Weight Lifting Basics - Six Training Principles
To Gain Mass & Strength
anything else, weight training has its dos and don'ts, and if you
want to change your physique, you should pay attention to them.
Basic training principles have been established to help lifters
of all levels optimize their workouts. Even so, a lot of people
work out without fully understanding what these principles are and
how they can be used to their fullest advantage. If all lifters
(and yes, if you pick up a weight, you are a weight lifter) were
to apply these simple guidelines to their training, they'd soon
see radical improvements.
Here are six basic weight training principles for beginners.
1. Progressive Overload
The basis for increasing any parameter of fitness - strength, size,
endurance, etc. - is making your muscles work harder than they're
accustomed to. You must progressively overload your muscles to advance.
To gain strength, increase the weight in your workouts. To increase
muscle size, handle heavier weights and increase the number of sets
you do. To increase muscle endurance, decrease your rest time between
sets or increase the number of repetitions or sets. Everything is
progressive. This concept underlies all physical training.
Muscles can work together or separately. If you want to maximally
shape or build a muscle independently, you must isolate it from
the other muscles as best you can through anatomical position changes.
For example, cable pressdowns isolate the triceps better than close-grip
Part of constant growth is never allowing your body to adapt to
one specific training protocol. If you constantly vary your exercises,
sets, reps, weights, rest times and angles of pull upon your muscles,
they can never adapt to the stress. Confuse your muscles to keep
them growing and changing. If you're not getting sore after your
workouts, it means you need to shake up your training.
4. Muscle Priority
Train your weakest body part first when your energy is highest.
Great intensity builds muscle, and your intensity can only be great
when your energy is high. If your shoulders are weak relative to
your chest, do your overhead presses, upright rows and lateral raises
before benching. Giving priority to your shoulders allows you to
put maximum intensity into your workout. If all body parts are equal,
train the largest body part first when your energy is highest
You must get blood into a muscle and keep it there to produce growth.
When you train your chest by doing three or four exercises for this
body part alone, without exercising another body part until you
complete all your chest exercises, you're using the flushing principle.
You're spending all your time on one area and consequently, flushing
this area with blood.
6. Consistent Tension
Momentum can be your muscles' worst enemy. If you train so fast
that you swing the weights through most of their full range of motion,
you decrease the work of the muscle. It's better to train slowly
and deliberately, maintaining constant tension on your muscles.