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Training for Beginners

 

First and foremost, before beginning any new exercise program be sure to consult your physician to be certain there are no unknown factors that may prevent you from exercising or limit your success.
Anyone who is returning from a long layoff or has never weight trained is considered a beginner. With beginners, the general trend is to push too hard and workout too often. Enthusiasm is a necessary ingredient in a successful workout program but it's important to avoid over-training your unconditioned body. 3-4, 45-60 minute weight training sessions per week are optimal for the average individual.

Don't be tempted to mimic other lifters that you see working out one body part per day. As a beginner, your muscles will respond much better to moderate amounts of stress. One advantage a beginner bodybuilder has is the rate at which their body will respond to weight training. You will see as much results in strength and muscle quality in a couple of months, as most experienced lifters see in years!

A beginner's workout split should look something like this:

Day 1 Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
Day 2 Rest or Cardio (25-45 min)
Day 3 Legs, Lower Back and Abs
Day 4 Rest or Cardio (25-45 min)
Day 5 Back, Traps and Biceps
Day 6 Rest or Cardio (25-45 min)
Day 7 Rest

Note the optional cardio days in between workouts. Cardio, short for cardiovascular activity can consist of any kind of sustained physical activity. Treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, rowing machines and stationary bikes are good cardio choices and are available at most gyms. Sports and outdoor activities can also be incorporated as cardio. Cardio is used to stimulate greater health and promote fat loss. Individuals who feel they are already in good cardiovascular shape and do not desire to lose any fat can forgo cardio training.

Sample Workout

Workout 1:Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps  
Pushups 3 sets of 10 reps
Incline Bench Press (barbell or dumbbell) or comparable machine 3 sets of 10 reps
Dumbell Flyes or comparable machine 3 sets of 10 reps
Military Press (barbell or dumbbell) or comparable machine 3 sets of 10 reps
Tricep Pushdowns 3 sets of 10 reps
   
Workout 2: Legs, and Abs  
Leg Press Machine 3 sets of 10 reps
Leg Extensions 3 sets of 10 reps
   
Workout 3: Back, Traps and Biceps 3 sets of 10 reps
Lat Pulldown 3 sets of 10 reps
Chip-ups (weight assisted if needed) 3 sets of 10 reps
Seated Cable Row 3 sets of 10 reps
Hyperextensions or comparable machine 3 sets of 10 reps
Bicep Curl (barbell or cambered bar) 3 sets of 10 reps

Your workout should begin with a 5-10 minute cardio warm-up followed by light stretching. Lightly stretch in between sets. Stretching prevents injury and results in better workouts due to quicker recovery and increased strength. You should be going for a moderate stretch with no bouncing! At the beginning of each exercise perform a warm-up set of 15 reps with a light weight. Rest periods between sets should be 45-90 seconds long. Good form is absolutely necessary to get results. Check your ego at the door and use a moderate weight that allows you to feel your muscles working. This mind-muscle connection is the key to results. For your first two weeks limit the sets performed to two sets, and take it easy on the weight or you'll be sore for a VERY long time! Listen to your body. If you need more rest in between sets or in between training days go ahead rest.

Recap

- For your first two weeks limit the sets performed to two sets, with moderate weight.
- 3-4, 45-60 minute weight training sessions per week is optimal.
- Your workout should begin with a 5-10 minute cardio warm-up followed by light stretching. 3-4, 45-60 minute weight training sessions per week are optimal
- Perform a warm-up set of 15 reps with a light weight before each new exercise.
- Rest periods should be 45-90 seconds
- Feel free to take as long as needed to recover in between sets. 3 sets of 10 reps with 45-90 second rests is a goal that needs to be worked up to.

- If you only remember one thing from this article it should be that good form is directly related to good results. Check your ego at the door- use weight that allow you to get a good deer pump- go for feel.
- Listen to your body- if you need more rest in between sets or in between training days go ahead and rest.
- Individuals who feel they are already in good cardiovascular shape and do not desire to lose any fat can forgo cardio training.

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