Problem: You’re a NEET. You’re [insert all the stereotypes associated with /b/ros]. Maybe you succeed in whatever you do professionally, but women don’t care because you’re a physical dumpster fire. Maybe you’re not completely sedentary, but you’re a skinny cardio-cuck. You want to change. You want to become a chad. You’re ready. Guys like me keep telling you the first step is lifting weights.
Maybe you say things like “I want to lift weights, I just don’t want to get started.” Okay, well I’m here to help you out with that. I’m not certified in any way, but I started getting serious about lifting weights in 2013. What follows is a summary of what I have learned about getting started.
To get started you need to know the following:
- What lifts are actually important and/or useful
- How to do them correctly and safely
- Programming them, ie how often to do them in what rep and load scheme
I have found that the best “one-stop-shop” for this information is the book Starting Strength by Mark Ripptoe. It remains one of the best book purchases I have ever made.
Ripptoe explains the importance of the most important lifts, which it turns out are the squat, the press, and the deadlift (in that order). The illustrations and step by step explanations for how to do the lifts are excellent. He also explains how to do a few other lifts which are important or useful, like bench press, power cleans, and pull ups.
Another incredibly useful thing Ripptoe does in Starting Strength is provide you a basic program. The program is very simple, consisting of a workout A and a workout B. You work out 3 days a week. The first week you do ABA, the second week BAB, and then it repeats itself. It is so simple, even a caveman can do it.
Notice I said “simple”, and not “easy”. The program is actually pretty hard, and that is the point. If you really are a novice lifter, you will progress quickly if you are doing the program. You will progress quickly because doing the program means two things: 1) hard work, and 2) resting and eating enough to recover from the work.
For most people, who lead an otherwise sedentary lifestyle, the Starting Strength program (the program) is a great place to get started. If you are getting out of your mom’s basement for the first time in awhile, you’re a complete novice, and all you plan on doing is lifting, I can tell you that Ripptoe’s program worked great for me when all those things applied to me.
As good as it is, it turns out that the program might not be the best for you. If you have decided to add lifting weights to an already active lifestyle, you probably won’t be able to recover from the work load.
Maybe you’re getting out of mom’s basement and you have decided that you want to lift weights, but also do “other stuff”. What I mean by “other stuff” includes but is not limited to: jogging, biking, soccer, tennis…you get the idea. You will probably struggle to do both the program and “other stuff”. You can still lift and do “other stuff”, but you’re going to have to lift less.
In either case, the program still gives you an excellent template. What you should notice about workouts A and B is that in each case you do the following: A lower body exercise, an upper body exercise, another lower body exercise, and then another upper body exercise. What I and many of my active friends have done:
- Split the workouts; 2) work out four days a week.
For example: I do half of workout A on Monday and the other half on Tuesday. I do the same to workout B on Thursday and Friday. This reduces the volume of work by 33%.
This reduction in volume is enough that you should be able to lift in addition to things like playing rec league soccer, being in the Army (and doing PRT with your unit or on your own), or recreational cycling, running etc…and still recover from everything.
Obviously, there are other get started books from other authors. I recommend Starting Strength because it worked for me as a novice lifter. You will also eventually not be a novice anymore; you will need more complex programming. As an intermediate lifter I still refer to Starting Strength. This is similar to occasionally referring to basic chemistry, physics and calculus texts when I do [science-specific field redacted] IRL.
I have now answered the question “how do I get started”. As we used to say in the Army, “this isn’t the way, it is a way.” From here on, if you say “I want to lift weights I just don’t…” I’m going to cut you off right there and tell you to stop being a cuck.