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8 Steps to Crushing Your First Gym Session

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Full-Body Foundational Strength and Hypertrophy Workout Breakdown

This is the break down of all workouts A, B and C inside the Beginner's Full Body Foundational Strength Program.



This page was created to break down how to before each exercise in each workout and give you a little bit of information about each one so you know which muscles you're hitting.


Workout A


Barbell Back Squats


The barbell back squat is regarded to be the king of lower body exercises by many. It works the entire lower body and has massive overloading potential.


It's a great exercise to build overall lower body strength and muscle mass. It also works the spinal erectors heavily and the upper back as well.


Here's how to do it:


  1. Set the squat rack to shoulder height.

  2. Make sure you have a spotter with you.

  3. Step under the back, and either place it on your upper traps for a high bar squat (slightly more quad dominant and less posterior chain), or place it between your shoulder blades for a low bar squat (more glute, hamstring and hip focused).

  4. Walk the bar out slowly with one foot at a time.

  5. Breathe in and hold your breath for the lift.

  6. Brace your core and lower yourself until your thighs reach parallel with the ground. (Preferable but don't attempt if it causes pain or discomfort).

  7. Maintain a strong and neutral spine throughout the entire lift.

  8. Push back up by driving your feet hard into the ground.

  9. Drive your knees out towards your small toes on the way up to avoid knee valgus. This will protect your joints.

  10. Breathe out.


See the video Scott Herman below to see a demonstration!



Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts


The Romanian deadlift is a great deadlift alternative that doesn't tax the body as much and is great for shifting the emphasis onto the hamstrings.


The Romanian deadlift loads the hamstrings heavily in its stretched position, which is great for causing muscle damage and growth.


Here's how to do it:


  1. Stand with the dumbbells in your hands, with pronated grips.

  2. Push your hips back and bench your knees slightly to hinge forwards at the hips.

  3. Keep your spinal erectors strong sand neutral (back straight).

  4. Keep going down until your hands reach your mid shin level or just below the knee if you don't have the flexibility to do this yet.

  5. Feel the stretch in the hamstrings.

  6. Drive the weight back up by pushing your hips back forward with force.

  7. Get back into the standing position.

  8. Repeat.


Check out the video below by J2FIT Strength & Condition to see what this looks like!



Flat Dumbbell Bench Press


The dumbbell bench press is a great exercise that you can utilize to build both strength and muscle in the chest, shoulders and triceps.


It's friendlier on the joints than the barbell bench press is, and may actually be the better option for muscle hypertrophy due to the longer range of motion and free movement.


To do it:


  1. Ensure you have an experienced spotter with you if you're going heavy, or if this is your first time.

  2. Lay down on the bench, back completely flat. You should be completely relaxed to start with.

  3. Kick the dumbbells into position and lie down with your arms by your sides.

  4. Arch your back slightly to create a small gap between your spine and the bench.

  5. Place your feet firmly on the ground.

  6. Move the dumbbells until they're positioned just over your collarbone.

  7. Lower them until they reach your lower chest area level.

  8. Press back up by drive your elbows forward, and lock them out at the top.

  9. Keep your head and glutes on the bench, as well as feet on the ground at all times.


See Scott Herman's video below for a demonstration!



Seated Cable Rows


The seated cable row is a great way to target the msucles of the back and biceps, without having to stabilize the weight as much.


This is going to allow us to lift more weight and place more of that stress onto the target muscles of the back instead of our stabilizing muscles doing too much of the work.


Here's how to do them:


  1. Grab the bar/handle securely with a shoulder width grip.

  2. Get into the starting position sitting upright and resisting the weight.

  3. Let the weight stretch your back.

  4. Pull your shoulders back slightly before initiating the lift.

  5. Drive the bar/handles up and into your lower chest area, keeping your elbows flexed at a 45 degree angle to start with. This shifts the emphasis away from either part of the back, and is the best general place to have your elbows positioned.

  6. Once the bar touches or reaches your chest, lower it back down in a controlled manner.

  7. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the lift.

  8. Stretch the lats at the starting position of the movement.


Check out the video below by Renaissance Periodization for a demonstration!



Cable Lean-Away Lateral Raises


The cable lateral raise is a great exercise to hit the middle deltoid, which is crucial to develop if you want to have wider and stronger looking shoulders.


Done on a cable, you can get constant tension on the muscle and get more out of the exercise than you would with a barbell.


  1. Set the cable low by your feet.

  2. Grab onto the cable machine/pole with one arm.

  3. Lean away from the cable machine, but keep your feet fixed in position.

  4. With the arm that's not grabbing onto the cable, grab the handle with an overhand grip.

  5. Bend the arm slightly.

  6. Keeping everything in the same position, raise your arm out to the side until it's in line with your shoulder.

  7. Squeeze the medial delt hard at the top of the movement.

  8. Lower the weight back down with control.

  9. Repeat.


Check out the video by Ryan Treadaway to see what this looks like!



EZ Bar Curls


These are a great exercise to isolate the biceps, without causing too much stress to the wrists. Many people find that curling on a straight bar causes wrist pain and discomfort.


EZ bar curls allow you to load the biceps pretty heavily and further develop overall pulling strength and bicep size.


To do them:


  1. Grab the bar in the part that curves downwards and into the center of the barbell.

  2. Stand up and lean on your back against a wall. Ensure that you can't cheat or use your back in any way to bring the weight up.

  3. Curl the weight up by flexing hard and forcefully at the elbows.

  4. Keep your elbows more or less in the same position throughout the entire movement. You can bring them upwards a little as you bring the weight up to achieve a better contraction if you want.

  5. Squeeze the biceps hard at the top.

  6. Lower the weight back down with full control, ideally over 1-3 seconds.

  7. Repeat.


See the video below by nptitim1 for a demonstration of this!



Cable Pushdowns


Again, these are a great isolation movement to develop both strength and muscle. This time, we're working the triceps, which are located on the back of the upper arm and are responsible for about 2/3 of the size of our arms.


The triceps are very important to build up, and this exercise allows us to load them heavily, whilst still isolating them and letting them do all the work.


To do the cable pushdown:


  1. Set the cable high up on the pole.

  2. Grab a straight bar.

  3. Bring the bar down in front of you.

  4. Tighten your core and lean forwards over the bar.

  5. Stabilize yourself.

  6. Keeping your elbow in the same spot throughout, push the bar down by simply thinking about straightening the elbow.

  7. Squeeze the triceps hard at the bottom of the movement.

  8. Allow the weight to come back up, but resist it with your triceps. Don't let gravity do all of the work.

  9. Go up until you feel a stretch in the triceps.

  10. Repeat.


Check out ActiveID Training Systems' video below to see what this looks like!



Workout B


Barbell Bench Press


This is the foundational upper body pressing movement. It builds strength and muscle in the chest, shoulders and triceps and is a great movement that you should be incorporating into your program to develop a bigger and stronger looking physique.


To do the barbell bench press:


  1. Ensure you have an experienced spotter with you if you're going heavy, or if this is your first time.

  2. Lay down on the bench, back completely flat. You should be completely relaxed to start with.

  3. Grab the bar with a strong grip just outside of shoulder width. Wrap your thumb around the bar to enclose and help secure your grip.

  4. Arch your back slightly to create a small gap between your spine and the bench.

  5. Place your feet firmly on the ground.

  6. Lift the bar off the rack, and bring it to just over your collarbone.

  7. Lower the bar until it gently touches your lower chest area (sternum).

  8. Press back up by drive your elbows forward, and lock them out at the top.

  9. Keep your head and glutes on the bench, as well as feet on the ground at all times.


Check out this video by CrossFit® on YouTube to see what it looks like!



Barbell Hip Thrusts


The barbell hip thrust is a great free weight exercise to target the glutes, with some assistance from the quads and other parts of your lower body.


You'll find that you're able to lift pretty heavy on this exercise as the glutes are the largest muscles in your body. So learn the form and then go hard on this movement!


To do the barbell hip thrust:


  1. Start with your back on the bench and your feet out in front of you.

  2. You should feel your core working to stabilize you and hold your body there in the gap between the bench and your feet.

  3. Place the bar on your hips and allow the plates to rest on the ground.

  4. Put your hands on the bar to stabilize it and push the weight up by driving your hips forward and squeezing your glutes.

  5. Lower the weight back down with control until the plates of the bar rest on the ground.

  6. Repeat.


Here's a demonstration by Mike Collette below!



Seated Military Press


The seated military press is a great compound exercise to target the front and middle delts, with some assistance from the triceps.


Done seated, you're able to lift more weight and can really focus on placing the brunt of the load onto the shoulders instead of stabilizing muscles.


Here's how to do them:


  1. Set the rack to shoulder height.

  2. Grab onto the bar with a grip just outside of shoulder width and palms facing up.

  3. Bring the bar to your collarbone level.

  4. Breathe in and brace your core.

  5. Press the bar upwards, directly over your head. You may have to push your head back slightly to get it out of the way.

  6. Lock out your elbows at the top.

  7. Lower the bar back down to your collarbone in a controlled manner, and repeat.


Check out the video below by Origym Personal Trainer Courses to see what this looks like!



Single Arm Dumbbell Rows


These are another great exercise to hit the muscles of the back and the biceps.


The single arm dumbbell row actually allows you to load heaver than you would be able to on a barbell.


  1. Grab a moderate to heavy dumbbell.

  2. Place one arm on a bench, place the same side knee on the bench, and place the other leg on the ground next to the bench for a 3-point stance.

  3. Keep the spine straight, and row the dumbbell up with the arm not in contact with the bench.

  4. Squeeze the muscles of the back hard and drive the elbows past the body.

  5. Lower the weight back down with control.

  6. Repeat for reps.

  7. Repeat for other side.


Video by Rugby Renegade Strength & Conditioning


Leg Press


The leg press is a great alternative to the squat that works pretty much the same muscles, but taxes the spinal erectors far less. It's not as damaging to the body and is a great way to accumulate more lower body volume without causing too much spinal erector stress.


To do the leg press:


  1. Place your feet moderately spread apart in the middle of the footpad for general lower body development. If you want to target the quads more, place your feet lower on the platform.

  2. Press the weight up off the safety rack, but do not lock your knees out. Do not ever lock your knees out on a leg press. It will put too much pressure on them and you can suffer serious injury.

  3. Breathe in and slowly lower the weight until your knees are flexed at a 90 degree angle.

  4. Press the weight back up by driving your feet into the footpad, but remember not to lock out the knees.

  5. Breathe out and repeat.


Check out the awesome video guide below by Tri Cities Gold's Gym for a demonstration!



Single Arm Cable Curls


These are a great exercise to isolate the biceps with, and really focus on getting a good stretch in the muscle.


We chose to do these one at a time as it helps to minimize muscular imbalances from side to side and is the better option if you've got the extra time.


To do them:


  1. Set the cable stack to a light weight.

  2. Grab the handle and face away from the cable machine.

  3. Walk out a little until the weight causes a stretch in your biceps when your arm is full straight.

  4. Stand tall.

  5. Curl the weight up by flexing hard at the elbows.

  6. Squeeze the biceps hard at the top of the movement.

  7. Hold the contraction there for a second if you can.

  8. Lower the weight back down with full control.

  9. Allow the weight to stretch your biceps again.

  10. Repeat.


Check out the video below by Live Lean TV Daily Exercises to see what this looks like!



Workout C


Deadlifts


The deadlift is often regarded to be the king of all exercises, as it works the most muscles out of any singular exercise and is also the heaviest free weight lift you can perform.


They're great for building muscle in the legs, glutes, back and forearms.


Here's how to do them.


  1. Start with the bar on the ground.

  2. Place your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart at the center of the bar and make sure they're pointing straight forwards.

  3. Have your arms hanging straight down under your shoulders.

  4. Bend down towards the bar by pushing your hips back, with knees slightly bent.

  5. Once you can't reach down any further, bend at the knees for the rest of the distance until you can grab onto the bar with a strong, comfortable grip.

  6. Keep a neutral (straight) spine.

  7. Take a big breath in a hold it, bracing your core to prepare for the lift.

  8. Keeping the neutral spine, drive your feet into the ground hard, and push your hips forward until you're standing straight up. That's your finished lockout position.

  9. Lower the bar back down onto the ground with slight guidance from your hands (drop it, but keep the bar in your hands).


See the great demonstration video by Rogue Fitness!



Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press


This is another great exercise you can use to build up the delts and triceps.


The seated dumbbell overhead press allows you to load the delts pretty heavily whilst getting a better range of motion through using dumbbells and getting more muscle activation in your muscles as well.


Also, we're getting you to do these seated as it requires you to do less stabilization and you can focus more on solely pressing the weight up.


Here's how to do it:


  1. Sit on a bench with dumbbells resting on your legs.

  2. Set the bench to approximately an 80 degree incline.

  3. Kick the weight up into the shoulder pressing position. (Arms bent and up by the side of your shoulders).

  4. Brace your core and arch your back slightly.

  5. Press the weight up with force, keeping your wrists stacked on top of your elbows at all times.

  6. Bring the dumbbells closer together as you approach the top of the movement.

  7. Lower the weight back down with control until the dumbbell reaches your shoulder level.

  8. Repeat.


See the video below by Buff Dudes Workouts to see what this looks like!



Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats


The Bulgarian split squat is hated by many as they deliver a burn on the quads that not many there exercises can match.


However, they're absolutely amazing for building up our strength, muscle mass and overall athleticism as well due to the unstable nature of this exercise.


To do them:


  1. Grab your barbell or dumbbells, and place your rear foot in the center of the bench.

  2. Full relax and kneel back onto your rear foot.

  3. Straighten your other leg out in front, allow it to from the the ground, and then push yourself back up, keeping your feet in the same position, into the elevated split legged stance.

  4. Lower yourself down with control, preferably until your thigh is parallel with the ground.

  5. Press back up by thinking abut driving your front foot into the ground, and squeeze your quad hard at the top of the movement.

  6. Repeat for chosen number of reps.

  7. Repeat for other leg.


Check out the video by CrossFit Teesside to see what this looks like!



Weighted/Bodyweight Dips


Dips are a great compound exercise to hit the chest, shoulders and triceps from a different angle to the regular bench press.


The dips will give you a stretch on the chest that bench pressing can't offer as well, and they're great for further developing your overall strength and muscle mass in those target areas.


You'll also get some great core activation and help develop the look of your abs as well!


To perform the dip:


  1. Add some plates onto your dip belt if you're using one, or clench a dumbbell between your legs if you don't have a belt. Or do them bodyweight.

  2. Get yourself up onto the parallel bars, either by jumping or using a footpad if your dip station has one.

  3. Lean forward a little, as this will shift the emphasis onto the chest and away from the triceps.

  4. Lower yourself down with control, and try to make the downward portion of the movement span 2-3 seconds.

  5. Do not go below 90 degree flexion of the elbows, as going too low will place unnecessary stress on the shoulders and can lead to injury over time.

  6. Pause at the bottom for one second, and then explode back up by driving your hands into the bars downwards.

  7. Squeeze hard at the top of the movement.

  8. Repeat.


Check out the video by Howcast to see a demonstration!



Pull Ups


Pull ups are a great exercise to target the lats and biceps. Having the ability to pull your own bodyweight up against gravity is a great display of strength that most people actually aren't capable of!


Great for stretching and contracting the lats, as well as building up your grip strength at the same time.


To perform the pull up:


  1. Hang on a pull up bar with a double overhand grip, just outside of shoulder width.

  2. Draw the shoulder blades down and back. You should immediately feel tension in your back.

  3. Pull yourself up by thinking about drawing your elbows down and together, into the side of your hips.

  4. Pull yourself up until your chest reaches just below the bar.

  5. Try to not kick with your legs or generate any momentum to cheat.

  6. Lower yourself back down with control.

  7. Repeat.


To see a demonstration of the pull up, watch the video below by CrossFit®!



Lying EZ Bar Skullcrushers


These are another tricep isolation movement. They're great for targeting the long and lateral heads of the tricep, and allow you to load pretty heavily too!


To do them:


  1. Grab an EZ bar and lie on a bench.

  2. Press the EZ bar up like you would during a bench press.

  3. Bring the bar back over your forehead. Your arms should still be straight.

  4. Lower the bar by allowing your elbows to bend. Resist this weight with control.

  5. Allow the bar to travel past your forehead, and down below the bench level. Your elbows should remain in the same spot throughout the range of motion.

  6. Go down until you feel a stretch in the triceps.

  7. Bring the weight back up by extending at the elbow forcefully.

  8. Lock out the elbows and squeeze the triceps hard.

  9. Repeat.


See the video below by MyTraining App for a demonstration!



Standing Hammer Curls


There's a muscle that lies underneath our biceps known as the brachialis. Developing this muscle is going to help our biceps look fuller and bigger, so it's important that we know how to train this muscle.


One of the best ways to do this is actually to use the dumbbell hammer curl. By taking a neutral grip on the dumbbell we shift the emphasis onto the brachialis and the long head of the bicep.


Here's how to do them:


  1. Grip the dumbbells with a neutral grip, meaning your palms are facing towards each other.

  2. Start in a standing position, holding the dumbbells. You should feel a stretch in your biceps.

  3. Using as little momentum as possible, curl the weight up by flexing hard and forcefully at the elbows.

  4. Squeeze the muscles of the biceps hard at the top of the movement.

  5. Lower the weight back down with control.

  6. Repeat.


ActiveID Training Systems has a great video below showing you how to do this!




Enjoy the program and train hard!


It's the only way to get to where you want to be.


If you have any questions or queries, don't hesitate to contact us! We're more than happy to help out.



Best of luck,

The team at Gympulsive

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