Here is some advice that everyone should keep in mind when just beginning a
weight lifting program, or even if you have been training for a while. It may
increase your productivity, or save you some pain in the future
Perform weight training exercises three days a week but don't do the
same routine two days in a row because muscles need time to rest and
repair. You can perform upper body exercises on Monday, for instance,
but do not repeat them on Tuesday. You can, however, lift for your lower
body or your back on Tuesday.
Use correct form at all times and enjoy your weight training.
Preparing for Bench Press
• Most people complete two or three sets of 8-12 repetitions of each
exercise for maximum strength results. (This means you should feel pretty
fatigued by rep number five or six and be struggling to lift that last
repetition.) However, if you have been sedentary or are over 50 years old,
only two sets of 10-15 repetitions at a lighter weight may be more
• Prior to any kind of weight lifting, perform an 8-10 minute
cardio warm-up to prepare your muscles for lifting, which increases
circulation and prevents lifting injuries. A solid warm- up is as simple as
walking in place or jumping rope.
• When you weight train, breathe deeply and rhythmically, and
lift slowly both during the upward and downward motions. You should avoid
using short, jerky movements and try to lift smoothly through a full range
• After weight training, be sure to thoroughly stretch the areas
you've just worked. This increases blood flow to the area and decreases
muscular tension, which helps prevent muscle soreness and joint discomfort.
A Sample of The Exercises - Mixture of Free Weights and Machines:
click on exercise for full instructions
Here is a basic schedule, which except for beginners, is modifiable
according to the needs of the individual. This schedule, using only the
guide-lines listed above, will carry you from the beginner level, to that of
a useful intermediate lifter. You can modify it according to your own personal
goals, your body type, your perceived genetic potential, your age, your
personality, i.e., how driven you are to develop your body, and your gender
(gender difference insofar as training is concerned, is almost entirely a
matter of the amount of weight that the lifter can handle). Just for clarification, 3 x 8 (for
example), indicates 3 sets of 8 reps in each set. By the way, even if you
are well beyond the level of a beginner, read all of this, it will only take
a few moments, and it might remind you of some things you've forgotten.
BEGINNERS AND EARLY INTERMEDIATES' SAMPLE SCHEDULE
This routine specifically allows for diminishing energy reserves, as you
work your way through it. For beginners who are very thin, this routine
should probably be done twice a week to start, for lifters of average build,
three times a week. Let your recovery ability guide you. Rest approximately
60 to 90 seconds between sets, about 2 to 4 minutes between exercises. Never
do another set before you have caught your breath after the last. Rest
somewhat longer between sets of squats and SL dead-lifts, than other
Vary the recovery time as your best physical gains can
be made during recovery, when your body makes the adaptations needed to
physical development. The length of your rest periods should be based on
your training goals, not on how long it takes to talk to a chum or get a
drink of water. Short rest periods (less than a minute) are normally used
when the goal is to build local muscular endurance; long rest periods (more
than three minutes) are used when the primary goal is to increase strength
and power. Older lifters (over 50's) should certainly consider longer rest
It is necessary during rest periods that the muscles recover its ATP
(adenosine triphosphate), the bodies natural chemical that assists the
muscles to contract under 'load stress', and to clear away the build-up of
lactic acid, another naturally produced chemical which causes that burning
sensation in 'tired' muscles.
A common twice-a-week schedule would be Monday and Thursday;
three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Arrange your days to fit
your schedule, but never train the routine two days in succession. If you
are a beginner, don't do any cardio for at least four weeks after you have
started the weights. Beginners should not vary the routine in any way
whatsoever, until you have been training for at least two months. Beginners
should do their first three workouts, using weights that leave them feeling
that they could do one more rep, at the end of the last set of each
exercise. After the first three sessions, the amount of weight should be
such that the final rep of the last set of each exercise, should be an all
out effort. Both beginners and early intermediates should do about 8 or 10
minutes of light warm-up movements, such as treadmill or light
callisthenics, before starting the weights, and one warm-up set before each
exercise, except for calf raises, curls, and sit-ups. Warm-up weights
shouldn't tax your strength. For example, if you're going to do squats with
100 pounds, your warm-up set should probably be done with about 60.
After two or three months, possibly longer, you will transition to the
status of an early intermediate lifter, and you will look very different
You'll also be a lot stronger; you're going to like what's happened.
As an early intermediate, it's going to be time to alter your routine.
Instead of training your entire body every session, it will be time to start
splitting your workouts. You'll start doing two different routines, each
either once or twice a week, for a total of two or four sessions per week,
depending on your level of energy. Start training four days a week,
following the routine set forth below. If you feel good on workout days,
continue that schedule; if not, if you tire easily, if you are constantly
sore, then cut back to a twice-a-week schedule, using the same routine. It
will also be time for you to start rotating exercises, that is, doing the
alternative movements. There's no fixed, rigid schedule
for switching exercises, do it when you feel like it, perhaps every three,
four, or five weeks. For the movements that have no alternatives, use the
suggested variances in form. For the purpose of clarity, specific days
are shown, but you can rearrange the schedule to suit you, as long as the
same workout-rest pattern of days is maintained.
Fitness Tips for Successful Strength Training
Are you getting bored with your strength training program, or not getting
the same results you did when you started? It’s easy to fall into a weight
training rut, doing the same old routine of favourite exercises day in, day
out. Unfortunately, too much “same old, same old” can be the enemy of
effective physical conditioning. The key to successful training lies in
varying the training stimuli.
The most effective way to add variety to your workouts is through
periodization, which means making systematic changes to your training at
regular intervals. Periodizing your strength workouts can help you avoid
plateaus; prevent injury; and make greater gains in strength, power,
muscular size and endurance, and athletic performance.
Incline Bench Press
Making The Right Changes
1. List Your Goals and Plan to Achieve Them Over Time. A typical way to plan
your program is to set goals for one year and goals to achieve approximately
every three months. Fitness assessment tests can help you determine these
goals. If you have a variety of goals, you and your trainer will need to
decide which to prioritise.
2. Don’t Try Too Much Too Soon. Before you begin a prioritised program,
complete four to 12 weeks of basic training. Use this training to develop
general conditioning and practice proper form and technique.
3. Change Your Exercises. Many fitness experts believe you should change
your program at least every four to six weeks for maximum effectiveness. The
muscle groups to be trained (based on your goals) should determine the type
of exercises you perform.
4. Change the Exercise Order. Plan the order in which you do your exercises
as seriously as you plan the exercises themselves.
Try alternating between muscle groups - e.g. doing barbell curls (arms)
followed by knee extensions (legs)–or “stacking” all the exercises for one
muscle group (i.e., performing them consecutively). A third possibility is
to start with the exercises of greatest priority to you and follow them with
exercises of lesser importance.
5. Change the Number of Sets. Not all exercises require the same number of
sets. Prioritising your goals will help you determine which muscle groups or
exercises need the most attention, and which need simply to be maintained.
6. Vary the Recovery Time. Your greatest physical gains are made during
recovery, when your body makes the adaptations needed to support further
physical development. The length of your rest periods should be based on
your training goals, not on how long it takes to talk to a friend or get a
drink of water. Short rest periods (less than a minute) are
normally used when the goal is to build local muscular endurance; long rest
periods (more than three minutes) are used when the primary goal is to
increase strength and power.
7. Change the Resistance Load. There is no consensus on what combination of
reps and weights will yield the best training results. However, popular
combinations include pyramid training (decreasing the number of reps per set
as the weight increases, and then increasing the number of reps per set as
the weight decreases); half- ascending pyramid training (just the first half
of pyramid training); and half-descending pyramid training (just the second
half of pyramid training). Note that your genetic makeup plays a large part
in determining your ability to lift heavy weights.
8. Evaluate Your Progress Every Four to Eight Weeks. Keep a detailed record
of your workouts, noting exercises performed, number of reps and sets,
amount of resistance and length of rest periods. Monitor your results.
9. Be Flexible With Your Training. Remember, be prepared to change your
workouts to accommodate personal circumstances such as illness, mood,
10. Give Purpose to Every Workout. The more carefully you plan your weight
training program, the more meaningful, exciting and effective each session
for Making the Right Changes from: IDEA Health & Fitness Association