Beginning Weight Training Part5

by Lyle McDonald

Ok, here it is. The final (?) part of my series on beginning weight
training. In this section, I will try to bring everything together by
discussing exercise selection, order, and how to design a workout.

Generally speaking, the best exercises for beginners are those
that work large muscle groups across multiple joints. Examples
of this are bench presses and leg presses. Generally, isolation
or single joint exercises like Pec Deck flyes are best saved for
more advanced routines. I am aware of the theory of basing
your workout on large muscle, whole body exercises such as
squats and deadlifts. However, these are technically difficult
lifts and I am hesitant to recommend them to the complete
novice. So, good exercises by muscle group are:

Thighs: Leg presses, Lunges, Leg extensions
Hamstrings: Leg curls
Gluteals: Leg presses, Lunges
Calves: Calf raise
Chest: Bench press, Incline bench press
Back: Low row, Lat pulldown
Shoulders: Military press
Biceps: Bicep Curl
Triceps: Tricep Pushdown
Abs: Crunch, Reverse Crunch
Low Back: Back extensions

Also, remember from my last post, that my recommendations are
to use machines for all exercises except biceps and triceps. (Well,
technically, tricep pushdowns are on a machine, but it is not
on a specific tricep machine). Also, I don't personally believe in using
machines for abdominals either. First and foremost, using weight
will tend to make your muscles get larger and few people really
want a thickly muscled waist. Also, most of the machines I've
seen don't even work the abs, they work the hip flexors. I will be
putting up a complete article on ab training and anatomy soon
addressing these points and others. Generally, one exercise per
bodypart is sufficient in the beginning. If desired, you can do
a different exercise on different days for variety. This also
allows you to learn a variety of movements and hit the muscles
from different angles.

In terms of ordering, in the beginning, it is generally best to move
from largest muscle group to smallest. So, the general order is
Legs, Chest, Back, Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Abs. Note that I
listed these bodyparts in alternating push-pull order. By push and
pull I mean this. Chest, shoulders, and triceps involve pushing type
motions for the most part. Back and biceps are considered pulling
movements. My rationale for alternating them is this. When you are
working chest, you are also working shoulders and triceps. My personal
preference is to insert a pulling movement (i.e. back) before working
shoulders. This allows the shoulders time to recover so that more
weight can be used with them. Incidentally, this is also the rationale
for moving from larger muscles to smaller. If you were to work
shoulders before chest, your chest workout would suffer because
your shoulders were already tired. But when you work chest
before shoulders, you pre-exhaust the shoulders so that they don't
require as much work to be fully stimulated. Since this is getting
too long, I will finish up in the next post by putting all of it
together and designing an example workout. Mail to lyle…


source: newsgroup, 5 Dec 93.

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