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Do you have any specific beginner's routines you'd recommend? I was doing 5x5, which has pulls in the form of barbell rows and deadlifts; I don't know if that's sufficient.



Always put technique first. Start with the basic compound lifts. These represent idealized human movement. Use light loads while you learn what proper technique feels like.

Deadlift- Be careful not to overdo this, especially when you're starting out

Squat- Overhead squat is probably the best variation to master, but goblet squat is probably the easiest

Press

Bench Press

Dip

Pullup

Bent-over Row

You should also challenge your cardiovascular system in some way, preferably one that physically moves your body through space.

In addition, I feel strongly that recreational lifters should always emphasize mechanical alignment and efficiency over force production. So set aside the time to address any movement restrictions, prioritizing those that interfere with your ability to perform the above movements. For instance, if you have 0 degrees of internal rotation at the hip, you aren't going to be able to squat correctly.


I agree. Spend a month or two (or more if you have severe mechanical restrictions) familiarizing yourself with the proper form for the major barbell lifts, and then put yourself through a beginner program such as Starting Strength [1] , accompanied with good nutrition[2] and HIIT to keep bodyfat in check.

On a side note, it's interesting to me that you singled out the deadlift, as I found the (back) squat the most challenging lift to master.

[1] - SS prescribes power cleans; I think most people will get more desirable results from rows

[2] - this varies significantly from person to person, and is probably the biggest challenge, as it's a huge inner game


> On a side note, it's interesting to me that you singled out the deadlift, as I found the (back) squat the most challenging lift to master.

I totally agree with you, I feel that the goblet squat, front squat, and eventually the overhead squat are much better for beginners because they emphasize good movement mechanics in a way that the back squat allows you to cheat on (until you end up at the chiropractor).

The reason I put deadlifts first on the list is that I truly believe it to be the most important lift to master- particularly for those who spend most of their time in globally flexed positions while sitting on the primary movers of the posterior chain. Plus, you can't deadlift and not develop bracing technique, which is IMO the most important thing a beginner can learn.


I don't think I agree about the OHS; I think it's a move that is better suited to aspiring Olympic lifters due to its complexity and application to the snatch, but I'll leave that argument to the Contrerases of the world.

Very much with you on bracing and its essence in deadlifting, though.


For specific beginner programs, GSLP and StrongLifts have always seemed like the two with the lowest barriers to entry of the ones I know about.

I would add weighted chin-ups to any beginner routine that doesn't have them, because I personally like to balance not only the push/pull muscles, but also in the horizontal and vertical planes.

You didn't ask, but my current routine consists of these core/compound lifts:

Workout A) * Bench Press (horizontal push) * Barbell Row (horizontal pull) * Squat (leg-driven push)

Workout B) * Overhead Press (vertical push) * Weighted Chin-Ups (vertical pull) * Deadlift (leg-driven pull)

Any lifts besides these are considered accessory and are only programmed in based on specific needs, e.g. weaknesses/imbalances/posture issues/aesthetic goals. If I can't tie an accessory back to a specific need, then it's just considered fuckarounditis and I eliminate it.

I rotate my rep scheme so I'm not always doing high weight / low rep, but sometimes low weight / high reps or medium weight / medium reps. I do this mostly to not get bored, but also because always doing high weight / low rep can get stressful. I'm probably sacrificing strength gains by slowing my progression down, but I'm okay with it.

Disclaimer: everyone's goals are different. I'm pushing 40 and my goals are to maintain a modest level of strength and overall fit appearance (only working out 3 days a week for < 90 minutes per session) and this is what works for me.

If one's goal is to be a powerlifter, fitness model, bodybuilder, etc. you most likely have to work harder and take your programming even further than I've taken mine.


You can always supplement the 5x5 routine with 3x8-10 (typically) accessory exercises with dumbbells.

In some cases dumbbells will give you a better range of motion and help develop smaller muscles.

Another common addition to 5x5 I've seen is adding a dedicated core day (weighted ab crunches, hanging leg raises, planks) Core is the 2nd most important part of doing pull exercises (after back)


> In some cases dumbbells will give you a better range of motion and help develop smaller muscles.

This has always smelled like broscience to me. I guess I'm just skeptical that someone unable to create stable positions with a fixed object (barbell) will have more success creating proper stable positions off of objects that move freely. Based on what I've seen in the gym, it looks like the barbell users usually end up 'collapsing' into stability... then again, most of what I see in the gym are meatheads using way more weight than they should be. Maybe it would be different if priority was given to proper mechanics rather than pressing till your eyeballs bleed.


>most of what I see in the gym are meatheads using way more weight than they should be.

What does that mean? If your goal is to get stronger you have to lift as much weight as possible. Obviously you don't want to hurt yourself, but the emphasis on perfect form over heavy weights is "broscience" if your goal is strength.

>I'm just skeptical that someone unable to create stable positions with a fixed object (barbell) will have more success creating proper stable positions off of objects that move freely.

The whole point is that it's more difficult to maintain stability with dumbells.


Let me clarify. A professional strength athlete will need to move lots of weight, and will occasionally need to compromise form and future health to get it done. That being said, look at the work Kelly Starrett has done with Mark Bell. Perfect form by definition results in the most efficient force production and transfer, and is therefore the most efficient way to increase strength. My understanding is that these days you rarely see elite power athletes compromise form in training, in the same way that you rarely see elite power athletes lifting their max load. My philosophy is that in training, a rep without proper form is a failed rep.


I prefer dumbbells to a regular benchpress, but it's largely because I don't have an exercise partner and I don't want to get trapped underneath a barbell if I can't lift it.


If you lift in a gym, one option is dragging a bench into a power rack [1]; this will allow you to bail using the safety bars. Another is to use an olympic bench station (if you have one) to hang the bar up onto a lower hook. If you can't even lift the bar, there's the option of benching without clips [2].

No need to miss out!

[1] : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru0scbx8DuI [2] : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGkRDcMeSTY


The idea is that you have full range of motion when using a barbell or dumbbells compared to a machine that limits your range of motions to a very strict horizontal/vertical axis.


I like the reddit /r/bodyweightfitness recommended routine.




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