Let’s start with this very important rule: NEVER OVERWORK THE FIRST FEW SESSIONS. Many novices in bodybuilding fall for this trap, especially when they do not have expert trainers with them. They get overly excited and lose patience. They try to produce what often takes years to accomplish. They begin with heavy barbells at once and do hundreds of repetitions — or as much as they can. The next day, their joints and muscles lock up in pain. A mere inch of movement causes tremendous agony. Then, they get discouraged and stop training for a long while. They lose interest and give it up altogether.
Workouts should start smooth and easy. “No pain, no gain.” Right, but it doesn’t mean you have to kill yourself. Abrupt starts and sudden exertions cause tremendous distress to your body. Often, beginners suffer the flu because of internal infection. Be gentle to your body.
All workouts should begin with warm ups.
COMMON WARM UPS
Warm ups introduce the body to a gradual excitement of muscular activities. In effect, it tells your body that, “Okay, we are about to start something strenuous here, so get ready!” The body is given a chance to adjust slowly. The muscles, ligaments, and internal organs become slowly excited, giving the blood enough time for proper circulation.
The following are the most common warm ups:
Stand equally on both legs. Relax.
- Tiptoe on the right toes of your right foot while the left foot remains flat on the floor.
- Rotate your right ankles clockwise forty times.
- Then rotate counter-clockwise with the same repetition.
- Do the same with the left foot.
This warms up your ankles as well as your calves. Calves are the muscles between your ankles and knees.
- Stand erect, chest out, with your buttocks protruding and your stomach in. Put your hands on your waist. Relax.
- Do squats by bending your legs to lower your body. Bend your legs as low as they can go until you are in a squatting position. Keep your body erect as you squat.
- Then raise yourself as you straighten your legs back to a standing position.
- Do around 50 squats. Inhale deeply as you go down. Exhale as you stand up.
This warms up your leg muscles, calves, and the muscles in your navel.
- Sit on your left foot while your right leg is stretched out to your right side. Maintain balance.
- Slowly, raise yourself with your left leg to a standing position.
- As you stand, spread your feet wide apart. See “LEG STRETCHING” illustration, page 64.
- Repeat this for ten counts.
- Do steps 1 to 4 again; this time, alternate the legs’ position (left becomes right, and vice-versa).
- After this, try to do a side spilt (each leg stretched out to their respective sides), but only as far as you can endure. See “SPLIT” illustration, page 65.
This warms up your legs, calves, and navel.
- Stand with your feet wide apart — about 3 feet. Relax.
- Raise your arms in front to shoulder height. Straighten your arms.
- Very slowly, twist your body to your right without moving your legs or feet. Try to twist to your right as far as possible. Your face and body should be facing your right side while your legs remain steady. Then hold on to this position for 10 seconds. See “TRUNK TWISTING” illustration, page 65.
- Do the same to your left side.
- Never swing your arms rapidly because this might twist your trunk.
This warms up your legs, back muscles, and abdomen.
- Stretch out your arms to your side. Keep them on the level with your shoulders.
- Simultaneously rotate both arms to the front. Do this 20 times each rotation.
- Then keep your arms to your sides.
- Simultaneously rotate them to your sides. Rotate them by swinging them up then swing them to your back. See “ARM ROTATIONS” illustration, page 64.
- Then put your arms to your sides again. Swing them up again, and so on. Do 20 repetitions each arm.
This exercises your shoulders, arms, and back muscles.
- Bring your right and left palms together. Have all fingers and palms pressing each other in front of you while pointing the fingers upwards.
- Simultaneously push one palm against the other as hard as you can. Keep pushing for 5 seconds. Relax. Then push again for 5 seconds.
- Do this thirty times. Exhale as you push, and inhale as you relax.
- Then press both palms in front of you while having their fingers pointing to different directions — one set of fingers pointing to your left, the other set to your right. If your left fingers point to the right, your left hand should be under your right hand.
- Push both palms against each other, the left palm pushing upwards, the right palm pushing downwards.
- Exhale as you push, and inhale as you relax. Do this thirty times. Then change the positions of your palms (left over right) and do the same procedures. See “ARMS PRESS” illustration, page 64.
This exercises your forearms, arms, shoulders, and wing muscles (muscles at the sides that give your body a V shape).
- Gently move your head to your right side while your right hand gently pushes back against it. Do this once.
- Gently move your head to your left side as your left hand gently pushes back against it. Do this once.
- Gently move your head backwards as your left or right hand gently pushes back against it. Do this once.
- Gently bow your head to the front as your right or left hand gently pushes against your forehead. Do this once.
- Never do neck rotations.
- Do slow push-ups from 20 to 25 counts.
This exercises your arms, chest, shoulders, part of your abdomen, and part of your back muscles.
- Jog in place for 3 minutes.
- Then jog in place a lot faster for 2 minutes.
- Then jog in place with a normal pace for another 3 minutes.
- Stop for a minute of rest, and then repeat steps 1 to 3.
- After doing this two times, you may proceed (optional) with an outdoor mobile jog for 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t run. Keep a leisurely pace.
This gives you a good leg and calf exercise. This also serves as aerobics for your lungs and heart.
There! That ought to do it. After doing the above warm up exercises for some time, you should be ready for the real workout. Concentrate first on doing just the warm up exercises for the first week or so of your workout. Starting on the following weeks and onwards, your regular sessions will be divided into two: the warm ups and the workouts. After doing the warm up exercises, you must rest for a minute if you will be proceeding with the main workout.
It is good, especially if you are overweight, to focus on the warm ups more often. This is to burn fats and calories. You cannot start any muscle development until you have maintained your ideal weight. Ideal weights depend on height and age. You can acquire a table of ideal weights from gyms, or you can buy from bookstores.