The main thing that kept me from the gym when I was younger was not knowing what to do. There’s plenty of resources now But this is the stuff that got me started on lifting weights effectively.
Back in ’11 or ’12 my internet buddy sent me his workout routines in spreadsheet form. I did some tweaks to make them look pretty and use equipment I had available. Eventually these spreadsheets became more and more accessible.
Strength, Power, & Volume: 12 workouts.
This is my first variation on the originals. Where the originals were meant for the exercise lab at RIT or something, I modified this one to accommodate the equipment and knowledge available to me in a freeweights powerlifting gym in Albuquerque. It’s mainly barbell focused weight lifting and Olympic lifting, with some bodyweight stuff thrown in.
There’s definitely enough stuff here to continue improving your athleticism and physique for a year or more with great results. I was a total beginner when I started this routine, and skipped the Olympic lifts pretty frequently, but I still got pretty good results.
- Important instructions: Do the first block of 3 workouts, 4 times. Then move on to the next block of 3. Maybe muscle confusion isn’t a real thing but this is a good balance between reaching goals and keeping in interesting.
- Note that each exercise has 4 rows. start at the top and next week move to the next. This helps you keep track of what you’re doing
- Note that in the top left corner of each page is a M, W, F, and sometimes Sa. these correspond to days of the week. It’s just a suggestion. mix and match these however you like.
The 20 minute workout: fiddling with formulas
For a while I was working 16 hour days, alternating 80 and 96 hour weeks. My diet went to trash and I had no time to exercise. I put this together this worksheet just so I could at least try and maintain some athleticism.
The idea is you literally just do a bunch of sets of one exercise each day, and take a few days off every week. Punch in numbers in the blue cells, get next sessions numbers back. No need to put a single thought into it.
I also made a metric version that I don’t have any feedback on so I don’t know if it actually works right but try it out if you want idk lol.
DSM18 (??) 3 workouts, 90 days
I don’t even remember what DSM18 is, but this is the first sheet I made for someone else. It’s got a calendar upon which you can plan your workout schedule. it’s really pretty simple, but it’s not easy. You should know how to calculate percentages and build up from incredibly low weights. Follow the program and come out 14 weeks later in substantially better shape.
8×8: Volume training for the absolute novice
After I understood better the failings of the DSM18 workout thing, I made a better one for a friend. Now includes a legend to show you what everything means. Also it’s printable. You should still know how to calculate percentages, but the sheets even include a 1 rep max calculator.
I got some really good feedback off of this one and saw some pretty good results.
Once you wrap up a period of Series 1 move on to Series 2
Heart Rate Zone Calculator (Printable charts)
File this one under “something a smartwatch does better.” But maybe you don’t have or want a smartwatch. Try this why not.
Big Three for Beginners
I just have a thing for simple, effective workout routines. This one should integrate easily into most people’s lives. It utilizes equipment common to most gyms. It’s printable.
If you wanna do more, there’s plenty of room to add sets. This is a great framework to fill out any sort of routine you would prefer.
Hurryup Half Hour
Wanna squeeze a lot into a little time? Don’t mind hoarding equipment for circuit training? This is what I should have been doing at the beginning of my 16 hour days. Made for a friend to take advantage of his lunch hour.
Twice a week: Push/Pull
I was doing other stuff at the time, but I still could make it to Planet Fitness on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is specific to Planet Fitness equipment, it takes about an hour.
Alternating Strength & Hypertrophy
My home gym consists of a Barbell & Squat Stands, a few Kettlebells, and some bolt hangers from which I can do Pullups, or attach longer bits of fabric for TRX style bodyweight stuff.
This is a reliable all-rounder for that setup. Spend 4 weeks building up your strength, then switch to 4 weeks of improving size. It doesn’t take long, and it’s decently effective.