T Nation

Helping an Ultra Noob


So I'm going to be helping my roommate try to get in shape. He's very very underweight being 24 years old, 5'8" and weighing a staggering 115 lbs. He's already picked himself up Creatine and Protein and has been mixing in peanut butter and gained 7 lbs or so in the last week up to 125 lbs.

Now I just need to continue getting him to eat more on his actual meals and of course a real workout plan.

The real issue I'm having is either his confidence, mind muscle connection, balance, flexibility or combination are really limiting what he can do. I tried to teach him to Deadlift and 65 lbs (bar + 10 lb rubber plates for height) was strenuous just getting his hands to the bar while keeping his back straight. Likewise doing some T-Bar rows he complained that it was hard on his core and legs.

So most of the time he'll be working out alone in an empty gym because he works night shifts as a 911 Operator. I'm just not sure that putting him under a bar even an empty one for things like Squats or Bench is the right move when there won't be anyone to spot or help if he gets into trouble.

What do you all think and what would be some suggestions to get him started and maybe build up his core and stability before going at these or should I just show him something like band assisted squats and band assisted bench until he feels confident enough to do it bandless?

I was actually thinking using Sled Pulling as one of his main exercises at a slow pace with heavy load might help build up his legs, stability and drive.


Basic coordination and flexibility/mobility are good things to work on for absolute beginners.

Everything else will come with time.


Bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight squats, lunges, pushups, abs, back extensions. There are a TON of exercises that you can do without equipment to get a very basic level of strength.

Get him a broomstick - start the squats etc with that. That way he can build the coordination and flexibility to get under a real bar. Back squat, front squat, split squat, overhead squat. VOLUME is what he needs to become proficient.