If you’re a beginner to weight training, you will most likely start with only the bar for Squats, Bench Press, and Overhead Press. Deadlifts and Pendlay Rows are better when weight is used because proper form depends on you starting at the correct height from the floor on those exercises.
If you don’t have the flexibility required to do any of the exercises, you’ll need to spend a few weeks using only your body weight and stretching exercises to increase your flexibility.
Squats may be difficult if you have never done them before. Take your time learning and doing the stretches. Before long, you’ll be doing squats with weight. Don’t rush it if you’ve never done them before.
The height from the floor on Deadlifts and Pendlay Rows depends on the size of the weight plates used. If you are just a beginner, start with a 25 pound weight on each side of the barbell for Deadlifts and start with only an Olympic Barbell for Pendlay Rows.
Recommended Option: Get the bumper plates that mimic 45 pound plates (but only weigh 10 pounds), this will get the bar to the correct starting height for you if you can’t yet lift 45 pounds on each side of the barbell.
You can use platforms to raise the height slightly when using smaller plates. It’s much easier to get the bumper plates, though.
Your goal on Deadlifts is to get to the 45 pound weight plates on each side of the bar or 135 pounds total. This gets the bar to the correct height and starting position. If you’re a beginner, it won’t take you long to get there. If you’re already pretty strong, 135 pounds on Deadlifts may be fairly easy for you.
With Chin Ups and Dips, start with your body weight only. DO NOT use an assisted machine.
Within the Weight Lifting Workout FAQ, you will find the recommended method (resistance bands) of doing Chin Ups and Dips if you cannot do one on your own.
If you’re an advanced lifter or have some experience with weight lifting, I still want you to start out with lighter weights than you think. You don’t have to start out with the bar, but I do want you to be able to increase the amount of weight you are lifting each workout. Your body will grow and adapt as you increase the weight over the course of the program.
I want you to focus on proper form and technique the first few weeks instead of heavy weights.
You’ll have plenty of time to increase the weight so spend at least the first few weeks really focusing in on proper form and technique. You have plenty of time to make amazing progress and learning proper form and technique is time well spent!
If you’re a more advanced weight lifter, you can start with weights about 30% to 40% lighter than your current 5 rep max lifts or 8 rep max on Chin Ups and Dips. Then, you can increase the weight by larger increments from workout to workout. This is for experienced lifters only.
Once you can do 8 reps on Chin Ups and/or Dips with your full body weight, you need to get a weight belt or the recommended hip belt so you can begin adding weight around your waist.
To summarize starting weights for beginners:
– Squats: start with an Olympic sized barbell only (45 pounds)
– Bench Press: start with an Olympic sized barbell only (45 pounds)
– Deadlifts: start with 95 pounds total including the barbell (add 50 pounds to barbell)
– Overhead Press: start with an Olympic sized barbell only (45 pounds)
– Pendlay Rows: start with an Olympic sized barbell only (45 pounds)
– Chin Ups: start with body weight only and use resistance bands to decrease body weight
– Dips: start with body weight only and use resistance bands to decrease body weight
To summarize starting weights for more experienced weight lifters:
– Start with 30 to 40 percent less than your current 5 rep max
– Increase weight by larger increments each workout
– Secret You Should Know: Larger increases in weight between workouts leads to increased muscle gains while smaller increases lead to increased strength gains
– You have plenty of time to increase the weight so focus on learning proper form and technique
Now, let’s learn more about increasing the weight from workout to workout. This next section is VERY important so please pay attention.