1 – Lift Heavy or Lift to failure.
When you first take up lifting if you are doing it for sport (weightlifting or powerlifting) or for health/fitness the most important thing to do is to embed the correct movments. Technique is the key to your future as a lifter or bodybuilder/fitness model.
Correct technique = more weight, using the correct muscles and reduced chance of injury.
Incorrect technique = less weight, overusing the wrong muscle and muscle stiffness/increased risk of injury.
Trust me it might seem boring or slow to start with but 5-8 years down the line you will be a much better lifter for it, there is a time and a place for lifting heavy or doing balls out sets your first 2-3 years in the gym is not the place for that.
2 – Do anything other than weightlifting movments and squats/pulls/presses for the first year at least.
If you have access to a coach who can show you how to snatch/clean and jerk go and use them even if you want to be a bodybuilder or strongman having a good weightlifting base pretty much allows you to jump into any exercise you want and get the technique spot on quickly. If you can do a full snatch with good form you can pretty much do any compound lift that isn’t upper body dominant. If you don’t have a weightlifter or coach handy then just crack into a good powerlifting programme something like a 5×5 approach is decent. An example of a good novice session.
Stretching and mobility 20 min
Snatch complexes – 10 min
Clean and jerk complexes – 10 min
Squat – 5 sets of 5
Bench – 5 sets of 5
Pull Up – 5 sets of 5
Nothing will really stiffen you up quite like heavy partials with bad form. This is the main reason squat or deadlift get a bad reputation, inflexible people go to heavy or go too deep into sets on compound lifts and end up using their back to lift the weight and then stiffen up like fuck the next day. Ergo squats are bad… no you are being a retard.
Think of lifting as yoga with weights (except with out the hippies, or the yoga pants), go through the proper range and only build the weight when your doing it well.
4 – Build weight without building volume bonus tip.
If your just doing 5 and ramping the weight up shit is going to get ugly eventually. To stop it getting ugly you can accumulate reps with good technique and then bump up the weight when you have reached a good mile stone here is an example.
5 sets of 3 @ 100 kg
5 sets of 4 @ 100 kg
5 sets of 5 @ 100 kg
5 sets of 3 @ 105 kg
It takes a bit longer to ramp the weight up but you have the rest of your life to get stronger, you could get injured in one session.