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The Path To Weightlifting Success
By Rien Vidad
There are a lot of different people that will tell you a lot of different things about weight training and working out. The problem with most is that they will tell you to do what they have done. In the early years of weight training and personal training, a person who looked muscular was approached and offered money in exchange for their advice. That person would then, for a fee, reveal their workout and voila the personal training industry started.
There are glitches in this thinking. How many times have you seen someone doing a certain exercise and decided to try it and found that it did not work as well as you thought it would have for you or did not see the results that you wanted?
Weightlifting is an art, the art of sculpting your body. What works for some people will not work for everyone. It is trial and error and we need to experiment with different exercises, different routines, different amounts of sets, different amounts of reps, different days and different rest days. The list goes on and on because there are so many variables involved.
For a long time I tried working out in the morning and found that I was not getting as good a workout as I would have liked. Going back to my article on getting your mind right, I found the reason why my morning routine was so stagnant. By nature, I am not a morning person, so I would often be dragging myself to the gym. This would carry over into my workout and I would half heartedly push myself. Often I would skip a last set or rep because I did not feel like it, my mind was not in the right frame of mind to lift. A popular bodybuilder once said, “If you don’t feel like working out, go home, don’t go to the gym.” He was alluding to the fact that if your mind is not into it, your body won’t either and it will show. I eventually saw that I was getting my best effort in the afternoon and have since not lifted in the morning.
We must test, test, test and always write down what we are doing, how many reps, sets, cadence of your reps, etc. This diary will serve as your blueprint to success. You will be able to accurately map your successes and failures to find what works best for you. Once you see what works best for you, you can further plan out your workout. You can plan out if you will just do chest (i.e. flat bench barbell press, cable flyes, decline smith machine presses) or if you will do chest and biceps (i.e. cable curls, reverse preacher curls, concentration curls) for that particular day.
One key thing to also keep in mind when planning your workout is that your muscles do need to rest in order to recuperate and get ready for the next bout of work you will put them through. In order to get proper rest, we need to try avoiding working the same primary and secondary muscles for two days in a row, unless you are training them like this for a specific reason. You can heed my advice or try it for yourself and see the type of pain you will be in. I learned this the hard way. One day I worked out my chest pretty heavily. The next day I worked my triceps and found that I was a lot weaker, the reason being that triceps are one of the major assisting muscles when working your chest. Usually, 48 hours rest is optimal.
Sometimes, coupling free weights with machines is a good mix. And again you can try and see what you like or enjoy. You may find that what works best for you and what you enjoy are working on the machines. That is great also. However there are some people who like to be able to “feel” all of the work when doing a certain exercise. Such as doing a barbell squat, you can feel the weight on your shoulders, can feel the resistance when driving with your heels to complete a set.
So again, test, test, test and find what you like and what works best. Once you have done this, you will find that weight lifting is no longer some thing that you “have” to do, but rather something that you “like” to do. Once you get past the cosmetic (looking) part of lifting and get to the point where you lift because you like the way your body feels, then you will be a gym lifer. I look forward to helping you on your way.
This is a follow up article for "Weightlifting 101" originally posted in ezinearticles I am a Weightlifting Enthusiast who looks forward to helping you on your path to weightlifting success. Please see more on my Health and Fitness blog at: Health, Wellness and Fitness For Life