If you aren’t strength training already, I highly encourage it. The benefits are many: increased physical attractiveness and general physical health, potential rehabilitation of old injuries or addressing impairments, increased performance (possibly as it relates to “sports”), and finally, it’s just a damn good time and feels great.
I don’t care if you’re a bodybuilder, a weightlifter, a strongman, a crossfitter, or a couch potato; you need strength training in your life.*
I’m not going to get into a really involved post about which program you should follow, how many sets or reps you should do, or how often you should do cardio. You can make progress following just about any program, and any program worth the time it takes to read will tell you all of those details. I have made good progress with 5/3/1, and Mr. Riven is excelling under Starting Strength. I’d recommend either, but obviously Starting Strength is the way to go if you’re new to the barbell.
There are four main barbell lifts: the overhead press, the bench press, the back squat, and the deadlift.
The most approachable of these (to me) is the overhead press. It’s a pretty simple movement. You hold the bar in a modified front rack position…and simply press it over head. When I say modified, I mean that the starting bar position for the overhead press is not the same bar position that you would use for, say, a front squat or a jerk. So there are some technical points you’ll want to review before you try this for the first time. Proper form is absolutely essential–if you lift improperly, there’s a good chance you could damage yourself. And you’ll never get through the Swolly Bible if you’re constantly injured. That said, I’ve included some links below to help you out.
I invite you to watch this video, if only because it’s taught by an honest-to-goodness, real-life Ron Swanson. Protip: it’s called The Art of Manliness, and they have a video for each of the big four if you’re the kind to study ahead of the class.
I also like this one, but I don’t use a thumbless grip, personally.
If you’re more inclined to read like some kind of weak-wristed intellectual, as opposed to the clearly superior videos that speak to meat-heads a la Zardoz, here’s an excerpt from Starting Strength. There are pictures, too, so it might be worth browsing over even if you don’t read it.
Next time: the deadlift.
*Disclaimer: always consult a physician before starting a new fitness routine.