6 Basic Strength Training Tips for Beginners
Working out should be a vital part of everyone’s life. It shouldn’t be something you do when you have time, rather you should make time for it.
For beginners, lifting weights that weigh as much as they do can be intimidating. Just ask me. The first time I ever went to the gym, the leg press had my knees next to my ears…and I’m not a flexible dude.
Over the years, I’ve learned the right way to work out, but I don’t know half as much as Riccardo Salani from EQUALSTRONG. Check out his six basic strength training tips below and let us know in the comments what you think of them!
Basketball Hall of Fame coach John Wooden was known for paying careful attention to detail. One of his favorite sayings stressed the importance of preparation: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” The same holds true with every aspect of your life. If you have a goal, you’d better prepare accordingly.
Strength training requires a lot of energy. Physique, rehabilitative and athletic goals require proper preparation. Make sure you have somewhat of a program (what days you will do what) as this will keep you on track.
Envision your time at the gym before you go. More serious athletes like to write down their routine for that day. If you can see it, you can achieve it. This also makes you more efficient and dramatically increases your chances of getting results.
2. Find a Ritual
Rituals are something many professional athletes and top artists utilize before they train, play, perform or produce. Rituals can be defined as the prescribed order of a ceremonial process. Finding your ritual has a positive psychological, sometimes even spiritual, effect on you during your workout.
For example, listening to the same playlist every time you warm up might be a ritual that helps you in the gym. I usually listen to the same playlist and warm up in the sauna while I stretch. That process gets my mind in the right state to crush my workout.
3. Movements Over Muscles
The movements one must perform to induce muscular adaptation require much more than just contractions and extensions of isolated muscle groups. You can’t just move one muscle at a time. Taking one step alone requires 200 muscles while smiling requires 17 and frowning 43. Muscles are connected with bones, tendons, ligaments, joints, etc. So when planning your workouts, think of the movements you will be executing and program accordingly. Your goal should be to promote strength as well as synovial longevity. This approach will add more variability to your workouts and decrease wear and tear on your joints.
To keep it simple, whenever you plan on performing several movements in the same direction (chest pushes/presses), it would be a good idea to incorporate some antagonist or opposing movements (back rows/pulls) to keep the opposite joints feeling balanced and steady.
If there is one thing to take away from this article, please make sure it is this. Strength is found within control.
Limiting the effect that external forces have on us is truly the meaning of strength. This applies to all areas of life. It is easy to muscle through and fight, it is harder to stay in control. It is easy to push a weight with no clear path or destination. The challenge is manipulating the external force to your will.
The person who steadily controls 20 lbs through the designated rep range and movement pattern will see greater results than the person who erratically lifts 50 lbs many times. The added benefit is the decreased risk of injury and strength.
Our bodies require oxygen. Our blood circulates this oxygen throughout the body along with other essential compounds and elements such as hormones and water. As we exert force throughout our movements, our bodies require more oxygen.
Keeping our breathing in check while exerting force is essential for strength training effectiveness. It improves focus and helps zone out the rest of the people working out near you. It centers you. Depending on the exercise, your breathing pattern will differ. Most of the time you will be inhaling prior to the exertion you will perform and exhaling during the lift or movement.
Focus is essential to any goal you’d like to reach. You can’t expect to reach the finish line if you choose a route that takes you to a different place. The same applies to your strength training.
When you are in the gym, be in the gym! Remind yourself why you are there, yell it in your mind. Don’t get distracted by the girls or guys or think twice about how you look. Go in with the purpose you set before you arrived.
Attack it with the intensity you’ve gained through your ritual. Relive what you envisioned when you were planning and execute with intensity and purpose. You will achieve your goal that day. Earn your rest. Then repeat until you’ve reached the final goal.
Using these six tips will create a solid foundation for any program you chose to follow and can be applied to any and all areas of life. Even “movement over muscles” can be applied to areas outside of the gym, such as business. You can muscle your way to the top or you can maneuver your way there. One requires brute force and creates a lot of enemies, the other creates relationships and helps keep you at the top.
Use these tips to achieve any goal you set for yourself.
Pro Trainer & Coach
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