Beginners Strength Training

It’s not just for your muscles; it’s training to live easy

By Paul "Batman" O'Brien 

B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. IMed., Dip. Adv. OBB, Dip. CHM, Pn1, PN-SSR, PN-NCA, M.AFPA., M.C.Th.A.

Beginners strength training can be a complicated process. With so many different methods, opinions and philosophies out there you could spend years reviewing and reading of different Beginners strength training protocols before you ever go near a weight. Everyone can benefit from strength training, from young football players to your 97 year old grandmother. We all have to start somewhere and now is a good a time as any.

If you are looking for a great introduction that will tell you exactly what to do and how to do it program then I highly recommend Secrets of 7 Second Abs. It’s jammed packed with incredible info on the science behind strength training success and covers the most important principals of strength training in an easy to understand and efficient manner. With full colour photos and in depth explanations focusing on the core muscle group from which all strength comes, the abs and back you can’t go wrong. Even better you can start in just a few minutes. Check it out here.

To get the most benefit from beginners strength training you need to have a clear understanding of 5 key principals.

  1. Goal setting – clear tangible and defined gaols keep you on tack and motivated. I cover this in more detail on this page – WLM link
  2. Measuring your Fitness levels regularly - without feedback how can you tell how fast and how far you are improving? This article will focus you on feedback.
  3. Talk With Your Doctor Before Starting Any Exercise Program - especially important for beginner’s strength training.
  4. Keep records of your achievements religiously. Unless you have it written down how can you tell where you are going right, and more importantly where you are going wrong?
  5. Be consistent. Half hearted efforts get less than half hearted results. The secret of success is consistent and regular progress. How can you get anywhere if you’re aren’t taking the small steps that get you there?

Learning the lingo…

Many beginners strength training programs simply dive right in without explaining the words and terminology necessary to understand the exercise or directions. S o before we start training our bodies, here’s a little mental muscle exercise…here are the basic definitions…

Repetition (rep) - One complete exercise motion. Set - A group of repetitions.
Rest - The amount of time between sets and/or workout days. Exhaustion or Fatigue - The point at which you cannot perform another rep using perfect form.

Beginners Strength Training – The 1st Step

Let’s check the list…have you got clear cut defined goals? Got your measurements down? Talked with the doc? Decided to commit for the long haul?. If not, get back and do them right now, because if those key foundations aren’t in place how can you expect to build you’re a temple of your body? It’s okay, I’ll wait.

*Starts knocking out 1 arm push ups by the dozen*

Done, sweet. I know you might have tons of questions but the most important thing to do is get started right now and work on the small details as you go along. If you wait till you have all the info you’ll never start. That said, here are the top questions I get asked about beginners strength training and my answers.How many reps and sets should I do?

How many reps and sets you do is totally dependent upon your goals and strength training method of choice. In advanced isometrics as found on this site you need only do 1-7 repetitions depending on how intensely you contract your muscles. (I cover this in more detail in Secrets of 7 Second Abs). More traditional bodyweight exercises like those I teach in my FREE exercise section here can be done with a 10-12 rep range with 2-3 sets.

How fast should I lift weights?

Beginner’s strength training is a great place to learn about proper speed. I see a lot of people lifting weights far to fast using momentum and speed rather than their muscles to lift weights. A good speed is somewhere between 2-4 seconds on the lift (positive phase – contraction) and 3-4 seconds lowering (negative phase – extension).

Your muscles aren't really doing the work if you move faster than that. Momentum is :) So don’t cheat, or you are just cheating yourself.

Should I workout everyday?

How often you choose to workout is up to you but I always advise beginners to start slowly. Funnily enough your muscles aren’t made in the gym, they’re made when you’re resting, probably fast asleep. In order to grow your body needs to recover so make sure you get REST!

Allow your muscles at least 24-48 hours of rest before working them again. So for example, if you work your biceps today, let them rest tomorrow. I know you will be super excited when you start to see your body changing but doing more doesn’t always mean faster or better results. Those muscle fibres need time to relax and repair.

A good fitness program will include several days of strength training, several days of rest, several days of cardio and a superb nutrition program. You’ll find all of that here on

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