Get strong first before building size
If you’re just starting training, you want to focus on compound, multi-joint foundation movements like the squat, bench press, deadlifts, and barbell rows. Skip the bicep curls at the beginning, and focus on our overall strength. “Once you have gained 15 pounds or more of muscle mass, you are ready to begin adding a great variety of exercises to your routine.”
Don’t forget where you started
Arnold is a big proponent of tracking your progress and never forgetting your starting point. So if you’re just starting a training program, be sure to take pictures of your body to see your improvements and gains.
Free weights are great, but the machines are great too
Free weights have always been king in bodybuilding, but the machines nowadays are so advanced and effective that you should be implementing them in your routine. After all, a lot of them are built through extensive time watching lifts and mimicking them into a machine that is more effective.
Use a mixture of free weights and machines to get the best results.
Don’t try to max out
Lifting weights is a very macho thing–it’s natural to try to show you can do the heaviest and biggest weights. But according to Arnold, that’s not the best way to build muscle and size. Do 8-12 reps instead because you’ll be using more muscle fibers. “No matter how many fibers the weightlifter involves in one maximal lift, he still uses fewer than he would if he used less weight and did more repetitions.”
Chase the “Pump”
The “pump” is blood rushing to the muscle your working out, which is where you’ll find your gains. If you focus on compressing your muscle every rep and really work hard to strain the muscle and practice good technique, you’ll be able to get the “pump.”
Rest is key
At least one day a week should be dedicated to a rest day. Don’t touch any weight, and try not to do much rigorous physical activity at all.
You’ll find yourself more rested when you get back to the gym the next day and you’ll be more energized to accomplish your goals week in and week out.