Recently decide to do a Tough Mudder and realize your probably not in shape to be able to complete one? or just want to get in shape? Almost everyone has been in this position at least once before; you’re new at the gym, and you don’t know what to do, what to lift or how to use the machines.
Well here are some guidelines, simple rules, and easy-to-follow workout programs.
I am going to give you some basic guidelines and rules for starting out in a weightlifting program; whether it is to gain strength, lose weight, gain muscle or just overall fitness.
This guide will help you figure things out and get started on the right foot toward your goals. Strength training will provide remarkable results for those who have tried and failed at overhauling their fitness with just diet or cardio training.
Consistent training, two or more times a week for 12 weeks, will provide benefits such as:
- Increased tendon strength
- Increased ligament strength
- Increased muscle-fiber size
- Increased muscle contractile strength
All of this adds up to a healthier, fitter body that is less likely to be injured when doing a Tough Mudder. Not too mention end up looking pretty good.
A Few Rules Of Gym Etiquette
- To start, always bring a towel and wipe off the machines, benches and equipment you use. No one wants to see a puddle of sweat!
- Be courteous and rerack all the weights and replace all the dumbbells or barbells that you use.
- Don’t linger for extended periods of time on a machine that someone is waiting for. Work in with them between sets. Most people are more than willing to share when asked nicely.
- And last, leave your cell phone in your locker or car; nothing is more annoying than listening to another person’s conversation.
Common Mistakes You Need To Avoid
- Using too much weight, too soon. Start lower than your ability and work your way up. If your form suffers or you are swinging the weight, this means you are using too much weight.
- Not using enough weight. If you can perform 30 reps with a certain weight, it’s probably time to increase it some.
- Moving through sets too quickly or going too fast. There is not too much to be gained by lifting weights fast. Some of the benefits of lifting weight in a slow and controlled manner; more total muscle tension and force produced. More muscle fiber activation and less tissue trauma. Keep in mind, a joint is only as strong as the muscles that moves it.
- Not resting long enough between sets, or resting too long; both can be a workout killer. The recommended rest period between sets is about 30-90 seconds.
Beginner Weight/Strength Training Workout
This workout routine is designed for overall health and fitness gains of a healthy, adult individual who has never lifted weights before, or it has been a long time.
The majority of exercises are machine based. As an unconditioned beginner this makes one less likely to be injured than when attempting to lift free weights when just starting out.
Using the machines provides support for the weaker muscles and allows the intended muscle to be isolated and strengthened. Do this workout at least twice a week, you can gain significant strength with only two workouts per week.
Take one day off from weight training between each workout.
At least one set of 8-12 repetitions should be performed to muscle fatigue. So you should use a weight heavy enough to fatigue your muscle significantly in 8-12 reps.
At least two sets of 8-12 repetitions should be performed to muscle fatigue; again use a weight that is heavy enough so that the muscle gets tired and unable to continue without a 30-90 second rest.
Take four to five seconds to complete one rep through a complete range of motion. Use a slow and controlled manner.
You should rest at least 30 seconds but no more than 90 seconds between sets and roughly 1 to 2 minutes between each exercise.
The Exercises You Should Do
Warm up by doing 5-10 minutes of moderate intensity cardio on the machine of your choice, treadmill , elliptical, jumping rope etc.
Sit on the leg press machine while positioning your feet together against the crosspiece about shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Hold the handle grips and bend your knees and lower the weight as far as possible without changing the position of your hips.
Don’t lower the weight so far that your hips start to curl up off the seat. Then slowly push the weight back up using your heels, not your toes. Remember to not lock your knees at the top, just take the weight to just before your knees lock. Then lower the weight again but do it slowly.
Using a leg extension machine, sit in the seat and hook your feet under the padded bar. Adjust the pad and/or the seat so that your knees hang off the end of the seat and the footpad rest on the lowest part of the shins. Hold the handles on the machine to keep your hips from lifting up as you perform the exercise. Extend your legs until knees are straight, while you remain seated flat on the machine.
Raise the weight all the way, lock and hold briefly, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Get the full range of motion and feel the muscle being worked during the entire movement. Do not swing the weight up rapidly.
Lying Down Leg Curls
Lie face down on a leg-curl machine and hook your heels under the roller pad. Your legs should be stretched out straight so that the pads rest on the back of your ankles. Hold the handles under the bench.
While remaining flat on the bench, curl your legs up until your hamstrings are fully contracted, then release and lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Use a full range of motion and do not swing the weight up rapidly.
Wide-grip Lat Pull-down
Start with your legs positioned under the kneepads of a pulldown machine. Your feet should be resting flat on the ground. Hold the wide bar firmly with an overhand grip. Your hands should be close to twice your shoulder width apart. Pull the bar down on top of your chest, arching your back slightly.
Concentrate on keeping your elbows directly below the bar. Pause briefly when the bar is right on top of your collarbone. Slowly raise the bar back to the starting position.
Machine Bench Press
This is the same as a normal free weight bench press but using a machine. Follow the directions on the machine that you choose. Remember to go slow during each rep.
Machine Chest Fly
This is also known as the Pec Fly. Sit at the machine with your back flat against the pad. Place your forearms on padded lever. Position your upper arms roughly parallel with the ground. Push levers together slowly while squeezing your chest in the middle. Return until chest muscles fully stretched.
Triceps Push-down With Rope Attachment
Same as the Triceps Pushdown except your using the rope attachment. At the bottom of the movement you should pull the rope “apart” to get the best contraction in your triceps. Breifly hold the rope apart you should feel a slight “burn”.
Machine Bicep Curl
Follow the directions that are on the machine that your gym has as they all vary slightly.
Machine Shoulder Press
Follow the directions that are on the machine that your gym has as they all vary slightly.
This is pretty much a sit-up or crunch you would do on the floor except the machine helps you to add resistance for greater strength increases. Follow the directions on the particular machine that you choose. Making sure to go slow and concentrate on using your abs to pull the weight while relaxing your legs and feet.
Lie on the floor with and put your hands behind your head. Raise your legs so your thighs are perpendicular and your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Curl up and bring your left elbow toward your right side while drawing your right knee in to meet it.
Its similar to riding a bike. Alternate sides and continue the motion back and forth. Remember, don’t just flap your elbow across your body, actually rotate your shoulder across and squeeze your abs.
These exercises in this workout program will give your body a thorough workout. Its important to do these exercises in the order listed. You need to work the LARGEST muscle groups first. The smaller muscles support the larger muscle If the smaller ones are already tired they cannot support your larger muscles when its time to work them.
Here are some tips to make your new training program work for you more effectively:
Stay hydrated! Drink water during your workout.
Eat a small, well balanced meals with equal portions of lean protein such as chicken, turkey, beef or fish AND a complex carbohydrate like oats or rice 30-60 minutes prior to each workout; and again 60 minutes after you train with weights.
A huge meal is not what your looking for here, just enough protein and carbohydrate to refuel and stimulate healing .of the muscles
If your also doing cardio work for weight loss, do that after you train with weights, not before. Preferably at separate times of the day or different days entirely.
Keep a record of what you do, and when you do it. If you don’t track it, its hard to know if your improving!
Another great motivational tool is to take progress pictures, every so often take a picture of your self, preferable shirtless so you can see your muscle definition forming. Keep track of weight loss and measurements of all your body parts to see the improvement.
In no time at all you will be fit enough to do a Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Warrior Dash!