T Nation

Recommend a Program for a Beginner thats Overweight Please?

Hello CT and everybody else! Im new to weightlifting, i used to be in really good shape 15 years ago while in the forces but had an accident and let myself go. I have a young daughter and shes started to notice i have some fat on me so i want to change my life.

Im 34 years old 200 pounds 25-30% Bodyfat and i don’t have previous lifting experience. Im overwhelmed with the amounts of programs out there. My goal is to get strong, i would like people to look at me and think dam he looks strong and powerful, not just puffy muscles, naturally i need to drop weight along the way. CT could you recommend a program to get me on the right track please?

Well if you are a beginner recommending a program is likely not the most important thing, especially if your goal is to be and look strong. You first need to learn the big basic lifts. Not so much “train” them by trying to go heavy or push yourself to the limit but actually learning the perfect technique and practicing it.

UInvest a good 6-8 weeks in perfecting technique on squats, deadlifts, bench press and military press. Ideally find a coach with experience as a strength athlete to coach your through these basic movements. When you are technically solid on them you can think about the importance of a specific program. In the mean time, learn these four drills PERFECTLY. And do each of them twice a week:

DAY 1: squat / deadlift (I normally don’t recommend this, but when you are a beginner and focus on practicing form it’s okay)

DAY 2: bench press/military press

DAY 3: deadlift / squat

DAY 4 Military press / bench

Simpoly do a lot of sets of 3 - 5 reps on each movement, up to 10-12 at each session REMEMBER you are NOT lifting heavy or pushing to your limit… you are working on drilling form. If you were focusing on lifting heavy or going to your limit you would do less sets. But right now you should be practicing your skill with moderate weigths and low reps (to avoid form degradation due to fatigue) and do lots and lots of sets to get good at the patterns.

Then if yopu want to you can add some bodybuilding exercises at the end.

Christian. Thank you far taking the time to answer me personally. I will do as you advise and learn the main lifts.

Is it ok for me to work out 3 days a week with 1 lower main lift and 1 upper main lift on each of the 3 days. EG. Mon - squat and Bench / Wed - Dead and Press / Fri - squat and bench, then repeat ABA, BAB ect? Also if you have the time i dont want to get caught up in all the hundreds of difference assistance lifts and all there variations ect. In your opinion what would you reccomended a beginner like me in terms of assistance/bodybuilding lifts that offer the best carry over to the main-lifts. Again thank you Christian

Anybody? pretty please

Pull ups, rows, farmer’s carries…but, like CT says, mainly worry about the technique in the big four.

I would also recommend getting your diet dialed in- start with caloric deficit, then get your macros, then improve your sources. Maybe some LISS 2-3 times a week if you’re up to it.

Good luck.

An ABA/BAB schedule is how things like Starting Strength and Stronglifts are run. This will work fine, but do as Christian has said and work on mastering the lifts. Don’t worry about assistance stuff for now - if you don’t have any lifting experience the basics (which really aren’t that basic) will be plenty.

Very solid advise from CT here. More people should spend a good amount of time building a solid base (that is build technique and strength) in the basic lifts before starting with specialisation. When your foundation is rock-solid you will not only be able to progress much MUCH faster going forward, but you will have a solid base from which you can jump to whatever comes next (be it bodybuilding, powerlifting, olympic lifting, cross-fit, or even other non-weight type sports). If you have good technique and build strength on that, you are going to be better off.

I see a lot of intermediate lifters who never did spend the proper time learning and often neglect it going forward. Subsequently they never progress much, get stuck or worse - always battling injuries, and often can’t really (successfully) take on new athletic endeavours. I think those types of lifters would benefit a lot from going back and spending time re-learning the lifts.

As to which accessory work that have best carry-over the answer is: It depends.
It depends where your weakness in the lifts are (and they change over time). In the beginning the weakness is likely overall technique and strength, maybe lack of mobility. Later, when technique is solid, you can start to analyse weak-links more easily and add work accordingly. It is hard to know, without seeing you lift. Most often people neglect the basics which would solve their weaknesses naturally anyway. (Proper bracing and breathing, making sure the right muscles are firing etc.).

So don’t put the cart in front of the horse. That said, you could probably add some lighter BB style work here and there that wouldn’t require much in regards to technique or recovery demands.

One day a week can do the HIIT/wed session here…

(say 6 months down the line can try the whole program)