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Default Ultimate beginners routine
by Johan 12-14-2010, 07:26 PM

I am going to be honest here, this is not an article about how to get gunz like Cutler or a back like Coleman. If you are a beginner and follow the advice in this article for a year you won't be a sexual tyrannosaurus busy crushing your enemies and hearing the lamentation of their women. What it will do however is to prevent said women from lamenting over your body when you take your shirt of at the beach. That is something no Flex or Muscle and Fiction routine will accomplish. You can expect to add a solid amount of beef, curing you of the skinny affliction haunting the guy below.


Don't be this guy!

What a beginner need, heck what just about EVERYONE need, is to focus on the basics. There is a famous principle called the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. What the principle states is that one gets 80% of the results from 20% of the effort, this is valid for just about everything. 80% of a companies profit comes from 20% of the activity, 80% of your muscle will come from 20% of the exercises, 80% of the wealth in society is held by 20% of the population and on it goes. The Pareto principles importance for your training is that the concentration curls, the triceps pushdowns and the leg extensions you are doing is contributing almost nothing to your swolleness! It also means that if you put to much attention on the trinkets you will not get everything you can get out of the main exercises. Find the 20% that produce the most result and have at it, the rest is just ornaments!

So what is the 20%? Its Squats(and its variations), cleans(and its variations), push press, chins and dips. With those 5 exercises and nothing else you can build a tremendous body with the strength to match it. I would go as far as to say that a beginner should not even touch any other exercise for the first year! There just isn't any need yet for a bulgarian split squat curl to press on a bozu ball!



The attentive will have noticed that I haven't included bench press and deadlift in that list. Blasphemy?!?

Bench and deadlift are certainly two tremendous exercises, but 99% of people do those exercises flat out wrong, I don't know how many are walking around with aching backs and shoulders due to shitty benching and deadlifting. There are more productive exercises one can get the job done safer. Dips hit the chest, shoulders and triceps with maddening efficiency, at the same time its close to impossible to do dips wrongly! Dips isn't a ego exercise like the bench, so one isn't going to be tempted to add a couple more plates and have a buddy "spot" you, while in actuality doing half of the lifting. Trust me, when you can do a few dips with 3-4 plates hanging you will have a very respectable bench. Just don't be the retard that treats the dip as a reverse shrug, go down until the upper arms are parallel to ground, no less and no more!

Cleans will take care of everything the deadlift would accomplish, but as a added bonus it will also build tremendous explosiveness like few other exercises. The trade-off is, if 99% of people do the deadlift wrong, then 99.9% do cleans with a form that makes one want to put a fork through ones eyes. But cleans are such a productive exercise that it is worth the effort to get it right!


If it works for Chigishev it works for me!

There we have it, the most important exercises one should focus on, but that is not enough. A bunch of exercises alone doesn't make a program, what's even more important is how to use the exercises, how to structure the workouts. I am a big fan of principles, not of programs, if you understands the principles you don't need pre written programs, instead you can build them yourself.

The two most important principles are these:

Progression
If you are not progressing you are wasting time, it's that simple. A lot can be said about the relationship between muscle mass and strength, but it is pretty much certain that if you increase your strength substantially then your mass will follow. It is much easier to keep track of strength gains than it is to keep track of muscle mass, therefore a good training program is built around strength progression. There should be a clear plan to how you are going to add weight to the bar.

Specificity
Simply put, if you want to get better at something you should do that thing as often as possible. If you want to be better sprinter then sprint. If you want to be a great climber than climb! If you want to be a great squatter you should squat, don't do leg press and leg curl to become a strong squatter. Just get under the damned bar and squat! Squat as heavy as possible as often as possible. What about overtraining you might ask, then I will tell you something that might be hard to swallow. Overtraining is so rare that for all practical purposes it does not exist! That is a message that doesn't match the usual garbage in print, but it is true nonetheless. The normal writer for muscle and fiction would shit his pants in sheer astonishment if he heard about the workload of the top strength athletes in the world. If overtraining was as easy to succumb to as the mags claim, then every Chinese and Bulgarian weightlifter would be dead, drugs or not.

Specificity is also the reason why jumping between exercises constantly will give you much less progression than if you focus on one exercise. If you do squat one week, leg press the next, hack squat the third, machine squat the fourth and then return to squats you won't have gained much if anything in the squat. If you where to do squats one week, quarter squats the other week and box squats the third, that would be a different story since those three exercises are just variations of each other. But even that is unnecessary for a beginner. Just stick to the primary exercise and forget about variations for now.

To summarise, we have selected 5 exercise that will form our program and we have gone through 2 principles that will guide how we use the exercises. Lets put it all together. A beginner will make great progress just training 3 times a week so lets say Monday, Wednesday, Friday. In general the best strength gains occur with low reps and the best mass gains with a bit higher reps. For a beginner though, that isn't so neurologically efficient yet, slightly higher reps is the best for strength. The happy medium is 5 reps, its low enough to give good strength gains and high enough to give good mass gains. A beginner doesn't need a huge volume of work to gain well and there is no need to do more than what is needed. 3 sets of 5 reps will be plenty. One exception is the clean, its a very complex and explosive movement and imo is more susceptible to form breakdown and less suited for repetition work. Therefore I restrict it to 3 reps and instead increase sets to 5. If you have no desire to get into olympic lifting, then it will be good enough to do power cleans, no real need to squat clean(if you do want to do olympic lifting, then I would suggest another routine). Reps for chins and dips will be higher than 5 because they are done mostly as assistance work to the other exercises. Chins and dips can be supersetted if one feels like it.

Monday:
3x5 Squat
3x3 Power clean
3x10 chins
3x10 dips

Wednesday:
3x5 Front squat
3x3 Power Clean
3x5 Push press

Friday:
3x5 Squat
3x3 Power clean
3x10 chins
3x10 dips

All 3x5 sets in a workout should be done with the same weight and for every workout the weight should be increased, don't go hogwild here, adding 5 pounds to the squat and less than that to the press is more than plenty. Start conservative, start with a weight that you know is low enough that the first 2 weeks won't be a problem. Lets say you can do 5 reps with 150ibs in the squat if you struggle. Then start with 130ibs the first monday workout, proceed to 135ibs on friday, 140ibs the following workout etc. This will keep your gains going longer. When you get to a point where you can not increase by 5ibs anymore(over several workouts) in the squat, then go back 20-30ibs in weight and restart the process. This progression is the key to the whole program, if you do not add weight every workout you are wasting your time! Of course there will be bad days where you felt like shit and couldn't make the weight, but just chalk it up and redo the weight the next workout.

When you can do 3 sets of 10 reps with bodyweight in dips and chins start adding weight, either by holding a dumbbell between your legs or by getting a belt to hang weights on. Before you can do 3x10 with bodyweight just do as many sets as it takes to get to 30 total reps.


Why do I put this picture here? Because its my article and I can!

This routine might look familiar to you and it is pretty much the same as many beginners routines, like Rippetoe's Starting Strength program, http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wi...inner_Programs, the Pendlay program I linked to above or similar 5x5 programs. Reason they are similar is because they work! Every workout work the entire body, every workout contains a squat and a pull, every workout contains some kind of press, every muscle in the body is worked in some fashion.

What about "muscle confusion"? Won't my gains come to an halt after 2 weeks? Not really, muscle confusion is just a sac of shit. The idea is based on the concept that the body gets so adapted to a exercise that the exercise no longer gives enough stimulus to the body to cause more adaption(more strength, mass etc). But adding weight to the bar is "confusing" enough for 99.999% of people. Consistency is a lot more important for the beginner.

Won't it get boring to follow this routine with such little variation, the routine isn't very sexed up? Well would you rather do a sexy routine or have a sexy body? If you find it boring to get stronger I suggest you turn to knitting as a hobby! But in all honesty, a routine like the above is a hell of a lot of fun when one is progressing. Whats more impressive after all, some cunt dressed in skin tight underarmor doing curls in the squat week after week or the dude that walks in, puts 5 plates on a side and squats ass to grass making it look easy? What guy do you want to be?



Example of proper ass to grass squats, you might want to start with 500 pounds less though


How to front squat(most of these cues are valid for squat in general)

How to clean(click on clean & jerk and watch the videos there)
http://www.californiastrength.com/olwete.html

E
xample of push press

Dips

Chins



Example of a power clean


How NOT TO power clean
This guy is strong as 3 weeks old piss, but that form is begging for injury!
Attached Thumbnails
chigishev2.jpg   skinny.jpg   bosu-ball-pilates.jpg   squat.jpg   marzia_prince_03.jpg  


Last edited by Johan; 12-15-2010 at 05:48 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-14-2010
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Fucking wicked!



Great read bro!

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Old 12-14-2010
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thanks
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Old 12-15-2010
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wow great read bro
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Old 12-15-2010
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Yes that is a good article Johan. If I may add some additions..

1)Not only are these for beginners but even advanced athletes, they are just the bread and butter of strength training IMO
2)You need to give it some time, impatience is your worst enemy. Like Johan said progression is needed but also don't just give up and interpret the lack of progression as being ineffective.
3) On the flip side, you don't want perpetual constance, you have to change any of the many variables at your disposition. i.e rest periods, times per week, #sets, #reps, tempo, grip stance etc
4) A hardcore training regimen needs to be supported with the other actors, ie diet, rest, etc. Too many beginners, including myself, think its all about the lifting. Lifting damages the muscle and thus is the initial stimulus for growth but actual growth will occur via diet and rest. The "pump" is not the actual growth of muscle fibre, its just blood filling the muscle. There is relative inefficiency if you are not creating an effective environment for rest and growth.
5) Like Johan said, often times our ego takes over and we work in less productive ways. Do not underestimate the power of doing controlled negatives, thats where the growth is! Too many newbs place the importance on the concentric component of the movement while completely ignoring the eccentric component. Eccentric is what will cause those wanted muscle micro-tears.Notice when on the eccentric movement you yelp in pain? Well thats what is going to grow muscles! Dont jerk the weight, control it.
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Old 12-15-2010
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good points Prada.

Point 3 is a good way to keep progressing when it's no longer possible to add weight workout for workout with 3x5, then one can switch to 3x3(if max strength is the main focus) or 3x10 of muscle mass is focus.
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good points Prada.

Point 3 is a good way to keep progressing when it's no longer possible to add weight workout for workout with 3x5, then one can switch to 3x3(if max strength is the main focus) or 3x10 of muscle mass is focus.
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Excellent read!!
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