There’s no shortage of junk weightlifting programs online to confuse the heck out of anyone. Most of the stuff you see online promoted by influencers looks exciting. In reality, it’s just overhyped marketing designed to make them a quick buck. For one, these programs include way too much volume for newbies. And they are full of useless exercises that might look cool on social media but don’t lead to real progress. These programs are more likely to lead to injury than muscle.
You don’t want to overcomplicate things at the beginning of your lifting career. Your focus should be on only a couple of movements and getting as good as you can in those. Here are three tips to help you build strength as a new lifter.
Do A 3-Day Per Week Full Body Split
Yes, most programs in bodybuilding magazines are 5-6 day body part splits. The lifters who design them are also on performance-enhancing drugs. Because they are taking stuff, they can recover quicker and hit a ton of volume. You, as a natural, can’t recover nearly as quickly. A full body split is a better option to hit the big muscle groups and recover.
A beginner’s plan should include the four main movement patterns in each lifting session during the week. Each workout should consist of an upper body push (Bench press, dumbbell presses, shoulder presses), an upper body pull (rows, lat pulldowns, pull ups), a lower body push (squats, lunges, split squats), and a lower body pull (deadlift, RDLs, glute bridges).
A weekly plan starting could look something like this:
Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Neutral Grip)
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats
Chest Supported Row
At the end of each session, you can add in some core and 1 or 2 isolation exercises for good measure. That can mean bicep curls, lateral raises, or tricep extensions. Keep it short and sweet.
Get stronger in the 5-12 rep range for the exercises above
The best approach in the beginning is mastering your technique and slowly adding weight. Say you can squat 135 pounds for 8 repetitions, try to beat that the following week by getting 135×9, then 135×10 the week after. Once you can do 135×10, then add weight to the bar. Now start at 145 pounds and do the same thing. Focusing on this slow approach will help you get stronger and build muscle. Everyone wants immediate results, but when lifting, taking it slow always wins. Get a tiny bit stronger each time you perform a lift, and you will get amazing results.
Cut out the fluff exercises
The sexy thing is more bicep curls, crunches, and chest flies. But look, if you don’t build a base in the big lifts and get strong in those first, you won’t build muscle. That muscle-building signal is much louder when you stick to the big lifts like squats, presses, deadlifts, and rows. This concept is vital to remember when starting. Doing too much volume and isolation exercises from the jump is a sure-fire way to burn out and never see progress.
To sum it up, the best bet for a beginner is a full-body routine focused on big compound lifts. Get your technique dialed in before you start adding weight to the bar. Once your technique is flawless, you can slowly add weight and strive to set personal records in those exercises. Lifting weights is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow progress beats immediate achievement every time. While trying to do 20 more pounds every week seems like a good idea, it will eventually catch up and backfire. If you aren’t sure how to put it all together, check out our program MAPS ANABOLIC. Now go get strong!