1) Before you get to the gym make sure you have your muscle building workouts planned out. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
2) Psyche up on the way there by visualizing the workout in your head. See yourself going through each of your exercises and dominating the weights.
3) If you train at a public gym, where it’s more than likely they’ll be playing Usher and similar R&B tunes that will make you wanna clean out your ears with a gun, make sure you have some good training songs loaded on your iPod.
4) Train hard but don’t make every workout a competition.
5) Limit your workouts to an hour, tops. Use a stopwatch or GymBoss Interval Timer to keep yourself in check.
6) Stick with a muscle building workout plan for 12 weeks, minimum. The best way to see zero results is by jumping from one routine to the next from week to week.
7) Start each workout with a full body dynamic warm up to fire up the CNS, lubricate the joints and activate the muscles; especially those that might not always fire properly or in the right order.
8) If you have nagging injuries stay covered up and dress warm for your workouts. I always wear a few layers unless it’s over 80 degrees in the gym.
9) Knee and elbow sleeves can also be a great friend to the older beat up lifter.
10) Develop a very close, personal relationship with the Rumble Roller and a lacrosse ball.
11) Don’t use more than five exercises per workout.
12) When in doubt about what those exercises should be, pick up something heavy and put it over your head in a variety of ways.
13) Don’t skimp on your warm ups. If 405 is your starting weight on deadlifts, doing 135×5, 225×3, 315×1 and then starting is not an effective warm up. Multiple sets of low reps will better prepare you for the task at hand.
14) Begin your workouts with some type of throw, jump or Olympic lift for 3-10 sets of 1-5 reps to fire up your CNS.
15) Linear periodization worked for Kirk Karwoski, Ed Coan and Bill Kazmaeir. It still works. But you have to know how to do it properly.
16) Don’t train for more than about six weeks straight without taking a deload week. Newbies can go longer.
17) Using Fat Gripz helps you get both grip and forearm work in without adding any extra training time. It also helps save your elbows.
18) Try to use as many bodyweight exercises as possible for assistance work.
19) Incorporate odd objects and strongman type exercises to build real world, functional strength and stability. If you could only pick one farmers walks would be the best.
20) Always strive for maximal muscle stimulation with minimal joint stress.
21) Speaking of joint stress, be careful to avoid elbow pain. When your elbows get screwed up you will most likely have to deal with it for years. And whenever you think they have healed you will find some exercise that causes excruciating pain.
22) One of the biggest benefits of bodyweight exercises is they allow you to get in some volume and train the muscle without destroying your joints or your CNS.
Sure, the deadlift is a better exercise for your posterior chain than the glute ham raise. But you can’t deadlift with a lot of volume every day. If you’re really strong you might not be able to do more than a couple of sets of deadlifts per month.
With the glute ham you can hit it every day if need be and there is minimal joint or CNS stress.
23) If you want traps like the late, great Road Warrior Hawk (and who doesn’t?) you have to add in some Olympic pull variations like cleans or snatch grip high pulls.
24) Do high intensity conditioning either immediately after strength training or as a separate workout on the same day, 4-8 hours later.
25) Before doing anything in the gym always ask yourself a couple questions. Will it help me? How? If you can’t come up with a good answer don’t do it.
26) Your goals and what you do during training should always coincide. If your number one goal is to gain 30 pounds of bodyweight and add 50 pounds each to your bench, squat and deadlift you have to ask yourself how a twenty minute circuit of battling ropes, sled and kettlebell work at the end of each workout will help you.
27) Have fun. At the end of the day most people will not continue to do something for the long haul if it’s not fun. So get a training partner or group, challenge each other, get strong and have fun.
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