Click here to see my 7 Point Plan To Fitness Success
The core of the Minimalist Workout by Tim revolves around three different exercises that will be done on three separate days. My 7 Point Plan To Fitness Success does not require you to follow this plan but I will be writing as if you are. If you are following a different workout plan and need help finding a way to tailor it to what I’ve said here then please leave me a comment in the comment box below.
This is a fast and easy phase. The point of this trial is to see what you’re capable of as well as give you a starting point for tracking your progress and success. While the point of this test isn’t to start building muscle it will start your muscle building. My belief is that anything you do, as long as you’re getting up and doing something, makes you successful.
Push Ups are tricky. Everyone is at a different place as far as push ups are concerned. I know people who are in fairly good shape but are unable to do a push up. If this is true in your case, there are ways to make push ups easier. I would ask first, do you think you can do push ups on your knees? It is important to note that although you are not doing them on your toes, you do need to keep your body straight during the exercise. If you start with good habit, even if they cause you to do less of an exercise, you’ll be better off in the long run. If you do not think you can do a proper knee push up then you should do wall push ups.
Whatever your level, now is the time to test yourself and see how many you can do. I don’t want you to do them only until you start to doubt you can do more. Challenge yourself. It’ll hurt only for a minute, 90 seconds tops, I promise. Complete the set until you’ve fully exhausted your muscles. On my first push ups test I was able to do 7 push ups on my knees. This became my starting point.
There are different schools of thought on sit ups. Some people believe you should put your feet under something like a chair or have someone stand on your feet while you do them. There are others, with research to back their claim, that you should have someone hold your legs from below. The train of though on that is that you’re pushing down with your legs which puts your body in the proper position to work your muscles in more correct ways.
I didn’t have anyone to hold my calf muscles for me so I wedge my feet under my couch or recliner. You should strive to keep your back as straight as possible and do not pull your head with your hands. If fact, I hold my arms to the side and clench my fists when I do sit ups.
Now you will see how many sit ups you can do. I did 5 on my first attempt. I know of people who started with 1. Don’t worry, you’ll increase this number over time. Make sure you exhaust your muscles. Once you feel the burn you’re done.
Squats gave me the biggest challenge when I first started. Click here for a great video on how to do a proper squat. I’ll also include that if you have trouble with squats you should place a chair behind you and sit on it briefly before standing back up.
I was able to do 5 squats my first attempt. I am quite animated when I do squats. I try to keep myself in the proper alignment but I swing my arms forward for balance when I go down and then clench my fists, abs and glutes as I come back up. It gives me a very powerful squat in the end.
You may find that your legs are burning pretty quickly. You do not want to push yourself too hard on squats. Do your set until your legs start to burn but do not go any further than that. You don’t want to risk injury.
Take A Couple Days To Rest
Now that you’ve pushed yourself to the limits you want to take a couple of days to let your muscles rest up. Drink plenty of water and stretch after your trial session. You do not want to wake up sore tomorrow. Write down how many reps you did of each set and set it aside. I’m going to explain in the Action Phase that you should shoot for 70% of your total reps in each set you do during that phase. Don’t worry if you only did 1 or 2 reps in a set. I’ll cover all that later. For now, take two days to let your muscles rest. Why two days? Because my minimalist workout plan builds two rest days between days of each workout. This goes against most traditional wisdom of one day of rest between workouts but there are a lot of people who have proven that it is more effective to leave yourself two days of rest.