3 lesson for beginners
Of the beginners, you have moved to the category of middle-level athletes, which means that you will have to put more effort. To maintain the earned status, you need to train differently – and think differently!
Author: Bill Geiger
You can spend the rest of your training days, continuing to do the base, but then do not expect a special increase in weight and strength. Training of an average athlete requires a deliberate and thoughtful increase in intensity. Together with the intensity, you will have to change the approach to the frequency of training and add new exercises to the base.
Here are the three most important lessons that you need to learn – and learn in practice, if you want to continue to progress in the status of a mid-level athlete.
Lesson 1: add volume, reduce the frequency
Many programs for beginners are built on mastering basic motor patterns with repeated repetition until they become second nature. But eventually the body gets used to them – first thanks to motor memory and better coordination, and later due to the actual increase in strength and muscle mass. If you want to progress, you need to increase the amount of work aimed at each muscle group.
Being a beginner, you could limit yourself to 1-2 exercises for the muscles of the chest. Becoming an average athlete, you must raise the stakes, and one way to do this is to add 1-2 movements that work out the muscles of the chest at different angles. If in your training program there is already a bench press on the horizontal bench, aimed at the middle section of the pectoral muscles, add a bench press with a slope to better work the top of the chest. The added amount of work will allow you to load more muscles, and this will have a beneficial effect on general muscle development.
Adding approaches and exercises increases the training volume (a factor that directly affects muscle growth), but it also lengthens your workouts. If you double the number of exercises, you will have to spend almost twice as much time in the hall. In addition, additional work leads to an increase in muscle pain the next day, which means that more time will be needed for recovery.
Decision? As the volume increases, reduce the frequency of training. Instead of doing three full-body exercises a week, try to dilute the exercises for the upper and lower parts of the body, or break them into muscle groups. Training can also be divided into "pushing" the muscles (shoulders, chest and triceps), "pulling" the muscles (back, biceps) and legs.
This approach will allow to work out each part of the body twice a week or every four days, which in turn will give an opportunity to increase the amount of work for each muscle group without increasing the duration of the training. However, with this, you will have to go to the gym more often.
2 lesson: learn the modifications of your favorite exercises
Beginners learn basic movements that develop muscle and strength. With the transition to the next level, it is time to expand the horizons and learn to use the variety of training equipment, which makes it possible to effectively build up the musculature.
For example, you know how to do bendings on the biceps while standing with the EZ-neck, but this same exercise can be performed with a conventional barbell. By slightly adjusting the type (upper, lower) and width (less or more than the shoulder width) of the grip, you can change the pattern of muscle activation, which will lead to more muscle growth.
Like many other exercises, biceps flexion can be performed with dumbbells that provide greater freedom of movement in the shoulder joints. Performing flexions on the biceps in the crossover allows you to change the angle and direction of the resistance vector to the muscles, depending on the position of the block. You can also do the exercise sitting or standing, or work with one hand instead of two.
Some types of flexion can be done in simulators. Here the trajectory of motion is completely controlled. Different simulators have their own advantages, and when using several simulators you will get a great variety of training.
Each type of training equipment has unique advantages and disadvantages, so it's good to find the opportunity to include all kinds of shells in your workouts. Learning to perform the exercise in a variety of ways, you can achieve more proportional muscle development. In addition, these skills will be useful in those days when the hall is crowded, and a bunch of people lined up for the simulator that you need. Instead of waiting, just try an alternative movement, and your training will go according to plan.
Do you remember the rapid progress that you enjoyed in the status of a beginner? As you can see, the longer you train, the more difficult it is to develop muscle mass and strength. This corresponds to the plan – the nature plan, to be precise. As you experience the body in the hall, the muscles become bigger and stronger to withstand the stresses. The growth of rapidly shrinking muscle fibers leads to the fact that you can easily solve the problems of the previous level of complexity.
If you want to continue to build muscle and strength, you will have to continue to raise the bar on the principle of progressive overload. The idea of progressive overload is that in training you are never too comfortable.
If you do not see growth, perhaps it's time to rebuild your workouts. Start by changing the order of doing the usual exercises or replace them with new ones. Also you can manipulate the volume of the load, working weights, rest periods. You can connect the techniques of high-intensity training, and you can even change the structure of the training split.
As a rule, changing the training plan approximately every six weeks helps to continue to build muscle, increase strength and endurance. It also helps to make variety in the training process, to preserve interest and motivation.