Working with Beginners

By February 10, 2017Stuff We Like
kettlebells

After last week’s series of posts on just one exercise, the Turkish Get Up, we’re keeping to the one idea theme this week and talking about beginners and exercise.

As trainers, many of you will be spending a fair bit of time with people that are, in some way or another, beginners. And we know some of you are beginners yourselves when it comes to training people!

Your clients might never have exercised with intent, maybe they’ve not trained for decades, never used weights or certain pieces of equipment, or they may have medical issues.

Here’s a series of posts to help with considering their problems, building appropriate programs, concentrating on muscle building, fixing mistakes early on, and things to consider for your own career.

Beginning Weight Training

This week we have two entire series of posts from Lyle McDonald to share. Obviously there’s quite a few great resources out there for helping with beginners (we looked at a lot and collected over 30 before whittling them down to this list) but we feel that both these entire series were worth including.

This first series is in four parts and covers Beginning Weight Training. Lyle talks through his considerations for what a beginner actually is, what their main goals should be when it comes to resistance training, the training they should be doing and then gives examples of three difference beginner programs and shares some thoughts on warming up, variety, cardio and stretching and when to consider moving on from these ideas.

Essential reading for those working with beginners regularly.

Beginning Weight Training Part 1
Beginning Weight Training Part 2
Beginning Weight Training Part 3
Beginning Weight Training Part 4

Training the Obese Beginner

Fat loss is big business for the trainer community and, unfortunately for our species’ health, we’re not getting any slimmer and those that are fat are often now obese.

In this lengthy six part series (if you have the stamina to read it all in one go, all power to you!), Lyle discusses in detail the considerations you should have when training an obese beginner. There’s information on what sort of health you can expect your client to be in, how they will react to exercise, what sort of exercises they should be doing, the way they should probably eat, the benefits from weight and aerobic training they can expect and a good discussion about an example first workout with an obese client.

It’s another important read, especially for those working with obese clients regularly.

Training the Obese Beginner: Part 1
Training the Obese Beginner: Part 2
Training the Obese Beginner: Part 3
Training the Obese Beginner: Part 4
Training the Obese Beginner: Part 5
Training the Obese Beginner: Part 6

Right, we’ve had some beefy reading. Now on to some easier to digest stuff.

Here’s an infographic and article from JC Deen and Jordan Syatt on the basics of how to build muscle as a beginner. It’s concise and to the point, pointing you in the direction of a few decent starting workout routines and discussing essential exercises and progression, general nutrition strategies for gaining muscle, rest and recovery, and supplements you could be considering. Something to share with your clients when they complain they’re not doing a hundred different “interesting” (and essentially worthless) exercises or not gaining muscle mass quickly enough.

Mark Williams writing for massgainsource has compiled a useful primer on the things you need to consider when training a total beginner, from exercise guidelines through to different exercise choices. A useful place to start when considering options for the total exercise novice.

You can read his article here.

Eric Cressey writes this short 5 item list on mistakes beginner lifters make. Don’t let your clients make these errors! Make sure they do the right thing, be it nutrition and exercises choices, soft tissue and mobility work, or simply fixing injuries.

This final post is for you as trainers to consider. Alwyn Cosgrove talks about how we should strive for continuous ongoing improvement as fitness professionals, and how layers of knowledge builds on top of each other. Basically, KEEP LEARNING!

Until next time!