Hail to the Dinosaurs!
We always have a lot of beginners
who start training in January - and
a lot of readers who are getting
back into their training after a
So I thought I'd cover a beginner's
It also doubles as a way to get
back into training after a long
(6 mos or more) lay-off.
1. Train 3x per week.
2. Use a total body workout.
3. Use barbells and dumbbells.
4. Start very light, and ease into
your workouts. Keep them short,
fast and easy.
4a. Do 8 to 12 exercises.
4b. Do one set of each exercise.
4c. Start with 5 reps for your upper
body exercises, and 10 reps for your
lower body exercises and your light
breathing pullovers after sets of
squats and deadlifts.
4d. Start with 10 reps for gut
5. Make your workouts progressive.
5a. Use single progression or
double progression (as the terms
are defined in the old York courses).
5b. Single progression means you add
ONE rep to every exercise each workout
until you have doubled the original
number of reps. For example, you do
1 x 5 in the curl in workout number
one, 1 x 6 in workout number 2, and
so on, until you get to 10 reps.
Note: For lower body exercises, you
can add TWO reps per workout until
you double the original number of
5c. Once you double the original number
of reps, you add 5 pounds to the bar
for your upper body exercises and 10
pounds to the bar for your lower body
exercises. Then drop back to the
original number of reps (5 for upper
body exercises and 10 for lower body
exercises) and build back up.
5d, Double progression means you repeat
each workout one time without adding
reps - and then add the additional rep
in the next workout. So it's 1 x 5 in
the curl in workouts 1 and 2, 1 x 6 in
the curl for workouts 3 and 4, and so
5e. Double progression is slower, but
it often builds a better foundation,
and thus, works better in the long run.
6. Stick with the basic program, doing
one set of each exercise and using your
choice of single or double progression
for the first three months of your
training. After that, you can either
try different exercises using the
same basic approach, or keep the same
exercises and start doing two sets of
each exercise. After two or three
months of two sets per exercise,
move up to three sets per exercise.
7. Here's a suggested program:
Standing press (military press) with
Barbell squat (do full squats if possible;
at the least, go to parallel)
Very light breathing pullover with
two dumbbells (always use a light
weight on these - they are solely
a breathing exercise)
Barbell or two-dumbbell bench press
Note: Do pushups if you don't have a
bench - elevate your feet if you need
to make them more difficult)
Barbell bent-over rowing or pull-ups
Very light breathing pullover with
two dumbbells (see above note)
Standing calf raises (use a calf
machine if you train at a gym; do
one legged calf raises holding a
dumbbell in one hand if you train
Lying leg raises
There you go - a tried and true program
Feel free to share - there are lots of
newbies out there who need to get started
the right way. (And remember, we were
all newbies once - so help them, and
pay back whoever it was who got YOU
started the right way.)
As always, thanks for reading and have
a great day. If you train today, make
it a good one!
Yours in strength,
P.S. For more training advice for beginners,
grab CHALK AND SWEAT. (It also covers training
for intermediates, advanced lifters, and
Dinos who are training for maximum strength
and muscle mass):
P.S. 2. My other books and courses are
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Be a champion -
teach someone how to train the right way."
-- Brooks Kubik