There are a lot of workout resources available on the Internet.
With the rise of the Instagram trainer, lots of uneducated fitness advice is being spewed to the unsuspecting fitness enthusiast. So what should you do?
Let’s Take a Look at An Online Workout
P.S. This post is not to bash Paige Hathaway in any shape or form, because I do like some of her content, and at times follow her workout programs. But, I am not a beginner and I have LOTS of experience with weightlifting. However, I wanted to use this workout program that she has on her site (must be a subscriber to access) to analyze and respond to what she has designed. Essentially I have decided what works and what doesn’t.
What Works and What Doesn’t?
First I really liked how she added that the program is for someone who has two years or less of lifting experience. Why? Because there are way too many people who picked up a Barbell yesterday thinking that they’re a trainer now and try to tell others what to do. You are still considered a beginner boo. Stop it.
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Second, it takes years of doing this to really become knowledgeable in wtf you are doing. So kudos to Paige and her team for adding this asterisk in because a lot of the videos that she has on there are really NOT for beginners. I would probably assume that a lot of the girls who pay for the membership on her website are indeed beginners, so probably shouldn’t be doing pistol squats at all (an exercise that I have previously seen in a workout video of hers).
However, I DO NOT recommend a true beginner to even attempt to do a Barbell squat especially if they are lacking the proper foundations to do so. This is a mistake that many a trainer commit (I too was guilty of it a long time ago) and now through experience and education, I wait a while before doing most barbell exercises with a client at all. Many clients are not athletes and are very de-conditioned so their hips and joints are not ready for something like this.
Furthermore, the walking lunge is a really hard exercise for true beginners to perform and I HIGHLY recommend it not being done with weights if you are just starting out. This is an exercise that is all too frequently done incorrectly: slouching postures, hitting knee on the ground, wobbly form, arched back, not big enough step, too big of a step.You get my drift.
Here’s an example of how NOT to do your lunges:
In addition, the deadlift is one of the exercises that 75 percent of gym-goers do incorrectly. It requires flexible hamstrings and strong glutes. Most of the beginner population will not have this as a result of sitting at a desk all day like most people do and just general lifestyle.
So How Would I Design the Program?
- Bodyweight Squats (until you are able to progress to Barbell Squat)
- Back Lunges (without barbell or weights) once stationary back lunges are mastered then move to walking lunges. Once those are mastered, one can move into weighted walking lunges, start with dumbbells and then safely progress to a barbell.
- Deadlifts should be substituted with side lunges or balance reaches
Overall, I think the plan is targeted towards those who have been weightlifting successfully and safely for at least a month (if they are working with a trainer) and maybe a few months if they are doing it unsupervised. I do not recommend following this program if you are truly a newbie and much rather suggest doing a bodyweight program only until you have established some strength and mobility in your upper and lower body. Download an example of a bodyweight program here
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If you would really like to start using barbells I recommend using one of those plastic bars you see in gyms or those body bars to get used to the motion of bodyweight squats and deadlifts. Only until your form is perfect should you move onto a barbell (which weights 45lbs.)
Since two opinions are sometimes better than one. Here is what one of my colleagues thinks about the same workout.
Personal Trainer #2 (Jonathan Ly)
This workout program is very reminiscent of the workouts I used to do when I first started training at 15. The workouts are split up into upper body and lower body days with low intensity cardio mixed in. Let’s look at the pros and cons.
- Very balanced: hits every major muscle group.
- Simple: exercises that don’t have a huge learning curve.
- Includes cardio: some form of cardio is required to burn fat.
1. Doesn’t include flexibility: no stretching periods or yoga is included in this program. Flexibility is key to prevent injury and maintain good form on exercises.
2. The cardio is low intensity: low intensity cardio is not as effective as high intensity interval training and much more time consuming. A beginner can still do intervals at a lower intensity until they get more experience.
3. Doesn’t include many body weight exercises: almost all exercises are machine based and don’t teach you how to move your own body
4. No core work: there are differing opinions about what type of core work is most effective, but this program doesn’t include any at all!
This is a very good program for beginners, but it’s very generic and something you can pull out of a magazine like Muscle and Fitness. It is appropriate for both men and women since weights can be adjusted.I would put someone on this type of program for no more than a few months before advancing them to something more complex. It is also based on training for aesthetics (looking good), so if you are training for a sport this would not be the program for you.
Lead Trainer – Embarcadero
Check out the FULL program Below:
This is an Updated version of the original post from July 18, 2016