If you have read my about me page, you know the story of how I got into fitness. It all started with perfect pushups in my room for a couple months, then onto a bench & weight plates in my basement and then after I had built up some confidence (a very micro amount) I finally decided to wander into the gym.
Now fast forward, and as a gym manager today, I constantly have people joining who have never worked out, and props for taking the step of signing up, but dammit, they don’t want to start really coming into the gym until they can convince me or someone to draw up a workout for them and then that isn’t enough because they want walked thru and guided through every workout too… well that, is a personal trainer’s job my friend; but of course they don’t want to pay for a personal trainer…
When I started working out, I read things online, read Muscle & Fitness magazines, watched videos, and searched Google for every exercise of every workout. While I would occasionally ask people, I was too nervous about going to a gym so I wasn’t surrounded by many people to discuss working out. And now, with the gym job I have, I’ve found that everyone gets the gumption to join a gym but once joined, they’re too lazy to research and teach themselves. Well here’s my advice… pay a trainer or grow some balls & teach yourself.
So when you search for a workout and it says exercises such as:
If you don’t know what the exercises are then Google or YouTube search them and watch; then duplicate the motion with the proper form. It’s that easy. And before you know it, you will be doing all the exercises you come across by heart, rarely ever needing to search them again.
80, 60, 40s
So once I started lifting real weights [not perfect pushups] for a month or so, I met a guy who taught me “80, 60, 40s”. It was the first workout plan that I ever followed and I had some great strength gains using it for the first few months. It works as follows:
Find your one rep max with the exercise you are doing. For example, bench press, and we will say 180 pounds is your one rep max.
You will try on bench press:
80% [144lbs.] x 6 reps, 60% [108lbs.] for 8 reps, & 40% [72lbs.] for 10 reps
In between these sets, try to make your rest as short as possible. Finish your set, put the correct weight on and go straight into your next set.
Tip: Re-test your max at least every 4 weeks if following this workout.
[Note: When you come across a number like 144 lbs. round up with the weight you put on the bar, to say 145 or 150. Don’t sell yourself short and put 140 on.]
Once you have been lifting for a while [long enough to coin yourself an “Advanced Lifter”] and your muscles are more conditioned from years of going hard in the gym, you can handle a much higher intensity workout; so here is a more difficult version of the 80, 60, 40 workout to kick your ass.
Let’s say your one rep max on bench is 315 lbs.
You will try for:
80% [252 lbs.] x 10 reps, 60% [189 lbs.] x 15 reps, & 40% [126 lbs.] x 20 reps
Once again, in between these sets, you will try to make your rest as short as possible.
In closing, I recommend doing this 80, 60, 40 structured workout with the meatiest exercise of your workout [such as bench press on chest day, not with flyes; Squats on leg day, not with leg extensions]. With the fairly lower reps [more-so on the beginner version], it is going to help you boost your strength and will be more useful than when used on the so-called “shaping” exercises.
Let me know in the comments what kind of success you have from this workout, or tweet at me!