The Two Most Important Things to Focus on When Weight Training
When weight training (whether you are a novice or advanced participant) it is imperative that you focus on form and volume in your weight training routine. Failure to keep an eye on these items can lead to injuries from failure to perform exercises correctly or from increasing your training volume too quickly. The flip side is also true; if you increase your volume too slow you may delay or shortchange your results in the gym.
Every year we at Formal Fitness Training see people enter the gym “likely” for the first time and begin a vigorous exercise program. The participants show up and try to workout ‘super hard’ every day of the week and many times the form is less than ideal.
First lets look at a starting point; If you want to start a well executed workout program and you are novice (beginner) it is very important to research the exercises you are planning to do at the gym before getting there. This can be done on YouTube or simply hiring a well-rounded fitness professional to get you started. This ensures that your form will be adequate to get started as you teach your body the mobility, stability, strength, flexibility & endurance required to support your health and fitness goals.
From there it is important to note that any more than two days per week of strength training to start ‘could be’ too much for your body to handle. For this reason F.F.T recommends two days per week for the first month and then adding a day each month after that until the maximum of six days of weight training per week as your body achieves certain adaptations. Six days per week programs are only to be done by those who are fueling their body properly and have a well executed training split ensuring they don’t do the same body parts too often leading to potentially overtraining.
We will also caution the novice lifter to make sure they start with compound movements while avoiding intermediate to advanced exercises for the first four to six months of their routine. Exercises to start with could include; seated cable row, DB shoulder press, push-ups, DB incline press, DB single arm row, KB Goblet Squats, KB Deadlifts etc.
There isn’t much of a point to do biceps, triceps, forearms, calves and abs in excess when starting a well-rounded program because the large primary muscle groups (back, legs, chest) all utilize many secondary muscle groups (biceps, triceps, forearms, shoulders, low back, abdominals) in most of their movements. Building the primary muscle groups is kind of like making sure the foundation of your house is secure before adding on the wood framing, insulation, dry wall and nails. All these items need to be secure long before you consider what color of paint to use on the walls (which don’t even exist yet).
We strongly encourage anyone who wants more confidence, better strength & a better physique to pursue weight training, but we just want to make sure the participants are safe and effective in their pursuit. Unfortunately many modalities and social media ‘superstars’ will lead you to believe that crash diets, starving yourself, doing hours of cardio, and beating your body to a pulp in the gym is the only way to get results.
The opposite is always true. Slow and steady will always win the race!