T Nation

Searching Articles & Other ?s

Hi all, a few questions.

Its been suggested that I look through the articles for plans good for beginners, particularly when it comes to the kinds of lifts I’ve been doing and nutrition. There are a LOT of articles here and I’m having trouble finding this kind of info.

Can someone give me some good search keywords for browsing info relevant to my needs?

In general to maximize strength and muscle mass gains, what %age of my max should I be lifting? My first week I kind of experimented with the various machines to find what I liked / didn’t like and to evaluate my strength. My target for most groups, other than my shoulders (which I have read dont respond well to heavy lifts) has been to find a weight that I can get 4-6 reps at, approaching failure on 6.

In general I go for 3 or 4 sets (depending on the muscle) at this weight, and so far I find that set 3 or 4 I am either barely finishing or failing one or two reps early. Is this the proper approach?

Other have suggested that I keep a log of my activities as a means to evaluate my progress to my goals. Would starting a thread here that I update be appropriate? If not, is there a forum for these kinds of threads?

Thanks for the info.

Well, I’m a newb too but one or two answers for you…

  1. Start with the three topics stickied in the beginners section. Work your way through every link in those articles.

  2. Start with the beginners programs. See point 1.

  3. Keep a paper log. I write down the exercise, the number of reps, the weight used. As I do more than one set it looks like this…

squat 10 reps 40kg load, 10 reps 50kg load, 10 reps 60kg, 6 reps 70kg.

i actually bought a weider training log to write it all down in just because it was easier to carry and saved me drawing lots of lines in a ruled notebook or printing loads of sheets in Microsoft Excel

You should try to avoid failing on reps. As far as articles for beginners look up Big Boy Basics and Anti Body Building Hypertrophy both articles by Chad Waterbury. You should also just browse through his articles and look for new info because he covers a lot of the basics and slowly ranges into more complex stuff. If you’re looking for strength gains your set x reps look fine but if you want size gains I’d increase them a bit.

[quote]Skrussian wrote:
You should try to avoid failing on reps. As far as articles for beginners look up Big Boy Basics and Anti Body Building Hypertrophy both articles by Chad Waterbury. You should also just browse through his articles and look for new info because he covers a lot of the basics and slowly ranges into more complex stuff. If you’re looking for strength gains your set x reps look fine but if you want size gains I’d increase them a bit. [/quote]

Actually I’m trying to build up a good fitness base which includes increasing my strength. I am not especially concerned about “size” gains but I do want to put on more lean mass.

My goals for the first 8 weeks are:

  1. Lower my body fat % from 20 to 15
  2. Be able to nail 10 clean chinups.
  3. Increase my cardiovascular fitness.

Currently I am 6’3, 235lbs.

I have tired methods involving lighter weights and more reps in the past and haven’t made any strength gains.

The next 8 weeks after this I will concentrate on really building muscle mass.

The thing where most people go wrong with low weight high reps is they either go way too high with reps forcing them to use a weight that doesn’t really challenge there muscles or they don’t bother calculating their new volume and may actually be lifting less total weight.

I always keep track of Sets x Reps @ weight in my log. If you’re focusing on muscle mass you are going to want to be in the 30-50 unless you’re interested in trying something more intense/complex like german volume training. However if you use a weight in the 30-50 total rep range that makes you really feel the last few reps of the last few sets you’ll be surprised how much volume you can still atain with lighter weights.

Your goals look good and you’re really just going to need to experiment. Good luck.

the are you a beginner thread is loaded with links

check it out

Phill