4 Things Every Beginner Needs for Success

June 07, 2017

4 Things Every Beginner Needs for Success


If you are new to strength training, don’t start until you read this! The beginner phase is an interesting phase of training. Done correctly, you can make the fastest and easiest gains of your training life. Now, some people might say, “For a beginner, anything works.” So why would you bother starting your training with a beginner training program? Why would you not just start with one of the regular Curastream programs? While there is a lot of truth to this, the reality is that for an intermediate or advanced trainee, not everything works. Therefore, the secret to effective beginner training is to as Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind. The fast, easy newbie gains will not last forever. That is why the very best thing you can do as a beginner is to spend this time laying the foundation you need to succeed once you are not a beginner anymore.

If you want to set yourself up for success, here are the 4 things you need for success.

1. Skill

The best movements for improving your health, transforming your appearance and building a strong, resilient body are squatting, hinging, pushing and pulling. These exercises offer amazing benefits, but also come with a higher risk for injury – if they are done incorrectly. Your first priority as a beginner is to learn to do these movements correctly. This requires a high frequency of practice and avoiding fatigue. You will learn to squat much faster squatting 3x per week than you will squatting 1 once week (as is often the case with more advanced programs). Also, as hard-core as it seems to kill yourself each workout, that is something to save for now. As fatigue sets in, your movement quality goes down and you end up practice sloppy reps. Don’t worry about getting smoked until you got your form down.

2. Strength with stability

Many people make the mistake of starting with machines. While machine based training can help you burn fat and build muscle, it does nothing for your performance or injury prevention. To make matters worse, it also makes you MORE prone to injury as you move to more advanced training. Why? Because with machines you build strength without stability. This makes you more susceptible to getting hurt when you move to more advanced programs.

The secret to success is to start with light weight on free weight and body weight exercises. Once you have the proper technique you can gradually add weight. Also, the same high frequency that improves your skill, will also help you build strength – fast! Beginners can easily add weight each time they train. If you are squatting 3x per week, you can add 5lbs each workout and this will result in an increase of 15lbs per week. Now, of course this will not last forever. Otherwise, 900-pound squats would be the norm. However, during this beginner phase, you can milk this and make some fast increases in strength.

While you may not care about strength, it is vital to get you to the goals do care about. You do not burn very many calories lifting light weights. It is hard to force your muscles grow bigger with light weights. Speed and power are built on a foundation of strength. Regardless of your goals, you need a foundation of strength.

3. Work capacity

Unless you have a manual labor job, chances are your work capacity (the amount of work you can handle) is not very high. Today’s sedentary culture packed with labor-saving devices leaves you with a low work capacity. The problem with this is that with a low work capacity, you can’t train long enough and hard enough to reach your goals. Whole body training and loaded carries will make you stronger and greatly improve your work capacity.

4. Confidence

You are stronger than you think you are. Once you have some skill, strength and work capacity, you want to have an opportunity to push yourself and see where your limits are. You will be pleasantly surprised. You will find out what you are capable of and how hard you need to push yourself as an intermediate trainee. Enjoy the journey!

Here at Curastream, we have created a special 3-phase beginner program to help you do all of this.

Curastream 1 will help you learn proper technique and start building work capacity. Curastream 2 will build strength, stability and work capacity. Curastream 3 will continue to let you build strength while giving you a chance to test just how strong you are. Check them out!


Andrew Heming, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, FMS, Pn1

Andrew specializes in helping athletes and people who want to look and feel like an athlete prevent injury and improve performance. In addition to co-founding Curastream, Andrew currently works at Trinity Western University as an Assistant Professor in the School of Human Kinetics. He served the university’s Spartan Athletics program as their Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for 14 years and has been working as a trainer since 1998. He holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science with a focus on performance enhancement and injury prevention as well as certifications in strength & conditioning, personal training, functional movement screening and nutrition.

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