How should a novice build muscle?

Discussion in 'Fitness, Health & Nutrition' started by Mist425, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Hey all. So, I've never been too muscular of a guy, even at the peak of my physical fitness. All of my athletic pursuits were much more cardio-heavy or leg-muscle heavy than upper-body.

    I'm looking to get some good tips on how to start building some upper body strength (abs, back, chest, arms) that won't utterly destroy me. I'm not looking to get TOTALLY RIPPED I just want to be able to do more than 2 pullups or 15 push-ups ha ha. Plus, from a completely vain, self-involved kind of standpoint, I just want to look a bit more fit (is that so wrong?!).

    I'm not totally out of shape, though I don't exercise as much as I should. To give some idea as to where I'm at I can jog 3 miles without terrible difficulty or could do other cardio for about 45 minutes before needing to stop. If I ever pick up a set of dumbells they're 15-lbers :)o) and I can't even do those for too long lol.

    What makes this a little tricky is that I don't want to do weight-lifting (as in with a bar) stuff. I understand that weights are a great way to work out but I'm just not confident enough to start that stuff up in a weight-room where serious athletes are trying to exercise.. Do I just need to get over this or is there some other non-weight-lifting regimen that I could engage in that would be just as effective?

    Thanks for the tips guys!

  2. Gotta start somewhere. Eat and go to the gym. No one is gonna say anything to you. Honestly I like seeing new guys hit the gym. Feels good to see people getting serious about their exercise.
  3. #3 NadaConnoisseur, Aug 14, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2011
    What is your height and weight ? I wanna guess somewhat tall and skinny. Cardio and muscle building/bulking are pretty tricky to put together; at least to me they are. As far as your concern with lifting with other people around, yes, you should get over that. People go to a gym or fitness center to build themselves up, and not to tear others down.

    Always do free weights, and try to stay away from machines cause they are proven to not be as effective as fighting gravity with free weights. If you're looking for some muscles gains then I would increase your carb intake for energy and weight gain along with increase in protein to build and repair your muscles.

    Since you like to do cardio, NEVER do a cardio exercise before you do any lifting. It ruins your muscle fibers for that day and makes you feel like flimsy rubber while you're hittin the weights. You need all the energy and muscle possible for strength training. I notice some people do a little cardio after heavy lifting which is better than doing pre workout. Personally, I would set cardio on non lifting days.

    You should set about 3 or 4 days specifically for strength training. A common combination I see is to pair up two muscles groups per training day:
    Chest & Triceps ; Back & Biceps ; Legs and Shoulders . Other days can be for abs, cardio, and you should have AT LEAST one day per week to rest and not do anything.

    When lifting try to 3 sets with about 6 reps per set. The weights should be heavy enough to where you cant do any more reps after 6. Try to take a break of about 30 seconds - 2 minutes in between sets.

    edit - as far as machines go, try to stay away from the ones that involve the cables with pulleys, and stacked up square weights. Some of the other machines are actually legit like ones that require free weights.
  4. Weight lifting in a gym is actually a great idea. People of all skill levels are there, especially at fitness centers like the YMCA or Urban Active. Alot of the more experienced people also won't mind helping you out here or there.
  5. Something like stronglifts 5x5 or starting strength. Need to do those heavy compound movements and save yourself the wasted time of doing ISO excercises as a beginner.

    From my experience, doing the compounds (deadlift, squats, bench and overhead press) makes a HUGE difference after I never saw after many months doing ISO excercises.
  6. true.

    Op you should reconsider joining a gym so you will have access to barbells and the necessary weights and racks. SS is a great program to start on and there are also many other good beginner programs. Personally i love going to the gym as once you start to see results its addicting as you keep on getting bigger and stronger.

    Also remember that training in a gym is only one part of building muscle. Having a good diet (surplus of calories and lots of protein) as well as consistently getting enough rest both play major parts in building muscle.

    If you have any specific questions i will be happy to answer them.

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