Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Author of Science of Strength Training
Need to jumpstart your fitness routine? Austin Current, author of Science of Strength Training, is here to offer some of his best tips and tricks for all training levels.
“If you struggle with getting started with this process, remember that starting small and finding something you enjoy is important,” Austin says. “This falls in line with choosing an approach that aligns with your current skill level and goals.”
In the foreword you wrote for the book, you say, “When it comes to strength training, also known as resistance training, knowledge is power.” We know knowledge is always power, of course, but what exactly do you mean by that in this instance?
Strength training is a skill. It is the tool that we use to place resistance on our bodies. The better we are at this skill, the more effective we can become at producing positive outcomes while training and reducing the risk of injury. Unfortunately, the largest barrier for individuals in strength training is the complexity of resistance programs or lack of knowledge in the gym.
This book aims to break down that barrier, teach you the science behind strength training and how to perform exercises properly (at the gym or at home), and offer clear and straightforward programs for beginners and more advanced trainees alike.
What are the top three tips you’d recommend for beginners to get started with strength training exercises?
My top three tips for beginners to get started include:
1. Choose an approach that aligns with your current skill level and goals—One of the hardest parts of any fitness program is the simple act of starting. Choosing an approach that helps you get things started, and keeps you coming back for more, is the most important for long-term success.
2. Exercise technique is a fundamental skill of strength training—Improving the technique of exercises performed improves the overall effectiveness of your time spent in the gym, alongside reducing the risk of injury. Start slow and work to improve with each workout. Practice drives progression.
3. Consistency > perfection—Your time spent in the gym, and in your fitness journey, will be filled with mistakes and setbacks. The most important thing to remember is that the benefits of remaining consistent across your life will outweigh the benefits of being perfect for a couple of weeks.
It can be a challenge to turn exercise into a regular fitness routine. What are your recommendations for turning strength training into a sustainable habit?
A habit is an action, usually performed without overthinking, toward achieving an outcome or goal. Habits often require little to no cognitive effort, something you do often without realizing you do it (like habitually picking up your phone without knowing why). A routine is often used interchangeably with habits, but the difference lies in the conscious effort of performing a routine. For example, you form a morning routine that leads to you creating the habit of going to the gym at least 3 times per week. Over time, routines and habits take very little conscious effort and can help lead to healthy lifestyle choices.
Creating long-lasting routines and habits ensure you set yourself up for success and perform tasks without having to think much about them. For example, you know after you drop your kids off at school, you drive to the gym and get in a workout with your trainer. The more you do this, the more you will strengthen this bond between the cue (dropping kids off to school) and the goal-action or behavior (going to the gym). At first, this process could be difficult. The more you perform this routine, the habit will form of going to the gym without you having to think twice about it. If you struggle with getting started with this process, remember that starting small and finding something you enjoy is important. This falls in line with choosing an approach that aligns with your current skill level and goals.
Are there any must-have pieces of equipment you’d recommend for those interested in strength training exercise? (Aside from your book, of course!)
The book includes a training kit to get you started with strength training, no matter your location. These items give you the opportunity to perform almost every exercise mentioned in the book, leaving you with countless combinations to add to your routines (or the done-for-you training programs found in the book).