Beginner Level 1
Protocol (how to train each muscle group)
**If you are brand new to the gym and weight training, I might suggest you just do set 1 and set 2 for the first week to get your body moving and used to weight training. After the 1st week then add set 3. I suggest this, because we don’t want you to get so sore that you can’t come to the gym on day 2 because your arms are so sore and they don’t move very well. The goal is to get a little sore, but to have feel good sore the first week. We get into pushing things down the road! **
Protocol is what you will be doing with each exercise/machine. So… for each exercise or machine listed below you will do this exact thing each time!
**We always suggest, if you are brand new to the gym, to warm up for about 15-20 minutes on any of our cardio-vascular machines. This gets the blood flowing and prepares the body for resistance weight training.
Warm up set (set 1)
For your first set or the warm up set, you will choose a weight that will be pretty easy to complete 25 repetitions. A repetition is moving the weight from the top of the movement to the bottom in a slow and controlled way. The goal for the warm up set is to just get the blood moving to that muscle group and get the joint/tendons warmed up. You never want to push a muscle/joint before it is properly warmed up. What we are looking for is a slight burn in the muscle by the 25th repetition. Again, in the beginning, it will take some trial and error to figure out where your thresholds are and what weights to use. Be patient it will come! The warm up set is only done on the 1st set of the muscle you are working. For example, on biceps day you will be doing 3 machines/exercises. On the first exercise for biceps you do the warm up set of 25 repetitions where you get a small burn but not too much and can easily get to the 25th rep. You would then complete Set 2 and Set 3 with the proper rest and stretching in between of course. Now you have completed the 1st exercise for biceps and now move to the 2nd exercise for the same muscle group, the biceps. The bicep is already warmed up as you have now already done 3 sets, so there is no need to do another warm up set for the 2nd exercise. So instead of doing the warm up set the same way, you would now choose a weight that you would be struggling to get to the 25th rep. After that you would continue as normal to Set 2 and Set 3. Again, the first week is figuring out where your thresholds are and how much weight to do on each exercise/machine. You will get it…be patient! By the end of week 4 your will be an expert!
**You should always stretch after your warm up set for each body part. This stretch should be about 30 seconds. You only stretch after the warm up set during the 1st exercise for each body part. You will not stretch again until you have completed that body part. At that point, you will do a little bit longer more focused stretching for that muscle. **
Rest Period in between each set
Your rest period during beginning level 1 should be around 1-2 minutes. Some muscle groups like legs and back may require a little longer rest between sets to catch your breath, as they are much larger and challenging muscle groups. The goal of a rest period at this level is to catch your breath and have the energy for the next set.
Now choose a weight just slightly heavier than set one. Maybe 10% more weight and perform another 20 repetitions. This concept is called pyramiding. Adding weight to each set performed. On your 2nd set you want the muscle to be burning pretty good by the time you get to the 20th repetition. You should be choosing a weight that you can get to the 20th rep without failing. Failing is when you have pushed the muscle so hard, either by how much weight you are lifting, or by how many reps you have done, so the muscle simply cannot lift without assistance. On the beginning level 1 this is not the goal. The goal is to give the muscle a good burn but not to failure.
Again, pyramid up and add another 10% weight (now you have increased from your warm up set by 20%) and perform another 15 reps. On this 3rd and final set you may be getting closer to the failure point, but still we want you to be able to get your 15 reps done and still have a little bit left by completion and not at failure point.
In summary, for each machine/exercise, you do a warm up set for 25 reps just to get the muscle/joint warmed up and blood to the muscle group. Set 2, you add 10-15% and do 20 reps feeling a good burn by the 20th rep. Set 3 pyramid up and add another 10-15% and do 15 reps. In this set you should start to feel the muscle fatigue a little bit and really burn! Remember that the 1st set of each muscle group is the only time you have to do the warm up set using a weight that you can easily lift for 25 reps. When you get to the 2nd machine/exercise for each muscle the warmup set is not necessary, as it is already warm from the prior 3 sets. You now choose a slightly higher weight that will have the muscle burning by the 25th rep but not to a failing point.