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||Stony Brook Strength Club Beginners Guide||

When you first walk into a weight-room, the experience may be overwhelming. This
guide will allow you to be comfortable in a weight-room, and not feel intimidated by
others. Remember, everyone had their own first day at some point; you are no different.
The most important thing is to have fun the entire time. Training is an enjoyable
experience, and you should maximize your benefit from it.
Good luck!
~Christopher Camenares, President
Contents:
1.1 - Goals

2.1 Myths

1.2 Programming

2.2 Glossary

1.3 Etiquette

3.1 Strength Club Resources

1.4 How to Train

3.2 Form Checks: How To

1.5 Lifting Weights


1.6 Equipment/Lifting Tools
1.7 Safety
1.8 Conclusion

1.1 Goals
Goals are the most important thing about starting to lift weights. You do not want to spend your
time aimlessly doing movements. Having goals will direct your training into the most efficient
way possible. The goal(s) can be simple and general, such as the following:
Lose Weight
Look good for summer
Get Stronger
Feel better about myself
Or they can be specific, like a certain target you want to hit, such as:
Squatting 200lbs
Deadlifting my bodyweight
Jumping higher than my friends

Any of these goals are great goals. Establishing them from the beginning will make the rest of
your training more enjoyable as you go on a journey to reach these goals. The rest of this guide
will aid you in reaching your personal goal.

1.2 Programming
When you train with weights, you want to think about long-term progress, not short-term. A good weight
training athlete does not decide what they will do the moment they walk into the gym, they have a general
program which outlines what they do. As an athlete becomes more experienced, they can program their
own exercises. It is recommended that a beginner athlete adhere fairly strictly to a pre-determined
program for themselves. By following this link you can see a list of programs categorized by your own
individual goals. It is important to choose a program that is right for you; everyone is different, with
different goals. Section 3.1 of this guide also contains a link to the Strength Clubs programming related
presentation.

1.3 Etiquette in the Gym


At a gym, all the equipment is intended to be shared. In addition to this, gyms may seem like a bit of a
social paradox; there is a large amount of people in a single area, conceivably doing the same thing
(lifting weights), yet they may all be doing it in their own particular manner. To reconcile this, it is
helpful to go in with knowledge about etiquette in the gym:
I.
Put equipment away after you are finished using it. This includes dumbbells, weight
plates, jump ropes, yoga mats, steps, and any other equipment that is in your gym. Even if you had
to hunt down a piece of equipment, be part of the solution by putting it away properly. It also never
hurts to put away equipment that you did not use, but you see lying out there.
If you get sweat, blood, chalk, or whatever on a piece of equipment, wipe it down when
you are done. The Campus Recreation Center provides spray bottles, use them.

II.

III.
Don't stand in front of someone that is using a mirror. Many people like to use the
mirror to check their form; don't block them from doing this. Try to be aware of your surroundings.
IV.
In general, watch where you are walking. Dont go too close to someone trying to
complete a lift; and do not walk on someones platform if they are in the middle of lifting. The
weight room is a very safe place, as long as you look where you are going.
V.
Equipment use is generally a first-come first-serve policy. If someone is using a piece of
equipment that you need for your workout, you can politely (not in the middle of their lift though!)
ask them how much longer they will be using that equipment. If they say they will be done soon, ask
them to let you know when they will be done, so someone else doesnt hop on it. If they are taking a
while, they may offer, (or you can request) to work in. Say you are both doing Squats out of the
rack. If it is okay with the other person, you can both do squats in the same area, taking turns with
the bar, and changing weights as necessary. This a common practice, but both parties should be
okay with it. Lastly, if the two of you are doing too different of exercises, you may just have to sit
and wait until the equipment is available. The Campus Recreation center is most busy after 4:00pm.

1.4 How to Train


All those goals are most important here. Do you want to get really strong? Gain a lot of muscle
mass? Improve your endurance?
When you lift weights, you perform reps and sets. A rep is a consecutive movement. A set is
how many groups of those movements you performed.
For example, if I do 5 reps of bicep curls that means I went up and down 5 times.
If I did 3 sets of 5, it means I went up and down 5 times, took a short rest, and then did it again.
How many sets and reps you do is an important part of your training. More is not necessarily better
depending on your goals. Consult the following table:

1-5 reps primarily develop strength, with more impact on muscle size and none on endurance.
6-12 reps develop a balance of strength, muscle size and endurance.
13-20 reps develop endurance, with some increases to muscle size and limited impact on
strength.
20+ reps are considered to be focused on aerobic exercise. They do still use the anaerobic
system, but usually at a rate through which it can consistently remove the lactic acid generated
from it.

Reps are also scaled by the weight you are doing. A weight you would do for 20 reps is going to be
lighter than a weight for 2 reps.
When talking about the amount of weight lifted, the weight of the bar is included. A 135lb Squat is
45lbs of the bar, + 90lbs of added weight. At Stony Brook, all the barbells weigh 45lbs, except the
training bar, at 15lbs.
In addition, certain people may be in Strength related sports, and they have very particular,
individualized way to lift. The following is the most popular sports people perform with weights.
Weightlifting These lifters compete in the Clean and Jerk, and the Snatch. They are incredibly
strong, agile, fast, and flexible.
Powerlifting These lifters compete in the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift. They lift the most
weight in those movements of any other class.
Bodybuilding- These lifters are concerned with their appearance strictly, and have no specific
contest lifts. Their competition is judged by how their body looks, on stage. They compete for
symmetrical aesthetics.

Strongman-These lifters compete in lifting weights, over a wide variety of movements. Some of the
tested methods are unorthodox, such as Atlas Stones, but they also compete in Squats and Clean
and Push Press frequently. They are very, very, strong.
CrossFit These lifters compete in a variety of movements, similar to Strongman, only with greater
emphasis on endurance. They perform movements like Snatches, and Deadlifts. They are crowned
the fittest athletes for their wide spectrum proficiency.
Now that we have a foundation of lifting weights, lets actually talk about the weights/movements!

1.5 Lifting Weights


There are myriad movements in which one can lift weights, all with different purposes. It would be
silly to list all the different ways here, but the following links have excellent databases:
ExRx
Catalyst Athletics - Video Demo's, Especially Helpful for Weightlifting
BodyRock - Bodyweight and Women Emphasis
You should try to stay away from machines; which includes the Smith machine. Weight machines
can appear safer, but actually can create muscle imbalances due to involving fewer muscle groups
and moving along fixed pathways that may not align with your body's geometry.
A few of the most important exercises are outlined below. They are not complete descriptions, and
reading the brief description will not make you an expert. Please check ExRx and Catalyst Athletics
for videos. For proper form guidance, you should consult people in the Stony Brook Strength club
for guidance, and post videos of yourself in the Facebook group.
Deadlift The deadlift consist of picking up a barbell from the ground, to the mid-thigh. Your arms
will be straight, back straight, tight, and diagonal and you squeeze off the ground with your eyes
looking straight ahead. Your feet will be pointed straight ahead, about hip width. When you stand up
full erect with the barbell in your hands, knees/hips/back locked out, this is 1 rep.
Back Squat The squat consists of taking a barbell out of a rack, and allowing it to rest on your
upper back. Different styles of squatting decide where exactly on the upper back, if it should be on
the trapezius, or near the shoulders. It should NEVER be painful, and on the spin/neck. It should rest
on the muscles of your upper back. Once the bar is secure on your back, you simply squat all the
way down, allowing your knees to bend forward, and your hips to descend, then stand back up. You
should try to start with your hips going as low as possible, always below parallel (parallel refers to
the angle your knee and hip joint make). Once your knees/back is locked out after going all the way
down, this is 1 rep.
Bench Press While laying down with your back on a bench, with a bar hovering over you, you
unrack the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. You then lower the bar down to
your chest, low enough that the bar touches your chest. Do not try to go fast and just bounce the

weight up though. Once the bar touches your chest, you then press it back up. When your elbows
become locked, this is 1 rep.
Press Taking the bar out of a rack, and resting on your clavicle, you use your shoulders/upper back
to press the bar over your head. Once your arms are locked out, this is 1 rep.
Note: The next two exercises are vastly more technical, and the given description is very brief. Seek
guidance when you do them.
Clean and Jerk- In a starting position similar to the deadlift, you pick the barbell up. Instead of
stopping mid-thigh, you violently shrug/pull/explode with the bar vertically, to your clavicle. You
then perform a Front Squat, similar to a Back squat, only the bar rests on your clavicle. Once you are
standing fully erect, the Clean is done. Now, the Jerk consists of driving (with the legs) the bar over
your head, and lowering your body under the bar. Similar to a press, only using entirely leg drive,
and little arms.
Snatch- In a single swift movement, take the barbell from the ground, to over your head. It is
difficult to give a detailed image of the movement with text; seek someone who can perform it.

1.6 Equipment/Lifting Tools


There are a myriad amount of lifting tools/strength training equipment. They range from useless
scams, or snake oil, to products with widespread, productive use. A brief list will be given
below, with helpful descriptions. You are encouraged to ask the Strength Club for any
information about these items, or items you do not see mentioned here. No tool is 100%
necessary, and some are more useful than others.
Chalk
This material is applied to the hands. Made of magnesium carbonate, it acts a drying agent, so your grip
(hands) are secure on the barbell, or whatever apparatus you may be using. Chalk has extremely
widespread use, and is commonplace for most strength-training gyms. Chalk is, however, banned for use
at the Recreation Center. An example of a lift using chalk would be a deadlift.
Belts
Weight training belts are essentially very large belts that you put around your abdomen when you perform
certain lifts. The idea is to increase the pressure in your abdomen, which will give more support towards
your lift. Contrary to popular beliefs, belts do no hinder abdominal development when used correctly. An
example of a lift using a belt is a squat.
Weight Training Shoes
There two main reasons to get specialty shoes for training:

1. Flexibility/Positional Advantage
- Shoes with a raised heel can compensate for less than perfect ankle flexibility, and other
flexibilities. Even if your flexibility is supreme, they can enhance the positions you can achieve.

They can also hinder other positions, depending on the goals of those positions. Personal
preference dictates how much of a heel you would like.
2. Compression Advantage
- Anything that compresses is a hindrance for lifting. You always want a shoe that does
not compress. Running shoes are a common example of a shoe that will compress under load, and
is thus problematic for weight training. There is little room for personal preference here.
Shoes can be expensive, but have great longevity. If you are going to be training regularly, they are
recommended. They are perhaps most useful for squatting, and squat variations.
Lifting Straps
Straps take pressure off of your wrists and forearm, and allow you to better grip much more weight. The
use of straps will not prevent your grip from developing. Using straps properly is an important tool in
training. Since the Recreation Center does not allow the use of chalk, straps can be an extremely useful
tool. An example of a lift using straps is a dumbbell row.
Lifting Wraps
Wraps increase the stability of your wrists by tightly wrapping around your wrists. An example of a lift
using wraps is a bench press.
There is much more equipment than what is lifted above. Section 3.1 contains a link to a seminar the
Strength Club gave about equipment. For any other inquiries, feel free to ask in the Strength Club.

1.7 Safety
Weight lifting is one of the safest activities you can engage in. Even better is that as you become a
stronger, better athlete, you also become a safer athlete. Your joints are strengthened and protected.
That being said, you still have to be aware of your surroundings and be safe in a gym.
I.
II.
III.

IV.

As a beginner, you should use safety clips on the bar. This prevents weights from
sliding off.
Whenever you bench press, always have a spotter. Always.
Watch out for people lifting around you. Similar to the Etiquette section, do not walk in
front of people on platforms. Do not go to close to people about to lift a bar. They are
focused on their lift, not your safety.
Being sore is okay. Lifting weights while being sore is also okay. Soreness is different
than pain, and you should learn the different. Lifting through pain is not okay. Seek
trained medical professionals if you are in pain.

1.8 Conclusion
This guide is not a complete source of information. The internet is a great place to learn
more, and you should seek out the links posted throughout this guide. However, most important, is

to seek out other members of the Strength Club, and post on the Facebook page. This is the best way
for the club to get to know you, and that will make you achieve your goal in the best way possible.

2.1 Myths debunked


Myth: Ab exercises can make you lose stomach fat
You can't target where you lose fat. This is called "spot reduction" and it doesn't exist. Your genes are
responsible for where your body stores fat, and it's the same thing for losing fat. It's pretty much a "first
on, last off" type situation. So if the first place you get fat is your belly, it's probably going to be the last
place to lose it. Do the things mentioned in this document to lower your overall body-fat percentage and
your belly fat will start to go away.

Myth: Women will get bulky if they lift heavy things


While some things are different for women than they are for men (where your body tends to store fat, how
quickly you'll lose body fat, how quickly you'll add muscle, etc.) pretty much everything in this guide
applies equally to women and men. How to lose body fat, how to add muscle, how to get fit, how to "tone
up"...the principles are same for both women and men.
Some women are averse to heavy weights because they don't want to "bulk up" or "look like a dude".
However, most women will never get as bulky as guys because they lack sufficient testosterone. The
female professional athletes you see with "toned" arms are more indicative of what is possible without
drugs.
Myth: Lifting weights is going to make me huge like a bodybuilder
Putting on muscle is not easy. It takes years of dedicated work. It is insulting to the people who do this on
purpose to think you could get to the same level accidentally. Unless you're specifically training to "be
huge" you're not going to accidentally get huge. And even if you find yourself getting bigger than you'd
like, you can always stop working out to reverse these effects.
Myth: Lifting weights makes you inflexible
The ACSM finds that full range strength training improves flexibility. Additionally,
top weightlifters, gymnasts, and bodybuilders, regularly demonstrate advanced levels of flexibility while
being exceedingly strong.
Strength training does not create inflexibility if done properly - an imbalanced program and lifting
through abbreviated ranges of motion causes inflexibility.

2.2 Glossary of important Terms


1RM: One Rep Max -- The maximum amount of weight that can be lifted one time.
5K: A running race which covers 5 kilometers
5RM: Five Rep Max -- The maximum amount of weight that can be lifted five reps.
ATG: Ass-To-Grass/Ground -- A squat performed low enough that the trainee is nearly sitting on
the ground BB: Barbell

BCAA: Branched-chain Amino Acid -- BCAA's are a supplement combination of three amino acids
(building blocks of protein): leucine, isoleucine and valine. Generally taken to promote the increase
in lean mass and reduce recovery time.
BF%: Bodyfat Percentage -- The amount of a person's body weight that is due to body fat. This is
the preferable metric compared to Body Mass Index (BMI) but is more difficult to determine. BP:
Bench press or (less frequently) blood pressure
BW: Body Weight
C25K: Couch To 5K -- A nine week beginner's running program that is designed to help an
untrained enthusiast gradually become capable of running a 5K.
CC: Convict Conditioning -- A popular bodyweight strength training program.
CJ: Clean and Jerk
CM: Cheat Mode diet -- A popular variant of an Intermittent Fasting program developed by Fittit's
own silverhydra.
DB: Dumbbell
DL: Deadlift -- A movement that entails bending over and picking up a weight from the floor using
the legs and back.
DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness -- The muscular aches felt in the 1-3 days that follow a
strenuous workout.
EC Stack: Ephedrine and Caffeine -- A combination of these two stimulants used to increase the
rate at which body fat is burned.
ECA Stack: Ephedrine, Caffeine, and Aspirin -- The addition of Aspirin to an EC Stack is thought
to reduce some of the cons of the stimulants
GHR: Glute Ham Raise -- An exercise used to strength the hamstrings.
KB: Kettlebell.
keto: Ketogenic diet -- An ultra-low-carb, high fat diet designed to keep the body in a status of
ketosis.
IF: Intermittent Fasting -- A dieting technique of purposely not eating for 12-24 hours (depending
on the specific plan) at a time.
LG: LeanGains -- Combination of IF with heavy lifting.
OHP: Overhead Press -- A type of barbell movement that entails lifting the bar from shoulder height
to over one's head.
paleo: Paleolithic diet -- A nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and
animals that various human species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era.
PL: PowerLifter/PowerLifting -- A sport that focuses on the development of maximum strength in
three types of weight lifting events: squat, bench press, and deadlift.
PR: Personal Record -- The maximal amount of weight an individual has ever personally lifted.
PWO: Pre- or Post-workout -- Generally used in the context of food or a beverage consumed
immediately before or after a workout, "PWO shake, PWO meal, etc." Clarifcation as to whether the
user means pre- or post- will need to be sought if their use is unclear.
RDL: Romanian Deadlift -- A variant of the deadlift performed with little to no knee bend in order
to target the hamstrings and lower back muscles.
ROM: Range of Motion - the distance a joint or limb travels during exercise.
SS: Starting Strength -- A beginner barbell program by Mark Rippetoe
SL: Strong Lifts 5x5 -- A beginner barbell program by Mehdi Hadim
TGU: Turkish Get-Up -- An exercise common in the kettlebell community
WL: Weightlifting, or Olympic Weightlifting.

3.1 Stony Brook Strength Club Resources


Here you will find resources related to the Stony Brook Strength Club.
Equipment Seminar PowerPoint
A seminar the Strength Club gave about certain equipment. It is useful to be informed about
these tools.
Programming Seminar PowerPoint
A Seminar the Strength Club gave about programming for different goals, and different
recovery methods.

3.2 Form Checks: How To


What is a Form Check
A form check is when you ask someone to check your form!
Why to Form Check
For an example, it is often hard to tell what angle your hips may be at, relative to your torso.
You may ask a knowledgeable bystander to observe that angle while you perform a particular
lift, and report the results back to you. You can then know if you are performing the movement
correctly or not.
How to Setup a Form Check
The most encouraged way to have a form check is by taking a video, and posting that video
online, on the Strength Club Facebook page. Experienced users will give you feedback on your
movement. A video is sometimes better than a live demonstration; you can replay a video, and
even examine it in slow motion. Most often you want to present your video as:
1.
2.
3.

A 45 angle (0 would be your front in the camera, 90 would be your side, 180 is your back)
Straight View (Not from Above, or Below on individual)
A complete view (Shoes to Head always visible; Not Over Zoomed, or Too Far)

*Occasionally it is useful to post a different angle. For example, 90 is very useful at showing
the bar-path. If you are not sure what angle to post, use 45 .
After you record yourself, post your video on the Facebook page. In the post, be sure to include:

The lift being perform (High Bar Back-Squat, Low-Bar, Deadlift, etc.)
The weight lifted, and your goal/program (Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, Weightlifting,
etc.) Any particular thing to notice

Form Checks are highly encouraged; however, do not spam the page with Form Checks. Fixing
your form is not always an immediate process. If you post a video of yourself Snatching, you
should wait at least two weeks until you post another; consistently working on the form in those
two weeks.