by Ottley Coulter
Most beginners taking up weight training desire to increase their bodyweight and overall size. This, of course, is understandable because the majority usually lack muscular weight although they are not always underweight.
The quickest way to increase one’s muscular weight and size is through proper exercise, exercise that activates all the larger muscle groups, and handling heavier weights than previously attempted. However, the beginner must progress slowly by increasing the resistance gradually as the muscles grow accustomed to handling this heavier poundage and the assimilative system adjusts itself to the increased function that this increased effort requires.
The average novice needs general overall exercise and specialization should be left until the time when an advanced stage is reached. The exception to this rule is that some specialization may be advisable on the midsection of the novice who often carries excessive bulk in this region – so should be eliminated if symmetry is desired.
The beginner will accomplish more by employing heavier weights in exercises such as the “breathing” squat and the bench press. He should also use some good developing exercise for the muscles of the entire back, such as the bentover rowing movement, and another exercise for the deltoids as those muscles are important to a superior looking physique. The alternate or simultaneous dumbell press is very good for this purpose and helps to round out the shoulders while developing the extensor (triceps) muscles of the arms. Curling dumbells or a barbell works the biceps muscles and adds some size to the upper arms. But most important – beginners should include at least one exercise for each major body part. However, all exercises should be done very strictly so as to affect the muscles being exercised.
The advanced training man, on the other hand, is capable of doing more exercises and repetitions that can be to his advantage, although that does not mean that he should follow the prolonged training routines that some champions profess to use. It’s possible he may not have the ability to withstand such heavy, lengthy work as of yet. The potential varies with both the beginner and the advanced barbell man. The advanced man should d some specialization training on those areas that are not progressing as swiftly as the rest before any sign of muscle imbalance arises and causes unnecessary pain. As far as physique development goes, slow developing areas are usually the calves and forearms. On the other hand, the deltoids are perhaps the most impressive muscles an advanced trainee can acquire, especially when they are developed to their full potential. For this, all types of lateral raises are excellent, as well as the high pull-up and all form of pressing movements. Of course, all types of pressing or pushing exercises work the triceps, as well as extension movements. Dips on the parallel bars are excellent for the pectorals, deltoids and triceps.
The exercises, repetitions and sets are an individual requirement, and it must be determined by the person himself which combination or combinations are best to bring about the best results at any given time. The advanced trainee is capable of determining this better than the beginner, but after a time of trial and error he too achieves his proper medium.
Power training is somewhat different and therefore demands somewhat different requirements than training for muscular development. Nevertheless, some of the aforementioned principles are adaptable and can be used by beginners as well as advanced lifters. It only takes time, and with persistence and logic one can make gains in either power or muscular size.