If you’re just starting out in weight lifting, you will get a lot of advice. Not all advice is created equal, though. It’s wise to educate yourself early, do your own research, and then decide which advice you’d like to take.
Here are tips we’ve found helpful for beginning lifters.
Use Linear Progression To Build Strength Quickly
Adding weight is how you develop strength, and a strong linear progression at first will bring faster results.
If you read about linear progression in the book Starting Strength or on the internet and apply these concepts to your program. That means you might add 5 to 10 pounds to your squat sets three times a week. Gasp! Some will tell you this isn’t sustainable. Fair enough. But a novice can add appreciable strength in a short period—much more quickly than an advanced lifter can.
Different stages require different programs, and a percentage-based program is fine for later. For beginners and intermediate lifters, linear progression, done carefully, will build strength quickly.
Don’t Max Out Too Early
A beginner lifter may be encouraged to evaluate strength and establish a maximum limit early on. Don’t do it! The maximum you will be able to lift is determined by genetics, and you control the other forces, such as coordination, conditioning, efficiency, and strength.
A beginning lifter who’s already an athlete will be able to lift more than a 98-pound individual who has never worked out on his first day, but this person may, in the end, win the race. Don’t sell yourself short by setting maxes too early.
Rest Days Are Crucial To Recovery & Building Strength
The best program for beginning lifters incorporates increasing weight AND sufficient rest. Building muscle is a cycle of stress and recovery, and if you skimp on rest, your muscles can’t recover properly and just won’t build as well. Figure 48-72 hours for novice lifters to recover and be ready to lift increasing weight.
Increase Load Only Vs Adding More Exercises
Focusing on a few exercises that give big results (like squats) is better than adding assistance and accessory work that basically adds volume. The beginning lifter can end up needlessly sore and even weaker on the bench than the week before if his resources are spread too thin. Basic barbell lifts with added weight (load) will grow allover strength quickly.
Ask for Help from the Best Lifters—Not the Biggest
When new lifters need advice—and you will—don’t ask the biggest meathead at the gym. Ask the smartest one. The biggest guy may not be the best teacher, and in fact may have a terrible program—he’s just been doing it forever. Watch for careful lifters who have a clear program, and ask easy questions at first—ones you know the answer to. If you don’t like the answer you get, run!
Practice Good Form
Search for exercises & learn correct form by researching pictures, reading descriptions, watching videos and seeing how the exercise is performed using perfect form. Best case scenario is to work with a professional that specializes in proper form and technique.
King Chiropractic’s Got Your Back
King Chiropractic can help beginning lifters train harder and recuperate more quickly. For quick pain relief or to restore reduced range of motion, or to improve your performance both in and out of the gym, call King Chiropractic today at (910) 777-7228.