Like 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 bench presses.
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.