> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Lifting and strength training - Intro and the Big 4



Lifting and strength training - Intro and the Big 4

I grew up a computer/video game nerd and have zero strength training background and little natural athletic ability. Early this year, I decided to get myself into lifting, get strong and get in better shape.

I have been pretty committed, dedicated and have found myself enjoy time with the weights. I am by no means an expert, but I've learned a few things so far that I thought could be of help to those thinking about getting into lifting.

When we talk about serious strength training, nearly all programs focus on the big 4: squat, bench, deadlift and overhead/military press. There are lots of great YouTube videos on the correct form for each of these--search them up and watch. Having good form is important for not only helping you lift the most weight, but also ensuring you stay injury free.

Of the big 4, I've found the squat hardest to perform. I have tight, not very flexible hips, and have had to focus on improving my mobility there. YouTube up "Mobility WOD" if you run into similar issues--lots of excellent stretches to help loosen things up.

Though most agree that the big 4 should be the foundation of any program, there's less consensus on other program variables like number of reps, sets, frequency of training, progression and what, if any assistance work one should do. That's where the differences come in when you look at programs like Starting Strength, StrongLifts 5x5, 5/3/1 or whatever else. More on programming to come.

The big 4 are all barbell exercises, so you'll need to hit a gym or invest in some home gym equipment to perform them. I went the route of setting up a garage gym, and it took me several months to put together all of the needed equipment. The wait and expense has been well worth it and the best way for me to ensure I can lift 3-4 times a week. More is in the works to discuss the equipment side of things. I have become a huge fan of Rogue Fitness gear -- a bit pricier than some of the Chinese-made stuff, but super solid, great company and made in the USA.

Whatever program you choose, adding incremental amounts of weight, tracking your progress and tracking your personal records (PRs) is key and part of the fun. Watching your strength progress is awesome. Crushing reps with weights that you couldn't even lift once...pretty sweet, and the progression quickly becomes addictive.

More to come. Hit me up with questions or requests in the comments section.