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.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beginner Program: 12 months of Strength Exercises

I missed this one yesterday, but I am a big fan of beginning programs. I am always on the lookout for ones to suggest to people who ask my professional opinion on what to do (but who don't want to hire a trainer, me or otherwise). While you're certainly going to do better - probably significantly better - with a trainer, a good beginning program to get you started is always welcome.

The 12 Months of Fitness Strength Exercises

This program gives you a series of exercises to do, breaking the entire year up into 3-month quarters. It is part of an entire program, not just strength training. The emphasis seems to be on getting you to do something first, do it consistently, and then progress and swap in harder/more potentially effective exercises as you work up to the need for them.

It's not perfect. As always with these kinds of beginning programs, they recommend very low weights and with the impression weights are for advanced trainees. Which is amusing when they recommend "adding" weights to exercises you can't do without weight, such as the bent-over dumbbell row.

I'm leery of the Bosu ball squat, too. There is little evidence showing that exercising on unstable surfaces helps people without stability issues (such as an ankle injury, for example) and a fair amount showing it's not that effective as exercise. But it doesn't keep them for long, and you move on to heavier, stabilized exercises and stay there.

It does put you, in the end, to a "Starting Strength"-like workout, featuring squat, deadlift, bench press, and standing press (no heavy pulls, though, other than the deadlift). Which is something you can start on in the first place, but for some trainees, the need for some basic at-home exercises to build in the habit of training is just what the strength coach ordered. And this workout does that pretty nicely.

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