Getting started in the gym...

Hi all, I was hoping to get some info/advice on getting into the gym. I recently lost about 60 pounds and need to get into the gym and start strength training. I'm 220 now and have to admit that I have next to no strength at all. I cannot afford a personal trainer and am hoping to get some advice on a 'starter' workout routine. In my past trips to the gym, I simply did random lifts/exercises that had no effect, it was a waste. I'd just like to get into a set weekly schedule for a workout routine to get started building up some strength. I have no idea what number of sets/reps I would need to do and how to figure the proper weight to lift with different exercises.

Also, what are some things outside of situps and pushups that I can do around the house? Not necessarily to gain strength but more to help tone up.

I'm really excited to get started. My goal right now is to get down to 205 by Jan 1st and to be able to really see some results as far as strength goes.

Thanks a million for any info

Check out if you haven't already. That is forum member Scrapper's site and it has awesome bodyweight routines that will work your whole body and can be done at home.

Also take a look at the "A Great Beginner Work Out" thread on this very forum.

Scrappers stuff is a great place to start, and will help with strength. "Tone" is largely a function of lean muscle mass and low bodyfat; it's something you diet for more than train for, and if that's your goal the training should be targeted toward general fat burning, not the muscles in any specific area.

It would be cool if we could pin a thread for beginner advice (Mods, is that possible?). Geoff wrote a great post on the topic a while back, does anyone have a copy?

My advice would be to start with 2 full body workouts with weights per week. Each workout should start with three compound exercises, an upper body push, an upper body pull, and a squat or squat variation. Do them for 2-3 sets each, totaling 15-25 reps. All sets should be close to failure, but don't risk form breakdown to squeeze out another rep. Pick two different sets of three exercises for your two weekly workouts and stick with them for 6 weeks or so.

Upper body presses:
Bench Press, Military Press, Dip (weighted if necessary)

Upper body pulls:
Pullup, Chinup, Bent barbell row, DB row

Squat, Deadlift, Step up, 1 leg squat

After you finish those three exercises you can throw in whatever else you want. Weighted situps, curls, tricep extensions, neck work, grip work, whatever. Or just go home, you'll hit most everything in the big lifts anyway.

Don't let your lower back round while it's under load, and don't let your knees drift inward if you are lifing with your legs. If anything hurts in a bad way stop doing it.

If you feel fresh enough add a scrapper bodyweight workout on a third day per week. Read a bunch of stuff here, and elsewhere on the net, and use your judgement to decide how to proceed from there.


Good call PfP; that thread has the Geoff post I was talking about pasted in.

sunday and thur i workout my biceps, forearms, and shoulders.

Sat - Wed - i work out my chest, tris and traps.

biceps i usally get in between 14-17 sets, of 10 or 12 usually depending on what i lift, i will do 4 sets of preacher curls, 4 sets of incline bar curls, and 4 sets of concentration curls,
i usually aim at doing 8 reps atleast,depending on weight,

i hope that gives u some of an idea, shoulders and forearms i will do 4 sets of 8-12 with heavy weight,

chest i will work 3 sets at 165 x 6-8, then i will try 175 x 4-5, and if i could lift heavier ill try 3 sets of 2-3 reps,

hope that gives an idea??
im not a big guy
maybe the bigger guys like yourself can add more realistic info.

UFC-TODD, nothing for legs?

Why all the volume for biceps?

I think that the program I outlined will be easier to complete and better for just about any goal, excepting maybe upper body muscular endurance.

Assuming that you're really doing all that (and that's a -big- leap, I realize) you should really switch to something else.