Strength Training For Beginners
It is very easy to gain tons of strength and size when first starting out. If you do things correctly, you can easily gain 15-20 pounds very quickly all while gaining a ton of strength on your lifts.
When my transformation took place back in college, the first week was very tough because I was so weak and didn’t see very much improvement. However because I was finally doing things correctly, I was able to pack on muscle fast while gaining loads of strength in the weight room.
In fact, I ended up gaining 30 pounds of rock solid muscle in a little over three months. Not only that but I came back to school as one of the strongest guys on my college basketball team after being one of the weakest (if not the weakest) guys the year before.
Whether you want to pack on some serious size or just gain tons of strength (or both), the outline below will help get you there!
It is all about consistency
You have heard me say this before, but again consistency is the key to getting in shape and getting fit. And once again, to gain loads of strength and size, you have to be consistent.
For beginners, going three days a week to start out is usually enough. This will give your body time to adapt and recover to the new stresses that it is facing. Over time however, you could easily bump up to going 4-5 or even six times a week depending on how well you recover.
Again though, you must make strength training a consistent effort if you want to see improvement. There is no way you will ever gain strength and size if you are not working towards that every single day, and this includes off days.
You must make sure you are getting enough rest and eating well so your body can recover and continue to grow and get stronger.
Stick to the same system
Far too many times I see people jump from one training system to the next thinking that the “next system” will bring them the results they are looking for. You must find a program and stick too it! Stop jumping from one program to another; it is killing your results.
When first starting out, you can stick to the same workout program for a 3-6 months and continue seeing great improvement. Over the course of the three months that I gained 30 pounds of muscle, I engaged in basically the same workouts day in and day out. That is why I got results.
I believed in the system and stuck with it! Now obviously if you are doing exercises and workouts that aren’t bringing results, you need to switch to something different as soon as possible.
Once you find a program that is proven to work, stick with it for an extended period of time!
Set goals, break them, and then set some more!
If you want to gain strength and size, you must define what this means to you. At the time of my transformation, my best friend Brian and myself both wanted to look like Levi (our great friend and strength coach) who was and still is a jacked 220 pounds. At the time both Brian and I weighed about 165 pounds, standing at 6’6” (weak I know!). So having that goal of reaching Levi was encouragement enough to put up some serious weight each day to work towards our goal.
Not only should you define where you want to be, but you must set goals for your weight training as well. If you want to continue to gain strength, you must continue pushing your body. If you don’t push yourself to get stronger, you are giving your body no reason to adapt and get bigger.
Try working towards these goals to start:
- Bench press 225 pounds
- Squat 300 pounds
- Deadlift 400 pounds
- Overhead press 135 pounds
If you set these as your strength training goals, and reach them, you will be very strong and will have tons of lean muscle!
Once you reach the goals above, you can then set new goals of doing each of the exercises above 10 times at that weight. Once you have accomplish the 10 reps for these exercises, your strength will be through the roof and you will be pretty dang ripped (if of course you are eating correctly!)
Once you hit plateaus in your training, this is when things need to be switched up in order to continue helping you grow and get stronger. That however is a whole other topic for a different day!
Focus on compound movements
You must do compound movements (deadlifts, squats, bench press, bent over row, pull-ups, etc.) if you are looking to gain strength and size. Compound movements are where you are going to get the real strength gains and what are really going to help with adding lean muscle mass.
I remember at one of the first gyms I worked at, a very skinny kid coming in everyday trying to gain size. He would go through a whole hour-long workout and just workout his triceps. Yes, for the whole hour every exercise was a tricep exercise. Trust me, this is NOT the way to add strength and size.
I have been there and done that, and it is the complete opposite way of doing things correctly. You must focus on doing compound movements and always be increasing your strength each time you workout.
As time goes on, it is fine to start adding in more and more isolated exercises, but the main focus in your workouts should always be on compound, multi body part movements.
Properly time your food
As you know, nutrition is 80-90% of the successes that you will have. If you are looking to gain size and strength, you must be eating properly to do it. Not only will this help aid in recovery, but it will also help put on some serious size when done properly.
Later in our series, I will be covering all about this topic so stay tuned!
Don’t kill your gains…
When trying to gain strength, the last thing you would want to do is hinder your results because of some outside factor. When it comes to gaining size and strength, there are three main factors that I see regularly that hold people back:
- Eating Junk Food
You cannot expect to gain serious strength if you are not fueling your body with the right nutrients and foods. If you read the interview with Leon Rosborough, you learned that you must have the focus to tear your muscles down in the weight room then have the discipline to repair them in the kitchen. You do not repair your muscles with crap foods!
You must focus on getting whole natural foods to aid in recovery and to allow your body to build serious strength!
- Doing too much cardio
This is a common theme all around America, people slaving away on cardio equipment. I am not saying all cardio is bad, but doing too much of it will absolutely kill your results and cause your body to burn out very fast.
If you really want to maximize your strength gains and eliminate a ton of unwanted fat in the process, start incorporating sprints 1-2 times per week while doing your strength training 3-4 times per week. (I also recommend walking as much as possible!)
Sprints naturally produce GH (growth hormone) and testosterone in your body which both help with strength gains. Plus, it doesn’t put nearly as much stress on your body as hours of long cardio does.
You can get in a solid 10-minute sprint workout and see incredible results and benefits!
- You are not getting enough rest
Getting ample amounts of rest is key when it comes to strength training. Losing sleep and not allowing your body to recover will kill your results and it will never allow your body to lift at its full potential or strength.
Sleep is so overlooked in today’s day in age, when it is vital in every area of your life!
Strength Training Final Breakdown
Strength training is not all that complicated when done right! You will be very surprised at the results you will get in a very short period of time if you do things properly.
If you have a system proven to work, don’t question yourself and jump from one thing to the next. Stick to the program until you reach a plateau then change things up. Always be pushing to get stronger each time you hit the gym to allow your body adapt, grow, and get stronger.
Nothing will ever beat progressive loading (continuing to add weight each workout) when it comes to strength training. You must constantly be challenging yourself to get to where you want to be.
Start going after the goals that are above, or adjust them to meet where you would like to get strength-wise. If you hit the strength goals we went over, you will be very strong! And if you hit those goals doing 10 reps of each, you are going to be a straight beast in the weight room and have once incredible body!
Questions or Comments?
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