Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Historical Note: My first workout

I was cleaning up my mom's house today and found an old file of my papers. Amongst them was the hand-written workout given to me by a bodybuilder/boxer/karate instructor friend of mine, to use on his equipment. This was really my second workout program after deciding in August 1999 to lift again; before that I'd only done some calisthenics and worked out on a soloflex. This is the first really serious workout I did with barbells.

Here is what he had me do:

Bench Press
Behind the Neck Press
Scott Curl
Forearm Curls
Calf Machine

Close-grip Bench Press
Incline Fly
Lat Machine (any grip)
Barbell Press
Forearm Curls

Wide Bench Press to Neck
Barbell Curl
Barbell Row
Side Laterals
Tricep Pushdown
Calf Machine

All sets/reps were 20/10/7/5/3/2x2 with 20 and 10 being warmups. Every week I was to add another set of plates to the doubles, and try to let the weight increase cascade down the line with the lighter sets.

And that's it.

- No guidelines on rest, I suspect I rested about a minute or so if that.

- No legs except for calf raises. Maybe since I was also doing karate and biking, he didn't think it was important. He didn't have a squat rack but he had a trap bar and he did deadlifts, but he left it loaded with 2 x 100# plates so maybe he just didn't want me messing with his setup...who knows? But no legs.

- I remember doing abs, but I don't see them listed.

- Benching three times a week, including guillotines! Pressing overhead twice a week.

- Only two pulling exercises the whole workout.

Still, while I wish he'd been a "squat and then we'll talk about anything else" kind of guy, he did get me started. He wrote me the workout, showed me how to use his gear, and let me use his gym (a converted shed in his yard, filled with gear) whenever I wanted to. I'm grateful to him. My previous workout had been cribbed from a workout card Bruce Lee filled out and that was copied into a book about him. It was a little more balanced, but it was still an upper body workout. My friend had seen me workout on his stuff a few times, and may have written me a workout based on what I seemed to be doing - benching, curling, some rows, forearm exercises, etc. so at least I was doing it in the right order. It's so long ago (2000) that I've since forgotten. I just remember I'd walk the mile or so up down one steep hill and up another to lift, and then walk home after.

If you are a new lifter comes along and says "Hey, that's what my workout looks like!" maybe you'll realize it needs a lot more balance. We all started somewhere, some better than others. If you're where I was, don't stay there!

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