Strength Training – Where to start? - Complementary Training
Strength Training – Where to start?

Strength Training – Where to start?

As one gains more knowledge (or wisdom), one also forgets how it is to be a beginner. The concept of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) can also be very useful in this particular situation as well. In short, rather than trying to cover all the nitty-gritty scientific and pragmatic details, provide minimum viable advice to beginners. Even if they are not the most scientific, even if you do not portray all the complexities and ‘it depends’ factors, even if you know you are doing a white lies, provide something they can start with, or get the ball rolling.

With over 500 articles on Complementary Training, it can be quite hard for someone new to figure out ‘where to start’. For this reason, I am in the process of writing a book and trying to outline everything training related in an MVP fashion. But in the meantime, I will try to write a few ‘where to start’ articles for someone starting up.

When it comes to strength training, I have a few books I can recommend. These are by no means ‘beginner’ books. Au contraire – they are great source of practical knowledge. This brings me to the famous Bruce Lee quote:

”Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick”.

This quote outlines three stages of gaining knowledge:

  • Stage 1: Sense data, ignorance and confusion
  • Stage 2: Analysis, categorization, connection, formalization
  • Stage 3: Quintessence, understanding, internalization

Stage one in strength training goes something like this “Dude, I just go and lift in the gym”.

Stage two is more analytical, when you realize there is much more to it. You start figuring out the exercise variations, EMG studies, force plates, periodization models, progression and so forth.

Stage three is pretty much getting back to “Dude, I just go and lift in the gym”. Unfortunately, I do not think you can jump from Stage one to Stage three – you need to pay your dues.

But anyway, I believe that the following book recommendations will bridge the gap between stage one and three. Just keep in mind that you still need to read Zatsiorsky, Verkhoshansky, Siff and Issurin.

My Stuff

The article series Planning Strength Training, especially the last part of that series Planning Strength Training: The Addendum, provide comprehensive overview of the above books (more or less). The recent chapters from my upcoming book also cover strength training planning (Physical Preparation for Team Sports: Establishing 1RMs, Physical Preparation for Team Sports: Establishing 1RMs (Addendum), Strength Training Categorization – Part 1, Strength Training Categorization – Part 2: Categorization of Exercises) as well as the recent videos (Framework for Analyzing & Planning the Strength Training, Framework for Analyzing & Planning the Strength Training: Progression vs Adaptation). I will soon be publishing the rest of the chapter regarding strength training of the upcoming book.

Also make sure to check Strength Card Builder which allows you to easily write programs for individual athlete or team of athletes and quickly create printout cards.


I am a physical preparation coach from Belgrade, Serbia, grew up in Pula, Croatia (which I consider my home town). I was involved in physical preparation of professional, amateur and recreational athletes of various ages in sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, martial arts and tennis. Read More »

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