BEGINNERS GUIDE TO STRENGTH TRAINING
JDP’s own strength expert Jackson Hinch explains how to get started with strength training and how to reap the benefits.
The days of fitness professionals recommending endless hours of cardio to lose weight are thankfully coming to a close. Male and Female alike are hitting the weights room in full force as strength training and it’s benefits become more well known. People who would have originally avoided anything to do with a barbell or dumbell are discovering the rewards and results that come from shifting heavier and heavier poundage on large basic movements that our modern lifestyles have caused us to overlook.
Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Overhead Press, Row and Pull Up are the six basic foundational movements any human should be able to perform (or at least a variation of) when they step into a gym. Through sedentary lifestyles, constantly being in a sitting position, not sleeping well, and eating less than ideal food sources we have somehow become very sub par at performing them. Whether your goal is to leave people speechless at the bend in the bar you’re lifting and leave no plates for anyone else to use, or just to be able to live a long, happy life and still be able to keep up with your grandchildren into your later years, or anything in between, strength training on these basic movements should make an appearance in your fitness regime.
The general population for the most part are physically shadows of what they could be. Constantly being hampered by nagging pains and niggles from constant overuse doing menial tasks and not making sure these are balanced out by opposing movements, or by slouching in certain positions for extended periods of time. These inherit weaknesses then develop into much bigger problems over a long period of time. Having a base level of strength on the above mentioned movements strangely enough puts an end to most of these weaknesses and injuries as your body actually begins to move how it was built to and is strong enough to hold itself with upright, proper posture rather than the slouched, head craning, slack hipped stance that has become the norm in today’s society.
Have you read our Beginners Guide to Powerlifting??
So now that you want to get into strength training, your next question is how? That is one of the most important decisions you’ll make on your fitness endeavours. Taking the time to see a professional who not only talks the talk but also walks the walk is the key to getting the most out of your strength training. Correct technique is a must, it will not only make you stronger but also keep you far safer when compared to bad technique. Ensuring you are hitting the correct exercises that will give you the most bang for your buck in a sensible order with a solid set and rep scheme will also mean you’re making the most efficient use of your time in the gym.
To give you an idea of what a typical strength session might look like for a beginner, here’s a sample of a workout I put my client through this week:
Warm Up >> Hip Mobility Sequence plus Hip Flexor Couch Stretch & Glute Stretch
Shoulder Circles plus Dislocations with Broomstick
Band Pull Aparts & Banded Side Steps
Squats >> 4 sets of 10 @ 65% (2-3 minutes rest)
Bench Press >> 5 sets of 6 @ 75% (2 minutes rest)
Good Mornings >> 3 sets of 10-12 (90 seconds rest)
Bent Over Row >> 4 sets of 10-12 (90 seconds rest)
Cable Ab Pulldowns >> 4 sets of 15-20 (60 seconds rest)
With a workout structured in this way you are hitting every major muscle group during the session through large compound movements, hitting a good volume of quality reps on your main lifts, and making sure your time in the gym is well spent. Doing workouts in this fashion you only need to fit in 1-2 sessions a week in between your other training to reap the many benefits of increased strength.
If increasing your strength is a real priority for you, as with any fitness related goal your diet must reflect your approach in the gym.
Let’s use ‘Dave’ as an example, he is looking to increase his strength overall but to maintain his bodyweight of 85kg. He is currently maintaining his bodyweight on around 2700 calories per day but not following an optimal macronutrient split or meal timing schedule. So a diet plan for Dave may look something like this:
Meal One >> 3 whole eggs + 3 wholegrain toast + 10g butter + 100g chicken
Meal Two >> 200g chicken + 1/2 cup rice + 20g cashews + veges
Meal Three (PreWorkout) >> 6 corn thins + can of tuna + 20g nut butter
Meal Four (PostWorkout) >> 1 & 1/2 scoop JDP whey + 3/4 cup oats
Meal Five >> 200g steak + 250 sweet potato + veges
Meal Six (PreBed) >> 1 scoop JDP whey + 20g nut butter + 200g cottage cheese
A diet structured in his way ensures Dave is getting enough protein for his muscles to recover and adapt, enough carbs to perform well and they are timed to make sure he is full of energy to lift well when he needs to, and enough fats to ensure his connective tissue integrity stays top notch from the heavy weights being moved and also to make certain he has healthy hormone levels to ensure his recovery capacity is as high as possible.
No matter your reason for being in the gym, resistance and strength training should make an appearance in your regime. It won’t make you bulky overnight, won’t make you slow and immobile, and won’t turn you into a bodybuilder, but it will make you feel better mentally and physically, and will challenge you to become the best version of yourself and even teach you various life skills that will transfer to other aspects of your life.
Read all about Jacksons experiences at the World Championships here.