Cutty, why don’t you use more complicated training schemes similar to 5/3/1 or Westside?
Here is a question I receive a lot and I wanted to write an article about it and what exactly this site is aimed towards.
So here it goes..
Why I don’t program complicated training schemes
I started Cutty Strength to help beginners to intermediates get started in the gym, get on the platform, or simply get bigger and stronger.
I don’t use complicated training schemes in my workouts because if you are a beginner or early intermediate, you do not need to worry about tempos, periodization, percentages, or any of that.
What you need to worry about is getting to the gym consistently, progressing in weight or reps, and working on improving form. Period.
The majority of my readers are lifters interested in getting bigger and stronger in the gym, learning how to become a powerlifter, or simply trying to learn as much as they can to ensure they train for years to come.
I am grateful for every reader that comes to this site; it does not make sense for me to program a workout that uses complicated training schemes to make my ego bigger and further confuse you.
All of these muscle mags and popular websites touting these “groundbreaking” routines that are having beginners use chains and bands when they are not sure what they are used for is ludicrous.
What’s the best way to progress as a beginner or early intermediate then?
Anything in this section is purely what I feel is the best way to progress as a beginner or early intermediate.
I’m not saying you can’t progress other ways… but this is the best way in my opinion.
Learn Correct Form
Learning correct form and creating good habits early in on your training career is paramount if you want to keep getting stronger and staying injury free.
Beginner gains come quick and easy. Don’t pick up lazy habits with your form while you are getting stronger; you will hit a plateau fast while trying to fix these bad habits.
I hit a plateau on deadlifts and squats that took me months to fix because I would use brute strength to do these lifts instead of improving my technique.
There will be a time you have to dial back and learn a more efficient way.
Missing an occasional training session is okay, but making a habit of missing is not.
You must become consistent in your training, your nutrition, your recovery, and your stress relief if you want to get ahead in this game.
The trick to becoming consistent is to figure out what type of schedule you have to work with. If you can train comfortably 3 days a week with no issues, then don’t try to do a 4 day a week workout.
Find what works for you and stick with it. There is no magical formula to making progress other than what I am covering in this article.
You are going to have to work on form every time you go to the gym, this is no secret. Progressively overloading is the next thing you need to focus on with any workout you use.
To me, there are three ways to progressive overload:
The ego loves when you can progress with more weight. No one cares if you bench 220, but if you bench 225 it’s like a completely different world.
Adding “just” 5 pounds per week can get you 250 pounds in a year (say you missed 2 weeks out of the year) which is an incredible feat. This gives a little bit of a better perspective than “just 5 pounds” on the bar.
The next area of progression you should strive for is adding reps. Say you are doing a powerlifting routine and you just cannot hit your deadlift set.
Dread comes over you. “What should I do?”
Always keep a log. Write down what you got because next week you are going to progress, damn it.
You hit 4 out of the 5 reps in your set. Next week you’re going to strive for 5 reps; simple as that.
Think about it, you may not have added weight to the bar, but you’ve just increased the amount of times you can do a weight by 1 rep.
Most late intermediates and advanced lifters strive to add 5 pounds or a rep to a lift over months, not just workouts.
You are not hitting a plateau.
This is something that I’ve learned over the years and it comes from learning your body. Perceived effort is how hard it felt for you to do those reps.
If you are having a hard time moving some weights for a couple of weeks and seem stuck on that final rep, you should ask yourself “is it getting any easier?”
How fast are those first reps moving before you get to your sticking point? Are you getting closer to locking out that lift?
All of these questions need to be looked at before you say you’ve hit a plateau and you are going back to the drawing boards.
Progress slows as the years pass.
Clean Up Your Diet
Please do not take that heading as “eat only boiled chicken and rice.”
Whoever made that a trend is just as horrible of a person as the one who came up with the Chipotle diet.
I have my days of eating a whole pizza or going to the Chinese buffet, but overall I cook most of my meals.
I don’t mean throwing a package in the microwave and acting like it is good, I actually cook.
When I say clean up your diet I mean get off your ass, cook meals that have natural single ingredients, and enjoy life. There is nothing wrong with eating a burger you make, or making some taco meat and wrapping them in corn tortillas.
Seriously though for your own health, learn to cook, prepare most of your meals, and do your best to not eat out every day.
Have A Goal
Remember when you started your first day in the gym how happy, motivated, and ready to do whatever it takes to get there?
The reason you may not feel that now is because you’ve lost sight on a goal. Maybe you accomplished a huge goal, but where’s the next one?
With nothing to work towards, your motivation and drive is gone; believe me, I’m talking from experience.
Write your goals down and work your ass off to get there.
They always say that training for a powerlifting event is the best way to reach goals.
TLDR: The majority of visitors on my site are beginners and early intermediates and I want to see them progress. If you want to run convoluted training schedules meant for late intermediate and advanced lifters so you can feel like you know more, have at it.
Leave any questions or comments below!