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When I get a new client starting out on their fitness journey and they want to hit the weights, but have never trained with them before then…..Yes, I believe there is a basic workout that will get the best results in the quickest way without confusing them with tricky exercises or awkward routines.

They do not know very much about, pace, tempo, intensity and their bodies certainly aren’t used to it. There’s also the need for stabilisation, range of motion in joints, balance etc.

As a client improves then there are many routines and we will change and adapt them as we go but in the first instance we work very closely to the following.

When I had my own gym, we were a little more specific as we had a better range of equipment than most commercial gyms, but the exercises and theories remain largely the same.


3 sets of 8 reps (with the exception of deadlifts which are 8 sets of 3 I’ll explain why later) 3 times per week with a rest day between

Warm up a few minutes of cross trainer or similar just to get blood flowing really

Then with each exercise a light warm up set of the exercise we are doing…. first exercise will be Dumbbell Arnold press for example first non-counted set will be 10 to 12 reps with a lighter weight then into the 3 working sets

Dumbbell Arnold press 3 x 8

Dumbbell chest press 3 x 8 (if possible, on a fit ball or slight incline - 1 is better for proprioception and other is less stress on shoulders)

Dumbbell bent row 3 x 8 done with arm and leg supported on bench to reduce cheating and keep spine neutral

Deadlift 8 x 3 (in my gym I used an axle bar to help with grip strength) I find for deadlifts if we do more than 3 reps in succession the form goes very quickly and increases strain on lower back

Squats 3 x 8 neutral back position and depending on ankle mobility heels slightly elevated by standing on small plates to allow greater range of motion

Finally, Ab work usually plank based as TVA is better targeted and tends to help further with body stabilisation

The whole workout should take around 45 minutes to an hour

I never train arms directly in this routine as the bicep / tricep of the upper arm as small muscles already get trained and do not want to be “over trained”

This routine can be added to or adjusted as the client improves and or changed accordingly. I had 1 client that did the 5x5 version of this for 2 years successfully and continued to make steady improvement (we will come back to my 5 x 5 routine in another post.

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