What kind of strength?
This beginners guide to strength will put on the right track for making gains and learning how the process of strength works. The first step to strength is figuring out what kind of strength you want. Is for everyday life or sports. Those are basically the two categories. You are either doing it to keep up with your daily life or doing it for some time of sport.
This could be team sports, power lifting, crossfit, body building, etc. All of these fall into their own category but for general purposes, this will do.
Today we are going to focus on strength for everyday life.
Before you begin any training, it’s important to make sure that you can perform the technique without any major issues. That doesn’t mean it needs to be perfect, but good enough that you are not going to get injured. This could range from fine tuning the technique itself or fixing a mobility issue.
I think mobility is something that people put on the back burner. If the muscles aren’t able to get you into position then you now force it, and with a lot of weight.
Now you have a recipe for disaster. Go check out this youtube video. He has a ton of good videos on fixing anything and everything. You can also check out this book. It’s like a dictionary of mobility. Hands down one of the best books ever.
1 rep max
Working off a percent is the best way to make sure you aren’t using a weight that is to light or to heavy. The best way to do this, is to find your 1 rep max. That is the max amount of weight that you can lift for 1 rep.
If you technique isn’t quite there where you can do more weight then I would suggest starting with a 5 rep max. The 5 rep max allows you to still find a good starting point without pushing you to lift to much. This will make sure you can focus more on technique than the weight on the bar. Remember this is just a starting point.
If you have no idea how much you can lift use this as a rule of thumb..
left side for males/ right side for females
- Bench press- 1/2, 1/4 BW
- Squat- 3/4, 1/2 BW
- Dead lift- 1, 3/4 BW
- Overhead Press- 1/2, 1/4 BW
Now these are only for people that are new to lifting and only a guide. If you can do more, great.
Make sure you warm up properly. Don’t be in such a hurry that you rush through getting warmed up and either pull something or you not being able to lift something because of it. I normally suggest to start at about 50% of whatever you are you wanting to hit.
Do a 3 sets of 3-5 reps. Then add more weight and do another set of 3. Generally you can add 20-30 lbs on the lower body lifts at the beginning and 10-15 lbs on the upper body ones. Once you’ve done the first 4 sets, drop the reps down to one and keep adding weight.
Once you weight really starts getting heavy, make smaller jumps. If you make a big jump on a lift, and then you can’t get it, try dropping down like 5-10 lbs and try that. If you get it then work your way back up. Sometimes it’s just a matter of smaller steps.
Resting is also important while finding a max. 3-5 min is generally what is used. I don’t use that much on the first several sets, just because it’s not heavy yet, and I don’t need that much rest. Once it gets heavy I take a longer rest.
Putting it into a Plan
Having a coach put everything into a plan for you to follow will give you the most results. If you do decide to put it together yourself, then here are a few things to keep in mind while you are doing it.
- PLAN. Don’t just show up at the gym and expect you are going to figure it out while you are there. This is a TERRIBLE idea.
- Always adjust the percentages and reps being used. 70-80%, 5 reps. 80-90%, 3 reps. 90-100% 1 rep.
- 8-12 weeks minimum on this. Strength is something that takes time and rushing through it will only set you back later.
Heavy lifting burns a lot of calories so make sure you are eating enough to fuel your workouts. This will effect your recovery time, sleep, performance, mental focus, etc. Once you have matched your nutrition with your training, and your training on point you are set.
Keep up the consistency and look out for those gains.