Exercise Training Basics

Weight Lifting

I have written this basics page mainly for beginners, it lays out a few basic principles of training.

The first thing you must think of as a beginner is how many times a week you will train, if you have done no physical activity I would recommend you ease into training slowly. For the first two weeks train once a week, for the next two train twice a week and so on until you feel you are training the number of days you want to. I would recommend you take at least a few days a week off from training for your body to recover, I usually train 3-4 times a week. As a beginner you will probably have much soreness even if you do not train to exhaustion (ie. stop performing an exercise before you find it is difficult to continue with that particular exercise). Ease into the routine slowly, there's no hurry.

After you have worked out when to workout you must next look at how to workout. First you must formulate a workout routine (see the 'workouts' page for methods of training and the 'exercises' page for details of different exercises you can incorporate into this training). As a standard for beginners and more experienced people alike I would recommend a standard routine of first warming up thoroughly before training and warming down and stretching after training. This can be some light jogging on the spot to get your heart-rate up, light stretching, etc.

Whilst working out you must understand the concept of sets and repetitions (reps). A repetition is one complete exercise for example, one push-up or one chin-up. The number of repetitions of an exercise depends on how fit you are and what you're training towards, for example a beginner may start doing 5 or 10 push-ups (5 or 10 reps) and progress up to 100 reps gradually.

A set is a complete series of reps, for example if you perform 8 push-ups this is a set. If you relax for a minute then perform another 8 reps, this would be called 2 sets and so on.

The speed of repetition is also important and is decided by what you are training towards. If you are a martial artist and wish to increase your speed and power at striking it is advisable to perform a rep faster which builds power in your fast-twich muscles, if you're training for muscular development then the slower the better! As a rule of thumb the standard is 4-5 secs per repetition of most exercises.

Another important concept is Total Quality Time Management. As a rule of thumb for most types of training if you can perform the same routine in a shorter space of time it is good, it means your body can recover faster between exercises and your heart and lung power is improving. I always aim to complete a routine in as short a time as possible without speeding up the reps, ie. I aim to minimise breaks in exercise. This is something you should look to start doing after a couple of months of training.

You should tailer your routines to what you want to achieve, and change your routine everytime you do it otherwise you will stop making good gains. For example if your goal is general fitness you will probably concentrate more on cardiovascular exercises such as running, if you want to lose weight it is best to focus on both strength and fitness exercises and if your soal goal is to get stronger I would advise you focus more on bodyweight exercises.

When you enter a gym or train at home train I recommend you start with CV then stomach/back then legs and finish with upper body. And remember your breathing is very important, as a rule of thumb you should breath out while performing the hardest part of an exercise (eg. the pushing part of a bench press) and breach in while performing the easy part.

As a final note you should look at cross-training - there are many different types of exercise you can do, for example bodyweight exercises, running, cycling, swimming, etc. and many variants within each. Try to constantly change your workout and remember to listen to yourself, if you don't feel like running that day, don't, do something else.