Today one of my clients brought her boyfriend along to get in a workout. I asked him how he normally trains and he said that he runs and does circuit training several days per week. Rather than put him through a “real workout,” I told him that I was going to write him a basic template and teach him how to use good form on the various exercises. He’s definitely a beginner so he doesn’t need any advanced exercises. By the time we finished, he was sweating up a storm, even though I hadn’t planned on pushing him very hard. Full body workouts are very metabolically demanding so they get you lean and strong at the same time.
In around 90 minutes, I was able to teach him how to do most of the exercises in the template. I kept quizzing him the whole time so he’d learn the template categories and the names of the exercises. He was lucky in that he had good joint mobility and decent levels of joint stability which allowed him to use good form on all exercises. All he needs is some good old fashioned strength. Below is what I wrote him. This template is very similar to what many other strength coaches use, which is a testament to it’s effectiveness.
Basic Workout Template
* If you can do more than 20 reps, it’s too light. Move up in resistance. Try to stay in the 6-12 rep range most of the time.
* Rest 60-120 seconds in between sets.
* Pick one exercise from each category. Pick different movements throughout the week.
* Perform 2-3 sets of each exercise.
* Perform the routine 2-4 days per week.
* Write down your workouts in a journal and try to move up in resistance or repetitions over time.
1. Quad Dominant Exercise – goblet squat, Bulgarian squat, step up, reverse lunge
2. Hip Dominant Exercise – Romanian deadlift, glute bridge, back extension, bird dog
3. Horizontal Press – push up, dumbbell bench press, dumbbell incline press, bench press, incline press
4. Horizontal Pull – one arm row, inverted row, chest supported row, seated row
5. Vertical Press – dumbbell military press, barbell military press
6. Vertical Pull – underhand grip pulldown, wide grip pulldown, chin up, parallel grip pull up, pull up
7. Anterior Core – front plank, stability ball rollout
8. Lateral or Rotary Core – side plank, Pallof press
That’s it! It looks so basic but this is all he needs at the moment. If you’re thinking about starting up a training regimen, this one is very effective and very well balanced. Keeping good strength balances is one of the keys to long-term lifting and longevity. Over time more advanced exercises and more variety can be incorporated into the routine but it’s important to get good at the basics first. There are lots of good exercises that I could have included such as single leg box squats, single leg RDL’s, standing cable rows, pull throughs, kettlebell swings, hip thrusts, Turkish get ups, farmer’s walks, sled pushes, landmines, face pulls, cable chops, and cable lifts, to name a few, but the point is to keep it simple up front and give people basic movements upon which they can progress. There’s plenty of time down the road for more movements and variety. This one will serve him well for several months.