A three-times-a-week program that even fitness newbies can do.
Jon Premosch / Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed
Or, well, we decided we wanted to become at least a little bit stronger. Both of us are pretty fit people (averaging 2-5 workouts per week), but neither of us had any real prior experience with weight training. The free weight area always seemed like a scary, crowded, intimidating part of the gym. But both of us are prone to getting bored of our usual exercise routines, and eventually it started feeling dumb to keep avoiding an appealing exercise option just because it was intimidating.
So, a couple of months ago, we got in touch with fitness expert Albert Matheny (Soho Strength Lab and Promix Nutrition) (seen above), and asked him to help us come up with a weightlifting program that:
1. suited our beginner status
2. was easy to build upon as we got stronger
3. was six weeks long
4. ran no longer than 45 minutes per workout
5. required no more (or fewer) than 3 workouts per week
We both planned to keep up our other workouts on other days, whenever possible (running, elliptical, yoga, etc.), but would devote three days per week to lifting weights, as specified by the program Albert gave us, below.
The way these work is that you would do 10 reps of one move (or 10 reps on each side, if applicable – look for the asterisks in the chart), followed by 10 reps of the next move, and then repeat that cycle two more times. The moves are organized in clusters of two or three moves – finish a cluster three times through before moving onto the next one.
Rest only as needed. If you can’t keep your form even though the weight is not too heavy for you, you need to rest a bit longer before continuing.
These workouts aren’t meant to be done at top speed; remember, they’re for strength; not cardio. The most important thing is that every rep (every single one!) is performed with control and perfect form. That’s what gets you results and prevents getting injured.
DB = dumbbells
BW = body weight
To figure out how much weight you should be lifting: If you can easily do 10 reps at a certain weight, go for a higher one, says Matheny. BUT if you can’t do at least four reps with good form at the new weight, you’ve increased the weight too much. Remember that the most important thing is to be able to maintain perfect form no matter what weight you’re working with.