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The best way to train your first year – Stick to the fundamentals

By Scott Canatsey – Lead trainer at the Parrillo Performance training facility

At Parrillo Performance, we have a lot of people come through the door looking to begin a vigorous weight training program that will yield serious muscular gains. There is always a great excitement and typically a misperception of what all is entailed in creating a stage worthy physique. A physique that looks like it is a possible show winner. But, there is often a misconception of the amount of time and commitment needed to possess a truly competitive physique.

It seems most people are engaged in this activity, on some level, when you take a few minutes and scroll through Instagram. People showing videos of exercises they perform and pictures of the food necessary for the endeavor. And at first blush, it looks like even becoming a professional in the sport is fairly attainable by any healthy person. But, social media is a “highlight reel”. The less glamorous aspects of the sport like training on Friday night when most are out and about, eating food that you must quite often carry around, and keeping a disciplined time schedule so the meals are timed correctly and the body can get into a rhythm to perform like a well-oiled machine. This is the grind. This becomes the biggest part of the endeavor, when it is fully realized.

So, where is the best place to begin? Is following the training regimens of the champions we try to emulate the fastest and most effective route? Should we just use our intuition and follow some training videos? Should we hire an online trainer? Or, is it worthwhile to hire a trainer locally?  These are all great questions that have one common answer. That answer is to start with the basics. Using fundamental, compound movements to build size and strength is the best foundation for anyone interested in strength sport of some type or a bodybuilding endeavor. This work builds overall strength in bone, connective tissue and muscle. Over the first year or so, biological and physiological systems are being built, as the body is trained to work, eat and rest for this physical endeavor. A new machine, a better operating machine is built as we train,   stretch, eat, rest and recover in a rhythm, week to week.

This begs the question, “What is the best training routine and eating schedule to use to get the wanted results of strength and lean muscular growth?” In this article we are going to zero in on a training regimen that is tried, tested and true. There are exceptions to every rule, but this routine will work for all who work it properly. I have used this myself and on many of the young athletes, and some older ones, who have just discovered the world of muscle. It is regimented and methodical. It is what I consider very basic work. But, it is extremely effective for seasoned athlete and neophyte alike for building strength and muscular size.

This is a 3 day per week training regimen that works the Pulling muscle day one, the Legs on day two, and pulling muscles on day three. Commonly called a “push-pull” routine, this is typically performed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We use compound movements for power and size and add some basic movements for the smaller body parts like biceps and triceps. Be sure to take a rest day between these days and eat to grow. (Some great diet examples are available for free on the website.)


DAY 1: Chest and Triceps (three exercises for chest and two for triceps)


• Bench Press: 4 Sets. First set warm-up for 15 reps. (Move slowly enough to feel the muscle get some blood in it.)Start with weight that is manageable for 12 reps. The last 2 reps should be tough! Then for the next 2 sets, go up in weight. Add 20% to the weight each set.

• Incline Bench Press: 3 Sets of 12 reps-10 reps and 8 reps. No less than 6 reps on the last set

• Flye: 3 Sets. 12 reps, 10 reps, 10 reps.

• two sets of abdominal crunches


• Tricep Push Down: 3 sets 12-15 Reps. Each set should be hard to get the last 2-3 reps.

• Lying Tricep Extension: 3 sets. perform 15 reps, 12 reps and 8-10 Reps. Failure on last set.


DAY 2: Legs

• Leg Extension: 3 Sets. 15-20 Reps.

• Leg Curl: 3 Sets 15-20 Reps

• Squat: 3 Sets. Progressively heavier. 10-15 reps.

• Leg Press: 4 Sets. Set 1 is to pump a bunch of blood in. 30-40 reps. Non-stop. Moderately heavy. Fail at 30-40 reps. Stretch! Sets 2-4 will be progressively heavier but a little slower. 15-20 reps. If you have a training partner, take the last set 10 reps beyond failure.

DAY 3: Back and Biceps


• Pull-ups: 3 Sets. Assisted if necessary. Each set to failure.

• Bent Over Row: 3 Sets progressively heavier. 8-12 rep range.

• Lat Pull Down: 3 Sets Progressively heavier. 12-15 Reps.

• Close Grip Pull-Down: 3 Sets Progressively heavier. 12-15 Reps



• Easy Bar Curl: 3 Sets. 10-15 Reps. Progressively heavier.

• Alternating Dumbell Curl: 3 Sets. 10-15 Reps. Progressively heavier.

• Hammer Curl: 3 Sets. 10-15 Reps. Progressively heavier.

This is a program that can be used by beginners or seasoned lifters.

Just add to the volume as strength and stamina increase. And remember to stretch the target muscle between the sets. Flexibility is one of the keys to exceptional muscle growth.

Nutrition for this kind of training is as important as the training itself. It’s 100% effort in training and 100% effort in nutrition that makes the best formula for success. Don’t be afraid to eat! We will discuss that next month.

Until next month!

2019-05-17T17:08:31-04:00 May 17th, 2019|The Press|

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