First step to your perfect body – workout's rules-of-thumb

There are many views on how a beginner's training plan should look like. According to scientific researches published a couple of years ago, in respect of building muscle mass and strength a training 3 times a week and once a week produces similar results at a beginner. Of course, it will be the case if capacity (number of sets and repetitions) and intensity (% of maximum weight, breaks between sets) will be similar within a given week. A training, as a matter of fact, is just a small impulse for the growth of muscles. The biggest work needs to be done in the kitchen, and not while "massacring weights". This golden rule is misunderstood by many regular visitors to the gym who often spend there 3-4 times too much time.

It is very good for a beginner to:

  1. Have a specific training goal.

  2. Train their whole body, not only selected parts.

  3. Use free weights instead of gym equipment.

  4. Apply various range of repetitions.

  5. Adjust workout's capacity and intensity to their capabilities.

Step 1: Selection of a training goal

"If you don't have excessive subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue, simply choose a mass training”. It is a rooted, though erroneous, determination the mistake of which I will explain in a further part of the article. How to determin the level of body fat? The easiest way: visually or by measuring fat folds. BIA body composition test does not produce credible results, especially for sportsmen and obese people (as scientific examination proved). And home scales are particularly untrustworthy in the respect of percentage of body fat valuation.

If you have too much of fat tissue, you should focus your work on reducing your extra ballast. That's it.

What is the difference between reduction and mass building?

  • While doing the mass training, you supply your body with surplus calories, and during reduction, you have a negtive calorie balance (it means, in the former case you supply more calories than your BMR – basal and total metabolic rates need; in the latter, less than your total BRM require),

  • Cardio training (such as jogging, swimming, cycling) and intervals (alternating sprints and moderate running, rope climbing or weight dragging) are of less importance. In case of reduction, cardio is important, and intervals are essential,

  • While building your mass you aim at gaining higher arm, thigh and chest circumference at the same time having as little fat level as possible. In case of reduction, you try to lose as many inches around your waist as possible without loss of arm, thigh and chest circumference,

  • While building your mass, you can let yourself have occasional derogat from your diet. In case of reduction it is highly inadvisable with the exception of "false meals" which aim at re-boosting your metabolism,

  • While building your mass you will gain strength as well. In case of reduction some weaknesses is inevitable,

  • You speed up your metabolism when building mass; in case of reduction, your BMR may decidedly slow down (depending on your hormonal conditions, size of the calorie deficit etc.),

But! As a matter of fact a strength training for mass building and fat reduction may be similar. You use similar weights, exercises, sets and reps, capacity.

To sum up:

  • If you want to try an FBW training plan – a good option would be a 15-10-5 form training,

  • If you prefer splits, westside barbell for skinny bastards is worth recommendation,

Step 2: Train your whole body, not only selected parts

It does not mean: do only the FBW (full body workout). Well, yes, full body workout is effective but a well-planned split training will do its job as well. It's all about balance between your upper and lower body, front and back. If you do 30 sets on smallest muscle groups (such as shoulders, triceps, biceps) and your training of large muscle groups (ie. front and back of your thigh, your upper and lower back) count only 3-5 sets, then you build a gigantic disproportion. It's the same if you do Hercules worth effort into building your chest and arms, while the biggest and strongest muscle parts of your body (legs) will be trained during... jogging or cycling. According to this logic, don't go to the gym at all: your biceps, triceps and shoulders work too during running. Unfortunately, aerobic training (trotting, jogging, marching, cycling, swimming) is insufficient if you want to build an aesthetic body shape. More intensive anaerobic workout is required.

The basis of a leg training are:

  • full-range squats, olympic squats (the deeper, the better muscle growth and less stress on the knee joint),

  • barbell lunges (full-range),

  • barbell stiff-leg deadlift (partial motion range),

  • standing or seated calf rise (with one or both legs).




The basis for a back training are:

  • full-range pull-ups,

  • inverted rows,

  • standard or sumo deadlifts (full-range),

  • barbell row,

  • dumbbell row,

The most commong excuse for not doing these exercises is: "I don't know correct technique so I work out on the machines". If you don't learn basic exercises in the beginning, you will face more and more problems later on. Especially bad idea is to avoid pull-ups only because you can't do even one full repetition. You don't have to do it, but do other exercises like inverted rows or ask your partner to help you pull yourself up.

You can't do barbell squats? Work on your technique with a sole bar or with just minimum weight.

Yet another commonly heard excuse: "I have a knee injury”.

It is not a good idea to skip essential muscle building exercises. Your strength results from the development of your legs and back muscle (if you don't believe, compare results of strongmen and weightlifters with amateur bodybuilders). If you have really suffered from an injury of your liagment, meniscus or kneecap, consult the orthopedics and physiotherapist to find out which exercises you can do.

To sum up:

  • train your entire body,

  • pay equal attention to your legs (squats!) as you do to your upper body,

  • do proporionally more workout on large muscle groups (such as: dorsal, trapezius, teres major, teres minor, rhomboid muscles) compared to small muscle groups (biceps, triceps, forearms, shoulders, calves),