View Full Version : Training for beginners by Elvia

11-13-2014, 03:54 AM

I would like to go over a few training theories I have learnt/developed over my lifting years. Firstly there are 1001 effective ways to train. Everyone is built differently both physically and psychologically. Therefore, experimentation is what I recommend to find out what training style(s) are most effective for you. There are established training systems for a reason. Generally certain training approaches are more effective than others and as a result most bodybuilders follow similar programs. However over time and learning about your own body I think no one is better educated than yourself when it comes to your training. The key is listening to your body and making note what works for you. Don't just follow a system and try to fit your body into that system. Create your own training system for your own body. If deadlifts hurt your back regardless of weight or hack squats hurt your knees then simply don't do them. Don't do things just because some stranger online or flex magazine tells you it's essential.

Knowledge of your body comes in time so if your new to this try the many training styles. Most importantly give each one enough time to effectively access it. Generally I believe in frequent training using low volume each gym session. However I feel when cutting or getting ready for competition rotating in a higher volume approach using short rest periods is most effective. No matter what style I feel intensity should always be high excluding deload periods. Intensity doesn't haven't to mean a silly amount of weight but simply pushing yourself beyond what you perceive to be your limit. I see many lifters in the gym and their minds give up far before their bodies do. Every time I go to the gym I look at it like a battle to make my body grow. I visualize my body growing when I lift and I battle for every rep I can get. Your mind is everything in the gym and you need to train it to enjoy the pain. When I refer to pain I don't mean anything that is unsafe or damaging but simply getting in the zone where you can push out those extra reps. This is why a good and trusted spotter is extremely important. Added to that hammer strength equipment and other pieces that allow you to push your limits without putting you in an unsafe position.

I reiteration there are 1001 ways to effectively train. You don't have to kill yourself in the gym to gain muscle. On one side you have one of the greatest bodybuilders ever (Lee Haney) who used to say 'stimulate don't annihilate' and that is completely true. On the other side you have Ronnie Coleman performing reps with 800 pound deadlifts 6 weeks before the Olympia. Sure Ronnie didn't train that way all the time and a lot of it was for the cameras but you won't see anyone else lifting that sort of weight at that time. Both mentalities have their pro's and cons. Fact is the guys who regularly lift huge poundage for reps are usually unmatched for density and thickness. Whilst on the other side they guys who don't push the weights tend to experience fewer injuries and have longer careers.

Progressive overload is key if you want to continue to make gains. Our bodies adapt fast so we need new stimuli in order to keep shocking our body into new growth. This can be done using a variety of rep ranges, poundages and techniques to get the most out of your training. Most lifters neglect higher rep ranges thinking they are only good for shaping and that is nonsense. A bodybuilder should incorporate a variety of different rep ranges. By doing this development of new muscle tissue can be maximized. It will only add to your training and you will learn more about your body. It will also help train your mind to go past certain barriers. I know a lot of guys who can squat or leg press a lot of weight for say 8-10 reps but ask them to do lighter weight for 30 reps and they fall apart. I use high reps especially for leg movements as we are constantly on our feet and the main leg muscles are very strong and durable. In general I feel low and high reps with as much weight as possible utilizing different variations of squats and leg press are the key to building bigger quads.

In general I look at lifters strength endurance as a big tool to help towards their physique progression. We can't increase weight every single week otherwise we would all be bench pressing 400kg! High rep ranges are also a good tool for stimulation whilst giving your joints a rest from the heavier weights. Another great tool to use are pre exhaust methods when training. A good example could be when performing various sets of isolation work for your hamstrings and quadriceps before performing a movement such as squats. Your body doesn't know it is lifting 500 pounds and if you pre exhaust you could lift half of that with similar results. This is a great way to help prevent injuries and damage to tendons and joints etc.

There are numerous other techniques that can be used to improve your training and to simply keep things more interesting. I like to play about with different angles, rep speed, rom and time under tension. Every workout is never the same with me. Increasing weight and rep ranges as discussed is a simple way to look at things but then the way you lift during every rep can make a huge difference. At times every rep should be made to be as hard as possible. There are many guys who lift a lot lighter than many think they would but the difference is they lift with full concentration. They squeeze the muscle from the top to the bottom. The negative is usually very slow and controlled allowing for greater time under tension. That brings me onto another style that can help many break plateaus and overload the muscle in a new way. I recommend readers to try negative/eccentric training. This is when you choose a weight that is slightly too heavy for you to perform a full rep with. You then have a partner help you bring up the weight (concentric portion) but they don't assist during the negative portion of the lift. This is when you are strongest and you can control more weight. Moreover eccentric training will cause more muscle fiber damage, requires less energy, creates an anabolic response and as a result more overall muscle hypertrophy. Obviously you can't do this with the likes of deadlifts but it's possible for most exercises. You don't even need a partner for certain arm and leg exercises.

The different training techniques should be played about with to offer varied stimuli to the muscle. Another example of a training technique is the inclusion of partial reps. Jason Huh is known for utilizing partials and whilst I think his are too partial they are obviously working for him. I urge some of you to add in a few partials sets to your training when using heavy weights. Partials are another useful tool to add intensity and muscle fiber recruitment. A good example of this could be lying leg curls and if you fail at say 15 reps you start using a partial rom to get more reps until you can't lift the weight at all. I recommend all of you to play about with your training to keeps things fresh and keep your body guessing. This could be started by performing different rep ranges than your used to. Then further added to by utilizing negatives, partials, faster and slower rep speeds and increased time under tension.

Through experience we all should establish a great understanding of how our bodies works but only if we listen to them. Over the years I have come to the conclusion most bodyparts need to be treated differently. I like to work in the 8-20 rep range for most movements but will sometimes go higher. The higher rep stuff is very common with leg training. Look at the likes of sprint cyclists as many have amazing legs. Most of them do weight train and primarily their lower bodies. However some of the leg development you see is incredible and they cycle for hours a day. I believe the constant hours of working the muscle and the explosive power needed for sprinting are the main factors. I am not saying we should all cycle everyday but it definitely shows me possibilities in my weight training to help create big and lean legs. Male ballet dancers show me even more how leg training doesn't have to be 8-10 reps with as much weight as you can lift. Many of them have great overall leg development but especially their calves. All that time on their tip toes and explosive jumps for hours a day are the main reasons. By putting together everything I see it has assisted me in the development of a training plan to help my rubbish calves grow. I should add everything is genetics and if you have good calf genetics for example any sort of stimulation will make them grow. Regardless of genetics you can always change your training for optimal gains and that's what I have personally done and am finally making worthwhile progress.

So many guys do the same thing day after day in the gym. If your progressing then great but if you have stopped I urge you to change and try new things. Be creative and have fun with your training and think outside the box. A good example of thinking outside the box are the giant sets Milos Sarcev has people do. I was once in a rush so decided to do about 15 back movements as heavy as I could go with no rest in between and I have never felt so pumped and well trained. You need an empty gym for that but there are countless other possibilities. The art of training is slowly being diluted in the modern day so just wanted to give a few thoughts and how you can keep your training both interesting and productive.