*The overriding consensus of opinion from top strength coaches from around the world is that the training fundamentals for both sexes remain the same.
One look at the explosion of cross-fit in the states which has ladies using big compound movements will tell you that using barbells does not make women bulky.
Training Effectively: A minimalistic training program for Intermittent Fasting
There is a whole confusing world of training information out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to find ‘the‘ program for you. So as with the diet, I will make this simple for you too. I’m a geek, I read all this stuff for fun, so I’ll share three of the best here.
I train 3 days a week, for under one hour. No cardio.
Allow me to be clear: I train 3 days a week, for under one hour. Period. The training was the same when I was cutting too. Unless you’re an athlete, excluding stretching time, you do not need to do more lifting than this either.
Fortunately for us, simple really is one of the best ways to go about it your training. This is not only my opinion. This is the opinion of some of the best strength coaches in the world.
A beginner can gain strength on almost any training program for a time. This is why there are advocates for a plethora of programs out there. However this does not mean you should just do just any one of them. It makes sense to choose the most effective.
I don’t want you to waste years of your life, as I did before finding what really works.
Whether a you’re a beginner or have been training for a while, this means two things:
- Following a 4/5/6-day split routine like your favorite bodybuilder you read in a magazine is not optimal for a drug-free individual. (Simple, effective. training routines using barbels do not make for a sexy article in a magazine. Just because a routine is sexy [read: complicated] does not make it more effective.)
- Using isolation machines does not create functional strength and is not optimal either. (Unfortunately lazy or ill-informed gym staff may have led you to these as they are far easier and quicker to teach than free-weights or body-weight exercises.)
Big compound movements are the best and fastest way to get strong, fit and change your body. Further explanation of the reasons for barbel training are beyond the scope of this article, suffice to say this: There are very good reason why top sports team coaches, get both their male and female athletes to train almost exclusively with free weights. – You should too.
If you are new to training, you’re in luck. This will be the best training year of your life, and is your opportunity to make the most dramatic changes to your body. You will have ‘beginner bonus gains’ as I like to call them. Do not waste this opportunity, and do not suffer fools that try to steer you off the path toward ineffective routines.
If you have been training a while and have perhaps been doing split routines/ machines/ or are new to barbel/ body-weight training, you will benefit greatly from this too. It’s not too late to start now.
‘Correct Form’ When Training
If you do not use correct form you will not only sacrifice potential gains, but set yourself up for injury somewhere in the not-too-distant future. As good form is so critically important, I recommend you do these three things:
- Read Mark Rippetoe’s ‘Starting Strength‘. He’s considered one of the best. It is the best guide ‘How-to guide’ to performing barbel exercises I have ever read.
- Watch his Youtube video lectures:
- Invest in a good* personal trainer to check your form.
Making a small investment now will pay big dividends in the future.
*It can be hard to know if a trainer is good. Certificates don’t mean a damn. Watch the person you’re thinking of hiring. Do you get a good feeling about them? Do they get their clients using free weights, big barbel movements? Do they get them using the machines a lot. If the latter, steer clear. Here I’ve written more about choosing a good trainer.
Suggested Training Programs
This is my no-means a comprehensive list, but these are three of the best. Tried and tested, proven routines. There are many other great routines too, but I’m keeping it simple.
1. ‘The Big 3′ Routine
Whenever anyone mentions ‘The Big 3′ they mean the Squat, Deadlift and Bench-press. Hundreds of thousands have got big, and defined physiques just using these three exercises. According to Marty Gallagher, these three are possibly all you’ll ever need. (Check out the amazon reviews and praise of his book.)
2. ‘Three Day Split Reverse Pyramid Training (RPT)’ Routine
For those with training experience. This is recommended by Martin Berkhan of leangains.com, and builds on the principles and minimalistic style recommended by Stuart McRobert in his highly acclaimed, much recommended book, ‘Beyond Brawn’.
3. ‘Rippetoe’s Starting Strength’ Routine (Named after the book.)
Written by world-renowned strength training coach Mark Rippetoe. This is a tough training regimen, though suitable for beginners also, is not recommended for those on a cut.
How do I choose the right training program?
There is nothing macho about choosing an advanced lifting routine if you are not. You’ll just make slower progress if you do.
Determining what you’re suited for can be hard, so I’ve written some questions to guide you to the right decision. Try to be objective. You’re going to choose one of three options.
Q) Are you on a cut?
- Yes? – Do not choose ‘Starting Strength’. Mark advises calories in excess each day. You will pack on mass, but to meet the recovery demands, perhaps fat also. Most people will need some coaching on the power-clean.
- No? Consider the other any of the three.
Q) Have you learned to push yourself hard enough, regularly, so that because of soreness the thought of training the squat again three days later makes you shudder?
- Yes? Consider ’3 Day Split RPT’ or a somewhere in-between the two. You are going to want to train as much as you can recover from. Only YOU can determine that as I am not physically present. Please read this article.
- No? Choose “The Big 3″ or “Starting Strength”. It is sub-optimal to consider a split routine yet.
I’ve written separate articles on:
Details on ‘Starting Strength’ can be found on this Starting Strength community site or in the book.
Please don’t forget,
Body-recomposition is 70% diet, 30% training.
And yes, I’m aware this is the second time I have written that in big letters on this site. Frankly, looking around the average gym, there are a lot of people that need it tattooed to their foreheads. Don’t be like them. Fix your diet first, before you throw extra cardio into your program.
Don’t believe me? Have a read of the article, “So you really think running will get you those abs?” But be warned, people have been known to spontaneously start slapping themselves for wasting all those hours they spent on the treadmill., so make sure you put on a pair of soft gloves.
Thanks for reading.
Q: I can’t under any circumstances find time to get to a gym. What are my options?
Good bodyweight training articles:
- Top 20 Bodyweight Exercises for Building Muscle and Strength - Jason Ferruggia
- Bodyweight Exercises and Injury Prevention: Mark’s Daily Apple.
- For general training comments or questions, please leave them on this page.
- For specific questions regarding the two routines I have linked to above, please use their respective pages.
- For questions on ‘Starting Strength’ a quick google search will bring up a whole lot of sites and forums that have people following this program. This seems to be a good one. You’ll find all your answers there.
- If you would like a personalized nutrition and training, please just drop me an e-mail.