Get ready to climb a staircase—one that will lead you to become stronger, more fit, and knowledgeable about weight training. You cannot leap to the top; you get there by climbing one step at a time.
Each of the 12 steps you will take is an easy transition from the one before it. The first few steps of the staircase provide a foundation—a solid foundation of basic skills and concepts. As you progress further, you will learn to complete a basic training program in a safe and time efficient manner. You will also learn when and how to make needed changes in program intensity. As you near the top of the staircase, the climb eases and you’ll find that you have developed a sense of confidence in your weight training skills and knowledge of how to design your own program. Perhaps most important, you will be pleased with how your body and fitness level are improving.
To understand how to build your training around the steps, familiarize yourself with the concepts and directions presented in the next sections. They provide information that will help you gain insights and an appreciation for weight training’s tremendous popularity today, a knowledge of how your body reacts and adapts to training, and the importance of proper nutrition. Questions that you may have about machine and free weight equipment are also answered. Last, and perhaps most important, is the discussion regarding the essentials for training successfully. These “essentials” provide you with an understanding of key training concepts that will make every minute you spend in training count.
Approach each of the steps (chapters) that follow this first section in this way:
1. Read the explanation of what is covered in the step, why the step is important, and how to execute or perform the step’s focus, which may be a basic skill, concept, approach, or combination of them.
2. Follow the Keys to Success illustrations showing exactly how to position your body to execute each exercise correctly. There are three general parts to each exercise. One is a preparation phase in which the techniques of getting into position are performed. The other two are execution phases, usually involving the performance of the upward and downward movements of an exercise. Note that whenever a movement phase includes a solid arrow tip, you should exhale (during the more difficult portion of the exercise). Conversely, whenever a hollow arrow tip is shown, you should inhale (during the easy portion of the exercise). For each large muscle group exercise in the basic program, you may select one exercise from three choices: a free weight exercise and two machine exercises.
3. Look over the descriptions in the “Success Stoppers” section for common errors that may occur and the recommendations for how to correct them.
4. The practice procedures and drills help you improve your skills through repetition and purposeful practice. Read the directions and the Success Goals for each drill and quiz.
Practice accordingly and record your score. Compare your performance with the Success Goal for the drill or self assessment
quiz. You need to meet the Success Goal of each drill or quiz before moving on to practice the next one because the drills progress from easy to difficult. The Success Checks that follow Success Goals provide additional insight about how to meet each goal. This sequence is designed specifically to help you achieve continual success.
5. As soon as you select all exercises in the basic program, you are ready to complete your first workout chart, make needed workout changes, and follow the basic program for minimum of 6 weeks. This is the time to evaluate your technique with your personal trainer against the Keys to Success checklist.
6. Steps 10 and 11 prepare you to design your own program in Step 12. There are many helpful instructions, examples, and self assessment
opportunities (answers included) that will prepare you for the challenge. For example, formulas are provided to assist you in the difficult task of determining initial training loads and making needed adjustments to them.
7. Use the information in the appendices to either add to or replace exercises within the basic program, to locate specific muscles, and to chart your workout progress.
Good luck on your step by step journey toward developing a strong, healthy, attractive body—a journey that will be confidence building,
rich in successes, and fun!