How to start Strength Training
Have you heard the story, that there are two types of frogs?
One type of frog leaps before it looks and the other type looks before it leaps.
The same is true for humans, some people just do other want to know details and the road ahead.
For those who leap before they look, they decide to start strength training and just go. The ones who look before they leap, they also decide to start strength training, but they have questions that need to be answered before they are fully confident on deciding on a course of action.
This article and video discusses
- How to start strength training
- The importance of a medical check-up.
- How to select the right training frequency (strength training sessions per week)
- How to select the right training volume (sets & reps)
- How to select the right training intensity (resistance)
- How to select the right training mode (free weights, body weight, strength training machines, etc)
- How to manage expectations and set realistic goals, when you start strength training.
Why do you need a medical check-up when you start strength training?
The first thing, that should go without saying is, that you need to do a medical check-up to decide, whether you are able to participate in a strength training program.
The reason is fairly simple, it’s to eliminate risks.
Of course, most people are able to participate in strength training workouts and reap the benefit of strength training, but some people simply aren’t.
How to start strength training? Begin with the end I mind
As Stephen Covey described it in his book The 7 Habits of highly effective people, the 2nd habit is to Begin with the end in mind.
Not only is that true for effective people, it is as well true for training.
I have outlined that principle in the article
The basic idea behind this concept is, that you need to outline the goal you want to achieve first and then decide on the appropriate course of action on how to get to that goal.
The training goal dictates
- training intensities, how heavy you need to train
- training volume, how many reps and sets
- training frequency, how often you should train or how many strength training workouts per week you should do
- training duration, how long your strength training workouts should be
- and the training mode, whether you should train with free weights, strength training machines, body weight resistance, etc
For more information on training intensities, check out
- How much Strength Training is too much
- Insider Guide reveals How many Reps in the Back Squat you should do
For more information on training volumes, check out
For more information on training frequency, check out
For more information on strength training duration, check out
For basic understanding of training modes, check out
For more in-depth understanding how training modes are interrelated with training goal and training intensity, check out
Understand training principles, when you start strength training
In my opinion, one of the most important things, when you start strength training, is, that you need to have a basic understanding of training principles.
If a training doesn’t align with training principles is a surefire way to make hours in the gym without seeing any results.
So, what does that mean?
One of the most basic principles is the so-called ‘overload principle’, which means over time you have to lift heavier and heavier loads to see adaptations or results. Please note that heavy is subjective to the individual and needs to be treated like that. What is a heavy load for me, is a light load for my athletes.
The best way to explain the ‘overload principle’ is to remember the story of Milo of Croton who wanted to become the strongest man on earth and decided to lift a young calf every day. Over time the calf grew into a bull and he was able to lift the full bull.
I have explained that story in more detail in the articles
However, the bottom-line of this story is that it doesn’t matter where you start out, as long as you train regularly and progressively.
Start with a load external resistance that is manageable and then increase the load over time in small increments and you will see progress.
How to start strength training and avoid common rabbit holes
I have seen over and over again, that people and athletes fail by setting unrealistic expectations and time frames.
Strength training is a marathon, not a sprint.
What does that mean?
It’s an analogy, that it takes time until you see results, I am talking about months to years, not weeks.
Another tip I can give you is, that you should seek out for advice or professional help.
If you can get someone with a track record of results, that can fast track your journey to success.
And with a track record of success, I mean preferably bringing other people to success, not only himself or herself.
Why is that important?
I have seen too often, that some people are genetically more gifted that other people and they make progress with anything they do. But the same intervention wouldn’t work for the majority of other people.
You don’t believe me? Well I am working with Olympians I get genetical freaks delivered to me – just joking…
Final words on how to start strength training
One last piece of advice, which I normally put at the beginning of everything, is that if you want to succeed with your strength training efforts and you want to lift heavy loads at some point, you need to master the basic techniques first.
I have outlined the necessity for technical mastery in the articles
- 9 Benefits of the Overhead Squat and counting…
- The Ultimate Guide to Power Snatches
- How to do a Power Clean
- What Do Front Squats Develop and Why You Need To Do Them
- How much should I Back Squat
Concluding How to start strength training
As the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher said ‘Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.’
The same is true for starting strength training, you need to plan your strength training program and consider a series of few events and then simply work the plan.
More information on strength training
The Fundamentals of Strength Training
The Ultimate Guide to Strength Training for Beginners
The Importance Weight Training Has On Power
Power Training vs Strength Training – what is the difference?
8 Simple Steps To Figure Out How Often Should Strength Training Occur
Why Strength Training is important
Why Strength Training is important for athletes
How often should you do Strength Training
How long should a Strength Training Session last
How Strength Training works – accommodating resistance
How often should you do Strength Training to lose weight
How much Strength Training is too much
How many Strength Training sessions per week
How long should a Strength Training Program last
How to do Strength Training at home