Big Boy Basics is a great beginner to intermediate lifting program which attempts to address both strength and aesthetics. It used to be one of the standard recommendations of the forum for people starting lifting, but for some reason it seems to have receded in popularity a bit. I would still recommend it to anyone, though.


From "Big Boy Basics: 8 training principles you should be using plus a beginner's program" by Chad Waterbury, at http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=459533


Waterbury's Basic Essentials
1) Frequency
Each body part should be trained twice per week. I’ve learned that anyone, regardless of recovery ability or experience, can benefit from upping the training frequency of each body part to twice every week. See my previously published articles here at T-mag for full programs or check out the sample program at the end of this very article!

2) Weekly Workout Plan
The breakdowns I feel are most effective for devising weekly training cycles are:
Plan #1

Day 1: Train
Day 2: Train
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Train
Day 5: Train
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Off


Plan #2

Day 1: Train
Day 2: Off
Day 3: Train
Day 4: Off
Day 5: Train
Day 6: Train
Day 7: Off


Plan #3

Day 1: Train
Day 2: Train
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Train
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Train
Day 7: Off


Plan #4

Day 1: Off
Day 2: Train
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Train
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Train
Day 7: Train

Any of the above breakdowns will work great. Many people favor the first example since it allows for weekends off. Others try to train as much as possible on the weekends due to standard work-week time restraints. For them, plan #4 is ideal.
Regardless of the breakdown, I always alternate upper and lower body workouts throughout the week.

3) Exercise Selection
Compound, multi-joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts, presses, and rows should make up at least 75% of your total exercises. If not, you're wasting your time on isolation exercises that aren’t demanding enough on your neuromuscular system to have any real physique-enhancing benefits. I must stress that 75% is an absolute minimum. Spending 100% of your time on compound exercises is an excellent idea!

4) Set/Rep Volume
As a general rule of thumb for inexperienced trainees, I like to use a set/rep volume in the 24 to 30 range. For example, 8 x 3 or 3 x 8 per body part works well for the lower end of the range. A set/rep scheme of 10 x 3 or 3 x 10 works well for the upper end range. I recommend you start with a volume of around 24 and increase from there if you feel your recovery allows for it. (Just multiply the sets by the reps to get your number.)

5) Training Intensity
The only time you should flirt with failure is on the last rep of the last set for each body part. If you reach failure before that time, decrease the load by 5% for the next workout (using the same method) the following week. If you don’t feel like you're approaching failure on the last rep of the last set, increase the load 5% for the next workout the following week.

6) Method Cycling
The simplest way to alternate training methods (sets and reps) without driving yourself into a frenzy is to simply switch the set/rep scheme for the subsequent workout for the same upper or lower body training day. In other words, if you performed 8 x 3 on day one for upper body, switch to 3 x 8 for the next upper body workout of the week.

7) Antagonist Exercise Selection
Antagonist refers to opposing exercises. In other words, an upper back exercise is an antagonist to a chest exercise, and a biceps exercise is an antagonist to a triceps exercise. When creating a program, I like to use exact antagonist exercises.
What in the hell does that mean, you ask? For example, if you choose the barbell bench press as your chest exercise for your upper body workout, I recommend a rowing movement with the exact same hand spacing/position as the bench press. So if your index fingers are 24 inches apart when bench pressing, the rowing movement should consist of a palms-down hand position with exactly 24 inches between your index fingers.
Another example would be with pull-ups (or pulldowns depending on your strength levels). If you execute a pull-up with your palms semi-supinated (facing each other) and 18 inch spacing hand position, then your antagonist exercise would consist of standing dumbbell shoulder presses with a semi-supinated hand position that's 18 inches apart throughout the movement. Got it? This is actually much simpler than it sounds if you think about it. Just remember to press and pull with the exact same hand positions.
Note: For various reasons that I don't want to discuss in this article, this doesn’t apply to lower body training. (It’s not that it can’t be done, it’s just more complicated). But what about leg extensions and leg curls? Aren’t those perfectly opposing antagonist exercises? Yep, but that particular pairing sucks. In regard to lower body training, just remember to alternate quad-dominant exercises like squats with hip-dominant exercises such as deadlifts.

8) Lifting Tempo
Don’t worry about it. As long as you use proper form and control the lifting and lowering phase, you'll be fine. Focus your mental energy on moving the load instead of counting the rep tempo.

Sample Program: Big and Basic
So, based on those guidelines, here's a sample beginner routine for a trainee who prefers to have the weekends off. Obviously, this same program can be used for the other recommended weekly breakdowns too.

Day 1 (Upper Body)
Exercise: Barbell Bench Press

Sets: 8
Reps: 3
Rest: 60 seconds between sets
Load: 5RM (repetition maximum)
Tips: 24" hand spacing


Exercise: Seated or Chest-Supported Rows

Sets: 8
Reps: 3
Rest: 60s
Load: 5RM
Tips: 24" hand spacing


Exercise: Pull-ups or Pulldowns

Sets: 8
Reps: 3
Rest: 60s
Load: 5RM
Tips: Semi-supinated 18" grip


Exercise: Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Sets: 8
Reps: 3
Rest: 60s
Load: 5RM
Tips: Semi-supinated 18" grip


Day 2 (Lower Body)
Exercise: Barbell Squats

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 90s
Load: 10RM
Tips: High bar position, feet shoulder-width apart


Exercise: Leg Raises

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 60s
Load: 10RM
Tips: Perform hanging or on a leg raise apparatus.


Exercise: Dumbbell Deadlifts

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 90s
Load: 10RM
Tips: Hold dumbbells at your sides; squat down until dumbbells are just below knee level.


Exercise: Decline Bench Sit-Ups

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 60s
Load: 10RM
Tips: Hold a dumbbell or plate on your chest to increase the load.


Exercise: Standing Calf Raises

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 60s
Load: 10RM


Day 3 (Off)
Perform 15-20 minutes of moderate intensity cardio.

Day 4 (Upper Body)
Exercise: 45º Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 90s
Load: 10RM
Tips: Perform in a traditional fashion with the palms facing away from you as if holding a barbell.


Exercise: 45º Dumbbell Rows

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 90s
Load: 10RM
Tips: Lay face down on the bench with the same hand position as the incline presses.


Exercise: Standing Barbell Curls

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 60s
Load: 10RM
Tips: Perform with pinky fingers 18" apart.


Exercise: Standing Reverse Grip Triceps Pressdown

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 60s
Load: 10RM
Tips: Perform with the same 18" hand position as the barbell curls.


Day 5 (Lower Body)
Exercise: Hack Squats

Sets: 8
Reps: 3
Rest: 60s
Load: 5RM
Tips: Hold a barbell or two dumbbells behind your legs. Squat down until your knuckles touch the top of your calves.

external image 284hack2.jpg
external image 284hack1.jpg

Exercise: Lying Leg Curls

Sets: 8
Reps: 3
Rest: 60s
Load: 5RM
Tips: Don't let the feet rotate outward.


Exercise: Lying Leg Raises

Sets: 8
Reps: 3
Rest: 60s
Load: 5RM
Tips: Hold a dumbbell between your feet to increase the load.


Exercise: Seated Calf Raises

Sets: 8
Reps: 3
Rest: 30s
Load: 5RM
Days 6 and 7 (Off)
Perform 15-20 minutes of moderate intensity cardio if desired.


Conclusion
That's everything you need to know to design an effective workout program for anyone who's been lost in a sea of misinformation. Now get to it!

About the Author
Chad Waterbury is a strength and conditioning coach with Bachelor of Science degrees in Human Biology and Physical Science. Currently, he's studying graduate work in Physiology at the University of Arizona. He operates his company, Chad Waterbury Strength & Conditioning, in Tucson, AZ, where his clientele consists of members of military special forces units, athletes, professionals, and non-athletes seeking exceptional physical performance and development. You can contact him through his website, ChadWaterbury.com.
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