Monday, March 22, 2010

Weight training 101

Even guys that have been training for a lifetime will tell you that they don’t know everything about weight training. So, I am not boasting that I can fully investigate this subject in a mere post.

However, one of the long-term goals of this blog is to gradually cover a huge pool of knowledge regarding weights.

For now, you should know this: weight training is one of the fastest and most efficient methods to completely change your body (for the better of course). It is also one of the easiest (and practical). There is no excuse not to do it.

Join a gym today. Many will tell you that you can do it at home, but my experience says that there is no comparison.

Some advice for beginners follows:

You will train three times per week (the best choice is Tuesday – Thursday – Saturday). In every session, you will do one basic exercise for each muscle group (chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs, abdominals). For each exercise, you will start with a very light warm-up set for 15 repetitions (reps), and then you will perform three sets with a weight that allows you to do approximately 10 reps in each set.

That’s it. You should be out of the gym in less than an hour.

I suggest the following exercises:

Chest: Bench presses
Back: Pull-ups (of pull-downs, if you can’t do pull-ups)
Shoulders: Standing (military) presses (or seated, if you have low back problems)
Arms: Barbell curls (for biceps), lying EZ-bar extensions (for triceps)
Legs: Barbell squats (or leg presses, if you have low back problems)
Abs: Crunches

The key to success is to constantly increase your weights. When you are able to easily do more than 10 reps with your current weight, it’s time to increase the poundage. Find some small discs, so that you can use small increments, and then strive to again reach 10 reps in time. This process, if performed for a sufficient amount of time (years), results in huge weights and bodies made of steel.

You will often hear that, after your warm-up, you should start with a light weight in your first set, and then increase it for the next sets. I disagree. After the warm-up, you should go directly to your maximum weight with which you can do 10 reps. That’s when you are strongest. In fact, this first set is the one that gauges your progress. When the time comes to increase your weight, do it at the first set. Then, gradually increase the weight at the other sets too, until you are able to do 10 reps with the new weight at all three sets.

More advice will follow, but hurry up! Summer is closing in fast.

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