Reg Park was a legendary natural bodybuilder from the 50’s and 60’s that people like Arnold Schwarzenegger grew up idolizing. He won bodybuilding competitions such as the Mr. Universe (3 times) and also starred in movies in roles such as Hercules. He was even the first bodybuilder to ever bench 500 pounds. To say that he understands fundamentals would be an understatement. His son became a well known Hollywood trainer and still owns a gym in the area.
So who better to provide a classic muscle building beginner workout that numerous people, including Arnold, used to build the basics of a brawny physique?
Reg’s Beginnger Routine
This routine is meant to be done three days a week on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule or similar timetable with at least one day off in between. Reg used an A workout and B workout. Then he would alternate them each session. This would mean one week you would do an A-B-A combination followed by B-A-B combination.
For many exercises you will do a 5×5 scenario for sets and reps. The first set will be done 5 reps of 60% your working weight (the heaviest you can handle for 5 reps), the second is at 80%, and the final 3 sets are for 5 reps of your working weight. The exception is deadlifts which includes only 1 set at your working weight.
- Squats – 5 sets for 5 reps
- Chin Ups – 5 sets for 5 reps
- Bench Press – 5 sets for 5 reps
- Wrist Curls – 2 sets for 10 reps
- Standing Calf Raises – 2 sets for 15 to 20 reps
- Front Squats – 5 sets for 5 reps
- Barbell Rows – 5 sets for 5 reps
- Standing Barbell Press – 5 sets for 5 reps
- Deadlifts – 3 sets for 5 reps
- Reverse Wrist Curls – 2 sets for 10 reps
- Seated Calf Raises – 2 sets for 15 to 20 reps
Abdominal exercises are done on cardio days. Depending on what your goals are for weight loss, cardio should be kept at a minimum to save energy for muscle building. Two sessions of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate cardio should be adequate to keep your cardiovascular health at a moderate level.
All exercises emphasize perfect form, slow negatives, and powerful positive motions over using overly heavy weight and momentum. Figuring out your ‘working’ weight will take a session or two as you should warm-up and see how much you can lift. Then it is a good idea to keep a journal so you know when to add weight to an exercise. Typically if you can increase the rep range to 8 on your work weight then it is time to add another 5 or 10 pounds.