Avoid the Distractions
The bottom line about this whole training deal is there is not enough time. Those of us who are trying to accomplish things are always busy. That is why when it comes to training the work we do in the gym must have a purpose. Anything that doesn't sufficiently stress the system is just a waste of time.
Too many people are wasting a lot of time doing distractionary exercises. It is really sad. No one knows how to do the big lifts. They are all too scared or too pig-headed to try to learn about them. So instead they just do what they see all the people at the gym doing.
The problem is the average gym bums are on the lifetime linear regression program of bench press, shrug, preacher curl, concentration curl, and alternating standing dumbell curls. Most gym goers are hardcore, so they don't skip leg day. But the problem is on leg day the only thing they do is get on the leg press machine.
But seriously a lot of people are distracted by waste of time isolation exercises. There are novices everywhere that should be learning how to squat, press, and deadlift and how to add weight every workout. For some reason no one seems to understand this stuff.
I guess I understand it. Isolation exercises with puny weights are much easier than heavy sets of five on the squat. It is much more comfortable to lie down on the leg curl machine than it is to pick up 500 pounds with your lumbar locked into rigid extension. It is difficult to learn something new. It is much easier to just do what everyone else is doing.
My advice for novices is to focus completely on doing full-body compound movement. Learn how to do them correctly and progressively overload them for as long as you can. It will get hard. That is fine. Doing things that are tough is much more rewarding than doing things that are easy. It is easy to just kick back and relax while sitting on some bench pretending to be doing something, but it will not get you very far. If you want results than you are actually going to have to put in some serious work. There is just no way around it.
Curls, shrugs, wrist extensions, calf raises, and just about every other isolation type movement is a waste of time for a beginner. There are more important things to do with your time.
Don't get side track into thinking that there is going to be some magical assistance exercise that is going to make all your PR dreams come true. It won't happen. I am sorry, but you have to suck it up and squat heavy.
Doing a bunch of light weight reps for volume is not going to get a beginner any stronger. I am sorry, but if you want to get stronger you have to lift heavy weight. Is it easier mentally to tell yourself that doing a bunch of light weight volume will one day make you super strong? Sure, we can convince ourselves of anything, but the reality is light weight, volume work is just another terrible distraction a lot of trainees run into. Watch out for it because you can waste a lot of time training light only to make yourself tired and more weak.
Getting strong should be the most important objective when you step into a gym. The gym you are in should be filled with racks, barbells, plates, platforms, and benches. They are the only tools necessary as long as you know how to use them.
Getting strong requires lifting heavy weights for sets of 5. The only way to lift truly heavy weights is to use full-body, compound movements like squats, presses, and deadlifts. They will get every single muscle in the body stronger. Anyone who tells you differently is a fool.
You don't need to isolate different muscle groups to get strong.
Your routine should be to squat, bench press, deadlift, press, power clean, and add in some chin ups. Add weight every workout. Keep pounding away. Put in time. Avoid the distractions.