T Nation

Best Training Methods for Newbie?


So I have always been an athlete, I am in good shape. I am 27 year old, 5' 8" and around 170 pounds. I have really enjoyed learning to weight lift in the last year, I had a bad back (lower back) and deadlifting strengthened and fixed me, back pain and spasm free for 2 years now, no chiro or massage could do that.

So I my big question is, if I wanted to really focus on seeing some strength and physique gains, what is the best method? Do I do individual muscle groups each day, say for example, back on monday, chest on tuesday, legs wednesday, arms thursday, core friday?
Or is it better to combine some and do something like upper body one day, lower body the next, rest and repeat?
Or, is it better to to a full body workout every other day?

I have seen good results by doing the full body thing, but I am new, so probably anythig would give me results. Also, I am not sure about the full body for real substantial gains, because I don't really get to hit each group really hard from all angles so to speak.

Any help out there?


Biggest mistake all beginners make is asking how they should workout instead of how they should eat.


Sorry, here is how I am eating right now:
Breakfast - Oatmeal, with peanut butter and protein, with some flax seed.
morning snack - piece of fruit and two eggs plus three egg whites
Lunch - Tuna with 3 or four pieces of whole wheat bread
Afternoon snack - this is post workout, so protein shake, (1.5 scoops whey protein, with 2-2.5 cups milk and a banana)
Evening meal - Some sort of chicken, or salmon, or lean beef with carbs like rice or yams, or whole wheat pasta, with a side of good veggies like broccoli, this is my favorite meal, so I mix it up.
Evening snack - usually cottage cheese and blueberries.

That is my day. I am pretty devout, and I don't often cheat, if I have a piece of sweetness it is a small square of dark chocolate (90% cocoa) and a cup of coffee.


The best work out and diet is the one you will stick to.

Just pick one work out (read the stickies) and have at it.

Make a log if you want and we will see you in six months.



Why not try out what you have asked in your post? You're going to have many people post what you should and should not do with conflicting ideas.

I say give a bodybuilder type split a go. If that doesn't suit you then move on.


can you explain the bodybuilder type split??


Full body a bad idea. Pick a proven program like 5/3/1 or 3 way split and work the hell out of it.


Why is full body a bad idea?


Its been argued over countless times on these forums, but the general consensus is that for maximum muscle growth split is the way to go.


I would agree, but he said "strength and physique" gains. Not just muscle growth.


yeah i forgot about the part that bodybuilders are weak as shit.


The best thing to do is start......experiment....see what works for you. I ve seen a lot of gains from, 1) Chest Tris 2)Shoulders bis 3)Back, weighted abs, 4)Hams & quads......but i ve also had good gains from push/Pull, upper body lower boy splits etc etc.
Just start somewhere, eat well, train hard and learn.


The biggest problem with a full body workout is the neglect to certain muscle groups and the lack of rest and recovery time needed. You need to rest to Grow! Also consider the hormonal components. At 30 min your body should start spiking you GH levels which will stimulate muscular anabolism (growth and strength). Peak is by 60 min. By 90 min GH is dropping and cortisol is beginning to rasie, as well as muscle glycogen depletion and lactic acid build up which will impair your ability to grow/shed fat. Be sure to include some big multi joint lifts often as they will maximize your hormonal response. (Bench/Squat/Dead's/Power Cleans for example, but dont do them all in a single day). Hope this helps


A begginer's question: Why can't i see even a single post recommending rippetoe's here?

I remember the time I was about to start working out to bulk up. What I got was too many rippetoes recommendations. Why is that so???


Rippetoe's Starting Strength fell to Wendler's 5/3/1.

I still recommend SS to stark beginners. 5/3/1 is a good program, but the starting weights are calculated from 90% of your 1RM (a total newb has no business trying for a 1RM) and the progression is more suited to an intermediate or higher-level lifter. Also, assistance work is unnecessary and probably counter-productive at that point.

Learning the basic barbell lifts is a great way to start. After a couple months, when you see some growth and you stop being sore all the time, you can add some stuff in for arms, calves, rear delts, etc. and start filling in the gaps.

Start low and slow. Add work as your work capacity improves. You should not feel beaten into the ground after your workouts