The progression of a weight lifter holds an unlimited amount of variables. If you have yet to get started or are in the early stages of progression drop your ego at the door and listen up. There may be no correct way to go about things. Everyone’s body is different and everyone has different genetics. Some people build muscles very easily, some stay shredded all year regardless of diet. Everyone has their own opinion on how to go about this, well here’s mine. This is going to be the first article in a multi-article series.
I think we can all agree that if you have never picked up a weight or are coming off a long layoff or injury the best thing to do is compound movements. You need to focus on the big basics to help rebuild your base strength and all the stabilizers to help you advance onto other aspects of training. A simple push, pull, legs split could take you very far, very quickly before you need to change it up. Start off with straight sets till failure with just the basic lifts like bench, squat, deadlift. Intensity boosters can be added such as rest pause sets. This will take you beyond failure thus causing hypertrophy.
Lifting three days a week and doing cardio to stay in good condition will be good enough for a long time but at some point I believe you must do some high volume work. The kind of training that just burns so bad you squirm out of your skin, building up some true muscular endurance. Not to mention some additional mental reserves. You all know I am referring to chasing a pump. Strength training will get you a pump but at some point you need to try to take it to the extreme. A good example is Hany Rambod’s FST 7 approach: 7 sets with moderate weight with minimal rest time. This will stretch the skin and also cause hypertrophy. This is what we will cover in depth in the following article.
At this point you should be learning which style of training is going to give you the best results. Perhaps heavy low volume work hurts your joints too much and you grow better off high volume. Or perhaps you stay fuller from low volume higher frequency. Or maybe you’re like Ronnie Coleman and you just have to use high weight, high volume, and high frequency because you simply can without over training.
What I’m trying to get at here is it is all very individualized. You simply cannot find a bodybuilder you look up to and copy their style because you are not them no matter how much you want to be. I think that is something everyone at some point has to come to terms with. Drop the ego and open your mind up to change and true expression. Your training should be an art form at which it is an extension of yourself, nobody else. Use those before you as inspiration no doubt, but not as a prison which you cannot escape.
Only one rule to all of this, give it your all. Every Damn Day.