First off, let me introduce myself, my name is Neil, we will be getting started with the beginning stage of weight training for all you beginners out there and for those of you that have been training for awhile, in case you have picked up any bad habits, this would be a good place to get started.
Before you get started on any serious weight training regimen, I would suggest that it be a good idea for you to check with your doctor and get a good physical just to be on the safe side to make sure your in good health.
Next I want to talk about stretching, this is a very important key to getting started before a workout. A lot of guys out there don’t even give this a thought but it’s a very good preventive against muscle strains. You can do whatever stretches you feel most comfortable with but they should be for the most part, aimed at the general muscle group you’ll be working.
whether if you workout at home or you like to hit the gym, your first step should be cardiovascular. A stationary bike is good, another excellent option would be some form of cardiovascular machine. For example could be a treadmill or maybe even a aerobics class to start off before your weight training. I would suggest if you can start out with ten minutes and work your way up at your own pace, whatever you feel comfortable with. If you can eventually work your way up to one hour of cardiovascular before you weight train, that would be excellent.
One thing I like to use if you have the option is a gauge to measure your calorie expenditure, typically allot of the better quality machines out there have gauges for calorie expenditure, but if they don’t, another option you could use are portable, calorie expenditure gauges.
In a future post I’ll be going over goals with you, but one thing I would like to cover now is at whatever level of cardiovascular you start out with, however much you feel comfortable with doing in your beginning stage, it would be a good idea to increase your cardiovascular training by maybe a few minutes each week, this way you can gradually work your way up to an hour.
Next, after you finish with your cardiovascular session, it would be a good idea to discuss some stretching before you jump right into weight training.
Stretching can improve your range of motion, increase circulation and have a calming effect on your mind.
(Standing hamstring stretch)
Stand perfect with your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, arms at your sides. Exhale while you bend forward at the hips, lowering your head to the floor, while keeping your head, neck and shoulders relaxed, wrap your arms around the back side of your legs and hold for about one minute.
Sit on the floor keeping your back straight with the souls of your feet together, knees bent to the sides. Hold on to your ankles, engaging the abdominals, slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while holding your knees against the floor.
(Seated forward stretch)
While sitting on the floor, extend both legs out in front of you, keeping your legs together, flex your feet and reach your fingers to your toes by bending at the hips. Focus on stretching the backs of your legs, hold for thirty seconds.
These stretching moves are referred to as static stretching, which means your holding the stretch for a matter of seconds.
The common theory that’s practiced is to do stretching before your workout, but the truth about static stretching is it’s best to do after your workout. Static stretching decreases the activity of the central nervous system, reduces blood flow to the muscles and can actually hinder your athletic performance.
Now that you are a little more informed about the beginning structure of your training, the importance of cardiovascular, stretching and when it is best to fit that in, which would be after the workout, Now you can move on to the weight training.
For the first week I would suggest you condition yourself with exercises you can do at home, combination movements like pushups, deep knee bends, crunches, lunges and low back raises. Combination movements are exercises that involve more than one muscle at a time.
It’s best to find a time of the day you would feel most comfortable to do your training, whether it be in the morning, afternoon or evening, whatever you’re preference, whenever it fits best with your time schedule, or whenever you feel your energy level is at a good height. A lot of people prefer to do their training in the morning, it’s not only when their energy level is at its best but often they may find themselves to tired after working a long day or they have other family obligations. Point is, it’s best to find a good time of the day to do your training and then stick with it.
Position yourself on your knees, hands on the floor, positioning your hands approximately shoulder width apart, raise your knees off the floor, begin to lower yourself to the floor but refrain from resting on the floor, try to keep a couple of inches between you and the floor, this way you will keep tension on your muscles in the bottom of the movement, push yourself up, extending arms out straight, lower slowly and repeat.
Do as many as you can, try to shoot for twenty repetitions, if you can’t quite make that many, you can always work your way up.
DEEP KNEE BENDS
This is another good exercise you can do at home or in the office at break time. This one you can either stand flat foot on the floor or you can use a wooden block or a book to elevate your heels. When you use something to elevate your heels, it helps to keep your back straight, whereas you don’t elevate your heels you may have a tendency to lean forward to much which would put a lot of strain on your lower back especially if you are doing weighted squats.
This exercise there are a lot of variations you can do, you can do the standard knees bent with arms in front of you or you can keep your legs straight. You can have your arms at your sides or you can keep them straight over your head which would put more tension an your abdominals, it all depends on how much you feel your able to do.
When performing this exercise, you’ll want to make sure that when you raise your self up into the crunching position that you don’t have a tendency to pull yourself up in a jerking motion if you have your hands positioned behind your head, it is best to let your abdominals do the work.
This next exercise you can really get a good workout when doing it correctly. In the starting position I keep my hands on my hips, standing straight I take a good stride forward with my right foot, bending at the knee, I lean forward into the stretch and drop my left leg down so that my left knee comes close to touching the floor. After I return to standing position upon completion of the first repetition with my right leg, then I repeat with the left leg, alternating from one leg to the other.
With this exercise you can try to do twenty repetitions, but if you can’t, no worries, just start out at whatever you can do and work your way up.
LOW BACK RAISES
Now in this final exercise I’ll be covering today, the low back raises are a good one for strengthening the lower back. It’s good to have a strong lower back being that it comes into play a lot when weight training.
This exercise you can lay on a carpeted floor or if you have access to a weight bench will work good to. Lay face down with arms at your sides, raise your upper torso and your legs simultaneously, try to shoot for at least twenty repetitions with this one.
This exercise my chiropractor gave me to do to strengthen my lower back, I still do it to this day.
Now that I have covered the basics with you today, your assignment will be the routine I outlined for you. Do each exercise for two sets with a total of five exercises that would be ten sets in a workout. Do this three times a week with one day of rest in between.
Then it would be a good idea to join up with a gym if you can, to get a full all around workout, it would be best to have access to free weights and weight machines. To get up to speed on a protein supplementation to pack on some muscle, click on this link. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the box.
Till next time, take care and happy pumping.