T Nation

Beginner Program for a Friend


I’m attempting to marry my 3rd-year BSc Kinesiology knowledge with my T-Nation reading to create a beginner program for my friend who’s never touched a weight in his life. Would very much appreciate some feedback from the T-Citizenry. :smiley:

Subject is a 5’ 3", 43kg/95lbs male, Hong Kong chinese.

Goals: ideal bodyweight for relative strength (~60kg), high relative strength, gymnast-like flexibility, and maximum “functional” power w/o going over ideal Rel.Strength body mass.

Available days to train are Weds, Fri, Sat, Sun. So far his week looks like this:

Wed - Full Body
Thur - Off
Fri - Full Body
Sat - Light “cardio” (40-50% VO2max) and flexibility work. Recovery day, basically.
Sun - Full Body
Mon - Off
Tue - Off

However, after re-reading “Big Boy Basics”, I’m considering doing an upper-body/lower-body split, working each twice per week.

His total-body workouts are done in an alternating “A/B/A/B/A/…” fashion and are as such:

Total Body Workout A:

Box Squat
Walking Lunge

Bent-over Row
Bench Press

Upright Row

Various plank positions 30s each
Calf Raise

Ball Crunch

Total Body Workout B:

Box Deadlift
Step-out Lunge

Machine-assisted Chinups
Military Press

Bent-over R. Delt Flye
Incline Chest Flye

Var. Planks 30s each
Calf Raise

Ball Crunch

Exercises grouped together are done in a supersetted fashion to bring about ideal central (blood-stream mediated) endocrine response while allowing ideal peripheral (local muscular) recovery allowing to use of higher loads and more muscle fiber recruitment: first exercise, rest 60s, second exercise, rest 60s, first exercise…

Sets and reps for first 4 weeks are 2 x 12-15, weeks 5-12 are 3 x 8-12, weeks 13-24 are 3 x 6-10. From there we’ll get into the heavy strength & power work. Why wait six months? A random comment made by my exercise physiology professor that connective tissue strength isn’t strong enough for loads greater than 6RM until 6 months of regular strength training has elapsed. Is this wrong? Anyone?

For flexibility, every day I’ll have him do dynamic stretching: pendulum leg swings for to the front, side, and back, as well as a myriad of upper body dynamic stretches.

On strength days, as part of his cool down, he’ll do isometric/PNF stretching. 15s antagonist contraction: 15s agonist contraction continued until no further gain in ROM, then 30s isometric contraction and 30s passive stretch in greatest acheived ROM. 1 set per stretch.

T-Nation, do your worst!



I’d start off your friend with TBT the move to BBB after that.

[quote]AlbertaBeef wrote:
Goals: ideal bodyweight for relative strength (~60kg), high relative strength, gymnast-like flexibility, and maximum “functional” power w/o going over ideal Rel.Strength body mass.[/quote]

Well, the flexibility issue isn’t my strong point, so you’re on your own with that. Sounds like a solid enough plan, though. I don’t see any harm in your Saturday “cardio” day either. If only to increase calorie consumption, which will be as important as monitoring nutrition, to ensure no unwanted weight gain.

I’ll go out on a limb and say, yes, it is wrong. That was a fairly random comment from your professor. Waiting 6 months before introducing lower rep, heavier load training is a pretty reliable way to stay “not too strong”. I’d consider doing your 2x12-15 for 2 weeks, followed by 3x8-12 for 2 weeks, and then get right into something more meaty.

For the general program design, since it sounds like gymnastics are a goal somewhere down the road, I’d like to incorporate that. I’d probably go for a “classic” strength-focused cycle (low total volume per session, high load, relying predominantly on the Olympic lifts and variations). But if you really want to stick with the superset-style, I’d suggest:
Wed. - Full Body A
Fri. - Gymnastic-inspired routine
Sun. - Full Body B

Full Body A
Box Squat
Walking Lunge

Power Clean
Military Press

Various plank positions 30s each
Saxon Side Bend

Ball Crunch
Lying Leg Arc (“Rainbows”)

Full Body B

Chinups (Only assist if less than 5 can be performed with bodyweight)
Neutral Grip Standing DB Press

1-arm Pullover
1-arm Flye

Hanging Pike
Reverse Hypers

Gymnastic-Inspired Routine
Frog Stand
Handstand Against Wall
Divebomber Push-up
Farmer’s Walk (yeah, not a gymnastic move, but still very useful)

Pick 2 or 3, perform for time. Something like 2 or 3x5-30 seconds, depending on the exercise.

But that’s just off the top of my head. :wink: Let me know what you think. Do you two have access to rings for traiing purposes, such as suspended push-ups and the like?