Amped up & ready to go – But where do I start?
For those that are reading this and are not familiar with the Muscle Pit, basically we are a training facility that focuses on strength development & sports conditioning.
That said we work with a mixture of both athletes and a few “athletes in disguise” to help them achieve their fitness goals.
The members themselves come from an array of backgrounds and professions ranging from Business Owners , Accountants, Doorman, Primary Care Givers, Students & one or two that are unemployed by choice. (After all you wouldn’t want work to get in the way of your training right?) Regardless, the common ground between all of our members is they all physically want to improve themselves and push their limits. The interpretation of this will vary from person to person, as some will put more emphasis on maximal strength opposed to strength endurance or explosive strength, however when it’s broken down to brass tacks they all want to be bigger, leaner, faster & stronger.
Often the first question a new member of our crew will ask is “What training program should I use?”
In my opinion before a training program or template is discussed your first concern should be technique. If you have the right leverages in place you will lift more – if not right away… eventually. Good technique also makes it easier to spot and correct any weakness in your strength chain.
Secondly the foundations of any quality training program should incorporate the big 3: Squat, Bench and Deadlift. Each of these compound movements work two or more body parts at a time, making them all great for strength and muscle development, while increasing your metabolism.
Next set a goal; know what you want to get out of your training. Make sure the goals are achievable at a stretch. It is more motivating to accomplish than trying to commit to something you haven’t got a hope in Halley’s of achieving in the next 100 years. From my experience, I’ve found it best to set a yearly goal and then break it down into mini goals over 12 week cycles.
Once the goal is set, formulate a strategy (plan) and record every workout including how you felt during each work-out. This information is invaluable as it will allow you to tweak future programs as you discover what has worked and what hasn’t.
With the advent of the web there is a ton of diverse information & hybrid versions of various training methods, programmes & exercises easily accessible – so how do you cut through all the crap to decipher what is best for you?
A good place to start is to look at those with the same objectives as you that are accomplishing their goals. Look at the numbers these people are posting. If their numbers are good and they train at different facilities around the world, it would suggest that you are on to something.
At Muscle Pit the majority of us train to a “Westside” philosophy, however we have a few that train differing variations of this style… and all are progressing nicely.
This has led me to the conclusion it is far more important to get under the bar, and as Nike say “Just do it”, than to get bogged down rummaging through countless encyclopedias of training information to the point you develop “analysis paralysis”.
80% of what you will learn about training and yourself will come from time spent under the bar.
If the training programme & selection of exercises you use are delivering the gains, stay with it. Do not swap training programs every two minutes because someone broke a record last week using a different training method to you. Just add it to your tool box for that rainy day when your gains start to stall. Remember it takes time to develop strength, so give the programme a chance – it is not an overnight thing.
As for the exercises themselves, the main thing to know here is when lifting maximal weight you need to change or vary the movement at least every three weeks. It is well documented by many of the leading strength coaches that your nervous system adapts to any form of repetitive workload after 3 weeks, which means after 3 weeks your progress will go backwards. So if you Bench on a Monday look for variations of the movement. I.E Benching off boards, Benching with bands & Chains, Floor Press, Reverse Bands, Rack lock-outs, Bench with Weight Releases etc… keep the body guessing.
From practical experience I have found I get better results by changing the exercises I max out on weekly. For me this keeps training more interesting and my mind set fresh. Each Max work out gives you an opportunity to hit a new P.R on a different exercise weekly.
Remember no matter how many training books and articles you read or Youtube downloads you watch you will never understand or harness the full impact of the lessons being taught unless you are constantly grappling with the iron in the field of battle.
Answer me this, do you think you can become a great fighter just by reading about fighting?
No… well it’s no different here… The bottom line is the training programme is not as important as the training itself and all training templates will work to some degree; it just depends on where your level is at today.