T Nation

Need Help Advising Beginners!

Need some help, gang. I have a few beginners very interested in getting started off on the right track. (Their FIRST mistake was to come to me, I guess!)Of course, I’ve got them tuned into “Testosterone” and the Lifestlye, and these guys are FIRED UP! It really is fun discussing diets and workouts with truly motivated people. I need for you to tear apart the advice I’m giving them to begin their workouts. (I’ve been pushing the Iron for a while, so I’ve had to “brush up” on starting from the beginning, so here goes:1)For Hypertrophy: 6-12 reps, total of 12-20 sets TOTAL per workout (King, Poliquin, TC, et al.) 2) Work sets at about 75-80% 1RM (we are currently figuring out each individuals 1RM).3) Emphasis on basic movements (Squats, Benches, Rows, Deads, Presses, etc.) 4) Now here is where I REALLY need you guys imput. In terms of progression; do I a) say “six reps minimum THEN add about 5 pounds when you can do 12 reps, with the last rep being fairly hard” OR b) do I add 2.5-5 pounds per exercise each workout irregardless? Tear my thoughts apart guys, and PLEASE add some ideas you would give beginners. (By the way, I’m “easing” them into proper diet with adequate protein (1 gram/lb and PROBABLY a 40P/40C/20F ratio to start; just trying to keep things simple for now). Thanks, gang!

If they haven’t already, be sure they read this: http://www.testosterone.net/html/body_114dawg.html

The other “Dawg School” articles should be helpful too.

AAHHHH…“accentuate the negative”…that one I forget even in my OWN training. Thanks, Chris. I’m on it, and I’ll be sending these guys to the “Dawg School”. (Keep your ideas coming, guys; these guys are hungry. Just want them to get started on the right track). THANKS!

Mufasa, if these guys really are raw beginners, it might be a good idea to start them on the high end of the hypertrophy range (10+) ala King’s training age recommendations. And be sure to emphasize the importance of proper technique over loading. You know how tempting it is to bump up the weight prematurely.

Thanks, guys. So my question for everyone now is what type of progressive resistance would you reccommend for the beginner?: 1) reach a certain rep range THEN increase the poundage 2) Increase the poundage with each subsequent workout OR 3) Other. What have been some of your own experiences?

Mufasa, if it were up to me, I would progress very quickly. It will keep them motivated because they’re having small victories each time in the gym. I’m not sure what rep range to start them in (my instinct would be 6-8, though), but I personally would go with small changes. for instance, instead of 6-12, go 6-8, or 10-12, bumping up the weight about 5 pounds after 8 or after 12 reps. As a newbie, using the same weight each workout is really frustrating even though the reps might move up. And adding just 3 reps is something they could probably do very easily. Sounds like you’re giving them some great advice, though. Good luck to you all, it never hurts to have more T-men around.

Hey Mufasa, I think increasing the resistance every session is the way to go. Beginners improve way better than guys who have been liftin a long time, as you probably know. I think you should start em off with low volume (like maybe 2 sets) and increase the sets/reps gradually over a few weeks. Then start increasing resistance by 5 lbs per week. Beginners should be able to make 5 lb jumps easily with the same routine for a while. My other suggestion is no isolation work for a while. I might get some disagreement here but I think beginners are way better off sticking to compound movements at first without any isolation stuff. This’ll force em to keep it simple and make their gym time more productive, for now anyway. As far as diet goes, I say don’t worry bout macronutrient ratios for now, just concentrate on getting them to eat right. Tell them not to eat crap, have em eat 5-6 times a day and tell them to eat protein in every meal… I bet that alone will work wonders.

Sup dawg. Ill do the workouts for now - the range should be 10-15 (as per King Generalised Guidelines for Hypertrophy for 0-2 year training age). They should lift to failure or very near at the weight around 10 reps and keep increasing reps EVERY WORKOUT until the get near 15 THEN add weight to get back to lower end of scale. Id do a 2-4 day split - full body workouts tend to get pretty catabolic. I would also do 2 exercises for each bodypart to get some specific strength to accelerate big lift progression. Then all they need to do is eat loads so that the scale moves at least 1 pound per week AND INCREASE RESISTANCE

I would add chins as a priority pulling exercise. Sounds great otherwise. Isn’t great hooking newbies up with the right stuff and watching 'em grow like crazy?

Everyone’s posting some great info for newbies here… I wish I had this info when I started 10 years go. Well, here’smy 2 cents added into the pot. When your training newbies, don’t forget that usually weeks 1-3 are going to see quick development in weight progression and/or reps. This is usually due to nervous system adaptation of the exercises invovled. i.e. they’re getting better muscle recruitment during the exercise. After the first couple of weeks, then you start to see the strength and hypetrophy gains due to the muscle physiological adaptions now taking place. As for weight increases, it is always easier to increase reps then weight for the body, so I agree with Dre on his recommedations on reps and weight. You might want to increase the weight for a short time during their training, but start to taper off the increases after a while and use microloading if you can so they’ll see continued progression. Just remember, their success in the future will be determined by how they start out and make sure they shouldn’t compromise form of exercise for weight at the beginning stages of muscle development. Their nervous system needs to develop the motor skills of proper exercise movement patterns so they can make progress with heavier weights in the latter stages of training. Good luck with them, and don’t let them get negative/discouraged when they make mistakes. That’s oneof the reasons why I don’t like to train to failure. No failure equals continued success and builds positive reinforcements for future success!