We are going to describe a full-body routine for beginners (and could be useful for some intermediates), why it is the best for them and the most common mistakes that happen when we are new in the gym. Let’s go!
Below, you will find 2 routines: X and Y. Each of them has to be done on weekly basis using the next pattern: XYX and YXY. One example would be:
- Monday: X
- Wednesday: Y
- Friday: X
- Monday: Y
- Wednesday: X
- Friday: Y
|2||Barbell Bench Press||5||4-7|
|3||Pull ups/Cable Pulldown||3||8-10|
|4||Standing Military Press||3||8-10|
|5||Low-Incline Barbell Bench Press||3||8-10|
There are 2 important things when we talk about following a routine:
You must keep doing it on weekly basis and no give up.
To progress is very important. If you want to get results, you must stress your body since it gets used to certain stress very quickly.
So, the progression would be:
- Always start with working with the minimum number of reps. I.E, Squats –> 10kg, 5 sets, 4 reps.
- On each workout, increase one rep (it seems to be a small progression but believe me, it is more than enough). I.E,
- Session #1: Squats –> 10kg, 5 sets, 4 reps.
- Session #2: Squats –> 10kg, 5 sets, 5 reps.
- When we reach the maximum number, we increase weight and start with the smaller one again. I.E
- Session #4: Squats –> 10kg, 5 sets, 7 reps.
- Session #5: Squats –> 11kg, 5sets, 4 reps.
- Never work till your limit! Always work with a weight that allows you to perform a couple of reps more, but never perform them. So, if you do Squats 5 sets, 4 reps, you actually must be able to perform Squats 5 sets, 6 reps, being this your limit.
- Never increase the weight more than a 10% of the current one! If you do increase it, you will face a few problems:
- You will be obligated to work till you limit.
- More risk of injury.
- The progression will be affected.
- We will need more time to recover.
- More risk of burning out or overtraining.
Typical questions that can come to your mind
Can I workout more than 3 days per week?
Yes, you can. Just make sure that the rest of workouts does not interfere with the progress in your routine. So, for instance, you can include some light cardio between sessions, which will help you to recover from the previous one. A very good one that I use to practice is cycling for one hour, never going beyond my aerobic zone (remember that I mentioned how to check whether you are working out within your aerobic zone or not in this post)
Can I do more sets per exercise?
NO, you can’t. As you see, we will repeat muscles during the week. It means that we have to control the volume in our workouts or, otherwise, we will end up burning ourselves (1). Remember that more does not mean best.
Can I add more reps?
NO, you can’t. This routine will build your strength as well as to create the perfect environment for getting hypertrophy. If you feel like going beyond the reps limit, then increase the weigth as we’ve seen above.
For how long should I rest between sets?
The timing for resting depends on our goals. For maximal strength has been demonstrated that resting periods between 3-5 mins between sets is the best from a physiological and psychological point of view (2, 3, 4). However, for hypertrophy, it is better to rest between 30 – 60 secs due to the growth hormone output produced. As we are beginners, our goal must be to build strength. After one year, we can start building our muscles but with a solid strength foundation. So, being said that, 3-5 mins will be the recommendable time for a beginner.
But, does it mean you won’t get bigger and more muscular?
No, it doesn’t. During the first year of training, the body grows even if you are not specifically working with this purpose. So, don’t worry, if you have a healthy diet, proper rest and work out on regular basis, you will get bigger and look better.
Why is a full-body routine better than a Weider one (one or two muscles per day till you can’t move) for beginners?
There are several reasons of why a full body of routine is the best for beginner and intermediate people.
- Technique: With a full-body routine, we look for to dominate the basic. As I always said, start building your house from the foundations, no from the roof.
- Volume: A Weider routine obligates us to work too much in a single muscle group. That isn’t good for a beginner for 2 reasons:
- Your body is not used to it. You will face pain and soreness for several days after it.
- Your body will not adapt as quickly as it could do since you will need to rest too much between sessions (overcompensation principle, very important!).
- By doing 20 sets of a single muscle, you, obviously, have more risk of injury.
- More lactic acid concentration doing to the over work produced in a single muscle.
- Soreness in one muscle group could interfere with other groups, decreasing your performance.
- You will have to workout 5 days (at least) per week, which is too much.
I hope you will find this content interesting and useful. And please, if you have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to answer you!
Is this routine also valid for girls?
Absolutely! There is no a significant difference between girls and boys when we talk about training. Of course, girls should reduce the intensity during their period week but, besides of that, they are able to perform the same than boys. Will they get muscular and bigger? NO! The difference between girls and boys is testosterone, the main anabolic hormone. Girls, naturally, can’t get bigger than boys due their testosterone levels are very limited. So, no worries girls, you will be very healthy and look fantastic by following this routine!
- Science and Practice of Strength Training, Vladimir Zatsiorsky, William Kraemer.
- ACSMs Foundations of Strength Training and conditioning, Nicholas Ratamess.
- Powerexplosive, David Marchante.