Training becomes a confusing affair once you cross the ranks of a novice. The first problem that faces the trainee is what to do next? When one is a novice all you have to do is perform work and raise your capacity and magically everything improves. (For a detailed look at training for beginners, click here). But once you have some work capacity and feel in shape and coordinated, you have so many paths to choose from. Should you get stronger? Or lose fat? Or raise endurance? Maybe get into bodybuilding or yoga?
In reality most people jump the gun. Just because you are no longer sore and are able to move as much as you want does not mean you are done building a base. Rather than specialize in something, trainees should continue following balanced routines for as long as 2 years, even if you have a very clear objective. You are simply not experienced enough to need that kind of specificity, no matter what your goals are. Follow the motto- BE STRONG, BE FLEXIBLE, BE IN SHAPE! This will never hurt you on your journey to your goals.
The main priorities in this base building phase are-
- Build basic strength in the whole body as a coordinated unit.
- Build quality muscle mass with balanced development.
- Develop the tendons, ligaments and connective tissues.
- Build a broad base of aerobic work.
- Build a capacity to perform high intensity endurance work.
- Be mobile, flexible and pain free.
Here is a simple 3+2 days per week routine that will build a quality foundation for almost any fitness goal.
3 days a week you train in the gym for strength and high intensity endurance. 2 days a week you stretch and do light cardio at home.
Standing Military Press- 4 progressively heavier sets of 5, working up to one big final set. Try to break this record every time you do this, but always keep 5-6% in reserve.
Example- 40kgx5, 50kgx5, 60kgsx5, 70kgsx5 (Beating previous record of 69kgs)
Barbell Back Squat- 4 sets of 5 working up to one big set
Dumbbell Bench Press/ Weighted Push ups- 5 sets of 10
Weighted Hyper/ Good Morning- 5 sets of 10
Seated Cable Rowing- 3 sets of 15
Uphill Sprints- 5-6 sprints of 100m
20-30mins cycling/ stationary bike/ light jogging
30mins Static stretching of entire body
10mins foam rolling entire body
Barbell Bench Press- 4 progressively heavier sets of 5
Deadlift- 4 progressively heavier sets of 5
Dumbbell Military Press- 5 sets of 10
Weighted/ Bodyweight Lunges/ Step ups- 5 sets of 10 per leg
Dumbbell Side Bends- 3 sets of 12 per side
One arm Dumbbell Rows- 1 set of 20-25 per arm as heavy as possible
Dumbbell Farmer’s Walks- 3 sets of 3 mins as heavy as possible
Same as Tuesday
Chin Ups- 30-100 total reps in 10mins (Use 5 sets of 12 heavy lat pulldowns if you cannot do more than 5 chin ups a set)
Dumbbell Curls- 5×10
Tricep Pressdowns- 5×10
Rear Delt machine/ Bent Over Flys- 3×20
Weighted Sit Ups/ Swiss Ball Crunches/ Ab Rollouts- 3×8
Hanging Knee Raises- 30-50 total reps
Flat Sprints- 10-20 sets of 50m
Some of the basic features of this program is that we train the whole body every workout, we do not divide the body into parts. Instead we train different qualities on different days. There is some heavy work every session, but most of the volume is built up by smaller exercises designed to strengthen weak areas, build the tendons and lay a foundation of muscle development. It is overall a balanced routine that has some emphasis on everything, but primary focuses on getting stronger in basic movements and getting and staying in shape. If you are interested in such programs, check out the afitgo training plans in the app.