Starting in the gym: what difficulties
Getting started in the gym is a bit difficult for everyone, especially for complete newbies (or gym newbies). Even those who, while boasting a fair seniority in training, may even find themselves disoriented, returning after a long absence from the weight room.
What makes the protocol "difficult" is that, on balance, the protocol itself is missing; that is, you start training without having a clear idea of what the objectives are, as well as the phases of planning and annual programming. This is a fundamentally wrong approach, because it increases the risk of quickly losing motivation and determination (becoming a so-called "droput"). Starting the gym riding the wave of enthusiasm, without paying attention to details and excluding awareness and clarity, can therefore prove to be a double-edged sword.
On the contrary, it is crucial to create an "annual plan", establishing what condition I would like to reach 365 days starting from today - therefore the relative "period" objectives - as well as establishing the "periodic program" of each phase - therefore, the systems or methods trainers to follow according to the aforementioned objectives. All of this, of course, can be corrected in the operational phase.
Conversely, in a situation of lack of planning and scheduling, many people tend to "push ahead" and start a training model that is completely unsuitable for their level of training - often too demanding. This is because, regardless of the condition reached at the time of the interruption, what is authentic is the "present". Hypertrophy and strength are characteristics that tend to wear off very quickly, and the more progress you make over time, the faster they will go away. This involution, fortunately, is not linear and tends to slow down as one approaches the basal condition. Therefore, a highly trained person, if on the one hand he will quickly lose the results he was most difficult to achieve, it will take a long time to return to "0".
Competitiveness (with oneself or with others), which for many is the very essence of the workout, can also lead to excessively speeding up the increase in loads, the difficulty of the exercises or the complexity of the system. In addition to the risk of non-compliance, there is therefore the danger of injury, which itself is a very frequent cause of early abandonment; let us not forget that small tendon and joint damage are those which, in the chronic, can give rise to complications even of considerable discomfort.
Based on what has been anticipated, it is therefore obvious that even the simple start of training is of crucial importance, not only in the short term, but also in the long and very long term.
In the next paragraph we will try to better understand "how to do it", therefore how to start the gym, giving a few examples of exercises and training schedules.
How to do
Getting started in the gym: how to do it
The first thing to do to start the gym is to free yourself from the guesswork and false myths from day one by arranging a meeting with a member of the fitness staff; in the case of home fitness, it will be necessary to contact a personal trainer.
Note: after having chosen it carefully, it is advisable to rely totally on your coach. Better to avoid proposing workouts that friends or acquaintances suggest, just as it would be desirable not to question the method or make controversy about any unwanted results - especially women, they tend to repudiate the increase in muscle mass, convinced to achieve in just three months volumes comparable to those of a body building; let's not forget that hypertrophy is the basis of body remodeling.
Secondly, it is good to clarify the logistics of the gym and the operation of certain machines. Better to get some demonstrations on the use of the equipment considered indispensable right away, perhaps by means of an introductory session.
On the basis of the objectives, the time has come to build planning and first programming; this aspect, while seeming to be the responsibility of the coach or personal trainer, requires the total participation of the person concerned. Everyone, of course, has their own goal.
You now have total training autonomy. At this stage, one of the essential keys to iniziare to properly train in the gym is to "not overdo it". Very difficult for the "more possessed", the trick of going slowly is crucial to avoid what is specified in the previous paragraph. A good tip is to divide the start-up into three phases:
- Technical learning
- Consolidation and introduction of loads
- Increased loads, but without reaching muscle or metabolic exhaustion.
Respecting this didactic-performance progression, from 3 to 6 months can pass; rarely up to a year.
Having patience, especially in the third phase, is a crucial device for leveling up. Advancing too fast can lead, in addition to increased risks, to the collection of incorrect data and equally incorrect subsequent programming. Regardless of the currents of thought, in fact, it is undeniable that to "grow" or "adapt" muscularly it is necessary to "super-compensate". This is based on the reconstruction and structural increase of overused tissues with the workout. Excessive stressors are to be avoided, because they do not allow to overcompensate between one stimulus and another, to the disadvantage of technical learning, consolidation, caloric expenditure, etc. In fact, in neophytes, it can be deduced that the permanence of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) beyond certain temporal limits is completely independent from the adaptation process. Ergo, by exaggerating with weights, the muscles can hurt even for 8-9 days, although the super-compensation was completed in half the time; Needless to say, the more time passes between this moment and the next stimulus, the slower progress will be.
Useful tips for starting the gym
Below we will summarize some useful, almost fundamental, tips to start and continue training in the gym:
- Fun: The most important thing about training is different. Especially at the beginning, it is essential to let personal taste and interest guide the sessions, not what "needs to be done"
- Having a plan: we have already said that, it is essential from the beginning. Knowing what to do will prevent you from wandering aimlessly or feeling disoriented, losing motivation. In the absence of a personal trainer, programming and planning are paradoxically even more important
- Focus the exercises: the accuracy of the sets and repetitions is not a priority, while it is to understand the type of exercise and its function. It is generally sufficient to be clear that a workout is structured, for example, as follows: 20 'of cardio exercises for cardiovascular warm-up, 15' of strengthening exercises (mostly multiarticular calisthenics, i.e. free body and that move more segments of the body) and 10 'of cool down. Repeating an exercise for the legs of the day before because we do not remember the execution of the one today is not essential. The details will come over time
- Do not exaggerate: on this point too we have been quite clear. Training hard every day from the beginning killing yourself, and then giving up, is totally useless
- Training must become a lifelong habit: there is no beginning and no end. It is therefore necessary to avoid spending weeks or worse months of inactivity. Rather, it can be useful to build short and easy training sessions, which can be respected even in moments of low motivation, physical energy, economic or time resources. Rather than give up, you do cardio to sweat but without exhaustion, lift weights just to keep you up
- The training load can increase in volume rather than intensity. At the beginning, it is better to go to the gym 5 times a week for 40 ', rather than 2 times for two hours, exhausting the muscles that will ache for at least ten days.
Exercises to start in the gym
The exercises to start in the gym should be the most important ones. Below we will divide the cardio exercises from the strength ones.
Cardio exercises to start in the gym
They can be divided into executions that require fitness machines or not. We will avoid mentioning aerobic activities that do not require fitness machines (running, cycling, skipping, walking, etc.) and we will focus on those that require specific equipment:
- Treadmill or treadmill: Typically, using this conveyor belt requires very little skill and presents a minimal chance of error. The easiest way to get started is to press the "Quick Start" button. Once started, you can adjust the speed and incline using the "+" and "-" buttons on the manual setting. It is a good idea to start with a walking pace, and then get to know the more challenging settings
- Exercise Bike: You don't need to have balance skills, just put your feet down and start pedaling. Seat height may need to be adjusted, which is typically done by pulling the latch knob, raising or lowering the steerer, then reinserting the latch knob. You can adjust the resistance or try your hand at predetermined routes
- Spinbike: It is similar to the exercise bike, but has a different resistance system. Generally used for spinning, it can be a valid alternative
- Elliptical: it is one of the most complicated pieces of cardio equipment, because the movement does not imitate anything real. In reference to the movement of the legs, it is a cross between a treadmill and an exercise bike; the arms, on the other hand, move two sticks that should simulate Nordic walking sticks
- Stair Climber: This machine can appear as a series of steps or in a more compact manner, with two pedals and some static handles. The weight of the body sets the steps in motion; however, you need to set a schedule or press the quik start button to make the stairs move faster
- Excite: allows you to move only the arms with a circular motion, similar to that performed by the maneuvers of sailboats. The movement can be forward or backward. The body position is most often sitting.
Weight room exercises to start at the gym
To begin, it is necessary to learn the best calisthenics exercises, or bodyweight, some of which can later also make use of overload:
- For buttocks and thighs: squats or squats, lunges, jumps, lunges (of all kinds)
- For pecs, triceps and anterior delts: push ups with all holds and inclinations
- For the back, biceps and posterior deltoids: pull-ups on the bar, with all grips and widths
- For the abs: crunches, sit-ups, plank, side bridge and torso twists
- For the lower back: hyperextension of the torso.
Secondly, it is essential to learn the movements (chest presses, rows, lat pulldowns, leg presses, etc.) of the most important strength machines:
- For buttocks and thighs: horizontal or oblique press, leg extension, leg curl and gluteus machine
- For pectorals, triceps and anterior deltoids: chest press machine, pectoral machine
- For the back, biceps and rear delts: lat pulldowns machine, pulley, vertical row
- For the abdominals: abdominal machine.
Note: it is essential to assume a good starting position, which is why they are equipped with locking knobs for adjusting the height of the seat or back. The load is adjusted by moving a pin on the pile of weighted tiles, or by loading and unloading the cast iron discs in the appropriate housing.
Immediately after, the movements to be performed at the Ercolina, a machine equipped with pulleys and cables. This allows to isolate, or almost, the muscular action, even involving only one joint. Some exercises are:
- For the pectorals: high, low and medium crosses on the cables
- For the triceps: high cable push down
- For the biceps: low cable curl
- For the central delts: lateral raises to the lower cables
- For the anterior deltoids: front raises to the low cables
- For the posterior deltoids: 90 ° crosses to the lower cables
- For the back: various pull dowms similar to those performed on the lat pulldowns machine
The load is adjusted by moving a pin on the stack of weighted tiles.
Finally, exercises with free weights, especially dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells; other resistances consist of rubber bands, medicine balls, training bags, etc. They are, in the opinion of many, the most effective but also the most difficult to perform correctly because they require stabilization.
It is advisable to switch to overloads only when, for each calisthenics exercise, you are able to perform at least 20 bodyweight reps. In the beginning, it is better to focus on the quality of the movement rather than the load.
Free weights can replace most of the movements performed on the cables, with differences in the stabilization capacity and the maximum tension reached in the various angles of the joints.
Workout cards to start in the gym
Below we will propose some possible training plans for beginners.
- Basic conditioning sheet: one workout to be repeated 2-3 times a week for 2-3 weeks; recoveries are between 1'00 '' and 1'30 '': 10 'treadmill, 3x15 squat, 5' exercise bike, 3x15 chest presses, 5 'excite, 3x15 lat pulldown machine prone grip, 3x15 + 3x15 crunch and hyperextension of the bust in alternating feet without rest, 10 'elliptical
- Start-up sheet: the previous training will constitute table A, followed by table B and C, to be performed alternately once a week (tot 3 training sessions per week); recoveries are between 1'00 '' and 1'30 '':
- 10 'treadmill, 3x15 deadlifts, 5' exercise bike, 3x15 push up on knees, 5 'excite, 3x15 low pulley, 3x15 + 3x15 reverse crunch and hyperextension of the bust alternating without rest, 10' elliptical
- 10 'treadmill, 3x15 alternating front lunges, 5' exercise bike, 3x15 inclined bench presses, 5 'excite, 3x15 pull-ups on the supine bar, 3x15 + 3x15 plank and hyperextension of the torso on specific bench without rest, 10' elliptical
- Muscle card for newbies: the training will only stress each muscle once a week; it can be divided into as many workouts as you like, even one per day, but more often it is divided into 3 or 4 sessions; recoveries are between 1'30 '' and 2'00 '':
- 10 'treadmill. 3x10 flat bench presses, 3x10 crosses on low cables, 3x12 inclined bench presses, 3x8 parallel presses. French press with EZ 3x10 barbell, push down to the high cable with 3x10 rope. Front lifts to 3x12 bass cables. Weighted 3x10 crunch, lateral torso pushups on specific 3x12 bench. 10 'excite
- 10 'treadmill. Lat machine tractions prone grip 3x12, low pulley 3x10, lat machine tractions supine grip 3x10, barbell rowing machine 3x8. Barbell curl 3x10, dumbbell curl alternating 3x12. 90 ° crosses to 3x12 bass cables. Hyperextension of the bust on specific bench with 6x12 overload. 10 'excite
- 10 'treadmill. Leg extension 2x15, leg curl 2x15, free squat at the 3x10 rack, 3x10 forward foot press, alternating front lunges to exhaustion. Lateral raises with 6x12 dumbbells. Pull to the chin 6x12. Standing calf machine 3x12. Calf machine seated 3x12. Reverse crunch 3x10, lateral torso pushups on specific bench 3x12. 10 'excite.