Author Topic: ABC training - John Grimek (1966)  (Read 2101 times)

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ABC training - John Grimek (1966)
« on: April 27, 2019, 01:20:26 AM »
ABC Beginner Training - John Grimek (1966)

Note: This article is aimed at complete beginners.
If you happened to stumble on this site and that term describes you, don't make the mistake of blindly diving into the deep end of more advanced training before you can barely put on your own swim trunks. Parts of this article will explain why, in the long term, you'll come out ahead if you ease into it and take advantage of the first six months of your beginner training. Not to scare you, but almost everyone makes their best lifetime gains during this initial period. So . . .


Every bodybuilder was at one time or another a beginner. Yet how foolish it is for the novice bodybuilder to rush past this critical stage before he acquires a strong foundation upon which he can develop bigger and stronger muscles.
Most beginners, it seems, are too anxious to engage in advanced training, only because they feel that such training will stimulate larger and more complete gains. This, however, is untrue and any beginner is better off to spend considerable time preparing his muscles for tougher assignments yet to come. Once a solid foundation has been acquired, muscles seem to be more receptive to the advanced methods then used to develop them. Consequently, improvement is faster and more complete.

Beginners, however, differ, but there are two distinctive types. First, and perhaps the largest majority, are those who want to put on weight and increase their muscle volume. And second, the overweight group who desire to lose weight and acquire better physical proportions and symmetry. Also, between these two are the intermediates who want to gain, lose and make general, all-round improvement. But beginners usually range from the very weak to the fairly strong, making it necessary to devise different training programs. No wonder that beginners with such varying qualifications or desires are unable to show improvement if they all adopt and follow the same training system.

The older fellow certainly does not have the same drive and recuperative ability of the younger man, so he couldn't possibly follow the younger person's routine, even though both are beginners. It's obvious, therefore, that each should have his own program since improvement depends on the amount of training one can do and how fast one is able to recuperate from it.
Moreover, most younger beginners start to show remarkable improvement within a few weeks, whereas the older, more mature man is unable to push or exert himself to the limit and may take months. Nevertheless, everyone does begin to feel the beneficial reaction of exercise within a week or two, thus encouraging stronger participation in training which encourages greater improvement.

To make improvement, each man should follow the program he finds is best for him depending on his recuperative ability, increasing his training only when he is capable of doing more -- NOT BEFORE.

The Ambitious Novice

Below is a typical training program designed for the young novice who wants to gain muscular weight:

Warmup: Clean & Press with very light weight.
Squat: 15-18 repetitions
Pullover: 12-15
Squat, increase weight:  10-12
Lying Lateral Raise: 12-15
Squat, increase weight: 6-8
Dislocates, lying: 12-15 - see below
Bench Press: 10-12
Barbell Curl: 10-12
Shrug: 12-15
Bentover Row: 10-12
Deadlift: 12-15
Overhead Press: 10-12
Situp: 10-15.

The above routine involves ALL the important muscles of the body with only the squat being repeated in three sets. This is because leg work, any sort of leg work, conditions the body faster and accelerates metabolism. Notice, too, that each time the squat if repeated the weight is increased, while the number of repetitions is decreased. This method builds the legs faster and increases leg power and endurance, all of which is mighty important to young athletes.

After the above program has been followed for a month or so the novice can determine whether the number of repetitions he is using are too much or not enough for him. He can then either increase or decrease them, since the purpose of repetitions is to see how fast you can congest the working muscle or muscles. If you fail to achieve this you are either not using enough resistance or repetitions, in which case you should either repeat the exercise or do more repetitions, any of which should help to "pump up" the muscles you're working.
Determining Proper Weight

To determine which is the correct weight for you to use, try the following method. Select a light weight and do the minimum number of repetitions that are listed above. If this is easy then try to do the higher number of reps listed. If you still find it easy, the weight should be increased. But if you find that you must exert too much effort to complete the lower number listed, the weight is too heavy, so lower it in order that you are able to do at least the lower number of reps. This, then, is your correct starting weight. Use it.

Naturally, any time an exercise becomes easy for you to complete the maximum reps listed, increase the weight -- five pounds for most upper body exercises and about 10 pounds for the lower body.

Although the repetitions may seem high, bear in mind that a beginner's muscles are not accustomed to this type of training, consequently they will respond better to higher reps than increased resistance and lower reps, a principle use more in advanced training which the beginner should not attempt until he is well ready for it. Any beginner who insists on increasing the resistance too fast by lower the repetitions will succeed mainly only in increasing his strength but will not increase his proportions accordingly. Moreover, too much resistance at this time tends to shock the system and can make improvement later on more difficult. A beginner doing this will have to fight for every pound and inch he gains later on. So be patient, and coax your improvement along in these early stages instead of trying to force growth. This is important for all beginners to keep in mind.


For the overweight individual who desires to gain muscular weight but get rid of excess fat, a similar program as outlined above can be adopted, but with higher repetitions in all exercises, plus increased work in those areas that are overweight. If the excess weight is around the region of the waist area, then more situps should be included and repeated in high repetitions. Other exercises such as frog kicks, leg raises, side bends and other abdominal exercises can be used to begin conditioning the abdomen.

On the other hand, the skinny novice who is anxious to gain bodyweight should do no abdominal work to excess, but just enough to keep the waist in shape. Excessive abdominal work will, in many cases, prevent one from gaining as rapidly as he would like, yet some should be done to prevent getting heavy in this area.

For the Older Man

For the more mature beginners who wish to put on some muscle, the following should prove practical:

Warmup: Clean & Press with very light weight.
Overhead Press: 8-12
Curl: 8-12
Squat: 12-15
Pullover: 12-15
Straddle Lift: 12-15
Lying Laterals: 12-15
Bench Press: 8-12
Shrug: 10-12
Leg Raise of Situp: until tired.

Note that only one set of the squat is recommended, but a set of the straddle lift is done. The reason for this is because most older fellows have trouble supporting a weight the shoulders behind the neck, and since the straddle lift exercise is a very effective leg movement, it is a good substitute for the additional squat sets.

Our legs tend to weaken as we grow older and they should be exercised to keep them firm and strong. Once your legs get weak you feel weak all over. Avoid this by including some leg training.
Also, if ou don't have any abdominal problems do only enough to massage and stimulate the area, which is effectively done by a few situps or leg raises.


The same type of exercising program can be adopted by the overweight senior, except he must attempt to do more repetitions than those listed above for building up purposes. In other words, besides doing a few more situps, leg raises, etc., he should include plenty of walking, stair climbing and other activity, but always well within his recuperative ability. Of course a careful check on his food intake is important. If he follows these suggestions he can expect to show improvement in a relatively short time.

Training Hints

The beginning bodybuilder who wants to increase his muscle size and add bodyweight should include three complete workout days a week for the first six months . . . longer if he feels he is making good improvement. Later, however, as his muscles grow stronger and larger and demand more exercise he should include four days per week. Most men use a Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday layout for this. But as a beginner it is very important to increase your training only when the muscles are prepared to accept it . . . NEVER FORCE IT AT THIS STAGE!