Beginning lifters tend to grow on just about any program or routine. So, with this in mind, the question becomes…does it really matter what a beginning lifter does, as long as they just do it? The answer is a resounding yes. There are essentials that every beginner should follow. These essentials will help maximize time spent in the gym, packing on the most muscle possible in the shortest time.
Natural Movements. Beginning lifters should perform primarily natural movements. Natural movements, generally known as heavy compound lifts, are exercises that are similar to motions you perform everyday – lifts your body was built for. These lifts include…
- The squat. Squatting down to pick something up.
- The deadlift. Picking up something off the ground.
- The press. The motion of pushing something away from the body.
- The row. The action of pulling something towards the body.
- The overhead press. Lifting an object over your head.
Lifts known as isolation movements are generally unnatural for the body. These lifts include straight arm flyes or pec deck, lateral or front raises, and dumbbell pullovers. While the human body is more then capable of mastering these isolation lifts, a beginning lifter should master the natural movements first. Natural movements build overall body strength, and lead to the fastest possible muscle mass gains.
More weight. If you continue to lift the same amount of weight, your progress will stop. Beginners should have tunnel vision when it comes to weight progression, documenting each workout, and shooting for an increase in either repetitions or weight over their last workout.
The body is a muscle building machine during the first year of weight training. Adding more weight to the bar will help maximize muscle growth in the shortest period of time possible.
Good Form. This is often an overlooked factor. You must use good form. Because you’re adding more weight to the bar each week, the burden your body endures becomes greater. Poor form will lead to injuries. And obviously, time away from the gym leads to less muscle mass. Stop swinging your curls and bouncing your bench presses.
Rest. There is no need for a beginner to overdo it. Lift every other day, and never two days in a row. Limit your workouts to one hour a day, and never perform more then 3 sets per exercise. Research shows that more then 3 sets of any given exercise is a waste of time.
More is not better in the weight lifting game. This reality has become skewed because of the abuse of steroids and HGH. Workouts over an hour tend to be catabolic for natural lifters. Catabolic means muscle destroying, and not muscle building.
Think of it this way…have you ever seen a muscular marathon runner? No. When you turn weight training sessions into tests of endurance, you are shooting yourself in the foot.
Sleep. Poor sleeping habits mess with your body’s ability to grow muscle. Get at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night. Cutting corners on rest is like running a muscle car with limited oil.
Eat big. If you push heavy weight in the gym, but munch on salads and chicken breasts out of the gym, your will be limiting your body’s ability to pack on mass. To grow muscle, you need extra calories. Eat three square meals a day, and add extra calories into the mix between meals. There are simple ways to add extra calories into your diet…
- Whole milk. Add one very large glass of whole milk in between each meal. Whole milk is very nutritious, and calorie dense.
- Cheese. Munch on string cheese in between meals, or add cheese to meals. Cheese provides extra muscle building protein, as well as extra calories.
- Almonds. A handful of almonds in between meals, or before bed, will add quality calories and healthy fats to your diet.
Save your money. Don’t throw your hard-earned money down the toilet buying into supplement claims. If you follow the eating rules given above, there is no need to purchase weight gainers, protein powders or protein bars. Whole milk is the best natural weight gainer. And a banana or apple along with string cheese or almonds is much better for your system then a protein bar.
Conclusion. Follow the essentials in this article, and you will grow like a weed. After a year, you will have gained more muscle then you ever imagined possible. And, you will have saved enough money to buy new clothes to show off your new physique.
Muscle building isn’t a mystery. Avoid the advice of muscle magazines, and keep it simple.