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Old 01-13-2011, 05:56 PM   #7
Kyle Aaron
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 193
Training Type: General Fitness
Fav Exercise: deadlift
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I use a similar approach to Tony, though I've not tried the sumo deadlifts to teach "knees out!" on squats, that's a great idea which I'll steal.

My approach is that we must do more in every session to force our body to adapt. More weight, or more reps or more sets. A "beginner" is someone who actually can do more in every session. An intermediate will progress weekly or monthly, an advanced lifter will require more complex programming. My training focuses on beginners, since these are 99+% of all people training in gyms. I don't claim to know how to train advanced people.

Workouts are generally twice a week. That's simply what is common in personal training.

If the person is already a healthy bodyweight, I have them begin with bodyweight exercises.
  • goblet squats
  • inverted rows
  • pushups
in each case, not worrying about sets and reps, just building up the total. For example if they're supposed to do 20, doesn't matter if it's 20 in one go, or 10,10, or 5,5,5,5 or 10,4,3,2,1 or even 1,1,1,.... so long as they get 20. Then next time at least 21. And so on.

When they can do 20+ goblet squats, 10+ inverted rows with legs straight out, and 15+ pushups from their toes, they are ready for barbell work. Then I give them the above bodyweight exercises as a warmup, followed by,
  • barbell squats, 3x5 for warmup with increasing weights, 1-3x3-5 work
  • overhead press, same
  • rack pulls / deadlifts, same
My gym doesn't have bumper plates, so 60kg is the least we can deadlift. Rack pulls I proceed with until they can pull 70kg, then we take the barbell to the floor back at 60kg.

Some women will be able to do 15+ pushups, but still find that the 20kg barbell in overhead press is basically their work weight. And some people will have very poor postural muscle strength. For them, I have them doing single dumbbell overhead press with their heels together. When they can press 12.5kg overhead in this way for lots of good reps with their body steady, they're ready for the 20kg barbell overhead press as a warmup, and 30-35kg will be work sets.

When the person has achieved SQ100% of bodyweight, OHP50%, DL125%, then it's time to add bench press and rows. It will alternate as SQ/OHP/DL and SQ/BP/RW. When they have achieved four out of five of,
  • OHP75%
  • BP100%
  • RW100%
  • SQ150%
  • DL175%
all for 5+ reps, then to my mind they are no longer beginners, and will require a different workout. I have found that people can make session-by-session progress in weight, reps or sets on those lifts until they reach those weights, after that things slow down for most.

I have had only one client who was no longer a beginner, and just after he (for want of a better word) graduated he moved house so no longer trains with me.
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Last edited by Kyle Aaron; 01-13-2011 at 06:01 PM.
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