Basic Training - By Don Sellari, CSCS

posted on: Aug. 16, 2013, 10:37 a.m. | tags: Athletics Web Star Recruits Training Goals Hard Work

Never, in the history of the world, has information become so easily obtained. Daily, we are pounded with information, most of it useless, through emails and surfing the net. When it comes to training, the same can be said. On the good side, it is easy to find out about methodologies and principles of training that are important to know. But on the flip side, there are many “self proclaimed” experts posting videos and blogs of methods that are not so good. And as a novice, it can become very difficult to decipher the good from the bad. As a strength coach, it is my responsibility to make sure that my athletes are doing the right thing the right way and it is not easy. Many people especially, teenagers, read a few articles and feel they know everything there is to know  about training. Many times I find myself watching people’s workouts and scratching my head. I’m not trying to sound like I know all but with so much training information out there, people are still making basic mistakes. And some of these mistakes can be dangerous. With that said I felt I can provide some basic pointers.

Simple guidelines when it comes to your workout:

    • Train the big muscles first.
      First of all, when you design workouts, doing body parts is a thing of the past. Workouts should be designed based on movement patterns (push, pull, knee dominant, hip dominant, etc.) I know that at least 75% of the population still trains chest- tris/back- bis…. So minimally an important guideline is train biggest to smallest muscles.  Please do not walk in the gym and start with bicep curls!!!
    • Follow a written plan.
      Set goals by writing them down and keep your workouts in a small workout booklet. It’s not so much the weights I’m worried about (depends on your goals). It is much easier to get through a workout when you have a game plan and follow it through.
    • Make sure your workouts are balanced.
      If you do 2 exercises of pushing, you should also do 2 exercises of pulling. At the end of the week count them up and make sure there aren’t an excess of exercises focused on a movement pattern or muscle group. For example: If your week of training lower body sums up with Squats/ leg press/ leg extensions along with leg curls than you are setting yourself for lower body imbalances. From what I see, most people push much more than they pull and do more knee dominant than hip dominant exercises in their overall workouts.
    • Longer isn’t better.
      I think one of the biggest problems today is overtraining.  Simply put, people are doing way too much and not giving their muscles time to rest.  Keep your workouts at an hour max and make sure to rest every 4th week or so.
    • Warm-up before you workout.
      This seems obvious but I am still amazed at how many people walk in the gym and not only start their workouts but start with weights that they struggle with.  You need to have at a minimum a general warm-up and make sure to do warm-up sets when starting new movement patterns.  (For example, say your Squat calls for 5 sets of 3 with 315.  Warm-up should look like 135 x 6-8/  225 x 4-6/ 275 x1 and then start your work sets.  It is so important to do this and I KNOW that a majority of the younger weight lifters are not doing it).
    • Quality over quantity.
      It’s not how much you do or how many times you do it. It’s the amount of effort exerted and if exercises are done right it will take less weight to get the job done. Young bucks don’t get this point yet but as they get older and they’re shoulders start to ache they will appreciate a lighter load for the same affect.
    • Do what you know.
      Don’t try all the new crazy fads out there to look cool. Chances are you’re probably doing it wrong and not only look like an amateur but are probably hurting yourself in the process.
    • Diet is everything.
      You can train your little heart out, but if you don’t eat to achieve your goals you will not get there.
    • Core work doesn’t mean abs.
      Everyone understands the importance of core training but few do it right. Its not about crunches and sit-ups. It’s about stabilizing the core through planks, chops, and anti-rotational exercises.
This was actually hard to do because I wanted to keep this simple and reiterate some points that are talked about in most fitness magazines. When it comes to training, the biggest thing is to train smart and stay committed. If you are doing the right things, chances are results will follow. Once you start seeing results, it's easier to stay on course.

Train Smart,

Don Sellari

Any questions feel free to email Don at