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A very basic guide to lifting weights for the first time

Routine

I would recommend you start off with Starting Strength PPNP (practical programming for novices program).The format below is presented as sets x reps.

The first time you do these lifts, you’ll probably use an empty barbell, as you learn form. As you add weight in later workouts, you will want to begin warming up with an empty barbell and gradually adding weight until you reach your work sets.

The best way to progress from workout to workout is to add a minimum of 2.5kg each time you do a lift. You’ll be lifting three days a week and adding a minimum of 7.5kg to your squat each week, 2.5kg to your deadlift, and 2.5-5kg to your bench and press.

You’ll probably find that you can add 5-10kg between workouts to your squat and deadlift, at least to begin with, without sacrificing form. But as you’ll be learning technique, don’t push it.

It’s worth tracking your workouts over at Reactive Training Systems. It’ll help you log all the data you need on your lifts, and create pretty graphs of your progress.

Day 1 

3 x 5 Squat
3 x 5 Bench press / 5 x 3 Press (Alternating, week one bench, week two press, week three bench, etc)
Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

Day 2 

3 x 5 Squat
5 x 3 Press / 3 x 5Bench Press (Alternating)
1 x 5 Deadlift

Day 3 

3 x 5 Squat
3 x 5 Bench Press / 5 x 3 Press (Alternating)
Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

Instructional videos

Squat
Go watch this.

Bench
Go watch this.

Deadlift
Go watch this.

Press
Go watch this.

Diet and recovery

Track your food intake with MyFitnessPal.
Aim to eat a minimum of 1g of protein for every pound you weigh.
Aim to eat 16 calories for every pound you weigh.
Track your weight every morning, and keep a log of it.
Sleep for a minimum of eight hours a night.

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