Weight training: 8 mistakes to avoid as a beginner

Whether you are new to the gym or a veteran, you are sure to have seen some people, usually teenagers, grouping around the bench press area and trying to lift weights too heavy for them. These are classic beginner’s mistakes. Here are a few more so you can avoid them.

Continue reading

The main muscles of the body for bodybuilding

If you are a complete novice, you might not be able to tell your deltoids apart from your lats, or your quads from your traps. Yet you will most probably know your biceps as they are one of the most popular muscles to train, despite their small size. Let’s get you up-to-date with the various muscle groups of your body so you know what to train and what you are training.

Human muscle anatomy Continue reading

Weight-lifting and safety

This is such an important topic that I believe it warrants its own unique post. I did cover the safety aspect of performing the bench press, so I won’t go over that again.

Danger in weights

There is first the safety involved in handling heavy weights. These can simply drop on you and maim you or kill you. Make sure all weights on dumbells and barbells are secured. If you are working with machines, beware of loose clothing or long hair getting trapped in the moving parts. If you are squatting, beware of the weight on your shoulders falling over you. This happens just too often. Continue reading

Keep a logbook for progress

A log book is essential if you are serious about monitoring your progress. A logbook does not have to be a book, it is simply a place where you record on a per session basis what exercise you have done, how much you have lifted, how many sets you have done, your diet etc. You can put as many details as you like, even how you felt at that time, or as little details as you wish, perhaps just the date, the exercise and the maximum weight you lifted for this exercise.

What is important in a logbook is to have regular and reliable data so that you can observe the trend in your progress. Are you lifting more weight or is your workout reaching a plateau? Continue reading

A specific programme

There was a lot of discussions and choices last time in how to put together a programme for whole body workouts but few examples. So this is what I will seek to provide in this post.

So we have 3 exercises: the squat, back row and bench press. We have sets and reps in addition. Let’s put everything together. Continue reading

Putting together a programme

Ok guys and gals, let’s review what we have learnt so far.


First was the whole body workout and why it is so recommended for beginners and for those who took over a year’s break from the gym. It’s a good way to wake up sleeping muscles in as short a workout as possible.

Then came the exercises you can perform in whole body workouts. Lengthy description for squats, the back row and the bench press followed.

I also talked briefly about your first visit to the gym if you are a total newbie. Just take it easy the first time and try out all the machines so you get a feel for them. Just be sure not to put any weights to the machines!

What’s next? It’s putting together a programme around the 3 core exercises I so lengthily described. Continue reading

The bench press

Prima donna

Ah, the bench press! If the squat is the king of all exercises, then I would say the bench press would be the prima donna of all exercises. Guys always rush to do this exercise first, if not to show their strength, then to develop their chest muscles – their pecs – in order to look better shirtless. The pecs and the biceps are not called the t-shirt muscles for nothing. Continue reading

The back row


The back is the largest muscle group in the body and is also the most complex. From the top of the trapezius at the base of the neck to the bottom of the lower back muscles, a number of other muscles co-exist. As this is not an anatomy lesson and is aimed at beginners, there will be no discussion of each individual muscle. Maybe for another time. Suffice to say that we will divide the group of muscles in the back into the upper back muscles and the lower back as they have a somewhat separate motion.

The upper back muscles serve mostly to pull the arms and shoulders back while the lower back muscles extend the torso away from the legs. It is not possible to isolate each group completely as they assist each other yet completely different exercises will be need to target each group. At this stage we will focus on the upper back as exercises for it also recruits the lower back as stabilisers. The back row is the exercise that targets the whole upper back muscles and the latissimus dorsi in particular and to a lesser extent, the lower back in order to support the upper back. Continue reading