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Weight Training For Beginners

Elvis Elvis

Is weight training for beginners safe? That’s a question I hear a lot. My answer is a resounding yes, but only if you follow the right guide.

Since this is my Exercise Ball website I’m going to show you how you can incorporate it into your beginner program. I’m about to reveal to you how to start your weight training on the right foot.

One of the biggest mistakes I see beginners make is trying to do too much too soon. I realize that impatience plays a big role in this so the first thing you must do as a beginner is learn to be patient. The gains will come much better if you set yourself up for success from the beginning.

Before we begin with the “Weight Training for Beginners” routines, I must advise you to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and that includes the program outlined here.

So how do you know if you’re a beginner?

The easy answer is, if you have never picked up a weight, or it’s been over 3 months since your last work out, then chances are you’re a beginner. This includes those individuals who have prior weight training experience.

Just because you have been working out for years, but have been layed off due to injury, or because you’ve been too busy, that doesn’t mean you can plunge right into working out head on. You still have to start from the begining.

Your tendons, ligaments, and muscles have been detrained due to inactivity, so they must be strengthened first in order to handle more complex routines, and heavier weights later on down the road.

Weight Training For Beginners

Usually, this beginner phase is called the anatomical adaptation phase and can last anywhere from 3 weeks, to 3 months depending on your previous weight training experience, your age, your current level of fitness, whether or not you use steroids or other androgens, and your nutrition.

Weight training for beginners during this Anatomical Adaptation phase is a bit different than if you’re an exerienced lifter who’s had to lay off of working out for whatever reason. If you’ve never picked up a weight before, or are in poor physical condition but otherwise healthy, then you should opt for a longer beginner phase. About 12 weeks is a good starting point.

This longer period will allow you more time for adaptation and for creating a good foundation for the future. Remember that this phase is important because this is the time for you to develop a strength and technical base from which all future gains will arise. If you skip this phase, your future gains will be compromised.

If you’re an advanced lifter with a good strength base, but just haven’t been able to get to the gym for whatever reason and have not worked out for a period exceeding three months, then your beginner phase will last from 3 to 6 weeks. I’m going to leave it up to you to decide when you feel ready to move on the Intermediate and Advanced Workout Routines.

According to Tudor Bompa in his book Periodization Training for Sports (1999), “the simplest method to consider for Anatomical Adaptation (beginner workout routines) is circuit training, mainly because it provides an organized structure and alternates muscle groups.”

So, the weight training for you beginners will consist primarily of Circuit Training routines. You’ll be working out 2 to 3 times per week on non consecutive days.

You’ll also be doing a cardio session 2 to 3 times per week. Your cardio session will be either a twenty minute brisk walk, or jog done either outdoors or on a treadmill.

You can substitute the walk/jog with a 20 minute bike ride done at a moderate pace. This can be performed either on a real bike outdoors, or on an exercise bike.

Nothing complicated here. You won’t be doing any high intensity cardio just yet. You’ll save that for after you’re done with this “weight training for beginners” phase of training. You’re just doing light cardio here, and nothing more.

Your “weight training for beginners” workouts will consist of 2 circuits done on alternating days. Your workouts will look like this for a twice per week weight training schedule:

Day 1 Rest
Day 2 Circuit1
Day 3 Cardio
Day 4 Rest
Day 5 Circuit2
Day 6 Cardio
Day 7 Rest or Cardio

A 3 time per week weight training schedule would look something like this:

Day 1 Rest
Day 2 Circuit1
Day 3 Cardio
Day 4 Circuit2
Day 5 Cardio
Day 6 Circuit1
Day 7 Rest or Cardio

Day 8 Rest
Day 9 Circuit2
Day 10 Cardio
Day 11 Circuit1
Day 12 Cardio
Day 13 Circuit2
Day 14 Rest or Cardio

Notice the alternating of the two circuits.

Below are 12 Weeks worth of “weight training for beginners” workouts divided into three 4 week cycles.

If you’re a complete beginner, go through the entire 12 week program.

If you’re an experienced lifter, then go through the first, and if you feel you need it, the second cycle. Let your body be the judge, but make sure you at least complete the first 4 week cycle.

You’ll be resting 60 to 90 seconds in between exercises. You’ll go through the entire circuit, rest 3 minutes and then do it again. And if prescribed, you might do the circuit a third or fourth time.

The Weight Training For Beginners Workouts

Weeks 1-4

Warm up with the following before each circuit – 10 Wood Choppers, 10 Burpees, 10 overhead squats, 10 Ball Swings. Rest 60 seconds and repeat one more time. Rest 2 full minute and begin your circuit.

Weight Training For Beginners Circuit 1: 2 sets of 15-20 reps, rest 90 seconds between exercises

Wall Squats (thighs)
Feet On Ball Pushups (chest)
Hamstring Curl In (thighs/hamstrings)
Bent Over Rows (back)
Russian Twists (abdominals)
Ab Curl In (abdominals)
Seated Curls (biceps)
Seated Tricep Extension (tricep)

Rest 3 minutes and repeat

Weight Training For Beginners Circuit 2: 2×15-20, rest 90 seconds between exercises

Side Squat (thighs)
Ball Pushup (chest)
Reverse Hyperextension (lower back/hamstrings)
One Armed Row (back)
Reverse Crunch (abs)
Crunches (abs)
Side Raises (shoulder)
Seated Calf Raise (calves)

Weeks 5-8

Warm up with the following before each circuit – 15 Wood Choppers, 15 Burpees, 15 overhead squats, 15 Ball Swings. Rest 30 seconds and repeat one more time. Rest 1 full minute and begin your circuit.

Weight Training For Beginners Circuit 1: 3 sets of 10-15 reps, rest 60 seconds between exercises

Incline Bench Press (chest)
Bent Over Rows (back)
See Saw Presses (shoulders)
Pullovers (back/chest)
Preacher Curls (biceps)
Tricep Dips (triceps)
One Legged Wall Squats (thighs)
Reverse Russian Twists (abs)
Crunches (abs)

Rest 2 minutes and repeat two more times.

Weight Training For Beginners Circuit 2: 3×10-15, rest 60 seconds between exercises

One Legged Squat (thighs)
One Legged Hamstring Curl In (hamstrings)
Weighted Wall Squat (thighs)
Reverse Hypers (hamstrings/lower back)
Alternate Bench Press (chest)
Seated Calve Raise (calves)
Alternate Rows (back)
Russian Twists (abs)
Reverse Crunch (abs)

Rest 3 minutes and repeat two more times.

Cool down stretch

Weeks 9-12

Warm up with the following before each circuit – 15 Wood Choppers, 15 Burpees, 15 overhead squats, 15 Ball Swings. Rest 30 seconds and repeat one more time. Rest 1 full minute and begin your circuit.

Weight Training For Beginners Circuit 1: 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps, rest 30 seconds between exercise

Overhead Squat (thighs)
Reverse hyperextension, ball on bench (hamstrings/lower back)
See Saw Bench (shoulders)
Alternate Row With Ball On Bench (back)
Tricep Dip With Hands On Ball (triceps)
Seated Curl (biceps)
Reverse Crunch (abs)
Crunch (abs)

Rest 2 minutes and repeat 3 more times.

Cool Down Stretch

Weight Training For Beginners Circuit 2: 4×10-15, rest 30 seconds between exercises

See Saw Press (shoulders)
1 1/2 One Legged Squat (thighs)
Bent Over Side Raise (shoulders/upper back)
One Legged Hamstring Curl In (hamstrings)
Incline Curl (biceps)
Lying Tricep Extension (triceps)
Seated Calve Raise (calves)
Weighted Russian Twist (abs)
Weighted Crunches (abs)

Rest 2 minutes and repeat three more times.

You’ll notice that the workouts get progressively more difficult. This is so that your nervous system doesn’t get too complacent with doing the same things over and over again. You have to constantly progress in order to see results.

You’ll also notice that every muscle, or muscle group, is worked on each weight training day either directly or indirectly. This is intentional. However, you’ll be performing different exercises which will allow your muscles to be stimulated in a different way, which encourages better overall toning.

If you’re wondering what the difference is between a muscle and a muscle group, I’ll give a couple of examples. An example of a muscle group is the chest. When you work the chest you also work the shoulders and triceps. Another example is the back. When you work the back you also work the trapezius, and the biceps.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s very difficult to truly isolate a muscle because no muscle lives on an island. So, think about working muscle groups instead.

In conclusion, I don’t want you to be fooled by the aparent simpliciy of this routine. Give it a shot and you’ll be surprised by how quickly the gains will come.

Above all, remember that weight training for beginners takes patience.

After you’ve completed this phase of training you’re body will be better equipped to safely handle the more arduous body building and fat burning routines. When you get impatient with your beginner workout, or you want to skip it altogether, just remember that by completing it you’re setting yourself up for future success.