The Importance of Baby Steps

The Importance of Baby Steps

-Matthew Cavalier


With the new year in full swing, the gyms are no doubt full of new faces. Some people are trying to shed off the holiday weight, some people have their big new year’s resolutions and some decided they’re going to make a lifestyle change and begin weight training regularly. If you’re one of those people, or you know someone who is a beginner to weight training, it’s important to know that it’s necessary to take baby steps. I know you’re super excited to start training, and you can’t wait to start moving some serious weight, but if you want to have long term success you need to start things the right way. That guy you see in the squat rack squatting 405 for reps didn’t get that ability overnight. He had to earn it, and at some point was a green lifter, too.

Laying the Foundation for Body Movement


It’s important to know that before you can get under a barbell, there is a prerequisite. You have to be able to move well with just your body. If you can’t do a full range of motion bodyweight squat, then you probably shouldn’t be loading up a barbell. If you don’t have a basic level of command of your body, then you could be at an increased risk of injury under a barbell. You want your body to be able to move well under stress. You don’t want to add stress to a body that can’t move well on its own.  Different coaches and trainers have their own benchmarks on exactly what you need to do, but the gist of it all is that you need to at least be able to have a command of your own body. You should be able to do basic bodyweight calisthenics like push ups, bodyweight squats, jumping jacks and just really have an ability to move around. You might be surprised to see how many people can’t do those things. Society has become much more sedentary over the last few generations, and a lot of people just aren’t very good with basic exercises. Does that mean you have to do sixty push ups in a minute? No, it does not. You just need to at least be able to do something. It might feel a little silly at first, but take some time to train yourself with basic calisthenics. There are a lot of people who only do calisthenics for training and they are able to achieve a good level of fitness and muscle development. Take some time to practice the movements, and you will see that you are more conditioned to work and will be able to move better.


Gradual Progression

Once you’re moving better and can start training with a barbell, it’s important to take your progression slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was someone’s three plate bench press. Like anything else, barbell training is a skill that requires practice. Take the time to learn how to do the lifts properly. It would be best to seek coaching if possible. If finding a coach isn’t an option for you, then take your time. There are also a ton of resources available online from highly reputable athletes and coaches to learn from. You can record your sets with your phone and compare it to what you can find online. When it comes to adding weight to the bar, it’s not necessary to make big weight jumps. You want to be able to progress and have success for as long as possible. This part of training can be boring and tedious, but it works. The longer you can stretch out your progression, the stronger you’ll get in the end. Being that you’re just starting out, you don’t have to worry about a deadline because of a competition or a meet. Take as much as a couple of years and really build a foundation of strength and muscle. Strength training is a long term game for most people. Unless you’re a gifted athlete, you’re not going to be swinging with heavy weights for a while. Take the time to develop your skills and just focus on getting stronger. Don’t worry about specializing either. If your goal is to compete as a powerlifter one day, that’s great. You can certainly train the powerlifts, but don’t dial in on powerlifting too soon. Have a variety of exercises and push those reps. Since you’re a beginner, you will be able to recover quickly. Train often and train with volume. All that work will compound over time and lay down the foundation. From there, if you want to dial your training into something specific, you’ll be in a better position.


Educate Yourself

There are a lot of people out there who want to sell you their programs and coaching services as if they’re groundbreaking discoveries. Strength training has been around for a long time, and I don’t think anyone is going to be reinventing the wheel in that field. They got their knowledge from literature, coaches and experience. Much of which you also have access to. There is a ton of information about training, exercise selection, programming, nutrition and technique on the internet. Take the time to learn as much as you can. Figure out what fits your goals and needs and try different things. The best teacher is trial and error. Take the time to listen to podcasts, watch videos and read books. There are a lot of reputable coaches and athletes who will share their knowledge, experience and philosophies at no cost to you. Take advantage of our ridiculous access to information.


Remember, the best competitors and athletes in the world have one thing that sets them apart from the rest of their peers. It’s their mastery of the fundamentals. When it comes time to perform and win, their undying commitment to practicing and mastering the fundamentals of what they do is what leads to championships. Sure, you’re not exactly Kobe Bryant, but if you take things slowly and don’t try to take any shortcuts, you will better be able to set yourself up for success.

Also, don’t forget that the Atlas Strength Shop is hosting Louisiana’s Strongest Man/Woman on April 1, 2023. Visit and register while spots remain!

If you are within driving distance of Baton Rouge and need a place to train for your next strongman competition, powerlifting meet or weightlifting meet, check out the Atlas Strength shop for all of your training needs. Send an email to for your next visit. You can also check out our apparel line and programming options on our website. Be sure to like our Facebook page, here, and follow us on Instagram, here. Do you need a high quality energy supplement that won’t leave you with that crashing feeling? Check out veteran owned and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order. If you’re like me, and you like to bite down while lifting, you need to protect your teeth. Check out Impact Mouthguards and their custom molded mouth guards. Use promo code ATLASSTRENGTHSHOP at checkout to get 10% off of your order.  But wait? What if you have a glorious Beard?  Check out and use Promo Code “ATLASSTRENGTH” to save 15% on all o your beard care!!


"Hard work outweighs talent — every time.” - Kobe Bryant