Question 1: "What products and routines would you recommend for someone just starting out, wanting to see big gains in mass and strength? Thanks” -Joshua Sites


What is the best equipment?

Well, if you’re training at home, I would definitely invest in the following:

a few sets of dumbbells – depending upon how strong you are, a set of 20-lb., 30-lb., 50-lb., 70-lb. dumbbells would be a good start.
a few sets of elastic bands of varying tension – bands can be used for a TON of different exercises like curls, face pulls or overloading deadlifts.
a set of gymnastics rings – you can take them anywhere, and the exercises are endless.
a barbell with 300 lbs. of weights – standard for any home gym.
a set of furniture sliders – used for a bunch of hamstring, push-up and core exercises.
a homemade sandbag – you can grab an Army dufflebag off of for about 30 bucks and fill it with sand. Sandbag training will add some chaos to your workouts and keep you ‘real-world’ strong.
a homemade sled – you can make a sled out of a used car tire and use it for killer conditioning or recovery sessions.
– Don’t forget, body weight training is an amazing addition to any program and doesn’t require any special equipment.

What is the best routine?

It is the one you will follow consistently, over a long period of time. There are so many great programs out there, but beginners jump from routine to routine trying to chase bigger gains. Whatever one you choose, put everything you’ve got into it. AMD 2.0 is a program that I created to not only provide you with 24 weeks of balanced workouts, but to teach you how to create your own workouts and modify them for your individual weaknesses. 

What are the best supplements?

I typically don’t recommend anything crazy for supplements, especially for beginners. If you're eating your meals consistently and they are made up of good proteins, good fats and starchy carbs, then you’re miles ahead of everyone else. If you want to add in some creatine, a good fish oil, a greens supplement, vitamin D, and a good multi-vitamin, this will help with recovery.

Question 2: “If you have limited time for workouts, what would be the four or five compound exercises you'd pick for overall maximum results?” -Trevis Robinson

How to Improve Your Pull-Up Technique

You can’t go wrong with these proven standards:

Upper Body: Bench press (all variations), pull-ups or chin-ups, dips, inverted rows, push-ups (all variations), military press (all variations), bent over rows.
Lower Body: Squats (all variations), Deadlifts (all variations), lunges, heavy sled work, leg press, power cleans.

Train them with a high intensity and focus on form. And don’t forget about the recovery between training sessions. If you are really crushing the compound exercises, it will take a toll on your body; especially if you’re hitting 4-5 sessions a week. Foam rolling, proper hydration and lots of dynamic mobility exercises in your warm-up and post-workout routines are critical to being ready for the next workout.

Meet the Lift Doctor

Jim Smith is a highly respected, world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. A member of the Fitness Advisory Board, Jim has been called one of the most "innovative strength coaches" in the fitness industry. Training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors, Jim has dedicated himself to helping them reach "beyond their potential". He is also the owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning in Elmira, NY.