Bodybuilding Training Article from

Weight Lifting and Weight Training - Chapter 6

Bodybuilding Equipment

Individual Stations

Folding Bench Press

Adjustable Combo Bench

Flat Bench

Heavy Flat Bench

Adjustable Spotter Bench

Bench Press Spotter

Basic Bench Press

Self Spotter Rack

Power Cage

Hip Sled

Dumbbell Bench

Smith Machine Bench

Jones Machine

Back & Arm Machine

Cable Crossover Machine

Squat Rack

Preacher Curl Bench

Roman Chair

Hyperextension Bench

Seated Calf Machine

Vertical Knee Raise

Hack Squat Machine

Power Rack

Power Rack Bench Combo

Power Rack Lat Attachment

Leg Extension Curl

Ab Crunch Board

Dumbbell Rack

Flat Incline Decline Bench

Utility Bench

Smith Machine

Smith Lat Attachment

Plate Loaded Gym

150 lb. Weight Stack

Selectorized Home Gym

Preacher Curl Attachment

Bench Squat Combo

Lat Machines

Phys-X Free-Standing Lat Tower

Olympic Weight Tree

Standard Weight Tree

Ab Crunch Machine


Home Gyms

Home Gyms

Performance Trainer

Biangular Gym

Two Stack Gym

4-in-1 Free Weight Gym

All-in-1 Free Weight Gym

Smith Gym


Cardio Equipment

8k Treadmill

10k Treadmill

Elliptical Trainer


Miscellaneous Items

Body Solid Miscellaneous

Bodybuilding Accessories

Gravity Inversion Boots

Ab Blaster Slings

Olympic Adapter Sleeves

Rubber Floor Protector

Olympic Shrug Bar

Push-Up Bars

Chapter Six

Schedules for the beginner

Although as I have explained in an earlier chapter, the best progress can be made by training according to one's physical type, a complete beginner cannot do better than spend his first months of training on a schedule of standard exercises with standard repetitions -- chosen for their simplicity of performance proved effectiveness.

Later, when the muscular system is toned and strengthened and use to handling weights in various positions, graduation can be made to advanced exercises and type training, with its variation of repetitions and poundages.

If these standard exercises are assiduously followed and combined with good eating habits, plenty of sound sleep and fresh air, the muscles will show development in a reasonably short time, bodyweight will be increased, and a feeling of well-being will be experienced.

Preferably, it is best to train three or four times weekly for the best results, although gains can be made with only two weekly sessions. Once-a-week training is hardly sufficient to make any worthwhile progress.

Training should be in the evening, not earlier than two hours after a meal. But this may have to be adjusted according to none's domestic circumstances.

It may be found -- in fact, it is almost always the case -- that the first session or two will produce stiffness and soreness in the muscles. Don't worry about this. It is quite normal, and once the rhythm of training is in full swing you won't be troubled by such feelings.

Warming Up
Warming up is important before going on the your weight-training routine, and I recommend a few minutes of bending, stretching, free squats, running on the spot, or even a couple of minutes of skipping to get the blood flowing freely.

Particularly does this apply when the weather is very cold. There is nothing easier than painfully to pull or stretch a muscle by going straight on to lifting movements when the muscles haven't been warmed up.

Curve of Effort
Physiologically it is wise to start your routine with movements that do not call on the larger and main muscle groups to function. Then move on to the more strenuous part of the work involving the larger muscle groups and finally tapering off as one began.

The exercise have been planned to follow this principle, so perform them in the order given.

I cannot say any definite poundages for the various exercises, as this depends entirely on the strength of each individual, but a trial on the following lines at the beginning will serve as a reliable guide.

First, try an approximate weight as suggested for each movement and see how many repetitions performed in strict style can be made. From this, it will then be fairly easy to ascertain the starting weight to be used.

Supposing 8 repetitions is the number to be used. If, in your trial, you can manage more than this, say 10 or 12, then the weight is too light. If less, say 5 or 6, then the weight is too heavy. Adjust accordingly and proceed from then on with this poundage.

Two Hand Curl
This is one of the most popular of arm exercises and develops the muscles on the front of the upper arm (brachialis and biceps).

Stand up close to the barbell, feet placed comfortably apart (about 15 inches). Squat down and grasp the barbell with an under grip -- that is, with the palms of the hands facing upwards. Make sure your grip is even, with each hand the same distance from each end of the barbell. Use a grip approximately shoulders width.

Stand upright, with the barbell hanging on locked arms across the tops of the thighs. This is the actual starting position for the curling movement.

Now, flex the upper arms by curling the barbell upwards until it touches the top of the chest. As the barbell nears the chest, slightly tighten the grip and concentrate on a hard contraction of the muscles up the upper arms. The elbows should be taken forward to facilitate the curling movement.

Pause for just a second, the lower the barbell to the starting position, completely relaxing the muscles.

Make sure that the arms are fully locked on return, pause a second, the make another repetition as before. Continue in this way until your number of repetitions are completed. Lower the barbell to the floor.

During this movement the body should remain upright -- no swaying or leaning back to assist the curling movement. All the work must be down by power of the arms only

Suggested weight for average beginner of average bodyweight -- 55 lb. Adjust by trial method described above.

Press from Behind Neck
For muscles of the back of the arm (triceps) and the shoulders (deltoids). First clean the barbell to the shoulders as described in Chapter XVI for the Olympic Press. The grip should be about shoulders' width.

Now lift the barbell over the head to rest on the shoulders. This can be made easier by first dipping the legs a little, quickly re-straightening them and thrusting the barbell up towards the top of the head.

Your starting position for the press should now be with feet comfortably apart, trunk erect, barbell resting on shoulders.

Still maintaining the erect position, steadily and evenly press the barbell to arms' length overhead, making sure that you effect a full lock-out of the arms. Only the pressing muscles of the deltoids and triceps should be used, together with a tight bracing of the thighs and buttocks. No body sway or movement should be used to assist the press.

Perform 8 repetitions. Rest, then repeat 6 repetitions.
Suggested weight -- 70 lb.

Stiff-legged Deadlift
For the muscles of the lower back -- also increases mobility of trunk movement and stretches tight hamstrings at back of legs.

This movement is best performed standing on a strong box or something similar --about 6-12 in. high.

Starting position is body erect, feet either together or about 6 in. apart, barbell held with over grasp -- that is, knuckles forward -- at about shoulders' width.

Making sure to keep the knees fully locked through the movement, bend forward form the waist to lower the barbell towards the floor as far as possible.

Most beginners will find they cannot reach their feet with the barbell and will probably feel a tightening of the hamstrings that tend to unlock the braced knees. But after a few sessions their ability in this movement will improve. Some, especially those with comparatively short legs, will eventually be able to lower the barbell lower than the top of the box.

When the maximum bent over position has been reached, re-straighten to the erect position by using the lumbar muscles of the back.

On no account use the arms to assist in pulling up the weight. The arms, must be kept straight throughout and act merely as links to hold the weight.

When the erect position has been reached lean back slightly from the waist to contract the lumbar muscles and lift up the chest. The head may be thrown back just a little to assist this movement.

This complete movement -- the lowering and returning to the starting position -- is one repetition. Perform 10 repetitions. Rest, then repeat 8 repetitions
Suggested weight - 100 Lbs.

Squat (or Deep Knees Bend)
There are many variations of this most valuable exercise. But for this beginners' schedule use only the standard full Squat as described. Other variations will be covered later.

Using your squat stands. load the barbell to the required poundage. The stands should be such a height that you have to bend a few inches to get your shoulders under the barbell.

Make sure you get a centralized position, and hold the barbell with a grip slightly more than shoulders' width. Stand upright to lift the weight off the stands, and walk a pace or two backwards or forwards so that your are clear of the stands.

Generally, I recommend that the feet be kept flat on the floor, but many beginners find it difficult to go into a full squat while keeping the feet flat. This is because either their hamstrings are tight or they have incomplete ankle flexion or both. In this case, raise the heels just an inch or two by placing them on a suitable length of wood-- or even each heel on a couple of weight plates. This will enable you to make the full squat more easily. But don't continue with this practice any longer than you can help. As soon as you are able, dispense with the wood or plates and perform flat-foot Squats.

The Squat should be made to the fullest extent that your mobility permits. Steadily lower the body, slightly resisting the weight so that you don't have literally to flop in to the full knees-bend position.

As soon as the lowest point is reached, immediately start to return to the erect position At the beginning of the upward movement, make sure that the buttocks don't rise first as this will incline the trunk forwards. Endeavor to keep the buttocks down, the back as upright as possible (there will be some lean forward, of course, gradually coming nearer the upright position as the body rises) and the head up. this keeping up of the head assists in maintaining a good position.

Generally, I recommend breathing in as the effort is made in all exercises. This would mean, in the Squat, while rising to the erect position But my own experience of this movement and also the experience of others who have practiced it much more than I have, indicates that the best breathing method is to inhale first before lowering into the squat, hold the breath for the short time it takes to descend, then start to exhale as the upward moment is made. Largely, it is a matter for each individual to adopt the method that comes most easily and is the most comfortable.

In between repetitions, I recommend that one deep breath be taken.

If there is any discomfort from the barbell resting on the shoulders, then by all means alleviate this by wrapping a towel or something similar around the barbell.

Perform 10 repetitions. Rest, then repeat 8 repetitions. Rest, again, they repeat 6 repetitions.
Suggested weight - 110 lb.

Straight Arm Pullover
For increasing mobility of the rib box, and an excellent chest expander.

This movement can be performed either while lying on the floor, or on a bench. If using the latter, a greater stretch can be made by allowing only the head to protrude over the edge.

Lie on the floor or bench with barbell held vertically at arms length. From this starting position, steadily lower barbell backwards, making sure that the arms are kept it straight throughout. Breathing is important and should be very deep. The action of the lowering of the barbell will uplift the chest and this should be accentuated by voluntary expansion, drawing in as much air as possible.

Don't pause when the barbell has been lowered to the fullest extent, but immediately return to your starting position. Exhale during this return movement.

Perform 12 repetitions. Rest, then repeat 10 repetitions.
Suggested weight 50 lb.

Bent-over Rowing Motion
For latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles. The exercise also has some effect on the upper arms.

Your starting position is with the feet comfortably astride, body bent forward so that is is in a line parallel with the floor, barbell grasped with a fairly wide-grip, knuckles uppermost.

It is essential that the body be kept stationary throughout the movement. As an aid to this, the head can be rested on a suitably-sized table or something similar, using a rolled-up towel for comfort.

The barbell should be suspended on locked arms. From this starting position, pull the barbell upwards until it touches the upper chest, at the same time forcing the elbows outwards and upwards.

Many trainees will find they cannot touch the chest with the barbell, but have to stop a few inches short. This is due to lack of full mobility in the upper back and shoulder regions, but perseverance will, in time, enable such people to reach the maximum pull to touch the chest.

When the barbell reaches the chest, hold it there for one second, then lower to starting position. Relax the muscles during this lowering movement, allowing the weight to drop with just a little resistance.

Hold a second in the starting position, then repeat until you complete the desired number of repetitions.

Perform 8 repetitions. Rest, then repeat 6 repetitions.
Suggested weight - 80 lb.

Bench Press
One of the most popular and effective of all bodybuilding movements and a great developer for the pectoral muscles of the chest, the anterior (front) deltoids and triceps.

You need a flat, level bench about four feet long, a foot or so wide and twenty or so inches high. If assistants (even one will do) are available, get them (or him) to hand you the barbell after you have adopted your position ont he bench. This should be with your head resting on the end of the bench and your feet placed flat ont he floor, comfortably apart.

Varying effects on the muscles can be obtained by using different widths of handgrip, but for a beginner it is better to get thoroughly used to the movement by keeping to the same grip for the first few weeks of training.

This should be with hands spaced about 2 ft. apart - that is, between the insides of the hands.

Start by holding the barbell at arms' length after receiving it from your assistants. Incidentally, if no assistants are available, and your bench is not fitted with stands, you can still perform the exercise by first cleaning the weight to the shoulders, sitting down on the bench, then steadily leaning backwards until you are lying on the bench. But practice this movement with a light weight.

Make sure you are firm on the bench and that the barbell is gripped evenly, so that it is well balanced.

Lower steadily until the barbell touches the chest a few inches below the line of the nipples. Hold for a second, then vigorously, but steadily and evenly, press back to arms' length.

During this pressing movement, ensure that there is no body movement at all - no raising of the buttocks from the bench or movement of the feet. Only the arms should move.

Make sure to lock the arms fully at the completion of the press. Hold for a second, then continue to complete the desired number of repetitions. Inhale as you press, exhale as you lower the barbell to the chest.

Perform 8 repetitions. Rest, then repeat 6 repetitions.
Suggested weight - 100 lb.

Rise on Toes
For the calf muscles. The calves are probably the most difficult muscles to develop and for those who are not naturally endowed with full, rounded muscles, regular and persistent exercise over a long period will be necessary to bring out full development. A side variety of exercises must eventually be used, but this is the standard movement generally used by beginners.

In order to obtain full-range ankle flexion, this exercise must be performed with the toes resting on the edge of a block of wood or something similar. this will allow the heels to drop below the level of the toes, a movement which flexes the tibialus anticus muscles on the front of the lower legs. At the other extreme of ankle flexion, with the heels raised as high as possible, the gastrocnemius at the rear of the lower leg, is flexed.

Rest a barbell behind the shoulders as in the Squat exercise, stand so that about three or four inches of the foot covers the block. the feet should be placed comfortably apart, with the toes pointing straight forwards.

Rise as high as possible on the toes, hold a second or two, then lower the heels as far as possible. At first, it may be difficult to balance on the block, but practice will soon rectify this.

High repetitions are of prime importance, perhaps more so than the amount of weight used, although it is wise to use as much weight as one can manage.

Perform at least 20 repetitions. Rest, then repeat another 20 repetitions.
Suggested weight - 100 lb.

Finish off your weight training schedule with a few abdominal exercises. Care of the abdominals is a major factor in cultivating and maintaining good health and a nice midriff appearance. many of the est exercises of this nature can performed without weights or apparatus.

One of the best is the overhead roll. Lie on the floor or a bench. Keep the legs straight with toes pointed, bring them up and over the head as far back as possible, touching the floor behind your head if you can, or if on a bench, to the equivalent position. Return to the starting position, then carry on for 10 repetitions. Rest for a few moments then repeat for another 8 repetitions.

Another effective movement is the 'jack knife'. Lie on the floor. Then, keeping the legs straight, raise them upwards, simultaneously lifting the upper body to bring to bring your head towards your legs as near as possible. Maintain your balance - you will probably find this difficult at first -- by pressing with your hands on the floor just in front of the buttocks. Hold for a second or two, then relax and return to floor. Perform 8 repetitions. Rest, then repeat for another 6 repetitions.

The 'cat stretch' is one of the finest of free movements. It has some effect on the abdominals, but is mainly for the lower back muscles.

Start in the position of 'hands down' as for ordinary press ups - hands placed on the floor shoulders' width apart, feet spaced apart the same distance. Now raise the buttocks and draw back the head and shoulders towards the feet until you resemble an inverted V. The arms will be in line with the head and trunk.

From this position, lower the hips towards the floor, at the same time lifting up the head and chest so that the back is hollowed as much as possible with the hips almost touching the floor. Ensure that your arms and legs remain straight throughout.

Making the movement rhythmical, go from one position to the other without pause for 10 repetitions. Rest a few moments, then repeat another 8 repetitions.

Your weight-training schedule should be made progressive by increasing the weights used every few sessions. Don't add too much weight - 2 1/2 or 5 lb. at a time is generally quite enough.

There is no need to force yourself too much in these early stages. Take it steadily, with gradual increases from time to time, results will come. Keep your repetitions and sets the same -- although if you feel like it, and have the time, you can perform an additional set of repetitions on one or more of the exercises now and again.

More chapters from this book below...
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