When we begin to train, usually the goal of most lifters is to get big and strong. On this path, our goals stay in that realm, but how we reach them becomes ever changing and more difficult as we push our genetic and mental limits. In the beginning, it is tough to find the proper path for training. Most people do what they see, and in normal gyms, this is a key for disaster. Most gym lifters and even so called educated trainers are more of a problem than they are a helper. Their education has led them to believe that what they teach and preach is good and just. So what does a hungry beginning lifter need to do and follow?

First, you must educate your mind. Reading the proper literature will give you a base of good knowledge that will help guide you for many years to come. Most of the “must read” books are located on our website under the study guide for our certification at Westside-barbell.com. All of these books can be purchased at EliteFTS.com. These books will reach far beyond what knowledge you think you may need. One of the areas of science you must be well educated in is physics. Physics explains mass, acceleration, force, gravity, leverage, and other important things. If you understand these principle ideas, you’ll understand weightlifting.

Attend a seminar to make sure you start with proper form, and get expert advice from the strongest people on the planet. This is a very important tool that will save you years of aggravation and help to keep you injury free. Proper training methods aren’t that complicated after you have had an experienced coach work with you. I’ve seen even advanced lifters miss crucial points in their training, which have created barriers that last for years or never get broken.

You must develop a strong, raw base. In the sport of powerlifting, many are too quick to jump into the best gear and then face injury, stagnation, and early retirement. It is important to build your ligaments, tendons, and muscles up to handle large weights in the years to come. Many of the strongest people on the planet are strong in all ways and in little gear or full gear. Did you know that most of Westside Barbell’s training involves full range movements with no bench shirt? Did you know that for lower body work we only put on suits 7–10 times a year? The rest of the time we use light briefs and a belt. Sometimes we don’t even use that.

If training properly, your gear max as well as your raw max should rise together. This is because assistance work is high all year round, and gear training is minimal. Mastering the gear is a part of the sport but not at the beginning. I’ve went from an 850-lb squat to a 1085-lb squat in the same suit. How about you?

Make sure that you have maximal efforts, dynamic efforts, and repetition efforts in your workouts. If you’re missing one of these components, your lifting will not rise consistently. This is the biggest problem with most workouts using 5X5 methods and other rep schemes. They are just that—rep method schemes. So where are the dynamics and the maximal efforts in your workout? If you fail to raise velocity, your strength will never be realized. If you fail to raise your maximal strength, your velocity will not matter.

Another issue is to work on GPP. Many people argue about how good of shape you need to be in to powerlift. It might not be much in the beginning, but to get through tough workouts, finish in an adequate amount of time (40–60 minutes), and be able to recover, GPP is just about everything. Without good conditioning, your workouts will suffer and so will your platform results. Your workout should exhaust many energy systems and tax muscles in many different ways. You must get stronger, build more muscle, and get faster all year round, not in phases as linear periodization guides.

In all training, there are two main biological laws that must be followed in order to get past barriers and keep you progressing:

·        law of accommodation

·        law of specificity

The law of accommodation states that if an athlete incorporates the same measures to increase performance, they will not work as efficiently as previous times and must change constantly. This can be in the form of using the same bars, resistance type (e.g. only using free weights to become strong), stances, or grips. Training must be varied.

The law of specificity states that muscles must be used in similar patterns and ways that they are needed in order to make specific gains on the organism. This is why we have many different bars so we can squat every week without having to take down time. The same holds true with the bench and deadlift. This is also why we have certain rep parameters on dynamic effort days to match the time needed for the task as well as why we train one rep maxes often. Training must have transfer.

As I’ve wrote in past articles, you must have a strong and dedicated training crew. Strong people come from strong groups here at the gym. You must surround yourself with strong minded and strong bodied people. In the near future, my crew at the gym will have four people who total 2600 lbs. We help each other become better. Don’t be the big fish in the small pond.

Hopefully, some of this information will get you started on the right track, No matter which organization you train in or want to be in, these rules apply to all trying to make it to the top.