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Making a Beginner Program

Im trying to make a program for my gf and one of my friends, but wanted to run it by you guys first.

I want to design this plan taking into account the fact that they are both begginers and are not as motivated as most of us. Otherwise I would probably use something like starting strength or something similar.

So theres really just a few things I think are necessary in the plan:

  1. Goals should be aimed at acquiring the form on the “big” lifts, and strength improvements, not gains in muscle or losses in fat.

  2. The frequency, and duration of each workout should be what they are willing to do. (as little as 2-3 x /week, and 20-30 minute workouts.


So I was thinking of keeping things very simple in the beginning.

Workout A:

Zercher squats
Supported Rows
Bench

Workout B:

Deadlifts with a single dumbell on its side***
DB snatch progressions**

***I think this is a easy way to learn the form for deadlifts, especially when flexibility isn’t there. Set the dumbell on its side, stand over it, and do a deadlift.

**The DB snatch could probably be left out, but I want them to start learning the form, because this exercise can be a killer conditioning or fat loss tool later on.

I would probably have them stick with 5x5 for most exercises, and perform the deadlifts as 5 singles, and the snatches as sets of 3-5 from a hang.


Any major problems with this? I know its not optimal, but Im trying to make it simple, because I have the feeling that they arent gonna get motivated enough to stick with a plan.

1)I am not sure why you would start off a beginner with Zercher Squats.
2)Nothing wrong with dumbbell deadlifts, forget what their actual name is. But why not let them use a bar?
3)Use Pullups, then a row
4)For beginners 5x5 is fine, but honestly let them get a feel for the weight and figure out what rep “groove” they like best.
5)Also, give them three options or so per push/pull horizontol/vertical so they have choices. Demonstrate them and then let them decide what they like best.

Otherwise, read “How to design a damn good program”. It’s article on this site.

These days I would much rather buy a female the “New Rules of Lifting for Women” book and let them be proactive in their development.

bump

This might be good for them

It’s really only a couple weight training days, the rest is cardio, which includes jump roping, running sprints and biking sprints.

It does use compound lifts. The % of 1 rep max could be tweaked. Perhaps reduce all by 5% and have them do 5x3. Wait better yet, have them do 3x5 or 5x5 instead :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I don’t like the fact that they “are not as motivated as most of us.” I hope they are at least a little motivated.

The other thing, I’m sure you’re aware of, is that if they start weight training (especially since they have not done it before) there will be muscle gain and fat loss. There may even be weight gain in general before there is noticeable results in body composition. Definitely let them be aware to prevent frustration. Good looking bodies take time. Also be prepared for one of them, if not both to stop working out. Once the honeymoon is over, that’s when the determined are separated from the unwilling.

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:
This might be good for them

It’s really only a couple weight training days, the rest is cardio, which includes jump roping, running sprints and biking sprints.

It does use compound lifts. The % of 1 rep max could be tweaked. Perhaps reduce all by 5% and have them do 5x3. Wait better yet, have them do 3x5 or 5x5 instead :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I don’t like the fact that they “are not as motivated as most of us.” I hope they are at least a little motivated.

The other thing, I’m sure you’re aware of, is that if they start weight training (especially since they have not done it before) there will be muscle gain and fat loss. There may even be weight gain in general before there is noticeable results in body composition. Definitely let them be aware to prevent frustration. Good looking bodies take time. Also be prepared for one of them, if not both to stop working out. Once the honeymoon is over, that’s when the determined are separated from the unwilling.[/quote]

Good post.

dankid,

Just have them do Starting Strength. If they aren’t motivated, then they aren’t likely to stick with any program (or at least any program that will get them results). Starting Strength is simple, straight forward and effective.

I think having them do DB deads would be a good idea though. Most people don’t like scraping their shins against the bar all that much. Definitely do not have them do Zercher Squats though; go with either back squats or front squats.

Also, try to get them eating healthy foods and doing cardio and if they stick with it for a while they are sure to get body composition changes.

Good luck.

Also try the Litvinov workout by Dan John.

thanks guys…

I have one suggestion with the DB snatches. If you are trying to teach them the full squat snatch I would start with cleans with 2 dbs or power snatches. I have gotten the form down for cleans but the 1 arm snatch still gets me. Its part flexibility, because I have a hard time getting my butt down and under the weight with my arm locked vertical close to my ear.

Thanks for the suggestion that is a good idea. Im still having trouble getting down low myself. Im gonna start working more on technique, by doing something like drop unders with little or no weight.(not sure if that name is correct)

As for them, i’ll have them start with hang DB power snatches, until they have the strength/flexibility/coordiantion for the full db snatch.

a 2 db power snatch might be a good idea also…

I think it is awesome that you want to teach them cleans and snatches, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial to teach them less technical lifts until they get some experience under their belt?

Ya, but eventually they are gonna have to bite the bullet, and learn the exercise. Really the DB version of the snatch is not that hard to learn. I had my Gf try it the other day with light weight, and she actually got some very good reps in.

I had her do it from a hang, and do a power snatch.

First I had her do a couple of low jump shrugs, and then just told her when she was in the air, lift the weight. Sure enough, her timing was almost perfect, and with a little practice, I think she’d be ready to increase the weight.

But ya, it is a bit more technical, and I dont expect them to increase the weight quickly. Instead they’ll treat it as skills trainig for a bit.

What did you decide on? What did they agree to do is the better question.

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:
What did you decide on? What did they agree to do is the better question.[/quote]

So i took everyone’s advice. I still gotta look up the litvinov program, but I read the entire starting strength post on bb.com and took a look at the new rules of lifting for women.

Ive made some changes, but still have some questions.

1.) In NROLFW they have them start with sets of 15, light weights, and progressively lower the reps, and increase the weight.

In starting strength, everything is sets of 5.

Part of me says higher reps is better, but another part of me says for learning form, the reps should be kept low. What do you guys think?

(I was thinking of comrpomising, and doing sets of 5 for deadlift, and back squat, but sets of 10 for db bench, and rows?)

2.) She’s only willing to workout 2 days per week right now, so i was thinking I gotta include all lifts each workout, or else she wont have enough frequency to learn them. So heres what I came up with for a plan.

A: 1 x 5 deadlift (she’ll warm up and then do one set of five, with a db sitting on its side. I want her to stick with the db until she’s ready to do 115 or 135, because anything else will be too low. Or i’ll have her start them sooner, and use a power rack when available.)

B: 4x5 Back squat (she’ll stick with these for a while, and then i’ll have her give front squats a try)

C1: DB bench 3 x 10
C2: seated cable rows 3 x 10

***I chose db bench, because although its a little harder to learn, i think in the long run with not always having me there to spot, and for different reasons, she should learn to db bench.

As for seated cable rows, i would prefer her to do supported rows, but the gym we go to doesn’t have it, so cable rows will work. As she gets stronger, i’ll alternate in pullups.

D: Some form of ABS.

So thats what i came up with. Other than that, it will pretty much be how starting strength recomends. I’ll start her out light, and slowly linearly add weight.

Thanks again guys, any other suggestions?

Ok, well that last workout seems to be ok, but I’d really suggest doing a vertical variation too and another set of deadlifts–I really think for beginning lifters that only want to train 2x a week, 3 sets is minimum.

Do they have an assisted pull-up station? Assisted pullups or STRICT pulldowns are options too.

I’m thinking

  1. leg movement
  2. horz. push
  3. horz pull
  4. vert. push
  5. vert. pull
    Abs–or you could just do abs between your other exercises, so when you’re done you’re done.

You could get this workout in around 30 minutes +/- a few assuming 3 sets of each exercise. Most major movement planes are covered.

Litvinov

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:

Litvinov


[/quote]

Thanks for that, I read it earlier, sounds painful. I want to put her on something simpler though, that will teach her the main exercises for now, but after she learns them and increases strength, i might make her do that. Then she’ll hate me, hehehe

I learned that, for friends who are interested in weight training but not highly motivated, do NOT make them overly sore the first time you bring them to the gym. :frowning:

You could still Litvinov, but tone it down … a lot. I like how simple it is. A few exercises and some running.

Hey everyone, just following up with all of you on how things are going with my gf’s program.

She’s been following a modified version of the rippetoe program, working out twice a week, for about 4 weeks now.

Heres what she’s been doing.

DB (goblet) deadlift 2-3 sets of 5

DB bench 3-4 sets of 5
Seated row 3-4 sets of 5

1-leg squat/stepups 3-4 sets of 5


She does this same workout twice a week. When she goes up in weight, she’ll do less sets, and then instead of increasing the weight weight the next workout, she’ll add a set, then the next time increase the weight and decrease the sets.

I know she should be doing squats, but she lacks the ability currently, and im not comfortable enough with it myself.

When she gets to 135 for deadlifts, i’ll switch her over to a bar.

Other than that, everything is going really good.

Heres the weights she’s currently using for her sets of 5.

Deadlift 85 lbs
DB bench 30’s
Row 60
1-leg squats BW

She’s gonna continue with things for now, and i think when she gets to about 115-135 for DL, and 40’s for bench, i’ll have her do some EDT for a bit. Thanks again guys.