Your Ultimate Guide for Strength Training

Your Ultimate Guide for Strength Training

Are you afraid of the gym or suffering from gymtimidation?  

Don’t know what to do so you hop from machine to machine?  Do you spend more time scrolling through Instagram than actually training?  

Don’t worry, at one point everyone was going through this “beginner” phase. At one point, everybody was a beginner once.  Hell, even Arnold Schwarzenegger was a beginner once.  Eventually, everyone moves past the beginner phase and you can too.  

The sad truth is the majority of individuals have no idea what they’re doing within the gym - even if they been lifting for years.  So, it shouldn’t take much to quickly surpass them if you know what to do.

I was there too.  I struggled within the gym and being overwhelmed by the gym, the weights and all the empty promises from “experts”, workout programs, supplements, and ludicrous articles written by individuals who never stepped into the gym.  

Luckily for you, I’ve been in your shoes and learned the truth on how to get results.  I’ve learned and worked with some the best coaches. I’ve worked with individuals of all ages, and ability levels.  

The gym should be a place where we can temporarily escape from our problems, not be worried about what others are thinking of us.  

I want to share with you the knowledge, experience, and principles that i wish i knew when I started strength training.  I want you (yes, you dear reader) to have the knowledge and the tools to build confidence in your body by doing the things you want to do within the gym.

1) Train Movement, not Muscles

You want to address our training from a movement standpoint instead of thinking about exercising specific muscles. The human body is a functional movement machine and every part is interconnected, requiring an orchestra of muscles to work together.  

Strength training with basic movement patterns is the best way to develop a foundational strength levels for both in the gym and in real life.  These exercises require major muscles working at multiple joints to perform movement, just like in real life.

2) Developing Functional Movement Patterns

When it comes to training, it’s very important that we train the essential movement patterns that our body functions in the real world.  We want our bodies and muscles to work the way they function in real life. Muscles always work in unison with other muscles, not in isolation.

In order achieve your goals while training harder, smarter, moving better, and avoid injuries, you want to train in the six Functional Movement Patterns:   

  1. Hip Hinge (i.e. Deadlifts, KB Swings)

  2. Squat (i.e. Goblet Squats, Back Squats)

  3. Push ( i.e. Push ups, Bench Press)

  4. Pull ( i.e. Chin Ups, Pull Ups)

  5. Lunge (i.e. Reverse Lunge, Forward Lunge)

  6. Carry (i.e. Farmer’s Carry)

3)  Stick to the Basics

Almost like clockwork, there is a new fad program being released on the internet/Instagram.  These programs are an overly complex consisting of 50+ exercises with complex training methodologies with bands, chains, and drop sets.  These exercises are not for beginners.

Beginners need to become competent with the basic movement and exercises: squats, deadlifts, push ups, chin ups, and lunges before going into more advanced strength training principles.   The same exercises that worked 100+ years ago will still work with you. They have stood the test of time.

4) Quality over Quantity

While in the gym, you probably think you need to constantly break your previous personal record, and be adding weight. While you should be challenging yourself with each workout, the truth is an over emphasis on weight over technique is a quick route to being injured and stalling out your progress.  

Instead, you want to focus on how well you’re executing the movement instead of how much weight you’re moving. You want to execute a perfect rep with each set.   This means constantly hitting proper depth on your squats, staying tight on your deadlifts, and/or getting full range of motion on your chin ups, pull ups or bench press.

NEVER allow your ego to dictate your training!

Nailing each and every rep is the foundation to productive training and optimal results.   You’ll be rewarded with better gains in less time, and fewer injuries.

5)  Prioritize Free Weights over Machine

I see this everyday.  Someone walks into the gym with the Bambi look in their eyes, nervously looks around the gym, then immediately heads to machines.  I understand why they head to the machines because I’ve been there; machines are easy to use, change the weights, and a place to rest between sets.

However I will just say it: the majority of machines are just pure crap and are more likely to do more harm than good (especially the twisty ab machines).  While there are specific cases when machines are decent tools, 99% of the time you are better off sticking to free weights. There’s nothing that can be accomplished on a machine that cannot be trained more thoroughly via free weights (bodyweight, dumbbells, and barbells).

6) Progressive Overload is Smart Training

Without question, progressive overload is one of the most important strength principle you need to follow. It’s one of the oldest, most researched, and well established training principle. Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed on your body during training.  In short, in order for your body to grow and get stronger you need to constantly challenge yourself.

A classic rookie mistake is not writing down your workouts. (click here to learn more)   If you are unable to remember what reps and sets you did last time, how are you going to properly challenge yourself?  You cannot. This is why you need to record your reps, sets, and exercises with each workout.

Progressive overload comes in many different ways, but here’s a few I want you to focus on:

    • Improving your form, technique, and overall control:  Your top priority should be on becoming component and confident with  your exercises.

    • Adding 5 pounds to your lifts each week.

    • Reduce your rest period between sets.  

At the end of the day, you need to challenge yourself so your body can respond with meaningful adaptations.  To drive these adaptations, you need to do more weight, more sets and reps, decrease rest time, or more of everything listed above.

7) Never Warming Up

This is another classic rookie mistake; jumping right into a workout without properly warming up is a quick route for injury.  Warm ups are an essential part to your program to improve your movement quality, incorporate neural activation exercises to improve your gym performance, and to address weak or painful links.

Your warm up should mimic the key movement patterns and muscles that will be trained.  This is called “groovin’ the movement” which will help facilitate motor learning, and prepare your body for optimal performance.  They don’t need to be overly complicated, yet you cannot overlook or neglect your warm up.

8) Proper Exercise Order

Proper exercise order is an essential aspect for consistently making progress while remaining injury free.  It’s important to understand exercise not only develops our muscles, but our mind and nervous system. This is why it’s important to structure and program certain exercises before others.  

This is the typical order i use with my clients, including common sets, reps, and rest periods.   Every workout begins with a quick 5-8 minute warm up. You should never skip your warm ups (see the above point).  Complex, high speed exercises (olympic style lifts, jumps, etc) should always be priority first due to the high neural output and body coordination require.  

1) Dynamic Warm ups (5-8mins)

Jumping right into a workout without sufficiently warm up is recipe for injury. Sure, it may not happen right then, but given time you will hurt yourself, especially if you aren’t taking proper care of your body. Forget hopping on the treadmill or the ellipecial to scroll through social media. Those are terrible means to warm up. Proper warm ups should take 10 minutes MAX and address the following training needs.

  1. Helps facilitate motor learning

  2. Grooves the movement pattern

  3. Muscle activation

  4. Prepare the body for performance

  5. Mental and emotional preparation

I’ll tell you the same thing I tell all my in-person clients: Take the 10 minutes and get it done. No Excuses!

2) Explosive/Power Exercises:  (Power Cleans, Snatches, jumps, etc)

Always perform 2-3 warm up sets following 3-5 sets of 1-5 reps.  Keep the load moderately challenging, and never perform to failure.  

Ex. Box Jumps 3x5ea, rest 90-120sec

3) Compound Strength: (Squats, deadlifts, pulls and presses)

Pick a major compound movement pattern and perform 3-8 sets of 1-8 reps.  These should be heavy and challenging, yet never to failure. I want you to challenge yourself with the weights, but you should always have “one rep left in the tank.” You want to feel stimulated, not annihilate after each set.  

Example 3a. Front Squats 4x5, rest 0-30 sec

       3b. Band Pall-Of press 4x15ea., rest 2mins


4) Compound/higher rep/hypertrophy

Pick 1-4 compound functional movement pattern and perform two to four sets of six to 15 reps.  These exercises should be moderately challenging.  

Example 4a. Slight Incline Db Bench Press 3x8, rest 30 sec

       4b. Chest Supported Db Rows 3x12., rest 60sec

5) Isolation Work

Pick one to three movements.  You’ll be performing high reps for a couple of sets.  We’ll be utilizing incomplete rest/recovery and near-muscular failure to stimulate muscular growth.  Quick note: isolation work is the cherry on top of the cake; don’t go overboard or over prioritize isolation work.  They are fine, but they shouldn’t make up the majority of your program. Developing a strong strength base will be your bread and butter for creating that lean, muscular frame without living in the gym.

Example 5a. Bicep Curls 3x15, rest 15 sec

       5b. Tricep Pushdowns 3x20, rest 15sec

6) Met-Con

Metabolic Conditioning (or Met-Con) will be your golden ticket to shredding that unwanted body fat without spending mind numbing hours on the treadmill or elliptical.  Your overall goal is to build a strong, lean, and athletic body. The majority of people completely skip weight training and endure the treadmill expecting to lose fat.  Instead, I want you to make lifting weights and sound diet your focus with cardio being a nice additional bonus.

Met-Con can be broken into two categories:

  • Low Impact Low Intensity (LISS:(walking, biking, or elliptical, etc.)  

LISS exercises are easier on your joints, nervous system, and promotes recover, however they take longer to complete.  

Example: Treadmill walking for 20-30 minutes at 4.5MPH at 3% gradient

  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): (Sprints, Complexes, Density Sets, AMRAPs, etc.)

HIIT exercises/training is very demanding, time efficient, and more effective for building a strong, athletic body.  This will help keep your metabolism running efficiently and fat burning for hours after your workout. Due to the high demand on your body, we want to limit these workouts to 8-15 minutes.  These workouts are brief and brutal to get you breathing heavy and moring up a sweat.

Example:  Sprint :20 on; :40 rest; 10 rounds

Now let’s put this all together so you can see the big picture.  Here’s a sample workout program:

Dynamic warm up

A)  Box Jumps 3x5ea, rest 90-120sec

B1) Front Squats 4x5, rest 0-30 sec

B2) Band Pall-Of press 4x15ea., rest 2mins

C1) Slight Incline Db Bench Press 3x8, rest 30 sec

C2) Chest Supported Db Rows 3x12, rest 60sec

D1) Bicep Curls 3x15, rest 15 sec

D2) Tricep Pushdowns 3x20, rest 15sec

Met-Con: Sprint :20 on; :40 rest; 10 rounds

When it comes to your workout, place the majority of your focus on compound functional movement patterns for they are responsible for ~ 80% of your results.  

There’s a ton of information out there for beginner weightlifters.  Unfortunately, that’s part of the problem. However, by giving you the knowledge and principles on how to achieve your goals

Having a structured plan and executing the plan

We have covered a lot of information and are probably wondering “how do I use all these information to achieve my goal?”  You have You want to start, but don’t know how?

Have you been hitting the gym without making much progress?

The root cause in both cases is likely the lack of a real plan, leading to paralysis by analysis.

I know all this because I was there.

Just like any exercise, it’s not the exercise itself that’s good or bad. It’s the execution.

The squat (or any other variation) gets a bad reputation for  causing pain, that’s simply not true.

Performing crappy exercises can cause pain.

Properly executed squats (or any exercise) can actually prevent pain while getting you stronger, leaner, and looking good naked.

Allow me to take the confusion out of the equation to provide the simplicity you need to take the necessary action.  Remember, brilliance lies in simplicity, but you still need to take action.

Online coaching is personal training and dietary consulting via the internet.  Not only is it much more convenient for you, but it also the most affordable way yo get you amazing results.  

You get a 100% personalized training and nutrition plan each month. On top of that, each month’s plan will be customized based on your feedback, progress, and results to ensure optimal results every phase of your program.

The most important part of any successful fitness program isn’t the perfect training plan, or golden macro’s YOU.

With my online coaching program, you get:

- A customized training plan based on your experience, goals, abilities, and more. Your plan will be designed to not only take advantage of your current training experience, but also teach you new things, all while helping reach your goal.

 - You’ll have all of this available at the touch of a button with the Trainerize Training App.  All you have to do is pull up your phone, open the Trainerize app, and execute the program. No more wondering, “what should I do today”’s all there.

 - A personalized nutrition plan.  In terms of diet, I’ll create a customized nutrition plan that will tailored to your busy lifestyle so you can achieve your fitness goals and maintain for the long term. We will focus on a holistic approach to help you build muscle, lose body fat, and have more energy.    

Together, we’ll set realistic goals, crush the plan, and create your best body.  


If you follow my lead, and put in the work, you’ll absolutely transform your body for the better, to become the the stronger, more confident, and more capable to handle to whatever curve ball life throws your way.  

 Allow me to take the confusion out of the equation to provide the simplicity you need to take the necessary action.  Remember, brilliance lies in simplicity, but you still need to take action.


Together, we’ll transform your body and transform your life.   

 All you need to do is fill out this form and I’ll be in touch.  

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