Pistol Squats For Beginners – How To Start Doing Pistol Squats

Pistol squat demonstration

I’ve wrote about my pistol squat progression before and you can read how I came back from injury to be able to do pistol squats again. This article is over 3000 words and will be a complete guide on how to start doing pistols squats for beginners.

The one leg squat or pistol is one of the most awesome exercises ever because it’s kind of like the handstand where, when you do it people go “Hey! That’s cool!” Then they try it and fall over. So lets show you how to start doing pistol squats with three simple requirements or escalating steps if you will – to getting your pistol squat accomplished in a month or less.
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How Much Muscle Can You Gain With Bodyweight Exercises

This post will answer the question of how much muscle can you gain with bodyweight exercises. I want to cover this because a lot of people still believe that going to the gym to lift with machines and barbells is the only way to gain muscle. That’s just not true and here’s why…
Muscle Gain With Bodyweight Exercises
The question of how much muscle can you gain using only bodyweight exercises is a bit of a mixed one because building muscle mass is the product of both specific training methods and nutrition. So if you want to build more muscle mass while only using your bodyweight to do your exercises the following three points will be very valuable information for you.

The three big points you want to make sure you have covered for building more muscle mass are:
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Beginner Home Workout Routine No Equipment Required

An empty room no equipment for a workout at homeThis post covers all about a beginner home workout routine that requires no equipment. It will be all bodyweight and leverage. As the new year rolls in, more and more people are sharing their intent to start things off healthy. Yes, again, this year… like last year.

But what happened last year? For most people…nothing. So what’s going to be different this year? Why might some people succeed this year when last year started off good but then sputtered and died. Again without attaining that energy and better working body.

To be honest, I have no idea. Some people make it stick and others don’t. As long as something else like a donut seems like a lot more fun, people will probably take the donut. Most people come to me as a personal trainer for motivation but motivation comes from inside. Instruction though, I can help with.

So let’s do that…
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How To Build Leg Muscle Without Weights At Home

Today I’m going to show you how to build leg muscle without weights. I have some great tips for getting a good home workout for your lower body completed in less than 30 minutes. Add to the short time to get this done and that fact that you won’t need a single piece of exercise equipment and this is going to be some keeper type stuff. Here we go.

Build Leg Muscle Without Weights Using The Bodyweight Squat

The first thing we need to do is warm up and that can be done a lot of ways. You can do a general whole body warm up like jogging, jumping jacks or skipping. This brings the whole systems heat up a couple notches and gets you ready to groove. Another way to warm up is what I prefer. That is to incorporate the general body warm up into the fact that I am doing specific movement prep that emphasizes the muscles that I will be working.
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Bodyweight Chest Exercises For Beginners With No Equipment

This post will cover the best chest exercises for beginners with no equipment and also at the end with some basic equipment. When someone asks which bodyweight exercises are good for improving chest, I hope right away they are talking about either improving size or strength. If not then I’m going to have to tell them sprinting, wait for the confused look and start the explanation I’m about to go into now.

The reason I say that I hope they mean improving size or power is because that is actually a direct result of the bodyweight exercises where as if they mean improving chest by getting rid of fat that has been added over time, it’s a different story. Because if it’s fat they need to get rid of to improve their chest then it’s a matter of burning a ton of calories and eating a very clean diet.
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How To Do The Burpee Exercise And What Muscles They Work

I’m going to answer the question of “How to do the burpee exercise and what muscles do they work?” It was sent in via email from a newsletter subscriber.

Looking at similar questions, people often ask about a perfect burpee or how to do it correctly or properly. The burpee is just a movement that has a lot of variations. So don’t worry about it being perfect… but I’ll show you the standard burpee and then some of it’s variations.

Here Are The Questions I Will Be Answering On The Burpee In This Article

How To Do The Perfect Burpee

Many people have difficulty doing the Burpee exercise so today let’s go through the steps for a proper Burpee that won’t hurt your back. When done right, the Burpee is a fantastic bodyweight exercise you can do anywhere so let’s get after it!

A Burpee is a series of moments combined into one big exercise and it goes like this… The start of the burpee begins by bending over and putting your hands on the floor. You squat, jump your legs back to push up position like this:
Burpee step one
Then jump or mini step back to a squat,
Burpee step two
Lastly, power out of the low squat position and jump into the air and your done! If you are just getting started though, you can stand up, step forward or jump up depending on your level of fitness. You could even throw a jumping knee tuck in there and I’ve seen people do air splits 🙂
Burpee step three
That is the most basic version and that counts as one rep

Here is a video of me doing it in a hotel hallway. I do the flutter kick first though:

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Here’s Your Beginner 3 Day Full Body Workout Routine

This beginner 3 day full body workout routine is for two groups of people. The first is for beginners to get started on a 3 day full body workout routine and the second is for the advanced people to take a week or two of active rest before starting my full program.

A lot of the old school bodybuilders (Boyer Coe Shown Below) used full body workouts 3 days a week to gain their base. So don’t think this is just for beginners. Full body workouts are hard and productive for everyone, but still the place to start as well.
Old School Bodybuilders like Boyer Coe did 3 day full body workouts
I don’t want to start training you on this program, in a condition that will not allow results to happen. So if you have been training hard and consistent for a long while, I want you to do this for a week or two and then move on.

Please also remember that pictures and exercise descriptions are linked to video if you need a visual to know how to do a certain exercise properly. Also, I wrote dumbbell versions because most people who do this at home will have dumbbells. I personally have a squat rack in my basement and do the barbell version of these which you will see in the demo videos.

Beginner Full Body Workout Routine For Muscular Adaptation/Recovery

3 day a week, full body routine
Weeks 1-4
Squats 1-3×15
Bench Press 1-3×15
Dumbbell Shoulder Presses 1-3×15
Dumbbell Rows 1-3×15
Barbell Curls 1-3×15
Push Downs 1-3×15
Calf raises (standing) 1-3×15
Abdominal Crunches 1-3×15

Now, you can stay on this 3 day full body workout routine for beginners or any routine for that matter for more than four weeks if it keeps on producing results. If things start to get stagnant however, even though you are giving all the details your every ounce of effort, then its time to take a look at your next routine.

Keep in mind however that if this routine kept producing the desired result, I would stay on it for years. I love it.

Home Workout Version Of The 3 Day Full Body Workout Routine For Beginners

This workout below is for the “Working Out At Home Without Equipment Or Extreme Weight Loss For The Advanced Conditioning Group”

The 3×30 or dirty 30 is what I call it.

You may want some light dumbbells or you can even use a couple of cans of soup!
It is not expected that you are able to do all the reps or even finish this workout. Do what you can and know that it is working as long as you did all you could. I put the full hardest version here so that you would be able to work on it for many months without finding it easy.

Do this whole beginner full body workout routine circuit three times nonstop.

Start off with one minute of:
Jumping Jacks
Bodyweight Squats
OR do this preworkout mobility warm up If you are very stiff and can’t jump right into it.
If you feel absolutely broken and it hurts to move, you may need to start here:
Do A Quick Stretch Routine

Then do:
Chinups to failure
Jump Squats
Do 3 sets of 30 reps (except chins), no rest.

Grab Some Water For 1 Minute Then Do:

Lateral raises
Squatting position Dumbbell curls
Bench Dips
3 sets of 30 reps with one minute of jumping jacks in-between circuits, not the exercises themselves.

Grab Some Water For 1 Minute

Hip rolls on bench x 30
Twisting crunches x 30
Bridge or plank 1:00

Hop up on bench squat jumps (or regular squats with bodyweight) x 30
Single leg step up (you can use the stairs) – 30 per leg
3 sets nonstop
Burpees on bench (you can use the stairs) 3 x 20
Boot strappers 3 x 20
Jumping knees for 1:00 for a rest.

If you need more, move onto calves.
3 sets of 30 reps calf raises off the stairs supersetted with mountain climbers for 30 seconds.

Basic Cardio For The Beginner 3 Day Full Body Workout Routine

For the cardio part of this routine, I would start out at 60% of max heart rate, and go for at least 20 minutes. Try to get that to 30 minutes though as soon as possible.

Don’t go any higher than 70% at first if your goal is fat loss, but take it to your limit if you’re after cardiovascular fitness. As with any method, you will run into a theory here and a theory there that says it is the more effective one to use. I chose long ago to see what worked for the majority and to stop wasting time jumping from one “new idea” to another. Kind of a mean average of techniques if you will. Besides, if you run into some stuff on interval training you probably can’t handle it right now anyway. Remember; stick to this at least a month before going more intense. There will be a time to use the interval stuff later.

The Advanced Folks Cardio For Phase One

Give me a hard 30 minutes 4 days a week and keep your heart rate at 75% of your max heart rate for the duration of your cardio. How you achieve this, indoors or outdoors or choice of machine does not matter. You will find that the above workout is quite aerobic itself!

Now those are the basic questions that everyone seems to ask when first starting out. You should now know what you are doing when you go to the gym as far as the workout and exercise selection.

Tips For Beginners At Commercial Gyms

But, a word about, actually make that a few words about how to act in the gym. This is purely my opinion, but all the other highly motivated members that share your gym will probably agree. This stuff may seem humorous, but it happens. Here is a list of things that could point you out as a newbie.

Don’t talk to people in the middle of their set. “ Excuse me! Yes you with 400 pounds on your back, do you have many sets left?”

If you can do an exercise in a space that doesn’t require any gear, do it. Don’t do curls in the squat rack, and don’t sit and talk on a bench when someone might need it.

Like the above, don’t stand two inches from the dumbbell rack to do your curls, people need to get in and out of there to get at the weights.

Don’t use half of the cable crossover to do one arm triceps pushdowns and the like. The crossover machine is for chest and requires both halves. Use an independent pulley somewhere else.

If a book or shirt is on a bench, someone is trying to save it because they are doing exercises back to back. It is awkward to be sitting there when Bubba comes back to use it. It’s such an easy thing to wait a second to find out or ask someone if they are done on the equipment.

Wipe your sweat off of the gear; no more needs to be said.

It is right and proper to ask someone for a spot (when someone stands by you to make sure you don’t drop the bar on yourself) on an exercise so you don’t hurt yourself. The only thing to keep in mind is that your requests don’t interfere with someone else’s training pace or that you become a hindrance because you are always using a weight that is too heavy for you.

That’s it for today.
Raymond Burton

If you have any questions about this 3 day full body workout routine for beginners, ask in the comments below or sign up for the newsletter below and fire me an email.

How Long Does It Take To Get Flexible – A Stretching For Flexibility Routine

In this next section I will answer the question of how long does it take to get flexible and give you a stretching for flexibility routine. It’s important that right from the beginning to develop strength as your flexibility improves. Increasing your joints range of motion without also improving the strength of the surrounding muscles can be an invitation for injury.
How Long Does It Take To Get Flexible
When you improve your flexibility to the point where an additional range of motion exists, the stretched muscles now have a reduced amount of overlap between the muscle fibers, resulting in a substantial reduction in strength. Strength and flexibility programs should be done together to avoid this problem.

This is why the stretches below should be done between sets of the working exercise. Does it make you a little weaker? Studies say yes but I believe you recover and now possess the strength you lacked in the stretched position. From here you continually get stronger and more flexible.
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The Basics of Working Out And A Basic Workout Routine For Beginners

squats and chins in basic workout for beginnersOver the next 8 minutes of reading I’ll show you a basic workout routine for beginners as well as all the basics you need to know about when you start.

Since your body develops to the needs put on it, chances are that your body right now is a finely tuned machine for TV. watching! So what we need to do is get it ready to train without causing your body to say “nope, don’t think so pal” in the form of an injury.

Basically we are going to get your butt to the gym and get used to the routine of getting out of the house a couple of days a week.

Most people can handle a three-day a week commitment, and really that’s all that is needed to make most of the changes for the majority of people. Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the weekends off is usually convenient. It doesn’t really matter as long as it is three non-consecutive days. Then we go and train the whole body on each of these days with one exercise per body part.

Now its always smart to warm up before exercise so we do five to ten minutes of any cardio machine to get the blood flowing. This gives the heart a heads up that something is coming! Then we go on to the routine, and finally, the 20 to 30 minute fat loss cardio. Your cardio can be done on the treadmill, bike or whatever. You just have to move and sweat! So to take care of everything, you’re looking at an hour to an hour and a half if you’re taking your time.

Sets and Reps

Well, what is a set? A set is a bunch of reps done in a row, followed by a rest of usually a minute or two. So then, what is a rep? The rep is short for repetition. Or, how many times you raise and lower the weight in a row. So if you sat down and picked up a weight and put it down 12 times in a row, you just did one set of 12 reps! Clear it up a little? O.K., now it’s written a little different when you see it in a program.

The number of sets comes first and then the number of reps per set. So to tell someone to do three sets of twelve reps it would look like this, (3×12). Sometimes you see this 3×10, 8, and 6. This means you do three sets in total but one at 10 reps the next at 8 reps and the last set at 6 reps, all spaced out by your determined rest period. Now I know some people are going, duh, I knew that! But it never hurts to explain.

So what’s cardio anyway?

Cardio is short for cardiovascular, and this is where you burn off some extra calories for fat loss or train the old ticker to work more efficiently so you won’t have a heart attack when your kid jumps out of the bath tub as your sitting on the can! What determines how intensely you do your cardio depends on the goal that you are training for. A lower heart rate is more for fat loss, while a higher heart rate works the ticker. I’ll tell you how to do this later. Just remember that I’m keeping this simple so we can get going.

Now, for the actual routine. You could start right off and do a billion sets, but chances are you’ll have to call in sick the next day due to chronic “I can’t moveness”. So what you do is start off with one set for each of the exercises during week one and two. Now, the only scientific proof for this method of mine I can offer is that if you don’t listen, you’ll be as stiff as molasses in January. Weeks three and four, you bump it up to two sets for each exercise. Don’t worry, at month two we “stop the insanity” with three sets.

How much weight should I use?

The most popular question I hate to hear! If I had 007 x-ray spy goggles, maybe I could tell you, but I don’t know how strong your muscles are! Seriously though, this is why the slow build up in the levels of volume in the routine. The first couple of weeks are for experimentation. On Monday for example, you would pick a ridiculously light weight and do your exercises. That was easy, you think. The next time in however, you take another guess at what you should try, something just a little heavier. Doing it this way you actually get six workouts in before you should have found a challenging weight, sooner is better though. On week three when you start doing multiple sets, do both sets with the same weight. Eventually you will be doing three sets with the same weight, for the same reps. This is when it is time to nudge your weight up a bit. Now remember, I said nudge, not use the whole stack plus little children for extra weight.

There is no time frame to get to the point of all three sets for the same reps, just keep putting in time until it happens. This is where it could get a little confusing if you weren’t the smart, good looking, intelligent person you are! (Never hurts to get a pat on the back right?) If you were doing 3 sets of twelve reps (we are) and you added some weight, you would probably get fewer reps than before because it’s heavier now. This is O.K. because you just stick with it until you get back to twelve reps. So, this is what it looks like. You were doing three sets of twelve with 100 pounds. Now on set one you use 105 pounds and get ten reps, that’s cool. Next week eleven reps, right? When you hit twelve again, you up the weight again! When the other sets become easy, you adjust the weight for them too.

Soon your weights look like this; 110 pounds for 12 reps, 110 pounds for 10 reps, and 105 for twelve reps. Next week it should be 115 for 10, 110 for 11, and 110 for 10. Now can you imagine explaining this every hour on the hour to someone new? Thus the motivation for the book How To Start Working Out!

This is important to remember. The weight you use should be determined by the amount of reps you are trying to do. The correct weight for you to use on a set of twelve reps is the weight that causes you to not be able to do another rep in good form after twelve reps.

When calculating up your weights when you record them in your book a lot of people are unsure about the weights of bars, machines and pulleys and how to figure it into their total weight lifted when they write it down. My way may not be the “right way” but it’s the standard I have used for years and as long as you stay with it as your “chalk line” it’s all you need. The big, long, straight bar, or “Olympic bar” is 45 pounds. The short crooked “e-z curl bar” is 15 pounds. Now where the guesswork comes in is with machines and pulleys. All I do to keep things simple is to count only the weight I put on the machine (not the weight of the machine itself because machines are all different, especially smith machines) or go by what the numbers on the stack say. After all, the only thing that matters is that you make a progression from what you have previously recorded as your weight in your journal.

Can we start yet?

This is a routine for the folks who say, “I’d like to lose the spare tire and maybe add a bit of muscle. I don’t want to look like those guys in the magazine though!” Actually, everyone should start off the same way regardless of their goals. You have to give the body a warning of what is coming. A whole body routine is the nuts and bolts of all training routines. What we do is take one exercise for each body part and do three sets of 15 reps with it. Now on week one, you may find that three sets is too much. This depends on the shape you are in. A nice way to tippy-toe into this is to do 1 set of everything for week 1, two sets of everything for weeks two and three. Finish it off by getting in all three sets by the end of the month. By the time month two has started, you should be doing three sets of 15 for every muscle group on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The routine is followed by 20 to 30 minutes of your preferred cardio.

Wait there is still more stuff to get a handle on! I hope I get all your questions answered here, but I always get surprised by a new one.

Rest between sets

I see folks always chatting to friends or answering their cell phones. This is a waste of everyone’s time. At the start of these routines, two minutes between sets is O.K., until you get accustomed, but never longer unless you are on a specific power routine. If I can breath normally after 45 seconds, I’ll start the next set, if not, I give myself up to a minute and 30 seconds. Of course there is always a balance, so don’t go lower than 45 seconds because if you can start before that, you were probably slacking on the effort of the first set!

Your max heart rate

Here is how you gauge your progress on the cardio. Take 220 minus your age and multiply it by 60%. That’s a great place to start. What you have here is 60% of your maximum heart rate. Let’s say your 40. 220-40= 180 (your max heart rate). 180x 60%=108. So there you are on the bike pedaling away, reach down to your wrist, find your pulse for 30 seconds, and multiply it by two. If you came up with 115 slow it down a little and vice versa. You can also get heart rate monitors you wear that will measure as you workout.
Warm-up! For all the routines here, it is wise and advisable to never rush into a workout without doing some sort of general whole body warm-up. This could be as simple as 10 minutes of low intensity cardio on your favorite machine just to get the blood flowing. Follow that up with some general stretching to get rid of any kinks and then off you go!

Next article, we’ll talk about the basics of stretching, how not to get confused with all the approaches and start getting flexible as well as strong.

Weight Loss, Anxiety, Despair And Anger

How Thinking Outside Big Box Fitness Will Make You Feel Good

Its pretty easy to get sucked into the belief that if you want to change your body then you have to lift weights 3 times a week and then do cardio in addition to that at least 4-5 times for half an hour. Does that sound familiar? Of course it does, because it works.

But it’s not the only way.

If it hasn’t worked for you in the past, it’s probably because it just doesn’t rock your socks off. In other words, you would rather be rubbing pickle juice on a paper cut than lifting weights.

As with anything in life that you are able to take to a highly successful level, you need to love the physical activity you are doing in order to stick with it and give it your all. You have to have a passion for your training. Don’t get stuck on that word either. Training brings up all kinds of images of an overpaid trainer barking orders or worse yet sitting back and having a cup of coffee counting reps while you feel like you’ve been beaten with a rubber hose. Now take a trip with me to the land of crosstraining for exercise and see how this tickles your fancy.

7:30 AM – Your eyes open and you have your first choice of the day. How you create your internal monologue. Choice one; Say, “Crap, its 7:30 already? I hate my job, I want to rollover and die.” Choice two; you open your eyes and look at the ceiling for a couple of moments. Just lay there. Then you sit up and put your hands over your head, breath deep and say, “I have a choice how I live my life and I choose happiness”. Now get out of bed and do 5 sun salutations being mindful of your breath and all thoughts that come into your head.

Getting your coffee out of the bottom cuppord takes a long, slow stretching squat. When you stand up, you’re already feeling a little more limber as you shake your legs out.

After reading that you had one of two reactions. You either thought that I was a bubbly fitness nut that was off his rocker or you thought that this all sounded exciting and cant wait till tomorrow to try it. Your reaction was a reflection of your internal level of happiness.

That was the first step to you taking control and dictating how your day is going to be. This first step states that you will not be blown around the whims and moods of others or even your own negative thoughts. You are taking the reigns and the biggest project you have on the go right now is, you.

My idea of crosstraining is not the same as the fitness industry. My idea is that if it involves activity then it can be part of your routine! How easy and fun is that? You have already done some bodyweight resistance training today and also got in some stretching with the five sun salutations. We all know that stretching makes your muscles look more sharp and perform better right? What would you like to do next? What is in the back of your mind that when you think of activity, fun, sports or exercise that comes to mind? The funny thing here is that whatever it is that pops into your head probably strikes the fear of god into you even though you think it would be really fun.

As humans we are kind of weird that way. It seems like whatever it is that we are truly drawn to and whatever it is that is truly best for us actually scares the pudding out of us.

The idea you have to wrap your head around is that you would never have a sense of accomplishment if the things you tried didn’t overwhelm you a bit in the beginning. Remember that. Fear and anxiety are signs of personal progression.

So what do you want to try today in your crosstraining? Maybe a walk at lunchtime? If that sounds doable then get to it. Go have a blast and burn some calories while you are at it. That can be your cardio for today. Of course depending on where you are at and your goals, maybe you should be running some wind sprints uphill. Maybe when you woke up this morning you were a little stiff and were thinking about giving yoga a try.

This is when your brain says, “Maybe no yoga because there will be all those skinny fitness yoga queens there and you don’t have a clue..” WAIT. Did you catch it? That’s right! The thoughts of fear and anxiety starting creeping in, but you caught them. Since we know that fear and anxiety are signs of personal progression and this in turn brings you towards your body image goals, what do you suggest you should do? Great job, go to yoga!

It sounds like a broken record to say this but crosstraining and fitness are lifestyle choices. Just like the choices you have made in your life before now that have taken you to this place. New lifestyle choices can take you to another. Where you want to go with your fitness and body is totally up to you. (I am willing to help you with any goal… just ask in the comments.)

How you want to get there is also totally up to you. In fact, whatever you want to get out of this life is placed squarely on your shoulders by the choices you make. Excuses are great, I use them sometimes too, but they only delay the arrival of a goal achieved.

Before I go I want to jam on one last point. It’s got to do with emotions and action. This will be my way of getting you to act instead of fertilize like a rotten yam in the bottom cupboard. There is an emotional ladder that ranks the emotions of a person by a series of steps towards personal evolution and success. The very bottom of the ladder is apathy and despair. Let that sink in.

The very worst emotion to sit around in and fertilize is apathy and despair. How do you get out, is the question. You step up the ladder to anger. Anger sounds bad and there are better emotions but when you are depressed and cant seem to break free the easiest way to take action is to get fed up with your present state and do something about it! Simply say, “I’m angry and I am going to do something about this hole I have dug myself into!”

Now of course we don’t want to be angry all the time, but you have to admit that getting angry and doing something that takes you towards your goals makes you feel real good!

It’s sure better than despair and anxiety.

I’m going to take off now, and I hope the above words helped you out. Just remember, what ever you can see in your mind, I’d love to help you see in the mirror.

You just need to say hi and ask below.

To Your Success,