Stop Giving a Shit About These… (Beginner Weight Training)
Paralysis by analysis is the curse of beginner weight training.
You don’t need the perfect program, form, gym, or diet to see progress.
In fact, you should probably accept there is no perfect way of training. If you don’t, you may struggle to see the any progress at all.
Realize that training for beginners is pretty simple and you’ll be doing more harm than good by trying to increase the complexity. Don’t suffer paralysis by over analysis, instead chase progression not perfection.
Here’s are a few things beginner weight trainers should give less of a shit about:
Exercises (Isolation Exercises)
Squats, Bench Press’, Deadlifts, Overhead Press’, Rows and Chin-ups. Compound exercises are all you need.
Bicep Curls, Triceps Pushdowns, Triceps Extensions, Front Raises, Lateral Raises, Reverse Flyes and their fellow counterparts are named assistance exercises, and assistance exercises for a reason.
Assistance exercises are used to assist, nothing more. Throw them in if you wish, but don’t waste any energy worrying about exercises you don’t have to do.
Technique and Mobility
You can do endless mobilization, activation and stretching in preparation for you first squat. It will still look like shit.
Just in the same way you can spend countless days picking out the perfect outfit, selecting a stunning location, and researching the best questions to ask your date. If it’s your first date, it will still probably be a little awkward.
The best way to get better at squatting, like being more relaxed with your date, is to do it more (cough or meet them more).
It may not be perfect the first time. In truth it, will probably be ugly – so what!
This session you may squat to ½ depth with safe form, next session go a little deeper, and the session after that go even deeper, all while maintaining safe form. Keep chasing progression not perfection and before you know it you’ll be squatting deep and heavy with bulging quads.
Ignore the bro’s looking over as if you just killed a child because you can’t achieve a deep squat yet. Luckily, they are the minority, and most true meatheads are genuinely nice people. They’ve been there before and they’d love to help if you just ask.
The others can laugh and carry on with their circle jerk, they’re opinion doesn’t matter anyway.
Don’t give up on squatting (or any exercise) and instantly revert back to the foam roller just because you can’t achieve the “perfect form” straight off the bat, keep working on the exercise, you’ll be there before you know it.
Keep it simple.
Perform compound lifts and follow a linear progression. You should be increasing the amount of weight you can lift on the squat, bench press, and deadlift on a week by week or session by session basis. Forget everything else.
I see the appeal of the “advanced programs” out on the web, with their big claims and novel looking workouts. They look fun! Nevertheless you shouldn’t be misled, they’re not for beginners.
An advanced lifter could be happy with putting 5lb on his bench press in a year, but as a beginner you could add 5lb to your bench press in 3 days! Advanced programs shouldn’t be appealing to you, beginner programs should! (read and pick up a program here).
Plus you won’t find anyone who is actually “advanced” following these programs anyway, because they’re usually crap.
Consistency and Trusting the Process
Consistency is what it boils down to, consistently turning up and aiming for small but maintainable improvements. Sure, sometimes you’ll have crappy sessions and feel like you’re going backwards but it’s all a part of the learning process. Keep showing up and before you know it you’ll be surpassing the goals you only dreamed of in the past.
Don’t fall for the trap of chasing perfection, as you’ll probably fail and end up back where you started, while the guy who trusted in the process and followed a beginner program will be storming ahead of you.
If there’s one thing you can take from this article it is – consistently chase progression not perfection, trust in the process and enjoy the journey!