In The Gym>
Step One: Laying The Foundation
Tips For Beginners
15 Jul 2006


One of the most common mistakes beginning trainees make is to try to follow the routines of top bodybuilders as published in some of the more popular ‘muscle mags’. Unfortunately, the average untutored beginner usually fails to realize is that (a) only an experienced and/or genetically blessed individual – or one who is ‘chemically enhanced’ - could recuperate from such a program, and (b) the published routines are sometimes either exaggerated, especially in terms of poundages handled, or a figment of some ghostwriters imagination, and as a result more often than not ends up over trained, burned out, and totally frustrated. What the average beginning trainee should be following is the type of routine the bodybuilder or athlete used in the foundation period, the time when he was building, not refining.

If you are new to the wonderful world of resistance training, here are some tips to help you lay the foundation for muscular size, strength and explosive power.

* Start at a low level of effort and gradually increase.

*Use compound movements with free weights as the basis of your workouts.

*Add resistance whenever possible. All things being equal, increased muscle strength translates to increased muscle size and functionality.

*Stress good exercise form. As noted above, always strive to increase the resistance but never at the expense of proper exercise performance. Concentrate on every rep of every set and keep the tension on the target muscle or muscle group.

*Be consistent. Taking a killer workout one day and missing the next two sessions just puts you back two steps.

*Be intense. Bring your “A” game to the gym every time and your results will multiply accordingly.

*Learn the value of nutrition, mental attitude, and recuperation.




NOTE: The information presented herein is meant to serve as a general guideline and is not meant to be construed as a recommendation for any one individual personally.

This routine for beginning trainees emphasizes machines, if available, though generally we recommend basic free weight exercises as being of primary importance and value for building maximum size, strength and explosive power. Machines, however, allow the beginner to concentrate on feeling muscle action as well as acclimating the muscles, joints and connective tissue to progressive resistance exercise.

This routine should be performed three times per week, with at least one day’s rest between sessions (example: train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). Start with one set the first week, add a second set the second week, and a third set the third week. On exercises where there is a descending repetition pattern (12, 10, 8), use a light weight – approximately 70% of your maximum – for the first set, add approximately 15-20% for the second set, and use your maximum poundage for the required reps for the final set. Follow the routine below for four to six weeks.

BODYPART               EXERCISE                                   SETS    REPS
Abdominals               Crunch                                             2        15
Calves                       Calf Machine                                     3        12,10,8
Thighs                      Leg Press                                         3        12,10,8
Hamstrings               Leg Curl                                           3        12,10,8
Chest Machine          Bench Press                                     3        12,10,8
Upper Back               Front Pulldown                                  3        12,10,8
Shoulders                 Machine Press                                  3        12,10,8
Biceps                      Machine Curl                                      3        12,10,8
Triceps                    Pressdown                                         3        12,10,8

That’s it: One exercise for each major bodypart, two to three sets each, performed three times a week. Follow this basic schedule for four to six weeks, then we’ll progress to Level #2.

Arley Vest 

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