This post is a complete guide to strength training – i.e., lifting weights – for men. If you know you should be lifting, but aren’t, this post is for you.
One of the most common reasons that men don’t lift is information overload. Guys think that they don’t know enough about training. They think that resistance training is some incredibly difficult and scientific thing, and if you don’t do it perfectly your lats are going to explode right out of your proteins and you’ll never be able to walk again.
But the majority of guys in the gym with physiques you would be impressed by, are doing a lot of things wrong. They are fucking up their form, their routines ignore major muscle groups, they eat like shit. Still, they look OK. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to lift weights and see substantial gains.
If you’re like a lot of young guys, you’ve thought about lifting. You know you should lift. This isn’t the first blog post you’ve read that tries to bully you into the gym. But this guide is different, because its goal is not to provide information, but to strip it away. Forget everything you think you know about resistance training. Follow these ten steps, and you’ll be getting more effective workouts than 99% of your peers. Easy as cake, and by cake I mean red steaks and protein shakes.
So without further ado…
1. Go to the gym
Going to the gym is always better than not going to the gym. A shitty workout is better than no workout. Make a commitment to spend three one-hour sessions in the gym every week. If you have no idea what to do, go anyways and fuck around. Find some floor and do push-ups. Try the machines you don’t know how to use. Hurt yourself. Run in place. No matter what you do, it will be better than staying at home.
2. Build a routine
I just Googled “Beginner’s weight training routine” and came up with 3.5 million results. I clicked through every link on the first page and they were all good. My recommendation: Follow this one, but double the number of sets and before every workout, Google two new exercises and try them as well. But honestly, just build any routine, and follow it for a month.
3. Start a log
Keep a journal of your sets, reps, weights, and any other details like how you felt going into the workout and any changes you make to your rest times. Also, the gym is a great place to meet fit girls. How are you going to crunch those numbers if you don’t have a pen and paper?
4. Push yourself
There is one litmus test that will measure if you are succeeding or failing in the gym. Are you tired? If so, you are working. If not, you are just fucking around. Your muscles should burn during a workout. You should fail. After a workout, everything should feel heavier – doors, your bag, the gas pedal. You should be extremely hungry. You should sleep like a baby. If you’re not completely gassed after a workout, and sore the next day, you’re doing something wrong.
5. Do your maintenance
Read this, and do your stretching and mobility work. Young punks with no currently symptomatic mobility issues, you’ll thank me in five years.
What you eat and when you eat it will make a huge difference in how successful you are with your training goals. But, it’s down near the bottom of this list because our goal right now is to instill good lifting habits. In any case, you’ve already read the Definitive Guide To Nutrition and I don’t like to repeat myself.
7. Squat and Deadlift
A true beginner should not start with the big boy lifts. Once you start to really feel at home in the gym though, you must learn how to squat and deadlift. Spend some time on Youtube for an introduction (good squatting tutorial) (good deadlifting tutorial). Then, get a friend or PT to critique your form. Get these right now, rather than develop bad habits that stay with you for life.
8. Find a partner
Some gym rats swear by their partner. Others prefer to lift solo. Personally, I like to work out on my own time and schedule 75% of the time, but get together with a partner every Friday evening to hit some PRs. Try out the gym partner routine and see if its right for you.
As you spend more time in the gym, you’ll be inspired to spend time on excellent blogs like Chaos and Pain, Lean Gains, Bold and Determined, Thumotic, and so on. You’ll make new friends who share your passion for the sound of clanking metal. You’ll read books, watch biopics, and generally absorb all you can on the subject of lifting.
When you reach this stage, start building your own routine that caters specifically to your own needs. Identify your weak points and blast through them. Find weaknesses in your body and correct them. Make your routine, your routine.
If the iron chooses you, and you’ve got the drive and natural ability, consider competing in amateur powerlifting and/or bodybuilding. Both are metal as fuck.
That’s all there is to it friends. If you’ve read this guide, you officially have no excuse for not immediately heading to your gym and starting a lifelong habit of strength, discipline and health. This guide has given you every piece of information you need to get started. Make use of it.