An experienced training partner can help you learn proper form and technique.
Starting a full-body resistance-training program is a smart choice considering it helps improve lean muscle mass, reduce body fat and slow muscle loss as you age. Other benefits include lowered risk of obesity, osteoporosis, depression and improved symptoms of arthritis. As a beginner, a three-day full-body workout is an effective way to begin reaping the benefits of resistance training. In addition to strength training, it's important to include at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week for your cardiovascular health.
Sets, Reps, Rest, Duration
The outline of this beginner workout includes doing three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions per exercise. Rest for at most two minutes between sets; aim for 90 seconds of rest between sets if you can. Overtraining can occur if you spend too much time training, so keep each workout to a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 45 minutes. More training doesn't always lead to better results. Include a rest day between workout sessions. For example, exercise on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Choosing the Right Weight
As a beginner, you'll have to use some trial and error to determine the ideal weight or resistance for each exercise. You'll be doing 12 to 15 reps for each exercise, so the goal is to find a weight or resistance level that causes you to struggle on the final one or two reps. This means the weight is heavy enough to challenge your muscles, yet light enough to complete the proper number of reps with good form. Keep in mind you may have to lower the weight slightly on the second and third sets since the first set will fatigue your muscles. Try to increase resistance levels by 3 to 5 percent every week to keep experiencing strength gains in the long term.
Muscle Groups to Target
The major muscle groups your full-body workout will target include the chest, shoulders, back, legs, abdominals and arms. This workout will target all major muscles plus the smaller supporting musclesвЂ¦ The exercises will target multiple muscle groups at once to help limit the number of exercises you do per workout. Since you're a beginner, you'll be hitting each muscle group once per workout, three times per week. As you become an intermediate lifter - 12 or more months down the line - you'll want to exercise each muscle group at a heavier resistance level, lower rep count, more sets and just once per week for maximum muscle recovery.
Each workout will contain one exercise that works out each of the major muscle groups. Exercise the chest muscles using the bench press, dumbbell flyes, incline/decline bench press, pec deck or pushups. Target the shoulder, or deltoid, muscles with military press, shoulder press, lateral dumbbell raises or pullups. Strengthen your back with deadlifts, back extensions, reverse flyes or seated cable rows. Hit your leg muscles with squats, leg presses or lunges. Calf raises or the calf machine exercise the calf muscles. Work your biceps using biceps curls, concentration curls, preacher curls, hammer curls or chinups. Exercise your triceps with triceps kickbacks, overhead triceps extensions, skull crushers, dips or close-hand pushups. Finally, exercise your abs using the bicycle maneuver, vertical leg crunches, reverse crunches, captain's chair or exercise ball crunches.
Use variety in your workouts. Choose one exercise for each muscle group category above for each workout. Don't do the same exercise more than once per week. For your chest exercise, for example, choose bench press for Monday's workout, pec deck for Wednesday's workout and pushups for Friday's session.