Sets & Reps
Ive just found your site recently and am finding
it very helpful for explaining and showing specific exercises.
The only thing I havent been able to find is a rep/set
routine for the workout routines listed. Is this available somewhere
on the site, or if possible, can you give some direction as to
what a typical workout should include ie 3 sets, 8-10 reps...
of the four workout
cards, you will find a general set/rep guidelines for warm-up
and workout set(s).
You can also find general guidelines in the articles in the weight
We also offer recommendations for those with a few years of
training experience in Light/Heavy
Training as well as sample programs for advanced athletes
for general sports
conditioning, as well as powerlifting,
weightlifting (Smattering of Training Programs).
Repetition Range for Abdominal Training
the recommended training for abs? Sometimes, higher reps 20-50
are recommended. Or should I try to use the same approach as
with the larger muscles (8-12 reps then increase weight)?
I would only recommend 8-12 reps on ab training if your goal
of spinal flexion strength outweighs aesthetic concerns. As with
any muscle, the muscles of the midsection can atrophy, or grow
thicker, particularly in men. As your body fat drops, the abdominal
region is probably the last area you will achieve total leanness.
Interestingly, fat is both above (subcutaneous) and below the
abdominal muscle (visceral). If you are super lean with a very
small waist, you could see good results with 8-12 reps. Otherwise,
I recommend lighter weight and more reps (e.g. 20-50 or 20-30
reps) to retard muscle mass increases in this area with typically
greater fat. This will not burn more fat, it will improve muscular
endurance though. You can afford to do lighter weight on the
abdominal exercises since it would yield little metabolic increase
relative to exercise that work a larger muscle mass. Incidentally,
exercises involving larger muscles are the exercise that have
the greatest potential to burn the greatest amount of fat for
hours after a workout. Also see spot
Starter Program for Beginner
I hope to set up a weight lifting program, but I was confused
with the exercise choices. I'm an absolute beginner--age 48,
female, 254 pounds. Equipment available: a weight bench (with
butterfly? and leg curl? attachments), barbell set, and dumb
bells (1-5 pounds). What would be a starter program?
Choose mostly barbell, bodyweight, and self assisted exercises
for now. You can add dumbbell exercise after you purchase heavier
sets; you only have enough weight for beginning dumbbell
lateral raises. To develop a program, follow the Workout
Creation Instructions and Weight
Training Guidelines or see Basic
Program with Minimum Equipment. Also include an aerobic component
like brisk walking
most days of the week, follow Dietary
Guidelines, and see Exercise &
Weight Training Exercise Utility Classification
Some exercises are categorized as "Basic or Auxiliary".
Does that mean some authorities consider it basic, and others
auxiliary, or you can make it either one (depending on the way
you do it)?
The latter. The classifications can be seen as a continuum.
An exercise utility is also dependent upon the inclusion of other
exercises. For example, an incline bench press is an auxiliary
exercise in the context of a full body routine, but a basic exercise
in a split program. A step up is an auxiliary exercise when included
with squats, but an auxiliary exercise if a leg extension is
performed instead. You will find the definitions
in the glossary eludes to relative characteristics.
Significance of Functional Classifications
and Listed Order of Muscles
Thanks so much for an amazing resource! I am a 56-year
old student of exercise and workouts and I was hoping
I could ask two quick questions?
- Can you tell me the importance of the order muscles are
listed in under each exercise? For instance, Chin-up
has a list of synergists muscles a particular order. Are these
ordered according to workout load, or the chronological order
of when each muscle is engaged in this exercise?
- Does a Dynamic Stabilizer work as hard as a synergist,
or harder? I realize it may vary according to exercise and muscle,
but generally speaking. During chin-ups, for example again, does
the Brachialis as a synergist get hit harder than the Biceps
Brachii (dynamic stabilizer).
These answers will help me as I get more specific with
the exercises I use in my workouts.
For the most part, these assisting muscles are not listed
in any meaningful order, other than grouped by function or general
relationships. However, you may find remnants from the early
days when I initially attempted to group them by order of intensity.
That was soon abandoned since there are so many potentially ambiguous
Also the function or classification of how a muscle is used in
a given exercise is not indicative its relative intensity compared
to how other muscles may be classified. You may find certain
cases where a particular functional classification may seem to
be more or less intense but in fact will not hold true in other
cases, depending various factors including the general movement,
how the exercise is performed, individual biomechanical variations,
relative conditioning of various muscle groups, etc.
The workout templates
will provide a good starting point to allow you to select exercises
for a workout. Your basic compound
movements will form the base of your training, whether training
for strength, increased muscle mass, or general health.
After several months you may find particular movements or
muscle groups that respond more or less favorably to training.
Alterations to the program can be made to address areas of weakness
including choosing alternative exercises, adding supplemental
movements, arranging exercise
order, and/or selecting splits that allow for weaker muscles
to be exercises more intensely.
Changing Exercises Every Workout
Is there anything wrong with changing exercises every workout.
Eg, barbell press on Monday, and Dumbbell press on Wed or Thurs.
this strategy can be used if the individual feels it will improve
their compliance to a program. However, changing exercise every
workout may make it difficult to determine how much weight should
be used on each exercise, particularly on "progressive resistance"
based program. Exercises for even the same muscle group utilize
the muscles somewhat differently from exercise to exercise. Changing
exercises every workout may make it more difficult for the body
to adapt to a particular exercise, particularly if the exercise
is not performed at least weekly.
If too much weight is used, form may suffer and injury is
more likely. If too little weight is used, the body will not
have an opportunity to adapt to the required overload. It may
become more difficult to use the ideal resistance if you change
your exercises every workout. Keeping track of how much weight
should be on the bar can be even more important for beginners
who can potentially move up on reps or weight almost every workout
and respond more favorably to greater frequency as compared to
their more experienced counterparts (see Strength
Systematic increases of repetitions and resistance can easily
be achieved by performing the same exercises for at least a few
weeks, although it could be argued, a beginner will make progress
in strength, endurance, and restoration on muscular size no matter
what they do as long as they are consistent and allow for recovery
between workouts. A possibly favorable compromise could be alternating
between two different exercises every other workout. Also see
Weight Training Log
Progress by Changing Exercises.
Advanced Program for Intermediate Trainee
I've been working out for 18 months consistently. In which
time I've went from a scrawny 125 to 160. I've been working out
4-5 days a week, but my program has not been professionally organized.
I am electing to go with your 4
day split: push and pull: and I'm going to do it 6 days a
week. I have the stamina and feel energetic enough to do that.
My only question would be regarding the length of time (two/three
months?) that would be recommended for such intense exercise.
I'm also making this a low volume workout. I began yesterday.
Some exercises, after stretching and a warm up, I will do two
sets of and others just one set, both 8-12 reps as recommended.
Congratulations on your remarkable gains! The 4 day split
is typically for more advanced bodybuilders. They are usually
utilized when higher volume programs are implemented. More exercises
and sets can be tolerated when concentrating on fewer muscles
groups but longer recovery between working each body part is
required. In this case you would be working each muscle group
one and a half times per week (ABCDABX,CDABCDX). You can certainly
give it a try but beware that some hard gainers may find it more
difficult to put on muscle when they are exercising 6 days per
week for too long. Make sure you are getting enough calories
for adequate recovery. Perhaps consider a month (or two at the
most) at a time on this sort of program. I only used the one
you mentioned when I was preparing for the Mr. Kansas and National
Bodybuilding Championships back in 1990. I don't want to discourage
you from using the 4 day split though. You will probably make
good gain just by making this change. Just change it back to
a 2 or 3 day split after a month or two for continued progress.