Beginner Weight Training

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I started a plant-based diet in July 2013. In mid-October I decided to start bodyweight training. In the past I had dabbled with dumbbell, barbells and machines but that always seemed very boring. With calisthenics you can set interesting goals like being able to do a handstand or planche (some of the cool gymnastic moves) or at minimum have a routine that you can do almost anywhere using your own body.

To get started I suggest doing the following routine 2 times a week:
1. Chin ups 3 sets 8-12 reps.
2. Push ups 3 sets 8-12 reps.
3. Bodyweight squats 3 sets 8-14 reps.

Rest 1 minute between sets. Rest more/less as needed. I often rest more especially if doing negatives (see pull up video below for explanation of negatives).

That’s it! This should take under an hour. You can get pretty ripped doing these for years by making them harder as you progress. Chin ups can be switched to pull ups. Push ups can be changed to diamond pushups. Things like doing them more slowly, one arm chinups and pushups and one leg pistol squats, or adding progressively more weight to a backpack can really make them much harder.

If you feel good after a few months you could up it to 3 times a week.

I use a Stamina Power Tower for chin ups and push ups. You could do chin ups with a door frame (a bit awkward) or outside in a playground and push ups on the floor. Sometimes I use push up bars in my basement which prevents my wrists from being torqued too much.

Here are some videos by Scooby1961. Don’t be alarmed by his huge size, he has videos showing really good form and is pretty mature about setting expectations for muscle growth.

Young people often have unrealistic expectations. Don’t expect to gain more than 1-2 pounds a month if you’re lucky. A lot of times people eat more and are actually gaining fat. Don’t let this be you. I measure my body fat with an Omron upper body fat monitor or you could get a scale that measures body fat. Take it slow and keep progressing through consistent action.

There’s no hard and fast rule about how much to do, how often, rest between sets, etc. Just doing this week after week, month after month, year after year will garner results. Log what you do and try to improve from week to week, maybe not every single workout. I couldn’t do one chin up and now I’m doing them with 35 lbs on my back so the body naturally will respond if you ask it to!

I eat a high carb diet, 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fat. I don’t worry about protein or when to eat, no supplements or other gimmicks. The carbs give you energy and shed the fat so you can see the muscle definition. I’m still a work in progress but things are progressing!

If you’re interested in diving deeper into this subject I recommend picking up Pushing the Limits! by Al Kavadio who does some amazing things would just his body weight!

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