t it What kind of strength?

When it doubt, get stronger.

Strength is the base of everything we do. No matter if it’s for sport or for everyday life. 

Have back pain? Get stronger and watch it melt away.

Don’t have enough energy to get through the day? Get stronger and your energy will get a huge bump.

You need to get more powerful or quicker for your sport? Get stronger and watch it turn into PR city.

The strength you are needing to work towards will be relative to your goal. Meaning if you are trying to overcome that pesky back pain, you don’t need to back squat 3 times your body weight like a football would.

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.

Today we are going to focus on strength for everyday life.

Strength Prep

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.

Real quick I want to explain the difference between flexibility and mobility. These are two terms that get confused a lot. 

Flexibility means you have the passive range of motion in the joint. IE, you can lay on your back and pull your knee into your chest.

Mobility is the active range of motion. This means you can stand up and squat down at least to parallel, if not just past it. 

Most people put this 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.

8 rep “max”

When starting out, you don’t need to find a 1 rep max. I know this is something that most people look for but you aren’t at a point yet where you can safely move a “real” 1RM,yet. 

The reason I say “real”, is because it takes time to build the connection between brain and body to properly engage your core while using the proper muscle groups.

This time comes from doing lots of reps and doing them properly. In the beginning the reps will be higher because you aren’t able to move as much weight. You also want to focus on doing your reps under tempo.

This really just means slowing down your reps. That is a whole other conversation for another day.

Taking this approach will make sure that you can focus on technique before the weight on the bar. Remember this is just a starting point.

You need to develop the movement pattern before you try to do lots of reps or really heavy weight.

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.



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Cody Rhinehart

Cody Rhinehart


Cody has been a coach since 2009 and has made it his lifes’ work, to help change peoples lives. He holds several certifications, ranging from Kettlebells and Crossfit, to Precision Nutrition and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach.

His passion for this comes from his own life, after he was able to turn his life around drastically. One that was headed in the bad direction for 10 years.

He now applies the same habits and skills he learned there, into building long lasting health and fitness.