The beginners key to success can be described as various different things; nevertheless, I believe that the most essential piece of advice that really matters is….
To remember you are a beginner.
I am the type of person who expects to be amazing right away and expects to be just as good as people who have been doing it for years. I set expectations for myself that are way too high and then I get frustrated. I get frustrated, get angry, cry while being angry, think I suck at life, then I do something about it.
I try to break this process, but a lot of times…It still happens and eventually I do realize that I am a beginner.
And yes, I am calling myself a beginner even though I have worked out for almost 2 years now and competed in bodybuilding because power lifting is a world of its own. So as I become more knowledgeable in the power lifting realm the following is what I stress you remember:
- Stop progressing in weight if your form sucks. If your form sucks, you will most likely hit a plateau and may or may not hurt yourself. It was hard for me to drop down to my beginning weights in squat and deadlift. I felt like I was going to lose progress and thought I would then lose the ability to lift as much. Soon I realized, my lifts were easier in the correct form and the RIGHT muscles were sore after the workout.
- Ask questions. I knew what the 3 lifts were, but nothing about powerlifting, how meets ran, equipment, or form. I have a home gym so the only form advice I had was from social media or google. I asked questions on bodybuilding.com and read all I could, but so much conflicting information is out there. Going somewhere new is always hard because you are stepping out of your comfort zone. Yet, going to meet with a bf of a friend made the whole concept of competing reality. It gave me the “you can do this; you WILL do it.”
- Take all the advice you can get from reputable people. You will get advice and comments from people who clearly know nothing; try to know the difference. Find people whose advice can be backed up & who you trust. Listen to what they say and don’t take it negatively. Their advice might be right, but not work for you & that is okay. But some advice is worth trying out such a hand and feet positioning.
- Work on breathing. I hold my breath when I bench and squat. I do 5 reps and find myself out of breath because I did not breath the entire time. My first time I felt this way, I couldn’t finish my 5×5 workout. My husband called me out on not breathing; next workout, I focused on breathing during each warm up set and put it to use on my 5×5. I completed the same workout I had failed on with ease.
- Look up the meet requirements. What membership do you need, what equipment is allowed, what do you need to buy. This got me motivated and also made me realize the expense that would go into competing. I could now budget and buy equipment throughout my training so money wouldn’t be a reason I couldn’t compete.
- Sign up. I found a meet and I am currently checking every day to sign up. I was someone who thought I needed to certain total to be able to compete. True story: You only need to lift the weight of the bar to compete. You never know who is going to enter the meet at your weight class. Your first meet should be focused on making all your attempts and getting a total score. After you have this total, now you have a goal for next time.
- Powerlifters are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever met People think since they are “bro” and lifting heavy weights that they are collectively not a welcoming group…but everyone cheers for everyone no matter the weight. Some individuals are there to win. Most are there to beat their own score.
The last few weeks I’ve learned all the above for myself & I suggest you try some tips out if you find yourself starting anything new. Tonight I go for my bench max after a month of fixing form and learning technique. Fingers crossed & adrenaline pumping for the PR.