The main thing to do before starting this program is to calculate your 10RM, or 10-rep-max, weights.

Calculate your 10RM weightsEdit

Before you begin your first cycle, you will need to find your 10RM weight for each exercise. What's that? It is the weight at which you can do 10 reps of the exercise, but can't quite squeeze out 11 reps. A 10RM, or 10-rep-max, can be calculated from test lifts - if you find your 6-rep-max in practice, you can mathematically calculate your 10-rep-max from there with sufficient accuracy.

A good guide to calculating your 10RM weights was originally posted by the user Syncmaster913n here.

It goes like this:

You determine that weight through trial and error, along with the help of online calculators. Here is what you would do:

  1. Make sure you are rested and that no less than 2 days of exercise-free days have passed since your last work-out, preferably 3 days.
  2. Go to the gym and do all of the exercises in the routine (in the order they are listed in by all pro), using any weight that you think you can do more than 5 reps with. Just don't exaggerate either and do not choose a weight you can do 40 reps with aim for something you think you can do between 5 and 15 reps of. If you are a complete beginner, take your time figuring these numbers out - it will pay off big time in the long run.
  3. Take note of how many reps you did with what weight for each exercise, then use an online calculator to determine your 10 rep max based on those numbers. There are many of those calculators available, personally I use this one: Do not forget to include the weight of the barbell in your calculations.

Here is an example of what it would actually look like in practice:
You are well rested and you go to the gym. You decide that 80 pounds is a good weight to try out for the first exercise, which is squats. So you load up the bar (which weighs, for example, 15 pounds) with 80 pounds of weight, and you start squatting until failure (the moment you cannot do one single extra repetition). You manage to squat exactly 12 reps with this weight (80 pounds + 15 pounds barbell weight = 95 pounds). You take note of this weight and the number of reps you finished, take 1-2 minutes rest, and repeat the process for the remaining exercises. Once you're done, you go to the online calculator under the link above. To determine you 10 rep max for squats, you input "95 pounds" in the weight field, and 12 reps in the "reps" field, and hit the Calculate button. According to the calculator, your 10 rep max will be exactly 116 lbs. (remember that this includes the weight of the bar). This is the weight you would use for your squats in this routine. Repeat the same process for all the exercises.
Things to remember:

  1. Again, make sure you are well rested before you attempt to test your rep maxes. Do not get started testing if you had worked out at the gym one day prior. Take 2-3 days of complete rest after your last day of weight lifting to make sure your muscles have had time to recover well enough to be at their best.
  2. Take 1-2 minutes rest between each exercise while testing your maxes. Basically just enough time to comfortably and without a rush change the weight on the bar for the next exercise. Just don't go watch a movie between exercises.
  3. You only need to test your 10 rep max for just one set for each exercise - you do not need to test it twice, even though all pro's routine consists of two work-sets for each exercise.

I am not confidentEdit

If you are not at all confident in the gym using barbells, you might prefer not to jump straight into this program. It is a beginner's program, and most people can do all the exercises.

However, if you think a week or two of acclimatising would help you, you could begin by using a machine-based program first. The following is not a comprehensive training program. It is not intended for anything but short-term use, to acclimatize a novice to weight training. However, it is a way for a very green novice to get a sense of their lifting ability and limitations and to build some confidence. A simple program might be:

  1. Hack Squat (machine)
  2. Standing Leg Curl (machine)
  3. Bench Press (machine)
  4. Seated Row (machine)
  5. Lat Pulldown (machine)
  6. Shoulder Press (machine)
  7. Barbell curls (barbell)

Simply do this list of exercises three times per week on non-consecutive days, with a working weight that allows you to do 8-12 reps per set. If you can do more than 12 reps, increase the working weight a little so that you are back in the 8-12 reps range.

Do a warm-up set for each at half the working weight and then two sets at the working weight.

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