Your First Workout, Part 1

By EricComments Off on Your First Workout, Part 1

You’re determined that this will be the year that you actually keep your New Year’s resolution. You are going to join a gym, and you are going to get in shape! Perfect! Only now you need to have a plan. What are you going to do once you get to the gym? Copy someone else? Hope for the best? Not this time! This time you are going in armed with an arsenal of knowledge. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite workouts for beginning trainees.

I. Full-Body Workouts

Almost everyone who has ever worked out started with this type of routine. With this program, the entire body is worked during each weight training session. Training sessions can be performed 2 to 3 times per week. For those who are very thin and have trouble adding muscular size, a 2-day program is best to begin with. A sample schedule follows:

Remember, these are just examples. The key is to have a fairly even split of the training sessions. There will be one 2-day break and one 3-day break each week. Do not work out with one or no off days in between full body workouts. For example, training Monday and Wednesday…in this instance you will have worked out twice in 3 days and then had a 4-day break between workouts. This is not optimal.

If you are not a “hardgainer” as in the first example, or if you have used the 2-day program for several weeks and are ready for more intense work, a 3-day program could be beneficial. A sample schedule would be:

On this schedule, you would have less rest than on the 2-day/week routine. Here you get two 1-day rest periods and one 2-day rest period. Because you have fewer rest days between workouts on this plan, pay careful attention to recovery ability. If you find your muscles are still quite sore from the previous workout on your next training day, you may need more rest days.

Now that you’ve chosen what days you’ll train, you need to know what to do during those workouts. One important issue with full-body training is time. You really should be finished with any workout in 45 minutes to an hour. This can be tough to accomplish when you have your entire body to train. In this instance, you should choose one exercise for each body part. For example:

1 exercise each for: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, thighs, calves, abs

I am a firm believer in low volume, high intensity training. What this means is you perform shorter workouts, but make every rep of every set count. With this in mind, I feel you should perform no more than 15-20 work sets for each training session (warm-up sets do not count). Since beginners should be starting with exceedingly light weights anyway, warm-up sets may not be necessary; however, a good general warm-up of 5-10 minutes on a treadmill or exercise bike is recommended.

I would also recommend doing different exercises on each training day. For example, if you use the bench press as your chest exercise on your first workout day, you might use incline dumbbell presses instead of bench presses on your second workout day of the week. You would continue this same variety of exercises for each body part. By doing this you will hit the muscles from a variety of angles. This will help to stimulate more growth and help to prevent the repetitive stress of using the exact same exercises 2 or 3 days each week. Examples follow:

On exercises for each of the larger muscle groups of chest, back, and thighs, I would recommend 3 work sets be performed.

On the smaller muscle groups of the shoulders, biceps, triceps, calves and abs, I would recommend only 2 work sets be done. This would total 19 work sets for the entire workout. Hardgainers may actually need to do fewer sets in order to not overtax their recuperative ability. Others may be able to get away with doing more sets, but I would recommend against it in most cases.

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