I recently stumbled across the best program for strength training that happens to be perfect for beginners.
First let’s talk about strength training (which I’ll continue to refer to as “lifting”). In my opinion, lifting gets no love. We use our Fitbits and track our steps. We track our heart rates and calories when we do cardio.
But lifting? It’s harder to measure how much your muscles are growing, so we kind of ignore it. (Well, you can measure it if you have an extra $400 laying around and want to take a shot at this.)
It sucks too because there are soooo many benefits to actually getting stronger and adding muscle. In fact, if you only continue to do cardio and neglect lifting, you don’t lose weight as quickly or look as good. Also, you lose muscle as you age, so you really want to combat that effect.
Another reason a lot of us don’t jump into weight lifting is the fact that there’s a bit of a learning curve to it. You can just jump on an elliptical and have it work your entire body, but for lifting, there’s
levels to this shit steps involved to getting a full body workout.
Ok. Now, let’s talk Allpro.
The program was created by a guy on Bodybuilding.com that goes by the name, AllPro, and is appropriately referenced as All Pro’s WeightLifting Routine…or The AllPro Routine…or something like that (it’s not really an official thing so doesn’t really have an official name).
The program has a few benefits that make it a great beginner’s program, which are:
- It’s easy to follow
- It includes the basics that should be included in a lifting program (squatting, pushing, and pulling)
- It can all be done with simple equipment like a barbell or dumbbells
It’s actually meant to be done with a barbell, but my apartment doesn’t have them, so I use dumbbells. This is the case at a lot of smaller gyms so many us can probably benefit from the dumbbell variation. Purists will say that you need to use barbells, but seriously, weights are weights. It’s all going to give you a challenge, so use what you have.
The program: Lifting weights for beginners
You do 3 workouts each week: It takes me about 45 -60 minutes to go through an entire workout.
You do 7 exercises:
- Bench Presses
- Bent-Over Rows
- Overhead Barbell Presses
- Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
- Barbell Curls
- Calf Raises
For the 3 days your work out, you have a heavy, medium, and light day: For me, this means going down a dumbbell for each day (for example, a 35lb set on a heavy day, to a 30lb set, to a 25lb set). There’s a more complicated calculation for it, but I think it gets to the same point. The good thing about this weight decrease is that you’re not totally sore and exhausted after each day, so it makes the program a lot more sustainable.
To get started: You just figure out your starting weight by finding the amount of weight you can lift for 10 reps. If you’re not familiar with a rep, it’s short for “repetition” and refers to the number of times you do an exercise. So, for a squat, you want the right amount of weight that will allow you to drop down into a squat 10 times. This will be something pretty heavy, not something you could actually do for 15 or 20 reps.
Also, I’ve found that your starting weight is going to evolve with a little trial and error. You want to find this 10 rep max on a day where you have lots of energy and haven’t already lifted. However, you may find later that your weights are too light or heavy, so it’s okay to change them.
And that’s it!
Why I like it
I really like the simplicity of this program. I don’t have lug around a notebook and keep track of how much I’m lifting. I just let the program do all the thought work for me.
I also really like the credibility of this program. If you Google it, you get a bunch of results and places like Reddit and MyFitnessPal go into some for real discussion about it. You expect that from heavily marketed programs like P90X, but for a program that is basically just words on a discussion forum, it’s very popular.
Here’s a little gift for you
Once you figure out your starting weight, the rest of the program just works itself out. As a special gift, I’ve put together a little document for you to track your weight on the program! Once you do a couple of workouts, you’ll know it by heart, but this is a good document to get you started.
If you’re curious about my weights or even want to use mine as a starting point, here’s a snapshot. These are dumbbell weights, so double it for a barbell (for example, 50lbs for squats with dumbbells = 100lbs with a barbell). You’ll notice that I have 2 weights listed on my Day 2 (Medium) days. Since the next lowest dumbbell at my gym is 5 lbs less, I didn’t want to go too low, so I did one set with my Heavy day weight and the next with the lighter weight. It’s a good compromise.
Also, I don’t have it listed here, but I ended up subbing a couple of the exercises once I got a feel for where I wanted to focus. I won’t mention specifics because you should figure this out for you, but just know that it’s an option.
Last thing, refer to the Bodybuilding.com forum (there are actually several) for more dialogue, Q&A, etc…and of course, feel free to throw me any questions you have in the comments! It may sound complicated at first, but you’ll get it in now time.
Also, I’m feeling some Beyonce at the moment, so if you’re also a Bey fan, check out this article on creating a dope Beyonce workout playlist 🙂
Happy lifting 🙂