Written by: Paul Carter (Lift-Run-Bang)
Here are some quick tips and lessons for lifters!
- If you’re a beginner, learn how to squat and deadlift as soon as possible, and do these more than you bench and curl. I didn’t start squatting until I had been lifting for about 5 years. The first few years of squatting and pulling you are trying to figure a lot of shit out, unless you have a good coach. So even if you don’t like them, do them.
- If you can, get a good coach to teach you how to squat and deadlift properly. This will cut off years in the time it takes to achieve upper potential. If your coach is a long ways away, make the drive out every other week. Ask yourself how serious you are if you think that’s too much.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people. You aren’t other people. Not only that, stop using other people as examples of what can be done training a certain kind of way.
- This also doesn’t mean training philosophy doesn’t matter. However you need to find out what works well for you through some trial and error.
- Don’t do movements that cause immediate or delayed “bad” pain. Who said you have to squat? If you aren’t a competitive powerlifter, and have physiological issues that keep you from squatting pain free, do things that don’t cause pain. Common sense goes a long ways in training.
- Drink water. It’s amazing to me how many people still drink cokes, gatorade, and shit like that all day, then train and say they aren’t 100%.
- Have goals, and focus on them. Seems simple enough but if you are in the gym or at the track or doing a boot camp and you don’t have a clear reason why (“to get in shape” is not really CLEAR) you won’t put forth your best effort. Define your goals very clearly. Getting in shape, is not defined. Getting into 32 pants or running a half marathon or deadlifting 600 pounds are defined goals and will help you define your training more efficiently.
- Enjoy life. Worrying about training when you are not in the gym is stupid. Make your training program and stick with it. Stick with life while you’re living it.
- Get your blood work done regularly. People miss this boat too much and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Getting detailed blood work done quarterly could easily save your life down the road.
- Don’t grind on the big lifts too much. This is a sure way to put yourself into the ground quickly and then trying to dig out becomes a pain in the ass.
- If you lift raw, build bottom position strength as a priority. Getting strong on the top portion of movements isn’t anywhere near as valuable as building strength off the chest, out of the hole, and off the floor. Who cares how strong your three board press is if you can’t get it off your chest?
- Keep training interesting and fun. You can vary things in the same routine with something as simple as varying your warm up poundages. Don’t think it matters? Try it.
- Don’t sweat crappy workouts. It comes with the territory. Take the good with the bad and the hate with the great.
- A quick and easy way to drop some flab over the course of a few weeks is simply to drop carbs in the evening. This works well and your energy levels won’t drop very much, if at all.
- Learn how to focus internally for a big set. This is will make a world of difference in energy for that set. Let your rage out on the bar. Not the “air”.
- Get in shape. The faster you can recover from a set, the sooner you can do another. The more work you can do in the same amount of time will mean more strength, and more mass. No one ever got weaker and smaller from doing some conditioning work for half an hour a few times a week.
- Using machines as your main assistance stuff has merit. Machines don’t tax you as badly and you can really target weak muscle areas. This is great for injury prevention.
- Do glute and calf work. Lots of guys don’t do direct glute work and I’m not sure why. They are the biggest muscles in the body, and having bigger and stronger glutes will contribute to a bigger squat and deadlift. Your calves held to stabilize the knee and ankle. No, it won’t improve your squat, but big calves look good when you wear shorts. That alone is worth it.
- When it’s time to relax; relax. Learn how to do this. Not just for lifting, but for life and happiness. You’ll find plenty of shit to be stressed about later.