T Nation

Beginner Needs to Gain Strength

I have a friend who has joined the gym and decided to start going with me.

He’s new to lifting (and excercise in general). However, unlike most beginners I’ve seen whose main goal is hypertrophy, his goal is gaining strength. He is already a “strong” looking guy…ie his muscles aren’t too small. But he’s a lot weaker than he looks. Hah…he seems quite embarassed by it at the gym.
If anyone can relate, could someone tell me a program they have had success with as a beginner gaining strength?

I don’t know how he got so muscular to start with (lucky bastard), but if he’s brand new to weight-training, then any consistent routine should give him decent strength gains to start. In fact, strength is one of the quickest, most noticeable improvements when beginners start training on a regular basis.

A suggestion, done 3 days a week, alternating each workout…

Uber-Basic Workout Plan #214
Workout 1: Squat 4x8, lunge or step-up 4x8, romanian deadlift 4x8, “random ab crunching exercise” 3x12, “random ab rotating exercise” 3x12

Workout 2: Flat bench press 4x8, bent BB row or seated cable row 4x8, standing military or DB press 4x8, pull-up or front pulldown 4x8, “random biceps exercise” 3x12, “random triceps exercise” 3x12

Nothing ground-breaking here. Avoid failure on all sets. After 3 or 4 weeks, drop the reps, increase the weight, and maybe play around with the exercise choices and/or order.

To gain strength, the key will be high loads (meaning heavy weights), used for (obviously) low reps. The more sets performed, the more muscle will be built accordingly. So, 10x3 wil build more muscle than 3x3. But both will help to build strength. In fact, Chad Waterbury has his Strength-Focused Mesocycle, which might be worth looking into:

Thanks Minotaur. That plan looks pretty good…I’ll show it to him and I’m sure he’ll agree. I think the fact that it has “uber” in the title makes it even better, haha.