If you’ve ever been taught to drive, then you’ll know that the first lesson is pretty much getting familiar with the car and the way it operates; before going about 1mph to test out your clutch control.
It takes a few (boring) lessons before you even start to move at any sort of speed, even more lessons until your instructor trusts you to do so.
Driving is a skill that needs to be taught and learned properly. You’re taught, assessed and once you’ve passed, then you can be on your merry way.
But even then, the wisest among us are still hesitant and it takes us some time to build up our confidence on the road.
This is the same way that you should approach your resistance training when you’re first starting out.
Just as there are laws of the road that need to be abided by, there are laws that your body needs to abide by when your shifting heavy weights around
Just as you wouldn’t want to wreck your car when you don’t know how to drive it, don’t wreck your body when you don’t know how to move it

My Advice


If you’re unsure, then ask a professional 

There seems to be this stigma that if you don’t know what you’re doing in the gym then others will look down on you or single you out as the newbie. My advice is who gives a shit. There’s professionals in the industry for a reason. I’d rather be singled out as the newbie at the gym, then the person who never sought out advice and is still doing things wrong 2 years later. 

Form first, strength later

Focus on movement patterns, not moving weight. Strength will come and it’ll come much safer when you’re moving properly. It’s easier to build up strength than it is to retrain shitty movement patterns. It’s also easier to build up strength when you’re not constantly hounded by injuries and “shoulder niggles”. Unsure on how to execute lifts with good form? Contact me here to see how I can help

Stimulate don’t annihilate

You’re looking to stimulate the muscles, not annihilate them. Training to failure on every set, on every exercise, every day, is only going to lead you down a path to injury. Training for maximal strength is important but doing it too often will leave you burnt out and more likely to hurt yourself. When you’re just starting out, it’s important for you to build up the right neuromuscular connections, motor control and foundations of strength before you even start lifting heavy. Work through a variety of rep ranges and focus on your technique.

Stop watching the bodybuilder next to you

Sounds counter-intuitive right? The biggest guy in the room must clearly know what he’s doing if he’s gotten to that size (assuming that you’re training for growth). But the thing is, the way that person trains now is not necessarily how they trained when they first started out. Giant sets of 4 chest exercises back to back may be what that person needs to stimulate growth after a decade of solid training, but it’s only going to leave you (the novice) injured.

Utilise the machines

When a beginner uses a machine, they look like a beginner’s tool. When a pro uses a machine, suddenly they’re a fantastic piece of equipment. Machines are useful no matter your training age, and if you’re just starting out, they’re a safe way for you to reinforce movement patterns. With less stability to worry about, machines will help you to focus on the primary movers and build up strength in that pattern. If you jump straight in with dumbbells, you may soon find yourself limited by your ability to stabilise a movement.

Pull, pull, pull

The anterior muscles of the body may be the “mirror muscles” that everyone desires (six pack, chest etc). But the posterior muscles are the ones that give you stability, control and strength to execute movements properly. Pull 2-3 times more than you push to spare yourself the agony of injury and train yourself for longevity.

Train the 6 foundational movement patterns

Squat, Hinge, Lunge, Push, Pull,  Carry. Simple as that. These 6 movement patterns should be included into every programme and trained at least twice a week. These patterns make up the foundations of movement and strength that are incorporated into every important lift in the gym. Not sure how to programme these? Then why not start online training with me now


Resistance training is a skill as much as it is anything else, so train it and treat it as one.

Develop your skills and become better at executing them.

Lifting heavy is cool, Lifting properly is cooler.

You can now listen to this blog post as a featured episode on Optimal Heath Daily! Click this link to check it out


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Sam is a Personal Trainer, Online Coach and Fitness Educator with background in achieving results for a variety of clients. Sam now specialises in Pain Free Performance, helping people across the world to achieve their goals safely and effectively. 

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