7 Tips for Beginners
Start with Basic Movement Patterns
Focus on squats, deadlifts, pushes and pulls. Not only are these movements useful for achieving all kinds of health, fitness and athletic performance goals, but they lay the foundation for more advanced movements.
Learn the most basic versions of each movement pattern — make sure you can bodyweight squat before you try to overhead squat.
Learn Proper Technique
Technique is the most important thing when training. Taking time to learn safe and effective technique will pay off hugely in the long run. Good technique will ensure you remain injury free and become stronger. Technique really is important. Technique. Learn safe and effective technique.
Leave the Ego at the Door
Skipping to the most advanced variations of exercises or trying to follow an Olympian’s program isn’t a good idea. If you can’t bodyweight squat properly, loading up a bar and attempting an Olympic lift probably isn’t going to end well.
Similarly, be sensible about the amount of weight you can handle. If the weight alters your technique then it’s probably too heavy.
This may seem obvious and you might think “who would use a heavier the weight if they were shaking and wobbling with a lighter weight!?” but attempting to run before being able to walk (in a metaphorically confusing weight training context) is the norm in gyms.
Compare Yourself with Yourself
Compare your progress with yourself, not the magazine fitness model, your pal, colleague, favourite athlete or anything on Instagram.
Be sensible in your approach, train hard, train safely and work towards your goals, not someone else’s.
Keep Relative Strength in Mind
Often when beginners start strength training they can become overly focussed on adding weight to the bar and only performing barbell exercises.
Progressive overload with barbell training is a fantastic way to gain strength but I recommend that you also incorporate bodyweight strength movements from day one of your training, particularly if adding muscle mass is a goal.
Relative strength is highly correlated with speed and power outputs and thus its important to maintain the ability to perform chin ups, dips, bodyweight rows and push-ups. Including lower body plyometrics and sprinting is also a great way to supplement barbell training and ensure your strength and/or mass gains transfer to power and speed.
Don’t Skip Cardio
I was humbled in a garage in San Diego by a man 30 years older than me. Including cardiovascular conditioning in your training program is important, regardless of your goal. Maintain an aerobic base and add task specific conditioning to your program. This is especially important in the off season.
Focus On Real Food
Eat whole food. Protein, fruits and vegetables are the pillars of a healthy diet. Nutrition is as important to fitness success as the training. Provide your body with good fuel and reap the rewards with better recovery, training and energy levels.
Stick to basic movements with good technique, focus on your own performance, do your cardio and eat well.
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