There is no doubt that magazines do provide much inspiration and instruction, but there is no substitute for joining a health club, being given a proper routine and being shown how to perform the exercises correctly. Generally, the advice is to do three sets of ten repetitions on each of the exercises. Beginners must stick to the routine for at least three months of regular training. During this time they must eat sensibly and nutritiously, following which they should be able to see improvement in their physique.
Whatever may be the exercises you follow, you should start off by warming up your body. This involves free hand exercises like bending on both sides of the body, touching the toes with both hands keeping the legs straight, neck twists (in clockwise and anticlockwise directions), hip twists, arch formations, etc.
Generally the warm up exercises should be aerobic in nature which should include running on the treadmill, jogging, or skipping for a period of about 10–15 minutes. The overall warm up time should last between 15–20 minutes. Always remember that a warmed up body responds faster and there is less chance of injury (like muscle catch, tear, pull, etc). Warm up results in an increase in the pulse and the heart–rate.
Following the warm up, the beginner should start off by using a bar that is light enough to be handled comfortably. You should not get put off from the start by getting an impression that it is a ‘Heavy’ or difficult sport. It may prove to be so but the beginner can discover it for himself if he has tried it out for himself for a month or so. After that, further progress depends on motivation. A good routine is initially a comprehensive one that aims to cover the major muscles.
The beginner should start off his overall routine with the first exercise, the two hands barbell press–because it is a very productive exercise developing the upper and lower arms, the back and the shoulders. It is not the easiest of exercises to do as an element of balance comes into it, so it should be done when the strength is at its highest. It is important to state that the exercise is intended mainly for the deltoids and triceps.
The second exercise to be done is the two hands curl with barbell, thus demonstrating the principle of exercising antagonistic muscles, this time the biceps situated at the front of the arms, in contrast to the triceps at the back of the arms exercised earlier. The biceps is conventionally the muscle which all desire to develop and is usually already one of the beginner’s strongest.
The bench press is the third exercise where the lifter lies on the back and is handed the bar, which is then lowered to the chest and from pressed out to arm’s length. It is mainly for the chest muscles (or pectorals) but it also exercises the triceps and deltoids (like the first exercise). Breath is taken in before the effort and let out on the effort usually half–way in the lift. The fourth exercise is upright rowing where the barbell is raised with a narrow hand spacing to the region of the chin, lowered to arm’s length and the movement repeated. This is generally for the trapezius muscles (which lie between the neck and the shoulder socket on top of the shoulders)–so a different muscle is targeted this time.