Weight training is the single best activity for increasing muscular strength, developing lean muscle mass and enhancing athletic potential. Unfortunately, it has become quite complicated in recent years. This article will serve to simplify the “art” of building strength with seven keys to a successful training program.
In reality, one tough workout means nothing. In order to get stronger, you must commit to training, make it a habit and not miss workouts (find out why consistency breeds success). On average, you need to strength train two to four days each week. It is also important to have a training program and stick to it. Resist the temptation to change your workouts too often.
Going through the motions during your workout is not enough. You must train with an aggressive mindset and never settle for less than your best. Train maximally, but never max out unless it’s a testing day. For example, always lift as much weight as possible for the desired number of repetitions, but avoid attempting one-rep max efforts. Athletes must focus on developing strength, not showing off how much they can lift in the weight room.
Competitive and Progressive
Every part of your strength and conditioning program should be competitive and should be treated as an athletic event. The only exception is when you are not up against another person. Rather, you are competing against yourself and trying to better your last performance in each exercise. Always strive for improvement, either in weight lifted or repetitions performed. Use a workout chart or training logbook to measure progress.
Weight training is not easy. It takes hard work and focus to achieve your goals. The weight room is not a social environment or a hangout. Choose your exercises carefully and work them hard. When the time comes to begin your workout, it should be the only thing on your mind. An intense workout should take no more than 45 minutes. If your workout is taking more than 45 minutes, you are most likely socializing.
In order to become great, you must understand that today is a building block for tomorrow. If you have poor training habits—such as missing workouts, skipping exercises, not following your routine—you are setting yourself up for failure. You must hold yourself to a higher standard and have the discipline to “seize the day” and not waste a single workout. Success or failure rests solely on your shoulders. Workout partners and coaches are great, but it’s up to you to push yourself in the end.
Train Your Entire Body
Exercise is an enjoyable activity, as it should be. However, people often do only a few select exercises that they think are important or are good at. It is critical to pay attention to all muscles of the body and to work every exercise, regardless of muscles trained, in an intense and focused manner (learn how to work out as a multi-sport athlete).
In most training centers, you will notice equipment for performing essentially the same exercises with a slight twist. This is great for continuously challenging your muscles. A simple change from the Barbell Bench Press to the Dumbbell Bench may be just what you need to blast through a training plateau. Use whatever tools are available to keep your workouts fresh and your enthusiasm high. The more excited you are to train, the better your results will be. Always remember that it is not the exercise, but how it’s performed that makes all the difference.