Step 1 Blueprint:
The exercises you will be using are the tried and true mass builders that have been done for decades, if not centuries. These include exercises such as bench press, squat, and barbell curl. You will do one exercise per muscle group during this period. Any more than that and the workout becomes far too long and may be too much for your body at this point.
Rep is the abbreviated term for repetition, which involves doing the exercise one time through its full range of motion. For example, when you lie down on the bench press and lower the bar to your chest and press it back up, that is one rep. In this step you will want to do 10-12 reps per set. That is a good range to learn the exercise, build muscles size and muscle strength for a beginner. One exception is calves and abs. On calves you are better off doing higher reps to stimulate more muscle growth in this stubborn muscle group. And when doing body weight ab exercises, such as crunches, you’ll want to do as many reps as you can per set until reaching muscle failure. Regardless of the exercise being performed, proper form is paramount. Concentrate on the target muscle group to develop the mind-muscle connection. Pay strict attention to form and range of motion. When your form begins to falter and you can’t complete a rep with full range of motion, you are finished with the set.
The amount of weight you will use is determined by the rep range you are using. Since you will be doing 10-12 reps per set, you should choose a weight that prevents you from doing any more than 12 reps, but allows you to complete at least 10 reps. You should expect to get stronger over these three weeks, so once you can do more than 12 reps with the weight you are using it’s time to increase the weight by 5 or 10 pounds.
A set is the term that refers to doing all reps for an exercise. That is, when you pick up the bar and perform as many repetitions as you can before putting the bar down. That completes one set. Typically you do several sets per exercise, with rest taken between those sets. During this period you will do three sets per exercise, which is just enough repetition to learn the exercise, yet not too much to make the workout last too long.
During this phase you will rest about 2-3 minutes between sets. The goal is to allow enough rest to allow you to stick fairly close to the rep range using the same weight on all three sets. This will help you gain more size and strength. The exception here is claves and abs which tend to recover faster between sets. For these exercises rest 1-2 minutes between sets.