Beginners sometimes are confused on what they need to be doing at the outset. Should they master the powerlifts first? Should they do a bodypart split? Lift heavy? Full-body workouts? All good questions. While there are infinite ways to train, there are six foundational movement patterns that everyone should master.
Upper-body pushing Push-up, bench press, overhead press
Upper-body pulling Row, pull-up, pulldown
Hip hinge pattern Deadlift, glute bridge
Squat pattern Goblet squat, front squat, back squat
Loaded carry Farmer’s walk, overhead carry
Anterior core/abs Ab wheel rollout, hanging leg raises
Once you learn the foundations, everything else will come easier and every workout will become far more productive. That means greater results, faster, no matter what goals you’re chasing in the gym.
You will alternate workouts A and B, resting one day in between each workout. You will only train three days per week – a Monday/Wednesday/Friday split is basic and easy to remember. You can add in some cardio on your non-lifting days to keep body fat low and fitness levels high.
Monday: Workout A
Tuesday: Cardio – Steady State, 30-45 min.
Wednesday: Workout B
Thursday: Cardio – Steady State, 30-45 min.
Friday: Workout A
Saturday: Cardio – HIIT, 8 30-second sprints with 30-second recovery bouts
See workouts A & B on the following pages.
Pattern / Exercise (Choose One) Sets/Reps
Upper-body push: Bench press/Push-up 3/12
Hinge: Deadlift 5/5
Upper-body pull: Pull-up/Lat pulldown 3/12
Squat pattern: Goblet squat 3/12
Loaded carry: 2-Dumbbell Overhead Carry 3/40 meters
Core: Ab wheel rollout 3/15
Perform one light warm-up set for each exercise except for the ab wheel rollouts. Rest only 45-60 seconds between sets for all exercises except the deadlifts, which require a bit more rest. Rest 2-3 minutes between each set for the deadlift.
Pattern / Exercise (Choose One) / Sets/Reps
Squat pattern: Front squat/Back squat 5/5
Upper-body pull: One-Arm dumbbell row 3/8 (each arm)
Hip hinge pattern: Glute bridge 3/8
Upper-body push: Dumbbell overhead press 3/8
Loaded carry: Farmer’s walk 3/40 meters
Core: Hanging leg raise 3/15
Perform one light warm-up set for each exercise except for the hanging leg raises. Rest 60-90 seconds between each set except for the squats, which require a bit more rest. Rest 2-3 minutes between each set for the squats.
Justin Grinnell, CSCS, is currently the Owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing, Michigan. Justin received his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from Michigan State University specializing in exercise science, fitness leadership, athletic administration, and health promotion in 2004. He is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). He also holds a certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is CrossFit Level I certified. For more training info from Justin Grinnell, CSCS, you can visit his gym’s website at www.mystateoffitness.com, his Facebook page, or check him out on Twitter.