A beginner’s guide to the gym

By David Wojtkowski

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY N.Y.- Gyms can be intimidating to the inexperienced.  With so many machines scattered about and judgmental meatheads looking around it can be difficult to get started.  Here is a full body workout that you can do without hopping on a machine, as they’re already pretty self-explanatory and easy to use.  You can do the exercises in order as a circuit, or break it down and modify it to suit your own needs.


SQUATS (Lower Body)

Go to the squat rack and position the barbell to shoulder height.  After adding the desired weight put the barbell across your shoulders and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.  While keeping your chest up and butt out, lower your hips to below your knees before returning to the starting position pushing through your heels for one rep.


Lie on a gym bench that has a barbell positioned above with a spotter watching you if necessary.  Place your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart on the bar and bring it down until it barely touches your chest and then return it to the starting position while keeping your back straight and feet planted on the ground for one rep.


Grab a bar attached to a frame or the wall above your head with your hands about shoulder width apart then pull yourself up until your chin reaches the bar for one rep.  If you aren’t able to do the desired number of reps, do negatives, which is where you start off at the top and let yourself down as slowly as you can. This concept works for other exercises as well.


Grab a mat and lay on your back with your hands palm down underneath your butt.  Suspend your feet just above the ground and slowly raise one foot up as you lower the other one back to just above the ground alternating one at a time for an extended period of time.

CURLS (Biceps)

Head over to the weight rack stacked with dumbbells.  Grab two equal dumbbells of equal weight and rest them at your sides.  Curl them up to your chest while keeping your back straight for one rep.


Stand with equal weight dumbbells in your hands by your sides.  Then, keeping your arms straight, raise your arms until you make a “T” shape and then lower them for one rep.


Take about a minute water break before starting your next set.  Just do the exact same exercises in the order you did them before.  Repeat until you’ve done three full sets. Give your muscles at least a day to recover before working them again.

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