4 Keys To A Solid Training Career

Alpha Physique

I’m going to approach this from a chronological perspective today, and give you an overview of what would be the ideal way to approach strength training for a beginner in his teens, right the way through to advanced and how this approach changes over time.

Strength
An example of an ill-equipped gym! https://www.flickr.com/photos/37701929@N04/3491671035/in

Start off with the basics

Beginners  should always start off learning the key compound movements, as these will grow to be your best friends over time:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Bench
  • Press
  • Row
  • Pull Ups

Initially, hypertrophy won’t be that great, nor that important. Relax my friend, it takes time. But you have time, as strength tends to peak around your late twenties and stays there for a while, only declining in the later thirties/early forties.

Lift Heavy Weights….Then Lift Heavier Weights

Now, most gyms these days don’t have very heavy dumbbells, so it emphasises the first point even more strongly – barbell movements are your best friend. Make sure that during your training cycles you are lifting weights above 80% of your 1 rep max at least semi-regularly.

Possibly even more importantly than this, make sure these numbers are moving up over time. Again, be patient here, but this is probably the most important factor when it comes to training:

Your numbers on the above 6 exercises (possibly only 3-5 of them), need to be increasing over time.

By all means, you can do some lighter training for deloads/recovery, and for a little isolation work for your weak points, however, this should not be how your train the majority of the time. Your focus should be on the big 5/6 and going heavy on them.

Size follows strength. Strength comes first.

Once you are in a position whereby your key numbers are moving consistently in the right direction, you can then add in some “hypertrophy” work. Keep the standard high ROI (Return On Investment) work, but add a few sets here and there for your bodybuilding goals. This is once you are at the intermediate stage. This should never be a priority for a beginner.

Utilise Proper Breaks

I’m not talking deload weeks here, or 1-2 weeks completely off. I’m actually talking about more like an entire month or two off.

“What?! What the hell’s wrong with you, I’ll lose all my precious gains!”

You only lose a little, not much at all. Most of it is neural efficiency, only a little muscle is lost.

This is a long term strategy, as eventually you will no longer have the burning desire to spend loads of time in the gym, and other things in life start to take priority. Many younger egomaniacs don’t understand this, and it’s a similar concept to the goal of sleeping with as many women as humanly possible. It doesn’t make you happy forever.

The solution (of sorts), is to take some time off. Enjoy it. Then when you come back, guess what?

You are hungry, no, STARVING for gains.

And the gains will come, in ridiculous quantities. It’s also a good time to reflect on your general long term health and fitness goals, and how best to spend your time. Basically, taking breaks keeps your motivation going in the long run.

Give It Time

Don’t rush into anything new, don’t get injured and have patience. As the heavily over-used term goes: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” So stop expecting otherwise. Hypertrophy will likely become more important over time, especially as you get into your late thirties, in order to prevent the ageing process.

A good way to maintain motivation over the long run is to simply change things up every 6 weeks or so. In regards to training, new stimuli are required, and over time this may come in the form of exercise selection. This doesn’t mean sack off the big 5 or 6, just do variations of them and have some fun. This could be close-grip bench, stiff-legged deadlifts etc.

Again, this isn’t a priority for beginners, who just need to do the basics, get used to them and just generally gain some strength. If you’re weak everywhere, you need to focus on the basics and just add weight over time.

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