The primary goal of these programs is to establish a solid strength base with specifically selected foundational exercises. There are six separate 8-week programs below.
The types of exercises included in each routine are very similar, meaning that all of them can be successful regardless of your experience level. In other words, you should see results running any routines in whatever order you see fit and according to your goals, schedule and your training preferences.
The programs are intended to provide variety, so that you can pick a routine that suits your needs best and, once you run through it, you have the option of switching to another program (or more) for 8 weeks each.
These programs are NOT intended to be an all-inclusive resource for all things training related. These are basic, one-size-fits-most programs I’ve developed to be further refined for my patients’ specific individual needs, meaning that there is plenty of individualized information I cover one-on-one in my office that won’t be covered here.
These programs aren’t intended to teach or instruct you on basic lifting technique and assumes you already have a basic understanding of how to perform the exercises included with proper form. If there are any exercises you aren’t familiar or confident with, DON’T DO THEM WITHOUT PROPER INSTRUCTION.
It also comes strongly recommended that you have a personal trainer or coach provide feedback on your technique for new movements.
ALWAYS speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Working with your doctor ahead of time can help you plan the exercise program that’s right for you. And that’s a good first step on your path to physical fitness.
These workouts are based on linear progression. Put simply, linear progression means that if you were to graph your strength, the line that you would end up drawing would be straight. This means that you need to continually either add weight or reps every time you do an exercise. You can make progress very quickly this way if you’re a beginner because your body doesn’t need much stimulus to adapt. As you get more advanced, you need more stimulus and more time to adapt.
This allows for progressive overload. Without this, you won’t make any adaptations (strength gains or size gains). Simply put, in order to get bigger and stronger, you must continually make your muscles work harder than they’re used to. Conversely, if the demands on the target muscle groups are not at least maintained or are actually decreased, your muscles will atrophy, losing size and strength.
Progressive overload is a very simple but crucial concept, laying the foundation upon which successful resistance training is built.
Find your starting weight by starting with the bar, and gradually adding weight for sets of 5 until the exercise movement slows down. Then reduce the weight by 5lbs, and this is a good approximate starting point.
Weightlifting is a marathon, not a sprint. It can be difficult to accurately determine if you are making visual progress day-to-day or even week-to-week. Ultimately, because of the relationship between strength gain and muscle gain, the main metric I want you to use for tracking your progress is strength. If you’re getting stronger, you’re progressing. It is strongly recommended to log every workout either in writing (print the program out or use a separate notebook) or in an app, so you don’t have to rely on memory to keep track of personal strength records.
How you respond to training will be largely determined by genetic factors. As a rough ballpark estimate for untrained male individuals, 1-2 lbs of muscle gain per month is reasonable (12-24 lbs of muscle gained in your first year). For early intermediates with about 1 year of lifting experience, progress will likely slow down to roughly 0.5-1 lbs of muscle gain per month (6-12 lbs of muscle gained in your second year). For practical purposes, women can divide muscle gain estimates in half.
Muscle soreness is largely attributed to eccentric contractions and long muscle length contractions. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) isn’t required for hypertrophy (muscle growth) to occur, but the associated muscle damage might play a role in hypertrophy. With that said, the main goal of the program is to establish a strength foundation, not to get you feeling sore. In fact, reduced soreness over time indicates that your body is adapting and recovering, which is actually a good thing for continued progress.
You may experience increased soreness when you first begin the program because it is presenting a new stress to your body. Foam rolling can help reduce DOMS and increase ROM, so if you are consistently getting sore week after week, consider adding a short 3-5 minute foam rolling routine at the end of the workouts. Otherwise, training while sore is not inherently problematic for muscle growth unless it puts you at an increased risk of injury. If you’re having a difficult time getting into position for any of the planned exercises, or finding it difficult to complete a full ROM due to pain, don’t workout.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness can last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours post-workout. If it lasts longer, or you notice swelling or radiating pain, reach out to your chiropractor!
Otherwise, in the case of mild soreness, perform a slightly longer warm up for each exercise with avoiding injury being a top priority. One extra rest day will not set you back very far, but a serious injury will. If in doubt, check with your doc.