Here are some pointers that will get you started on your road to a huge, ripped physique.
1. Weight training, cardiovascular training, and a good sound diet, all act synergistically to produce the best possible results. Ignore any one of them, and your results will be sub-optimal. Read and learn from the many articles that Bodybuilding.com provides, and you will progress much faster.
2. Know what you want. If you have no idea what you want, how can you possibly get it? Remind yourself constantly of what you are trying to achieve. If you are not absolutely clear about this, life will get in the way of your aspirations.
3. In regard to weight training keep these pointers in mind:
a. Research indicates that 60-90 second rest intervals between sets is optimal for muscular hypertrophy. This is not to say that under 60 or over 90 second rest intervals will not produce results. Under 60 will simply help you to increase endurance, and over 90 will help increase strength. 60-90 will optimize hypertrophy, strength, and endurance. Initially, start will this rest interval.
b. General bodybuilding belief is that 3 sets of each exercise is optimal. Research has debated this as have many experts in the field. There are proponents of more sets and there are proponents of less sets. We will start with 3 and adjust from there. Just realize that this is not a magic number that is the absolute best always.
c. The number of exercises required to stimulate a muscle to grow is also an area of much debate. Realize that any stimulus that your body is not accustomed to will result in your body being required to adapt to that stimulus (i.e. muscular hypertrophy, increased endurance, increased strength). This is provided that you also have a proper diet and adequate rest in order to repair the damage incurred during your weight training session. Initially, the stimulus can be quite small with impressive results, and then can be built upon. With this in mind, we will start with one exercise for each major muscle group and build from there.
d. The issue of frequency of workouts is another widely discussed area in bodybuilding. Some argue for up to 2 times per day, 6 days per week, while at the other end of the spectrum, others argue as little as one workout per 10 days. With such a wide disparity in these numbers it is easy to get confused. I encourage you to follow the rules set forth here, and stick with them diligently for optimal results. If "all" of these so called experts were really correct, then you would think there would be much less disparity. With this in mind, I suggest you start with an every other day workout system focusing on the best possible exercises. Your workouts should be Monday (on), Tuesday (off), Wednesday (on), Thursday (off), Friday (on), Saturday and Sunday (off), then repeat. This schedule may be adjusted to fit your individual needs, but please do not work out on consecutive days (at least with weights). In future months this may be adjusted.
e. The number of repetitions per set is also an area that must be addressed. Generally speaking, the lower the repetitions performed per set, the greater the strength increases. The higher the repetitions, the greater the endurance. In the middle somewhere is an optimal combination of both endurance and strength, and this also happens to be the best area for muscular hypertrophy. This repetition range will vary, but common belief is that 8-12 repetitions is optimal. We will start here. If you are able to get 13+ reps with a weight, it is too light. If you are able to get less than 8 reps with a weight it is too heavy. Make adjustments accordingly. I suggest you do your first set at 12 reps, 2nd at 10 reps, and 3rd at 8 reps for now. Each set you should attempt to push yourself at or near temporary muscular failure, although this is somewhat less important (and more dangerous) for beginners.
f. You should aim for proper execution of each of the lifts before attempting to increase your weight. Poor form will only lead you to injury, and furthermore, poor form with increased poundage will only increase your chance for injury. Once you get the form down pat, try to increase you weight (within the 8-12 rep. range) at least once a week.
4. It is impossible to address every individual concern regarding weight training in one concise article, but over the course of the year, we will build upon the basics presented here throughout the coming year. Individual questions regarding this program can be sent to me at OPT4FIT@opt4fit.com. I also suggest hiring a qualified personal trainer to take you through the program(s), and exercises to be sure you are performing them safely and properly.
5. The exercises listed in this month's article are some very basic exercise that will be built upon in coming months. I encourage each of you to get very good at them, before adding any additional exercises. Next month, I will have a totally different set of exercises based off of the same workout structure, so that you can further expand upon your base of exercises. At that point we will get in to more advanced programs.
Month #1 Workout Program
Here is a printable spreadsheet of this program that you can print and use as your workout log! You must have Microsoft Works or Excel or a compatible program to use the top two links. Use the HTML link if you do not have these programs.
|Bodypart||Exercise||Set 1||Set 2||Set 3|
|Compound Legs||Leg Press||12||10||8|
|Hamstrings||Lying Leg Curls||12||10||8|
|Calves||Standing Calf Raises||12||10||8|
|Chest||Barbell Bench Press||12||10||8|
|Shoulders||Dumbbell Overhead Press||12||10||8|
|Triceps||Rope Tricep Pushdowns||12||10||8|