The gym can be intimidating to the uninitiated. You see these massive men throwing around crazy weights. Part of you wants to try and lift as heavy as you can to see how you compare, the other part is scared you’re going to make a full of yourself or worse, get injured.
Ego is the enemy in the weight room.
And probably in life. You shouldn’t worry about what someone else is lifting. Who cares if people are snickering at your form(they probably aren’t). These feelings are born of insecurity and weakness, but until you become experienced you will battle with them.
If you have ever tried a martial art, you learned about white belt mentality. White belt mentality and be best described as I-suck-now-but-it’s-okay because soon I will get better. When you internalize that, you stop worrying about everyone else and start making progress.
Knowledge is your biggest obstacle. Not everyone has a coach, not everyone can afford a coach. Fear not because self-education is the best education. Lifting technique is the hardest part of weight training to master.
Technique separates the great from the mediocre.
If you want to feel like you belong in the gym, master your technique. The quickest way to look like an outsider is to lift like an idiot. You know, too much weight and too much body English.
Bros like to come in with a chip on their shoulders. They start off with 135 on the bar and never less. They got a “reputation” to protect.
Train bar path first.
Bar path is technique. Train the bar path, train the movement. This means use nothing but the bar. Lower it slow and easy, feel your muscles stretch and then contract as you push it back up. Hammer the bar path into submission. Perfect practice makes perfect. You’ll lift the heavy weights like you lift the bar.
When you’re bench pressing, lower the bar slow to your chest and feel your pecs stretch at the bottom. Hold it and then contract your pecs as you push the bar back up. This is how you learn to feel the muscle.
Before you start back squatting, hold onto the squat rack and do air squats. Take the stabilizer muscles out of the equation and train the path your legs will travel. Imagine the bar on your back as you go down. This will teach you how to squat with power and to explode out of the bottom.
I do this every time I train. Reinforcing good technique will help you lift more weight faster and makes for an excellent warm up. It will also teach you about feeling the muscles, that weird thing bodybuilders like to do. When you feel the muscle, you know when it is and isn’t working.
This will help you find the exercises that work best for hypertrophy. Every body is different, figure out what works best for you. Training the bar path is how you get there. Don’t be afraid of light weights. Use them to warm up and hammer technique into the ground.