So you want to start seriously weightlifting? Good for you. After all, the world is a harsh place, full of heavy objects and shallow women, and there’s no better way to improve your health, sex appeal and confidence than weightlifting.
Our Weekly Hot Girl Motivation
I'd Follow Kenza on Instagram because she's hotter than a blast furnace.
The world of weightlifting is plagued by a terrible, evil phenomena known as ‘idiots’. Idiots are easy to spot, standing out because of their glowing, faintly-radioactive complexions, hyper-inflated chest and arms, legs the size of toothpicks and an ass full of needle holes. Real results come from a measured, planned and consistent approach to weightlifting - which is why we present you with our 8 step guide to learning weightlifting from scratch.
1. Set Your Goals
Before we get into technicalities, we need to work out exactly what you want out of weightlifting. The term ‘weightlifting’ can cover three main areas – powerlifting, Olympic lifting and bodybuilding. Powerlifting is the pursuit of lifting heavy-ass weight, and goes hand in hand with gaining heavy-ass weight; Olympic lifting is the pursuit of technical lifting ability, trying to lift heavy-ass weight without gaining heavy-ass weight yourself; and bodybuilding is the pursuit of gaining muscle, for aesthetic and fitness purposes. Assuming you’re interested in bodybuilding (I know that you know that I know you are), we then need to decide exactly what we want to achieve. Thankfully, as an amateur, you only need to concern yourself with one objective – gaining lean muscle. As an inexperienced trainee, focusing on this one objective will serve to increase your muscle mass and reduce your bodyfat – but be warned; as you get more experienced, this will become harder and harder to achieve.
2. Eat Big to Get Big
Now that we’ve established our goal, it’s time to start working at it – and our weightlifting plan, like the perfect woman’s day, starts in the kitchen. Building muscle requires two conditions to be met: a high protein diet, and a calorific surplus. When protein is digested, it’s broken down into smaller compounds known as amino acids, and it’s these amino acids that are transported around the body and assembled into new muscle fiber. Without adequate protein, your body won’t be able to make new muscle, regardless of how many times you crush your delts or blast your biceps. Similarly, your body is going to be reluctant to commit precious calories to building muscle mass if you aren’t in a calorific surplus. By eating more calories than you’re using each day, the body isn’t concerned with the looming possibility of starving to death, and will more efficiently create muscle. Eating too little each day can even cause your body to panic, and hold on to as much fat as possible to ward off famine.
3. Don’t Over/Under Train
Training frequency is another area where idiots strike again, and for the natural weightlifter, the traditional training split popularized by pro-bodybuilders is not the most efficient way to make progress. A traditional 5-day training split would see you training each part of your body on its own separate day – having an individual chest, back, shoulders, arms and legs day each week. This obviously allows the best part of a week for each bodypart to fully recover between sessions, but in reality, you simply don’t need to wait this long – and doing so will limit your progress by about half of what it could be. The best training programs focus on upper/lower body splits, training most bodyparts twice a week. I can forgive you if you’re screaming at the screen ‘NO YOU IDIOT, THAT’S OVERTRAINING!’ – and if we were hammering each bodypart to failure, it would be – but these routines are built around the compound lifts, relatively low-rep ranges and constant, measurable progression from week to week.
4. Find Yourself a Proven Routine
Speaking of routines, if you’re serious about weightlifting, the best decision you could make would be the adoption of a popular and proven weightlifting routine. Some of the leading programs, including famous routines like Starting Strength, focus on building a balanced foundation of muscle and strength over the entire body. These programs focus on the main compound lifts, like squatting, benching and deadlifting, and will both teach correct form and build a balanced physique – and in a framework with proven results for amateurs.
5. Choose Free Weights Over Machines
Contrary to what the cast of Jersey Shore may have you believe, smashing out a million reps on a Smith Machine won’t build a whole lot of muscle, and you’re more likely to do yourself a serious injury. Why? Range of Motion. Machines utilize a very limited range of motion, forcing your body to work through a single plane of motion. This can be great if you’re trying to rehab an injury, but if you’re looking to activate as many muscle fibers as possible, machines are always inferior to free weights. There’s no issue with a balanced routine incorporating a mixture of free weights and machines for variety, but the compound free weight exercises should always be your staple.
6. Don’t Over-Supplement
Noticed how this category comes near the end? That’s because supplements should be S-U-P-P-L-E-M-E-N-T-A-R-Y to your training program. If you’re eating enough nutritious, high-protein food each day, you simply won’t see the need for any supplements. The only exception I’d be willing to make would be a protein shake, if your budget restricted the amount of protein you could otherwise get – but there is less than no need to shell out $80 on a NARD-SHREDDER 3000 THERMOBOLIC WORKOUT GRENADE. Save your money, and buy something that might actually help – like a subscription to physical fitness journal.
7. Stay Motivated
Weightlifting is hard – there’s no two ways about it. Sometimes, you’ll even find yourself unwilling to train, bored and frustrated. When this happens, don’t give up on weightlifting for ever – try changing your routine to make it more interesting, training with a partner to increase the competitive element, training fewer times a week, or even taking a week off. It won’t ruin your physique overnight, and it might just stop you from quitting altogether.
8. Stupid Things to Avoid Doing AT ALL COSTS
-Benching more than you can squat. Even worse, CURLING more than you can squat.
-Curling in the squat rack. Hell, doing anything that isn’t squatting in the squat rack.
-Asking EVERY SINGLE GIRL IN THE GYM if you can spot their form.
-Shouting Ronnie Coleman phrases as you lift.
-Wearing short shorts. Weightlifting is hard enough without your spotters junk dangling over your face.
-Assembling a collection of 30 dumbbells for your epic day of chest, chest and chest.
-Wearing toe shoes
-Using the elliptical
See you next week, bros,
Alex Nerney -- Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Lord of BroScience