensity, you could even use resistance bands at the beginning. Once you feel comfortable with the movements, then you can add some extra weights, like Dumbbell and Kettlebell.
What is really important here is understanding that the base of strength training lies amongst the principles of functional training or functional fitness. With this in mind, every moment you perform is something you physically do daily, either consciously or subconsciously. So learning to perform these movements correctly will also aid in giving you a feeling of ease with your daily activities: e.g. carrying shopping bags, picking things up from the floor, placing items overhead and etc.
Going into the next step: progressing from bodyweight movements to classic barbell movements, including: Back Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Overhead Press and Barbell Row. Of course, you can and still want to continue to incorporate your bodyweight movements. Note that there won’t be any walk around strength training without the use of weighted barbells, at some point. If you want to get all the benefits of strength training and see optimal results, you want to have a combination of classic barbell lifts, along with bodyweight movements. So, at the end of this guide, you can get my favorite training routines for Beginners. Check out those sample workouts, because even after, over 8 years of barbell training, I am still using the same routines for times, where I am really busy and still want to have a great whole body workout.
Frequency, Volume, Load, Intensity, Rest
How often should you train? How much? What weights? Should you go to your limits? How much rest in between sets and exercises?
These are all super important questions to consider before you start your strength training. Working on a 1-on-1 personal training with my clients, the structure of their program would vary depending on their athletic level, needs, goals and current situation. However, this is a great general rule for you to follow, being new to strength training:
Train two to three times per week, at the beginning, with at least 1 Day Off in between workout days. By this, you should be fully recovered from your last training session (unless you went all out and feel completely depleted, which you are not supposed to do in the first place). So even if you are a bit sore, that’s ok. Consistently training will help you to practice the movements more often, so you get familiar with them. That’s why I always recommend a simple whole body workout routine with maximum two different training days at the beginning (more later). Also, it is important: keep it simple with the volume and loads! Do 3 sets per exercise with 12-15 reps, by adjusting the progression of the movement (for bodyweight movements) or weight for barbell movements as necessary, so your last reps feel challenging. Yet, you are not going to your limit, causing you a burn out, or to the point where your technique is suffering, making you more susceptible to injuries. Another important point to consider is rest time. Rest, in between your sets, based on your needs so you can approach each set with focus and power. Rest could be anywhere from 1-3min, in between sets.
As with anything else in life, if there is no progress there are no results. If you do not experience any challenging stimulus, whether it is mental or physical, then you will end up staying in the exact same place and form, as you are in right now. That’s why you need to consider and slowly start building continuous progression. A gradual increase builds the foundation to muscular strength and the base for your success....