Since I have no illusions of being worthy of regularly consulted about working out by newbies, I was somewhat taken back when new guys at the gym that I regularly work out at started asking me tips on how I got strong. I guess after doing this somewhat regularly for 11 years, much of which I swear I was simple stumbling around in the dark, I have something to say on the matter.
They have their guesses. There are the notions of certain exercises that need to be done. That doesn't do it, as far as I'm concerned. Neither do specific methodologies or routines. Consistency has to be the most common guess. That may be close but I think that a better key to getting strong is patience. As far as I’m concerned, patience isn’t just a frame of mind that you need to have in order to succeed. It’s a key ingredient, as necessary as the food you eat and the movements that you do to build up your body and increase your strength.
Nothing good happens to the body in a hurry. It doesn’t matter whether or not you want to get stronger, bigger, or leaner. All goals involving the body take months, and even years, to achieve. In a way, body transformations can be like raising children. When my kid doesn’t do what I tell him to do, I can let it slide because I don’t feel like getting up to make him do what I want him to do. Or, I just nip things in the ass and force him to do what he should be doing. It’s more work now, sure, but it pays off later. Otherwise I end up raising an intolerable cretin that is difficult to control and nobody wants to be around.
- Impatience is the kid who’ll put wrist straps on to do bicep curls with the entire weight stack on the cable machine because he’s in too much of a hurry to get big arms than bring his forearms along for the fun.
- Impatience is that guy who has to bench the biggest dumbbells in the gym and can’t be bothered to actually be able both fully lower and lock out those dumbbells.
- Impatience is those legions of people who kip their way into torn labrums rather than fully master a pull-up.
- Impatience are the people who focus more on strength endurance because it’s faster to develop and try to ignore max strength work because, you know, that’s REALLY hard.
So, if you're new to this whole subculture and are looking for what you're missing as you mindlessly switch from one routine to the next while looking for every shortcut imaginable because you can't stand the thought of sucking in the gym, do yourself a favor and accept the fact that this takes time. If you don't get this, you don't get strength training.