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  • I need a lifting program; can anyone help?

    Ok. I have a very active cardio regime but absolutely NO weights. As I know many of you here hit the gym on a regular basis, I thought I 'd reach out and see if someone could give me a basic lifting program. Nothing killer, I don't need to look like Arnold. But I do want to tone and have some strength.

    I'd like a program that I can do in the morning before work, that takes no more than one hour. Because of my other morning exercises, I only have two days a week to commit. Will that be enough? Or do I need to throw in a third day, likely after work?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by DocDave; April 10th, 2017, 12:14 PM. Reason: grammar

  • #2
    If you're just starting out with lifting I would recommend that you focus on learning the fundamentals - compound lifts that engage all your core and stabilizing muscles and help you build strength in a balanced way rather than just hitting very targeted muscle groups.

    Take a look at the Stronglifts 5x5 program, which is a good introduction to basic power lifting (squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, and rows). Throw in some triceps dips and pull-ups and you've got a pretty complete full-body workout. I recommend you use a trainer, a buddy, or just video yourself lifting early on so that you can nail your form at lighter weights before you develop any bad habits that could lead to injuries further down the road.

    Once you get comfortable with the basic forms and movements and develop some base strength, you can branch out to more specialized lifting styles, like Olympic lifting or bodybuilding, if you want.

    A basic lifting program should take no more than 30-45 minutes per workout. 2 workouts per week might not be quite enough... 3-4 times would probably be more ideal.
    Ben

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    • #3
      Two days a week won't be enough long-term but it will still let you make some initial progress. Ideally, three is the minimum.

      There are a variety of beginner strength programs to choose from, including the aforementioned SL 5x5. I'm partial to Greyskull LP because it has a better progression system. In either case, just make sure you stay balanced - number of push exercises should roughly match number of pull exercises and try to avoid overly focusing on legs (which is what SL 5x5 does without adding dips/pull-ups as LBD mentioned).

      Also consider that diet will matter. Not right away because as a noob you'll see beginner gains no matter what you do (program and diet) but eventually diet will matter a lot. Program too (ie. 2 days will no longer be enough). At that point you'll need to decide if you're trying to add muscle or lose fat and eat to support the goal. Also be aware that high doses of heavy cardio can interfere with your lifting goals if the two aren't structured properly.

      If you use Reddit, head over to r/Fitness and read the Wiki. It answers basically all of the common beginner questions RE: lifting.

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      • #4
        One thing to keep in mind is that an important component of the lifting programs mentioned is that rest days should be actual rest days. Otherwise you could be headed for over training and injury. That's not to say that a high volume training plan is impossible. I used to fit 8 to 10 workouts into a 7 day week with one day of rest (Sunday), but I was younger and had a coach to program everything based on our competition schedule. If you're going to do a lot of volume then proper rest and nutrition become even more important.

        If you don't want to get into lifting heavy weights at low reps like the programs mentioned above, you can try something like a dumbbell complex. You don't need a lot of weight for these to kick your ass.

        Javorek's Dumbbell Complex # 1 Exercise:

        Dumbbell Upright Row x 6
        Dumbbell High Pull Snatch x 6
        Dumbbell Squat Push Press x 6
        Dumbbell Bent Over Row x 6
        Dumbbell High Pull Snatch x 6


        Perform in a non-stop, continuous order as listed above. If low ceiling, certain exercises perform seated.
        Five exercise x 6 reps = 30 reps/set


        Javorek's Dumbbell Complex # 2 Exercise:

        Dumbbell Upright Row x 3
        Dumbbell High Pull Snatch x 3
        Dumbbell Squat Push Press x 3
        Dumbbell Bent Over Row x 3
        Dumbbell High Pull Snatch x 3


        Perform in a non-stop, continuous order as listed above. Go through the exercises (a cycle) once for beginners, then gradually increase the number of cycles to two, to three, or as much the sports conditioning coach or other specialist considers necessary and adequate. Also for a remarkable cardio-vascular stimulation of this exercise, the number of repetition for each exercise could be gradually increased.

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        • #5
          A good one that helped me was just doing pyramid workout. 1 pullup, 1 pushup, 1 crunch on day one. 2 pullups, 2 pushups, 2 crunches on day two etc until you reach 60 days. Just keep at the pullups (the hardest for me) until you can reach 60 before moving on.
          Best,
          Paul

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          • #6
            I don't have much more to add than what others have suggested but thought I should mention this. When starting you should focus more on getting the movements correct, especially a hip hinge, a surefire way to hurt yourself is by doing them incorrectly.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rawfull View Post
              I don't have much more to add than what others have suggested but thought I should mention this. When starting you should focus more on getting the movements correct, especially a hip hinge, a surefire way to hurt yourself is by doing them incorrectly.
              This. And start with the basics and rest adequately between sets.

              So many beginners injure themselves trying to self-teach difficult lifts (ie. Olympic lifts) or by building ridiculously complex circuits of compound movements.

              Want to get bigger and stronger? Bench variations, Row variations, Overhead pressing variations, Pullup variations, Squat variations and Deadlift variations are the core. Worry about perfecting and progressing these first. Also, circuits are typically designed more for conditioning than they are for building mass/strength. Given the OP already does a bunch of cardio, they probably aren't what he's looking for. Skip the Crossfit fad.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mooseontheloose View Post
                This. And start with the basics and rest adequately between sets.

                So many beginners injure themselves trying to self-teach difficult lifts (ie. Olympic lifts) or by building ridiculously complex circuits of compound movements.

                Want to get bigger and stronger? Bench variations, Row variations, Overhead pressing variations, Pullup variations, Squat variations and Deadlift variations are the core. Worry about perfecting and progressing these first. Also, circuits are typically designed more for conditioning than they are for building mass/strength. Given the OP already does a bunch of cardio, they probably aren't what he's looking for. Skip the Crossfit fad.
                Agreed. Strongly consider getting a one-on-one coach to help you build a program that will meet your goals and teach you the movements to avoid injury.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mooseontheloose View Post
                  There are a variety of beginner strength programs to choose from, including the aforementioned SL 5x5. I'm partial to Greyskull LP because it has a better progression system.
                  Yeah, I should have mentioned that I don't subscribe to the Stronglifts 5x5 program's focus on adding weight every single week, but rather, just the particular exercises it utilizes and the general structure of the workouts (3x a week alternating between squats/bench/row and squats/OHP/deadlift).
                  Ben

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Stronglifts is good. I would also recommend taking a look at Rip's Starting Strength. An easy Google search will give you excel templates for either of these programs.

                    If you do any program, the key to making it work is to, surprise, stick with the programming. Unfortunately, most people alter the programming, or stick with their cardio heavy routines without altering/taking into account new caloric expenditures and the effects other activities have on the linear progression of these novice programs and then complain that they don't work, or that they're not getting stronger as prescribed.

                    The Starting Strength message board is a good place to start to learn what others with your same goals are doing under simple LP strength programs like these.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DocDave View Post
                      Ok. I have a very active cardio regime but absolutely NO weights. As I know many of you here hit the gym on a regular basis, I thought I 'd reach out and see if someone could give me a basic lifting program. Nothing killer, I don't need to look like Arnold. But I do want to tone and have some strength.

                      I'd like a program that I can do in the morning before work, that takes no more than one hour. Because of my other morning exercises, I only have two days a week to commit. Will that be enough? Or do I need to throw in a third day, likely after work?

                      Thank you.
                      Most programs will prescribe three days a week. Like I mentioned in my other post, following the programming is the key to making progress. Starting Strength will take you less time in the morning that Stronglifts 5x5, btw.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for all of the tips and resources. I hope to get on this sooner rather than later. And yes, I'll have to get a third day in there somewhere. Looks like a cardio workout is gonna have to bite it to make the time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DocDave View Post
                          Thanks for all of the tips and resources. I hope to get on this sooner rather than later. And yes, I'll have to get a third day in there somewhere. Looks like a cardio workout is gonna have to bite it to make the time.
                          Honestly, unless you're training for a cardio event, you'll be better off. Cardio makes you better at cardio while lifting makes you stronger and bigger, and improves your posture. Cardio still has its place, but you'll definitely see a benefit if you prioritize lifting (unless of course you're training for marathons or something similar).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Matchbook View Post
                            Stronglifts is good. I would also recommend taking a look at Rip's Starting Strength. An easy Google search will give you excel templates for either of these programs.

                            If you do any program, the key to making it work is to, surprise, stick with the programming. Unfortunately, most people alter the programming, or stick with their cardio heavy routines without altering/taking into account new caloric expenditures and the effects other activities have on the linear progression of these novice programs and then complain that they don't work, or that they're not getting stronger as prescribed.

                            The Starting Strength message board is a good place to start to learn what others with your same goals are doing under simple LP strength programs like these.
                            Came here basically to say this. I did StrongLifts for about 4 months last year, until I had a falling out with my gym (poor/unsafe equipment upkeep, too crowded, etc...). Now I'm collecting the equipment for a small garage gym and will probably go with Starting Strength when I get back into it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              For a twice a week program, I liked Hatch for front and back squat. It can also be applied to presses and deadlifts as well. We did this at my Crossfit gym, although the coaches tried to program a regular metcon. This only gave us 25 minutes to do the full front/back squat sets, so I opted out of the metcon on those days.

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