*Hits chalk on the board* Listen up students, if you are here in this class, it is because that you at the starting point of your fitness adventure and desire the fastests results possible. Rest assured that there is no such thing as "fast results", but you can make your results more efficient from the start by following what I and many from the Justsquad Team followed.

Heavy metal

No, I am not talking about distortion guitars and screamy vocals, althought this can help a few of you to push yourself, I am talking about lifting heavy. What is the point of lifting heavy if you are a beginner, you shout judgmentally; I am telling you should lift heavy but at a lower amount of repetitions, with perfect technique, range of motion and control.


Here are the founding pillers of basic strength exercises in my opinion, also categorized as compound exercises:

  • Deadlift (back)
  • Squat  (legs)
  • Bench-press (chest)
  • Military press (shoulders)
  • Bent-over row (back)

You should try you best to include these in your workout routine, and if possible, every day should start with one of these compound exercises for the specific muscle group you are working on that day. That way, you still have all of your available strength output.

The thing is, you are still a beginner, and compound exercises require perfected technique to avoid injury (on top of lifting them heavier) and to provide effective results. To prevent getting hurt and to develop the baseline technique you will need to attack these compound lifts, all while gaining a fair amount of s trength is very simple: machines.

Become a machinist

Machines are know to be counter-productive in strength developing because they remove the ability to train stablizing muscles, which are needed in your everyday life movements and strength feats. However, your main muscles for any of those compounds are not working effectively yet neither. Exercising on machines will make your body understand the basic technique for the movement and make your muscles used to be properly activated.

The machine you should  definitely use is the Smith Machine. Watch videos and read up on the technique of every one of the compounds movements and apply those 3 on the Smith. If you still can't manage to apply it correctly or feel awkward, use the seated row machine for Bent-overs, the assisted bench-press and shoulder press machine, back extensions for developing lower back strength and weightless squats near a mirror for observing form.

Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/olegshpyrko

Chip upgrade

The CNS, or central nervous system, is responsible for sending a signal to your muscle fibers to contract. Nonetheless, you may never have the chance to activate 100% of your muscles fibers in your life, although when you train (especially in the strength range), your body learns how to activate a lot more of those muscles fibers, making you even stronger. It makes sense, lift a 30 pound weight with 30% of the number of your muscle fibers or lift it with 70%, you will be able to lift it a lot more easier.

This explains why when you are starting out, you realize that in 9 weeks you can already lift a lot more weight than when you started, not only because your technique is better, but because your muscles fibers' activation is more efficient; exactly why we want to start off lifting heavy from the start, because lifting as heavy as possible with good form is proven to enhance your CNS's signal quality, just like putting in a better chip in your computer.

Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock

Cool story, but how

5 sets of 3-5 repetitions is a good start.  Take breaks between 3-5 minutes in-between sets for full recovery, you want to come back and hit the next set as strong as you can possibly be, while focusing on full range of motion and perfect form. You will be amazed on how strong you will become after 9 to 12 weeks, which you can now switch to the real compounds. If your goal is to gain strength, you will, and if your goal is to gain mass, you will be able to lift way heavier if you switch to hypertrophy after this than if you started off with hypertrophy, making you gain size quicker.

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