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Beginner Workout – Strength Training and Conditioning Program Design

Beginner Programs should begin with the 8 or 10 of the basic strength movements of the 8-10 Major Muscle Groups. The goal should be to initiate the muscles with some manageable Overload. The only way to improve the efficiency, strength and performance of a muscle is through Overload. Many women do not like the idea of strength training due to a mis-understanding of the effects. Competitive female bodybuilders have developed massive, muscular bodies due to extraordinary long sustained and intense training, strict nutrition and massive doses of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED). Without the use of PED, it is impossible for anyone, male or female to develop the physiques you see at the professional level of bodybuilding. It is essential that IFPA Certified Personal Trainers and Fitness Professionals understand this. This misconception results in many women avoiding strength training, which may be the best possible activity for their health, weight loss or more specifically, Fat Loss Goals.

The Basic Strength Exercises and major muscle groups they target are:

1) Squat: Gluteals (butt), low back and quadriceps, located on front thigh

2) Hamstrings: Hamstrings, located on rear thigh

3) Chest Press: Pectorals (chest)

4) Seated Row: Upper back

5) Shoulder Press: Deltoids (shoulder, particularly lateral and front head of deltoid

6) Bicep Curl: Biceps Bracchi: Front upper arm

7) Triceps Extension: Triceps Bracchi: Rear upper arm

8) Heel Raise: Gastrocnemius (when knees are straight): Calf

9) Shoulder Shrug: Trapezius

10) Crunch: Abdominal

The Beginner should focus on timing, breathing and optimal form as described in the IFPA Personal Trainer Manual: THE BOOK ON PERSONAL TRAINING, DR. JIM BELL; THE NEW EDITION is scheduled for release next month, October 2017.

Breathing and timing: Always exhale on the Concentric Contraction of the exercise. The Concentric Contraction is when the muscle is bundling up (a shortening of the muscle) which causes the angle around the targeted joint to decrease. The Beginner Timing should be 2 seconds to smoothly contract the muscle through its full range of motion (ROM), then a slight pause before you begin the reverse. The reverse is the Eccentric Contraction, when the muscle begins to elongate back to its resting position. You should be Inhaling. It will take 4 seconds to return to starting position, with another slight pause before you begin your next repetition.

Initially start with one Set of 15 Repetitions, NOT going to failure for the first 2 or 3 workouts. For most healthy bodies, you can start a true 15RM (Repetition Maximum) Set by the 3rd or 4th workout.

A 15 RM Set means, you will have set a weight that will allow you to do just 15 Reps. You will fail at 15, which means you will not have enough strength to do a 16th Rep.

It is also highly recommended that a Beginner also add Cardio and Flexibility Training to their program. The Warm-up could be some light Cardio and Flexibility exercise, but the Workout itself should be Strength Training First, then Cardio, then Flexibility Training as part of the Cool-Down.

As the Beginner Progresses, they should follow a Classic Periodization Program:

Week 1: 15 Reps (not to failure)

Weeks 2-4: 15RM

Weeks 5-7: 12RM

Weeks 8-10: 10RM

Weeks 11-13: 8RM

Active rest: Cardio, Flexibility, or something other than Strength Training. After 10-14 days begin the First Cycle again.

The Goal for beginners is to do the program “Pain-Free.” If something hurts, you exercised that muscle/group with too much intensity and need to reduce the intensity for that muscle/group.

Plan on getting into shape over months, not days! Good Luck!

Dr. Jim Bell, CEO, IFPA