Form, focus and fucking intensity! This article is a summary of some of the intricate details of resistance training which you may be missing that can hinder progress. There are many different programs available but without any of the above variables being achieved, progress will be less than optimal.
As a beginner, you should be practicing the main lifts as frequently as possible to enforce good motor recruitment patterns. This is why most beginner programs are performed 3x a week. Practicing form is the most important part of resistance training in the initial stages as you should not increase weights until you can achieve your desired sets and reps with good form. This could encompass a number of things but a quick list would be things like squatting high, knees coming in, chest falling forward, deadlifting with lumbar flexion, lack of tightness in thoracic spine and shoulders, bench pressing with elbows flaring, butt coming off the bench, touching too high/low on your chest. Each individual will have slight tweaks to the main lifts for their own body type for optimal leverages (and this can take many years to fine tune) but initially you should be looking at your form as a safety precaution. No increases in load until your form is safe and if after a load increase it starts to look a bit off then check your ego and drop the weight until you have it sorted.
Focussing on the task at hand is vital. You may have perfected your squat form last week but if you do not focus on the mental cues and the task at hand RIGHT NOW then there is going to be some issues. I know many people will a chat between sets and play with their phones or whatever and that is fine but when the time comes to do work, it is time to FOCUS on the task.
So after the first two points are all sorted and you have found your groove it is time to up the intensity. The last few reps of your set are going to be hard, expect it and embrace it. Be ready for it! If you are doing an 8 rep set at your 8rep max (8rm) then it is expected that the first few reps are going to be relatively easy but don’t get lazy! Make sure you are strict with your form in this period or it will come back to bite you. Now the latter part of the set is upon you and it is time to grit those teeth and recruit as many muscle fibres as possible to help you get those final reps out. The last one is going to be hard, there is no doubt about it. BIG breath of air inhaled through your mouth and hold it as you drop down into your last squat. There is a moment in time where you are controlling the weight as you descend and then BOOM!!!!! You drive your heels through the ground, pushing your knees out, keeping your chest up and driving through with your hips. You let out your big breath of air and rack the bar. Now you deserve the rest break. I believe the technical term is:
3F’s are vital. Practice, practice, practice.