In Beginning Weight Training Part 1 I examined some of what defines a beginner in terms of entering the weight room along with examining some of the different reasons (e.g. appearance, performance, health/fitness) that people choose to start lifting weights.
In Beginning Weight Training 2, I examined in some detail what some of the primary goals of beginner weight training are including developing an overall base of strength (and/or muscularity), developing work capacity, learning how to perform the lifts, etc.
Finally, in Beginning Weight Training Part 3, I looked at some of the research (and experience) dealing with the loading parameters that are appropriate for beginners. I’ve summarized them below as a launching off part for today’s final article where I’ll lay out three different basic weight training programs and talk about things like progression, when to change things, etc.
- Intensity (percentage of 1 rep. maximum): 60% or a weight that could be done for ~20 repetitions to failure
- Volume (# of sets): 1-3 sets per exercise/muscle group.
- Reps/Set: Variable depending on the circumstances and both high and low reps can be appropriate here
- Frequency: 2-3X/week
- Workout design: Generally a full body routine
- Exercise Selection: Highly variable depending on the circumstances
And with that I want to jump straight into examples of three different beginner programs. The first is the Starting Strength program as developed by Mark Rippetoe (and reproduced here in full with his permission). The second is a beginner program as outlined by my mentor, it would represent another standard approach to a barbell based routine based around the big compound movements. Finally, and primarily to offend the barbell purists, I’m going to reproduce the basic machine-based program that I used with the majority of my beginners.