Saturday, September 14, 2013

Calisthenic Beginner Routine

Many people want to start training with their own bodyweight, because they wanna try something new, or because they have no time to go to the gym. But the problem is that they don't know how to start. That's why I'm going to share with you a good routine you can follow, based on the most basic exercises for beginners, i.e., squats, Australian pull ups, push ups and leg raises, and how you can adapt it to your goals and life.

Bodyweight Routine for Beginners

1A) Australian Pull Ups 2-5 x 20

1B) Push Ups 2-5 x 20

1C) Bodyweight Squats 2-5 x 20

2) Leg Raises 1-2 x 15

First, I will tell you what this means. You should do the exercises listed with the same number in a circuit fashion. For example, the above workout calls for a set of APU, a set of pushups, and a set of squats, and then another set of APU and so on until you're done with the total number of sets for each exercise. Then, you should start with exercise #2, leg raises, and do the amount of sets that you are supposed to do.

Second, in this routine, you start with a fairly easy exercise, and you progress to the next step or variation of that exercise once you are able to do the in your first set the amount of reps the program calls for in that exercise, with proper technique, and once you have mastered that variation. Don't progress if you are still struggling to complete the set, mastering the movement and focusing on technique will give you strength and confidence for the next step. (To know how to progress in each exercise, just click on its name.)

This means that if you are doing regular push ups, you don't start progressing towards close push ups until you are able to do 20 regular push ups with perfect technique.

Third, what should you do on the other sets? Should you go to failure, try to do the same number of reps as in the first set, or maybe forget all together and go find a hot chick? Well, my advise is that if you find one, go after her.

This girl could make me miss more than one workout...

In case there isn't any hot girl (or gal), I want you to do as many reps in the other sets as in the first one. "But Gabri, how I am gonna do this? -you may ask- If I do as many perfect reps as I can on my first set, there's no way I can do it again for another 4 sets!!" I know, that is why you can pause for a few seconds between reps in the middle of the set, whenever you need it, as long as it is NOT THE FIRST SET. This will allow you to practice the exercise with perfect technique without fatigue, because you can take short breaks between reps, and you are also doing more volume than if you did straight sets to failure.

But how many sets should you do? That's up to you. If you want muscle and strength and have the time, do 5 sets for the main exercises and 2 sets of leg raises. If you are short on time, or just want to focus on strength and do not care so much about muscle mass, do 2 sets for the main exercises and 1 set of leg raises. Don't worry, even doing fewer sets you will still get stronger and gain some muscle.

If you do not know what to do, go with the high sets approach, since more sets give you more practice, and thus you will progress faster.

Finally, how many days a week should you train? Ideally, I would say every other day, or three days a week without training on consecutive days. But if you do not have any time at all and one day a week is all you have, then so be it.

When to progress to another routine? Once you can do 20 close push ups, and 20 perfect australian pull ups on rings or towels, then its time to start practicing regular pullups and handstand pushups, but I will make a new routine for that.

Oh! And don't forget to write a training journal! Just write the date, which exercises did you do, the number of sets and reps, and anything you think you should note. This way, you will know what you did your last workout, and you can focus on improving. Over time, you will be able to look at your training journal (or training log), and see what were you doing when you improved the most.

I hope now you know how to start training, because that is what this post is all about. If you still have any doubt, please do not hesitate to leave a comment and I will answer back.

Train hard,

Click here to see part 2

To read this post in Spanish, click here.

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