Are you just getting started in training?
Can you wade through all the crap out there?
Or rather, how do you know what is crap and what isn't? You may need some basic tenets to follow.
These are just my opinion, not set in stone. If you wanna do ladder drills and you think it helps you squat, go for it. Or If you think that running 5 miles makes you strong, break the mold. All you.
Here we go-
1. Have a plan. Stick To The Plan.
Have a program and follow it. Follow it until the program ends even if you have some doubt half way through the thing. Set the precedent within yourself that you will finish what you have started.
2. Stick To The Basics.
Not a whole lot of need for cable crossovers, when you should be squatting, deadlifting, rowing, benching, pressing. The most massive, strongest dudes who ever walked the earth have used the aforementioned exercises. Please don't fall for the gimmicks. Everyone I know who does the latest craze (whatever it is, too many to count), is just scared of squatting. They should say, "Hi! Im scared of squatting and its uncomfortable, is there anything that I can do to just let me go through the motions and just talk about how I workout?"
3. No B.S.
Meaning that you came into the gym to train and train you will do. Talking and talking and talking doesn't do a damn thing. Aren't people tired of all the talk? You be the one who puts his head down and just trains. Nod, smile and grab it and go. Don't be the "lets talk for an hour and then do a set and say that ya gotta get going" person. Put the phone down. Or in fact, leave it in the car. Do a set, text. Do a set, text.
4. Use A Full Range Of Motion.
There is a place for partials but most of the time, all the way up, all the way down. And when it gets heavy? All the way up and all the way down.
5. Eat Right
Nutrition is a huge part of it. Eat like crap and you will look and feel that way. No question that training is the most important aspect of it all, but ya gotta feed the machine, and you gotta recover. Stick as much as you can to real foods, fill in the gaps with supplements.
6. Make Time.
I hear it ALL of the time. It gets so old. Save those words for someone who cares, because I don't at all. Yeah , you used to lift weights, do aerobics to the Jane Fonda step up tape and you played college softball eons ago. Nobody cares. Oh yeah, I need to get back into it. I just can't find the time. I have too many injuries. I brought my workout clothes with me , but I just got too busy. Too busy. Too busy. Oh, I have so many meetings. Oh, I have meetings! I just can't catch a break. No, I don't want to be more efficient, I want to make excuses.
99% of the people that I know just make excuses one after the other. Just say that you really don't want to do it. But stop lying to yourself and to others. You ain't gonna do it because you really don't want to do it, or you are just lazy. I'd respect that more. Like one of my Special Forces friends said when talking about a guy who didn't make it through a tough part of training, " Just say you quit. You quit. Whether you got hurt or had a family emergency or whatever, you quit."
7. Squat More Than Once A Week.
In fact, when you are first starting out, feel free to train everything three times a week. Big exercises especially. There is a huge skill component involved with a lift such as the squat. Just training those lifts once a week isn't gonna cut it. Minimum is 2 days a week. You don't have to crush yourself with the volume-Heavy, Medium, Light should work. Just getting under that bar on a frequent basis will "grease the groove" and make you much more efficient at the lifts.
8. Don't stay in the gym just to stay in the gym
You can get everything that you need to get done in an hour, Count your partner's reps and then it is your turn. Don't feel bad if your workout takes 30-45 minutes. You are just more efficient than the next guy.
9. Don't Just Lift
Even if you are just powerlifting, get some cardiovascular work in also. It doesn't have to be boring. Hit the heavy bag, hit the mitts, run some hills, do some biking. Twenty to thirty minutes will suffice. 3-5 days a week. Have fun with it. Just don't let in interfere with your strength gains. You will feel much better when you do this; everyone that I know who also gets this type of work in a few days a week swears that it helps their recovery and general feeling of well being.
10. Accept The Uncomfortableness
None of the exercises are comfortable if you are really pushing some decent weight. Just know that at the bottom of a squat, sometimes it feels like your head is gonna explode. And that you may see some stars after a heavy set of deadlifts. Normal. Folks who get really strong welcome those feelings because it means progress. Folks who shy away can get sorta strong, like sorta strong where regular citizens think that what you are lifting big weights, but those that welcome seeing the "White Buffalo" dance across their vision know the difference .
11. Have Patience But Don't Have Patience.
Meaning this- As you gain experience, and you are stalling in progress, make changes. If your deadlift has only gone up 20 pounds in 3 years, do something about it. Gain bodyweight, add heavy rows, squat heavier or maybe just man the hell up. In fact, those people that I know who have super human strength are more super human tough than anything else. I swear that they could do any program and make gains. And maybe that's the key; just crazy mental strength. It helps if you have played a contact sport or have gone through tough times or worked on a farm, or have been punched in the face.
12. Have Fun
Training should be fun. Getting stronger is fun. Hitting new numbers is fun. Planning and achieving is fun. Watching everyone talk about pinky position while you are training is fun. Flip the attitude from drudgery to having a damn good time. You chose to do it, right?
13. Pick A Few Mentors
I have been fortunate to have been around some strong, smart guys. I have picked their brains for years. Most of them I met by just calling them on the phone, or showing up when I knew that they were gonna train. And why not? Most lifters will help you if you show enthusiasm and just shut the hell up and listen. And on that note, SHUT UP. Listen and learn. You are there to learn, not to go on and on about yourself. That is a issue that I see all of the time. When that happens, I just nod my head, say "That's great!" And move the hell on.