Beginner Workout Guide
Whether a beginner or the most advanced lifter, this exercise, workout and training guide will work on all different parts of a specific muscle. This workout will also work on cutting and mass building exercises, giving you a taste of both. It’s not always beneficial to just work on workouts solely to get you shredded or workouts to get you bulk. Bulking or cutting is determined by the amount of calories you consume, the proportionality of macronutrients within those calories, and the timing of those meals. It is not determined by how you lift. With that being said, weight resistance should be applied for both cutting and bulking and in either case, you're going to do very similar workouts.
Bulking is achieved by consuming more calories than you expend (increase calories by roughly 500 calories per day than what you are used to w/ bulk of carbohydrates coming immediately upon waking and right before and after your weight training workout).
Cutting is achieved by consuming fewer calories than you expend (decrease calories through consumption or burn more calories in the gym by roughly 500 calories per day than what you are used to w/ no carbohydrates at nighttime).
In terms of training principles, your goal should be to achieve muscular failure in both instances through weight resistance by performing high volume training with high intensity training techniques by incorporating strip sets, supersets, drop sets, rest-pause sets, forced reps, etc. You need to push yourself thoroughly to the point where you achieve failure or close to it with each and every set. Also, for overall health, you need to keep your rest between sets very minimal-only to the point where you recover and no more (your rest time will decrease week to week as you become in better shape). Furthermore, you need to perform a lot of sets per bodypart. Moreover, you need to warm-up before exercise properly to prevent injury and you need to cool down after your workout properly to flush the toxins like ammonia out of your muscles and to further the pump to increase muscle mass and strength.
Go to each set to failure- Adjust the weight accordingly. For example, if you should do 10 reps for a workout, reps 9 and 10
should be extremely hard and most likely you will need a spotter to help you.
You should always warm-up and cool-down the muscles appropriately. You should do a couple warm-up sets before your first workout and cool-down sets after your workout. For example, before a set of bench press, you should do 2 to 3 sets to where you just feel a pump and slight fatigue in your chest. Warm-ups help avoid injuries and they are critical. When done with a workout, as your cool-down, do very light weight and just do any exercise to cool down the muscle. For example, after a hard biceps workout, you may want to take light ten pound weights and curl them until you feel the blood flowing.
You should always use a spotter to ensure you are getting the most from your workout but taking the necessary precautions to be safe.
Proper cardio and stretching should be done in addition to weight training. Since many people don’t do cardio or stretch in the gym, I have left them out for this purpose.
- You should log down your routine. Each week progressively increase the weight and keep track of your progress.
1) Straight Legged Deadlift: 20, 12, 8, 4, 2, 2
Why You Should Do This:
They take the most energy so make sure you do this for your first exercise. In addition, deadlifts fully warm-up the back the best in preparation for other workouts. Most importantly, they are the best workout to not only strengthen your lower back but to strengthen nearly everything (primarily your core and legs).
Keep strict form, butt out and back straight. Keep the weight always brushing against your legs. Wear sweatpants to prevent any additional scratching or bruises. Only wear a lifting belt (if you really need to) on the low rep sets (2 to 4 rep sets) 2)
2) Pull Ups: 5 sets to failure
Why You Should Do This:
If you can’t do basic pull-ups you shouldn’t be weight lifting. This is one of the most fundamental workouts to do and can add some of the best detail on your back. Every week strive to do one more than the previous week, regardless of how tired you are. Basic Lat Pulldowns are good alternatives to this workout but pull-ups are by far the best you can do for your lats. It is all your own body weight.
Since pull-ups are one of the harder workouts to do and expend a great deal of energy, try to do them right after deadlifts. If you do pull-ups at the end of your workout, you may only do a couple because you are so tired. This is one of your most important exercises and thus should be done as fresh as possible (from whatever you have left in the tank from deadlifts).
Keep your chin above the bar and hold for 3 seconds and extend all the way down so your arms are literally straight. Repeat until failure. Use a spotter to give you a slight boost on your last couple reps if necessary.
3) Single Arm Bent Over Row: 20, 12, 12
Why You Should Do This:
This is one of the best mass building exercises for the upper back. It will really help your lats to stick out.
Make sure you use a flat bench for this. Keep your back straight and do not arch. Look straight in front of you and use your back and arms to bring up the weight to your chest and extend back down so the weight is inches from hitting the floor. Do not sway or use momentum. Squeeze and the top and hold it for 3 seconds to really feel the pump.
4) Seated Row: 50, 10, 4
Why You Should Do This: It works the whole back and really adds some detail and thickness to your back.
You should throw in a set of 50 in there (or throw it in another workout) to really feel the pump and burn.
Keep your back straight. Literally do not move your back as you bring the weight to you. Stretch your arms all the way forward to feel a slight stretch in your back and bring it back to your chest. Squeeze and hold for 3 seconds each time you bring it up.
1) Standing Barbell Curl: 15, 15, 6
Why You Should Do This: This is the fundamental biceps workout and will add concrete strength and size to your biceps.
Key Points: The number one mistake that people do while doing this is their tendency to sway to get the weight up. Keep your back absolutely perfectly straight and squeeze at the top and extend all the way down. Always keep your elbows and arms resting against your sides. If you have a spotter, have him or her push two fingers slightly into your back while you are curling the weight. If you move forwards when your partner gently touches your back, you are doing it wrong, plain and simple. If you are struggling, have your spotter guide the weight gradually.
2) Standing Barbell 21’s: 3 sets
Why You Should Do This: Doing “21’s” will have you hit nearly all the heads of the biceps: the top, middle and bottom.
Key Points: Just like the regular standing barbell, keep the same form. Start off by keeping the weight in the curl position and bring the weight only down half way and bring it back up. Try to do 7 reps to near failure (don’t go to complete failure because you have to do two other parts of the workout.) Now when you are finished with 7 reps, do another 7 from the bottom position to the middle. Finally, end with 7 as a full barbell curl (bottom to top, just like you did in the first workout with the regular standing barbell.)
3) Standing Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 20
Why You Should Do This: Since the weight is curled up with the arms while the weight is held vertically, this allows you to curl more weight and focus attention on the peak of the biceps. It also emphasizes the forearms, which you will be doing as your last workout of the day.
Key Points: Keep the same form as regular curls.
4) Seated Single Arm Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 10
Why You Should Do This: This really isolates the bicep like no other.
Key Points: Find a preacher machine where you can lean comfortably and extend your bicep. Doing one bicep first, bring your arm to near full extension (with a slight bend) and bring up slowly with a hard squeeze at the top. This is one of the most important parts of your workout because you will ensure proper blood flow and concentration in the bicep. Stress the negatives just like the positives, with 3 seconds going down and 3 seconds going up. Hold it for 3 seconds at the top and squeeze. This workout isn’t about weight, it is about feeling. Try to go lighter but stress the form almost excessively.
1) Barbell Wrist Curls: 3 sets of 30 (wrists up) to 15 (wrists down)
Why You Should Do This: This really strengths the wrists and forearms and helps with grip strength.
Key Points: Curl your wrist with palms facing up for 30 and then reverse it with palms facing down and do 15 right after.
2) Wrist Rope Roller: 3 sets to failure (palms up), 3 sets of failure (palms down)
Why You Should Do This: There’s nothing better to build grip and forearm strength then the wrist roller, which is a string and a weight attached to a bar, which you roll up.
Key Points: Go to absolute failure until you feel a tremendous burn in your forearms. Try to roll it up and down three times with a 5-pound plate attached. Adjust the weight accordingly.
Decline Situp Twists: 5 sets of 30
Why You Should Do This: This workout will target the abs and the obliques (when you do the twists on the way up). Doing it on a decline allows your abs to have a longer range of motion, thus working your abs more.
Key Points: Use a decline bench for this workout rather than doing a situp on a flat surface. Make sure when you extend up and contract your abs, you do a twist to the left followed by a twist to the right. You twist your elbow to where your right elbow is over your left knee right to your left elbow over your right knee. Do this every other one; you do a basic sit-up first then followed by a twist on all the odd numbers. The twist allows you to directly work your obliques in addition to your abs.
1) Flat Barbell Bench Press: 20, 12, 6, 4, 4
Why You Should Do This: The bench press is the fundamental workout for chest. It puts the best mass on your chest and will undoubtedly improve your strength if you keep working with it. The flat bench press allows you to hit all areas of the chest and should be the cornerstone of your workout.
Key Points: You should use a spotter when doing bench press since you are lifting a ton of weight that can easily fall on you if too heavy. In a smooth and controlled motion, bring the weight about an inch from your chest. DO NOT bounce the weight off your chest as this can cause damage to your chest muscles and deprive yourself of proper form and muscle growth. Let your spotter only slightly help you when you reached failure and go for a couple more forced reps with your spotter guiding you. Remember, always go 3 seconds on the negatives and explode up.
2) Incline Dumbbell Press: 20, 12, 6, 4, 4
Why You Should Do This: Incline presses focus on the upper chest more so than any other part. This should be of your primary concern when developing your chest. When performing decline presses, your chest tends to sag as a result and the chest droops downward leaving an unattractive chest. Instead, you should primarily focus on building your chest up by hitting the incline bench. Also, you should perform this with dumbbells to provide balance and equilibrium. When using a barbell, your stronger arm often pushes most of the weight. Dumbbells will help even out this disequilibrium. Moreover, when using dumbbells you have to stabilize the weight much more so. Your chest is getting a much better overall workout as it needs to recruit every muscle fiber to holding the weight up.
Key Points: Set the weight to a 45 degree incline. With this workout, instead of using a barbell, you are using dumbbells. You should have your spotter hand you the weights instead of twisting and turning your body to get the free weights up into a start position. Make sure you bring the weight to where you feel a good chest muscle stretch at the bottom and bring it to the top without bouncing the weights off of each other. If at failure, have your spotter guide you by supporting your elbows to lift the weight up slightly to get you a couple additional reps. Do this workout in a slow and controlled motion. 3)
Pushups: 3 sets to failure
Why You Should Do This: Like pull-ups, if you can’t do a basic pushup, you shouldn’t be lifting weights. Pushups work the whole chest and also target other muscles such as the triceps, back and shoulders.
Key Points: Keeping your body perfectly straight with no arch, extend your chest to where it is nearly touching the ground. A good rule of thumb: try to have your nose brush up against the floor ensuring that you are going down enough.
4) Cable Crossovers: 5 sets of 20
Why You Should Do This: This is the best isolator for the chest. You feel the blood rushing to your pecs and you feel yourself detailing every square inch of your chest.
Key Points: While bent over, extend your arms all the way out with a slight bend and bring the cables together keeping your body from moving. Make sure you are always leaning forward and letting your chest do the work. Squeeze for 3 seconds when you bring the cables together and repeat. Like other isolation workouts, this isn’t for weight, this is for perfect form and for blood flow.
1) Seated Dips: 5 sets to failure
Why You Should Do This: This will really warm-up and get your triceps going. Also, this works the chest secondary which is good considering you are training chest on that day.
Key Points: Put two benches between you and sit on one and put your feet on another. Extend down until your arms are perpendicular to the floor and explode upward until your triceps are locked out at the top. Do as many as you can possibly do until you fall off the bench. Do not cheat yourself! Do as many as you can until your triceps give out.
2) Diamond Pushups: 3 sets to failure.
Why You Should Do This: This puts all your weight on your triceps and will add some serious mass to your arms.
Key Points: If you can’t make a full diamond with your hands because you keep falling down when doing it, spread out your hands where you can do a pushup but that it is putting most emphasis on your triceps. The closer your hands are together (and thus should be in a diamond), the more your isolating the triceps.
3) Close Grip Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets of 6
Why You Should Do This: This is a great mass workout for triceps and should be done in the lower rep range to emphasize mass and strength.
Key Points: Put your thumbs together on the bar (so both of them are horizontally touching each other). Now move your hands about an inch more away from each other. That will give you a good indication of how far you should put your hands to best work the triceps. Make sure that your hands aren’t touching each other or are extremely close on the bar because you can hurt your elbows and wrists if that close. Keep your arms to your side and bring the weight down and up like doing a bench press. Be careful, your triceps can give out real quick on this workout so always make sure you have a spotter for this!
4) Rope Extensions: 20, 20, 15, 10, 10
Why You Should Do This: This is a great isolation workout for triceps and will really work the tricep head.
Key Points: Squeeze on the way down! If you don’t do this you are defeating its purpose because this will add more definition on your triceps when you squeeze. You should be able to see the tricep head stick out when you squeeze.
1) Rope Pulldown: 5 sets of 30
Why You Should Do This: This focuses primarily on strengthening your core since you are using a pully weight to contract your abs.
Key Points: Set up the exercise like you are doing a tricep rope pushdown. Instead go on your knees and grab the rope. Without using your arms, contract your abs like doing a situp. Make sure you are keeping your elbows in and only using your core.
1) Squats: 50, 20, 10, 10, 6, 4, 4, 2
Why You Should Do This: Squats are the best workout one can do, regardless of muscle group. Squats build your legs with a hell of a lot of strength and size if you do them right. Not only does it build your legs up, but it strengthens your core and toughens you up! Also, it is a great form of cardio. Doing squats is similar to doing sprints. Try the set of 50 reps and when finished you will feel as if you ran your ass off for 3-5 minutes. This should be the foundation of your leg workout so that is why you should do 7-8 sets of squats.
Key Points: Make sure you are balancing and putting all your weight on your heels. Most people do not squat correctly because they tend to put all their weight on their quads by even slightly leaning forward. Keep the weight on your heels and make sure you bend your knees to where they are slightly below parallel. In order words, your hip joint should come slightly lower than your knee joint when looking from the side. You should feel as if you are sitting in a chair when squatting correctly. Explode up but make sure you go slowly on the negatives to work your stabilizer muscles, and inhale on the way down and exhale when exploding up. You put a tremendous amount of stress on your body when squatting so proper breathing is critical! Remember, out of all the exercises to have proper form on, it is squats. You can really damage your joints (primarily in your knees and rest of the legs, not to mention your spine), if you don’t squat correctly. Always use a spotter for squats, it’s a must! To know if you are doing squats correctly, you should feel it more in your hamstrings than quads (since you are always putting weight on your heels).
2) Leg Press: 20, 8, 8, 4
Why You Should Do This: Even though squats are the best exercise for legs, leg press is the second best. It puts tremendous strength and size on your legs, primarily your quads.
Key Points: When leg pressing, make sure your knees extend to about 2-3 inches from hitting your chest, basically putting your knees at around a 90 degree angle. You should go slow on the negatives and explode up, always breathing. Make sure you are using a machine that has a safety bar on it that can catch the weight if you can’t lift it anymore. Using a spotter is highly recommended for this.
3) Quad Extensions: 3 sets of 20
Why You Should Do This: This is the best isolation exercise for quads and will leave your quads looking ripped.
Key Points: Just like any other isolation workout, form is paramount over weight. Worry more about blood flow and a pump than getting the weight up. You should do 3 seconds down and 3 seconds up on the quad extension and feel the tremendous burn in your quads.
4) Hamstring Extensions (lying on your stomach): 3 sets of 20
Why You Should Do This: Just as quad extensions are the best isolator for the quads, hamstring extensions are the best isolator for the hamstrings.
Key Points: Follow same kind of form as doing the quad extensions: worry about the pump more than the weight and do these slowly.
5) Barbell Calf Raises: 5 sets of 30
Why You Should Do This: The barbell calf raise seems to be the best alternative to working the calves rather than conventional calf raises or seated calf raises. It gives your calves the best extension and stretch, especially when having weight on your shoulders.
Key Points: Try to do this on the smith machine because it is very hard to balance a weighted barbell on your back with no support. Make sure you are standing on a wooden plank or a box so you can extend your calves down and up in a full range of motion. Go to complete failure until you literally cannot move your calves anymore, 30 reps being a good target number.
6) Exercise Bike (10 minutes, increasing the resistance a level every minute)
Why You Should Do This: This might be the hardest leg workout of the day but may be the most beneficial since you are using every part of your legs for 10 minutes nonstop.
Key Points: You should increase the resistance level by one every 45 seconds to a minute to shock your legs into new growth. Always try to keep your RPM over 80 at all times so you don’t cheat yourself. Do a 2-3 minute cool down on no resistance when finished.
Note: You don’t need to do any additional cardio after this leg workout because you did enough cardio for the day and you don’t want to overtrain.
Friday- Shoulders/Upper Delts/Traps/Abdominals
1) Dumbbell Military Shoulder Press: 20, 10, 10, 6, 6
Why You Should Do This: No better mass builder for your shoulders than a standard dumbbell military press. This mainly works the front shoulders, but will work the back and side shoulders pretty well.
Key Points: You should keep your seat-positioning upright or decline it a drop for better back support. Sometimes having a slight decline in the bench will put less strain on your back. Always have a spotter guiding you on this and supporting your elbows when you need an additional boost. Do the shoulder press in a slow and fluid movement. Whenever working with dumbbells, have the spotter hand you the weight rather than lifting it yourself to avoid any sudden twists and turns with your body.
2) Arnold Dumbell Shoulder Press: 20, 15, 10, 10
Why You Should Do This: This will focus more on your side and back shoulders and is just as good as putting on mass as the standard shoulder press.
Key Points: Unlike a standard shoulder press, in which you lift the weight straight up, you are going to rotate your hands while doing this. With the weight in your hands, start with your palms facing you. Next, slowly twist your hands 180 degrees while lifting the weight and bring it back down slowly rotating your hands back to palms facing you.
3) Front Lateral Raises right to Side Lateral Raises: 30 reps (front) to 15 reps (side) for 3 sets
Why You Should Do This: This is one of the better isolation exercises for all areas of your shoulders with additional emphasis on the traps.
Key Points: When doing front lateral raises, make sure you lift your arms slightly above your nose. Side lateral raises should be extended slightly above your ears. Make sure your arms are perfectly straight when extending and keep your back and neck stationary at all times.
4) Reverse Peck Deck: 3 sets of 20
Why You Should Do This: Isolates the deltoids and traps completely, which can help add more bulk and strength to your back shoulders and neck.
Key Points: Always keep your hand looking forward and abstain from moving. You should set your rotation to level 1 (I believe most gyms have similar machines), in which the two pegs are basically touching each other when you are facing it.
5) Barbell Shrug: 50, 20, 10, 6, 6
Why You Should Do This: The best mass builder for your traps, putting additional thickness on your traps and bottom neck.
Key Points: Make sure you have a stopping mechanism. Most of the time your grip gives out before your traps so you may be more prone to drop the bar. Make sure something can stop the weight from falling to the ground and have a spotter guide you. When doing the weight, don’t roll your shoulders in a circular motion, as this can put unwanted stress on ligaments and joints. Instead, simply shrug up and down while keeping your whole body stationary, especially your neck.
Floor Wipers Superset w/ Rope Crunches: 5 sets of 20 on each
Why You Should Do This: This workout will target both the lower abs and the obliques (when performing the floor wipers) and the upper abs (when performing the rope crunches). It is a full ab workout that will leave your abs burning and you curling up in a ball at the end screaming in agony (in a good way).
Key Points: Have a spotter hand you the weight (adjust weight accordingly on the floor wiper). Swing your legs to either side of the bar like a pendulum coming back to the middle in a leg-lift position after each half rep (make sure not to have your legs touch the floor). Make sure to squeeze your abs. Make sure your legs are tucked under you on the rope crunch while holding the rope up above with your head cradled in between your elbows. Come up only halfway to maintain full tension in your upper abs and come down so your elbows touch your upper thighs while squeezing your abs in contraction on the way down. Hold it at the bottom for a couple of seconds before coming back up with the weight.
If you like this routine, be sure to check out our MP45 Program. It gives you super effective workouts just like this one (and even better). You get a step-by-step workout and diet plan to get you looking absolutely shredded in just 45 days. Don't believe me?
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Date Published : 2012-08-14 00:59:26
Written By : Richard Allen
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