How to Rapidly Progress as a Beginner Lifter
Starting out lifting weights is arguably the most enjoyable period of your training career if you do it right.
Train smart, and progress is incredibly fast [you should be reaching a respectable level of strength and muscle mass in no time at all].
Yet sadly many go about training the wrong way.
Yes, beginners have the ability to rapidly progress but they typically lack the knowledge and experience to fully exploit this period.
It has startling resemblance to the old quote: “Youth is wasted on the young”.
The good news is that getting it right isn’t that complicated!
Do Compound Lifts with High Frequency
For those of you who are unaware, compound lifts are exercises that involve many different muscles. Common examples include the squat, bench press and deadlift.
The large muscular recruitment of these exercises allows you to lift large amounts of load. Making them the most efficient way to build strength and muscle mass.
Compound lifts form the exercise base of almost all strength athletes. In that case, you should probably be doing them…and doing them well. Like any physical job, you must master the use of your tools before you are able to produce outstanding results.
This is why you should do compound lifts every time you train (3/4 times a week), not only to master the skill of the movements but to also efficiently develop muscle mass and strength.
You will become very strong, very quickly.
Most beginners spend this important period doing too many isolation movements (like biceps curls) and consequently see little strength or muscle gains. Ignore the allure of this type of training, stick to the compounds and you’ll get more progress in 3 months than you would in a year of training isolation movements. Throw a few sets of isolation movements like curls in now and again (if you want to), but they should never form the foundation.
Beginners: Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Row, Repeat.
Linear Progression (You SHOULD progress quickly)
If you frequently perform the compound lifts you can and should frequently enjoy putting more weight onto the barbell.
As a beginner, you should look to incrementally add weight to the bar of between 2.5-10lb on the bench press, squat and deadlift on a session by session or week by week basis.
Enjoy and utilize this period!
It can be extremely difficult for an advanced lifter to put 5lb onto his bench press in an entire year, while you could do it in 3 days. Making it all the more reason to stick to beginner programs; don’t get attracted by the fancy looking advanced programs with big claims. They will not work for you. You’re a beginner, stick to programs designed for beginners.
Good Programs to Follow
Starting Strength: Probably the most well-known and effective beginner program: http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/The_Starting_Strength_Novice/Beginner_Programs
Stronglifts: Three exercises, three times a week, 45 minutes per workout: http://stronglifts.com/
Candito Linear Strength Program: Simple, effective and a little more variety: http://www.canditotraininghq.com/free-strength-programs/
Best of All: Get a coach. You’ll save a hell of a lot of wasted time and energy if you were to hire yourself a decent coach in your local area who could teach you the compound movements. If you don’t know the compound movements online coaching will not work well for you.
I hope this helps all you beginners out there, go turn yourselves into monsters! If you’re interested in the psychology of a beginner lifter (which I believe is even more important) read here: