Join Date: May 2012
Write-up on a lifting routine for new lifters
I made this to give to freinds that ask me for lifting advice
Write up on Modified version of Mark Rippetoes’ Starting Strength, practical for those without access to a weight training coach
What is it:
This program is designed for beginning weight-lifters who want to gain strength and size, while learning to do the basic lifts with good form. Search for Mark Rippetoe [insert lift] on you tube for instructional videos. This is an all around program for trying to gain muscle mass, strength, or preserve muscle mass while cutting fat.
Why is it modified?
It is modified because most beginners want to do some isolation arm work, and most beginners do not have access to a coach to teach them the power cleans. I will also make recommendations for people who can’t do certain lifts due to pain.
What you will need:
A standard 35 or 45 lb barbell with weight plates should have 45’s, 35’s, 25’s, 10’s, 5’s, 2.5’s. A bench and something you can squat from.
How fast you should increase the weight:
This varies depending on the person and the lift, but as a general guideline I recommend first practicing good form with a broomstick, then figuring out your max for the reps specified below. Wait about 3-7 days after this workout before starting, and then do about:
First A and B workouts: 50% rep max
Second A and B: 60% rep max
Third A and B workouts 70% rep max
Fourth A and B: 80% rep max
Fifth A and B: 90% rep max
Sixth A and B: 95% rep max
If you’re new to lifting your rep max should have increased already, so increase weight by 5-15 lbs each workout depending on how you feel. You will be able to increase weight faster on Squats and Deadlifts than the other lifts. Don’t worry about other people in the gym judging you b/c your lifting light weights, everyone has to start somewhere. Unless you have friends that are serious lifters you probably shouldn’t go to the gym with them b/c they will pressure you to do 1 rep maxes, cheat reps, drop sets, tell you to only work one muscle group per workout, when you’re not ready.
Do 3 workouts per week, alternating between an A and B work out, do NOT work out 2 days in a row:
These are your work sets; use the same weight for each set. Do lighter warm-ups before, if you’re starting out you may not need many, but I like to do my warm-ups using the same number of reps, with weights that will warm up my joints and muscles w/ out fatigue. Do about a 5 minute light cardio workout and some dynamic stretches beforehand, then do about a 5 minute cardio cool down, dynamic stretches, and static stretches. To prevent injuries I recommend arm circles with light dumbbells, lying on the ground and lifting your leg up, then lye on your side and lift it laterally, then lying on your back again, putting your feet on the ground next to each other with knees at a 45 degree angle and squeezing a Pilates ball for about 3 sets of 15-20 reps. You could use the equivalent machines but most guy’s will not want to use them.
1. Barbell Back Squats: 3x5
2. Barbell Bench Press: 3x5
3. Bent over Barbell Rows 3x5
4. Un-weighted ab work 3 sets
Optional after 2 weeks:
5. Dips, 2 sets increasing reps, if you get to 15-20 you may add weight
Optional after 4 weeks:
6. Barbell Bicep curl 2 sets starting at 8 reps, increasing reps to 12, then add weight, repeat cycle
1. Barbell Back Squats 3x5
2. Military Press 3x5
3. Bent Over Barbell Rows 3x5
4. Weighted ab work 3x10
Optional after 2 weeks:
5. Pull-ups/Chin-ups 2 sets, if you get to 15-20 reps you can start adding weight
Optional after 4 weeks:
6. Skull-crushers with barbell or Dumbbell 3x8-12, same protocol as for bicep curls
If you feel pain/discomfort from these lifts stop immediately and try the below alternatives, I do not recommend using these unless you feel pain:
Squats – try replacing with front squats, some people aren’t built for back squats, if that doesn’t work, use a leg press machine
Bent Over Row – this is another lift many people have trouble with, try replacing with One Arm Dumbbell Rows, or a rowing machine as a last resort
Bench or Military Press – You can use dumbbells instead, for military press, do it seated if the pain is in the back. Some gyms have a “Seated Barbell Overhead Press” Rack.
Dead lift – a lot of people are scared of this, however it has reduced pain in my back, however if it does cause pain try 2x10 weighted hyper extensions and squatting all the way down until your butt touches your calves during your squats. You could do leg hamstring curls 2x10 instead of squatting so deep but you should squat until your legs are past parallel anyways.
What to do if you stall on lift(s)
The focus of this program is the first three lifts in each workout. As long as they are progressing there is really no need to worry.
If you can’t complete the last set on one and you have a workout partner you can have him/her assist you to complete it, then during the next workout if you still can’t complete the set(s), stop the exercise and reset back to 50% of the weight and work back up, increasing the weight in smaller increments once you get close to your new 5 rep max. Also scale back on optional exercises that work the same muscles as the lift(s) in question.
If you’re stalling on most or all of your lifts, then take a week off from lifting, and then start back at 50%, scale back on optional exercises as well.
Why aren’t there dumbbells or machines in this program?
The main problem with dumbbells is that you can only increase weight in 10 lb increments. Free weights require coordination and involve more muscle to keep the weight stable. Gains made on machines will not, for the most part, transfer to a similar free weight exercise. The smith machine only allows you to move in one plane of motion, which can make the lifts awkward and cause very pain full injuries. I learned this the hard way.
Why are you recommending 3x5 scheme?
Many beginners will lose form by 10 reps and risk injury, and I feel that a 3x5 is the right amount of total reps to learn proper form. Less than 5 reps at a time would also present a greater risk for injury if you are starting out.
Why do full body workouts 3 times a week instead of a 5 day split? I’m still sore from the last workout, should I do that lift again?
Most people can recover enough in 48 hours to work out again and increase the weight, even if they are sore. Splits are less efficient for beginners because they take emphasis off of the main compound lifts and put it on isolation lifts. Some experienced lifters find they work better, and remember that professional IFBB pro-bodybuilders use hormones (at least most), which change the way you recover from workouts. Recovery is mostly a systemic thing and doing extra volume will most likely be detrimental for this program.
I read in a magazine…
The routines in magazines appeal to peoples misconceptions about weight lifting. They also appeal to people’s wants for something new, exciting, and unrealistically effective. In men’s magazines this is idea that more is better, and to absolutely work the muscle as hard and often as possible. In women’s magazines, this is to the false idea that lifting will make them bulky, and that localized fat loss is possible.
I’m a female, can I do this program?
Yes. Almost no women will become masculine and bulky from weight lifting even if they try, unless they use hormones. You will probably need to increase the weight slower, especially on the upper body lifts.
Should I do cardio?
If your goal is to gain muscle, I would recommend limiting it to jogging 4 miles/week or 2 25 minute sessions of high intensity interval training/week on non-lifting days. You can also go for more frequent fast paced walks, or moderate bike rides. If you’re passionate about a sport or something else I’m not saying to give that up, however. Factor this in to your diet.
How should I eat? What supplements?
That depends on your goals and is outside the scope of this write-up.
I’m trying to cut fat, should I use this program?
It is a good way to preserve muscle, and if you’re a beginner you will probably gain some muscle while losing fat, if your diet is right.
But I just want to work my upper-body…
This routine is not for you.