Prior to each workout, it's essential to stretch and perform warmup sets before loading up the weight bar. Start with approximately 5 minutes of stretches for all the muscle groups to be trained. Then, using 50% of your normal workout weight, perform 1-2 warmup sets for 15 repetitions. Once this has been completed, you have primed your muscles and joints minimizing the chance of injury and are now ready for business.
Initially, you will have to experiment with different weights to determine how much you can safely use while effectively stimulating the muscles. Be sure to have a spotter especially when using barbells in positions where you may become trapped under the bar. Muscles that haven't been worked out for awhile sometimes power out unexpectedly. Over time you'll find that the weights you normally use become lighter as your muscles grow larger and stronger. When this occurs increase the weight slightly to allow increased stimulation to the muscle fibers. This will allow for continued growth and development.
If your new to weight lifting or haven't lifted for over 3 months, beginning with 2 sets per exercise. Increase one set to each exercise each month until you get to 4 sets per exercise.
Patience is key and is essential to prevent injury and allow the body to adapt and grow stronger. The weight that you've chosen should allow you to safely perform 10-12 repetitions for each set. The final few repetitions are generally more difficult to perform than the first few but should not cause excessive strain in order to complete. Generally, 60-90 seconds of rest between sets is sufficient, however, be sure you've had adequate time to catch your breath.
You'll notice that Workouts 1 through 3 also includes a cardiovascular exercise. This will train your heart, which happens to be one of the most important muscles in your body. There is a number of different exercise equipment in most gyms which provide for a great cardiovascular workout. Stationary bikes, treadmills, stair steppers, as well as aerobics are all excellent choices for your cardio exercise. If it's been some time since you've performed any cardiovascular activities, start with 10 minutes of cardio exercise for the first few weeks of the program. Try increasing your cardiovascular activity by 2-5 minutes every couple of weeks until you are able to perform 30 minutes. Again, follow any restrictions given to you by your physician and never push your body too far too quickly.