So you want to get started lifting weights, but do not really know how to proceed?
Just be calm. In this guide, you will find a training program that is perfect for you who want to get started with effective strength training.
The prerequisite for the program is that you are healthy and whole, and are willing to spend time learning to perform the exercises correctly, in order to then be able to train safely and injury-free while you build muscle and become stronger.
This training program is based on three training sessions per week, where you basically train the whole body each session.
Full body workouts, where you train large parts of your body several times a week, are by far the most effective way for a beginner to quickly build muscle and become stronger.
Three full body workouts per week are perfect for the beginner: It provides frequent opportunities for the muscles to stimulate and grow, but there is a long enough distance between the workouts to allow for good recovery and rest.
Whether you train because you want to get stronger, build bigger muscles, or lose weight, a full body program with three sessions per week is one of the best training programs you can choose as a beginner.
The training program below I originally found with Jay. I think it is a perfect training program for beginners.
Most important of all, Practice the technique!
Regardless of whether you are completely new to strength training or just new to these exercises, the same applies: Start with very light weights and have the ambition to learn perfect technique in all exercises.
In some of the more mobility-demanding exercises (such as deadlifts and squats), this is a very large project, while it can go faster in some of the simpler ones.
Read all the exercise descriptions carefully, and ask a friend to watch, or film yourself when you start practicing the exercises.
At first, most people feel both shaky and uncomfortable, but as long as you do not load more weight than you can handle, over time you will gain more and more control.
The training schedule
You will switch between two different sessions, on three training sessions per week. So, you train three times a week, but you only do two different sessions.
We call the sessions A and B, and with at least a day's rest between each session, your schedule can look like this:
Monday: Pass A
Wednesday: Pass B
Friday: Pass A
Monday: Pass B
Wednesday: Pass A
Friday: Pass B
So you train A B A one week, and B A B the second week, or: All the time every other session.
You do not have to train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but make sure to do three sessions during a week, with at least one rest day between each session.
Let's then go into the actual training sessions.
It is possible that you will think that this seems to be far too little, or too simple, but trust me: This type of setup with low volume and high frequency works really well for beginners.
Squats: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
Bench press: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
Barbell rowing: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
Rest 2 minutes between each set.
Ground lift: 3 sets x 6-8 reps
Lat pull (or chins): 3 sets x 8-10 reps
Military press: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
Rest 2 minutes between each set.
Simple, but very effective.
The workouts are composed of so-called basic exercises, where you train several muscle groups with each exercise. In session A, you have a knee-dominant exercise and horizontal pressing and pulling exercises. In session B, you have a hip-dominant exercise and vertical press and pull exercises. Biceps and triceps are trained well during both sessions in the pulling and pressing exercises.
The exercises listed in the workouts are the ones I recommend, but they are not written in stone.
Squats are recommended, but can be replaced with leg presses.
Bench press is performed lying on a flat bench, but can be changed to horizontal dumbbell press.
Barbell rowing can be replaced with dumbbell rowing or rowing in a cable machine.
Ground lifting is recommended and is probably the easiest variant for beginners, but can be replaced with straight ground lifting if needed.
You can perform lat pulls if you do not have the strength to do enough chins repetitions. If you can handle more than 10 reps of chins, you can hang on to 5-10 kg extra weight.
Resistance training alters the response of fed state mixed muscle protein synthesis in young men. Tang JE, Perco JG, Moore DR, Wilkinson SB, Phillips SM. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Jan; 294 (1): R172-8. Epub 2007 Nov 21.
2. The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole muscle cross-sectional area in humans. Wernbom M, Augustsson J, Thomeé R. Sports Med. 2007; 37 (3): 225-64.