You are starting up with training or you had a long layoff or hell, you just need a kick in the ass, some reminders to facilitate your WILL.
First off cut through the BS and decide on a program and stick to a program for at least 6 weeks. No changing. After 6 weeks you can change, but not until then.
As far as programs go, to sum up lifting weights and making gains from lifting weights, everything works if you apply yourself. However , as Dr.Squat, Fred Hatfield (Pioneer strength coach extraordinaire), said long ago, there are good, better and best when it comes to most things, and programs are no exception.
So will you get stronger or bigger just doing one set to failure and a few forced reps at the end of your set? Yes. How about 10 sets of 10? Works. But to get really super heroic strong, you have to do some repeated efforts at lower reps and you need to do most of your work in the 80-90% of your one rep max in your workouts. There is a huge skill component involved with getting strong, and the more times you set up for a lift(squats for example), and the more times that you perform the lift and put back the bar, the better you will get at performing them.
So with all of that being said, to get strong, your program should probably be heavy and low reps with some decent volume and for hypertrophy training, you should probably bump the reps up some (6-15) and focus on the negative portion also.
After all these years of training and coaching, one attribute stands above all when it comes to training and making gains regardless of your program or goals. That attribute?
And attitude plays into the success of whatever program that you choose to do. Your attitude should be positive and your goals should be clear and along those lines filed under attitude is to
Take Training Seriously
Of course, I never understand when people don't take stuff seriously especially when they go on and on that something is oh so important to them. If training is important, make your training time free of distractions and useless bullcrap.
If you are talking with your friends about how your date was last night or how drunk you got or the fight that you got in in eighth grade, you will not make the gains that are really waiting for you. If you are texting or taking selfies, you aint gonna cut it. Just shut up. Count the reps for your partner,but other than a few other essential words, you should just be working, not talking and talking. Really, just be a man and shut the hell up once in awhile and train. No great man ever got great at anything by nonsensically running their mouths. And if you profess that training is important, then make it that important by actually concentrating on the task at hand.
Get to work and focus on what you are doing. Talking is the most overrated freaking thing ever. I have always admired folks who have the ability to shut up and take a step back and look over a situation before opening their mouths and making a judgment. How can you be serious if you are talking about something than can wait to talk about later, or some bullshit that are just words, wasted words that don't mean a damn thing?
Everyone wants to talk, talk , talk, and you only have, in my estimation, so many words in life to spew out and why waste them on stories or talk that are just words that take up space in the air, floating out there and landing somewhere where words and thoughts that don't mean a damn thing go.
Get inside yourself when you lift weights, go to another place where that thing that you are doing right now, at this very moment, is all that matters.
And this, to me, is the essence of training, a great attitude that leads into the the ability to get into yourself when you train, avoiding distractions like the plague and concentrating on the movement, the muscles, the execution. Weights are to me a time of total self absorption but not in a selfish way, but in a way that gets you in touch with yourself in a way that nothing else can compare.
Simply don't try at all. ... don't try unless you can do it with all of your heart and soul, all of it .
I reckon you can apply that to almost everything in life.
So what do you do? How do you get into that zone of focus?
You must prepare ahead of time(if this is important to you, go to extraordinary lengths) for your training. Now, I'm not talking about using the instinctive way of training, that's some off season stuff when you want to change things up.
So anyway, lets say that you are training legs the next day. Write down the exercises that you are going to use. Write down the sets and reps that you want to achieve, write down exercises and even the rest periods. Get all of that in your head also. Sear it in there. See yourself pushing through the last reps of an exercise. Feel the muscle working as you are visualizing it all. I have used two ways, one where I see myself like a movie, going through the training, or, I write it all down and then watch a video of someone who trains intensely and picture myself as that person. I used to have to order videos in the mail or look at pictures in the magazines to use for this exercise. Now with YouTube, it is all right at your fingertips. Going to train arms? Put in Dorian Yates arm training or Arnold arm training. I used to, and still do, mimic the mannerisms and the form of top guys, going as far as using the style that they use, feeling myself inside the body of the person that I was watching. Weird? Not to me. One thing that I have learned is to use ANYTHING that you need to use in order to get fired up. Magazines, videos, in person observation, etc. use them all. I was fortunate to be around Kirk Karwoski during some of his squat sessions, and man! Those fired me up like crazy, and that would give me impetus to have weeks worth of great work outs. And then when that was gone? And then I'd watch the Bulgarian training hall tapes, or Ed Coan's video, etc.
Keep going, keep getting inspired, gotta get to work, never miss a session, use what you can to just do it.
And pretty soon it has been a week and then a month and then a year and then a bunch of years and you have ups and downs but you keep training through it all, and keep finding inspiration in even the smallest freaking things that really matter to you but may not mean a hill of beans to anyone else, but that does not matter because you are what matters, and training and striving are what sets up the rest of your life, it is what enables you to do the other stuff in life that are important but that wouldn't get done half as well if you didn't have that solace of training , that time to yourself that sets up everything else for success.