Men’s beginner program

Beginner weight training program

Description

This 12-week beginner weight training program is designed to:

  • Introduce your body to physical exercise
  • Introduce you to a variety of exercises, training equipment, and training splits
  • Train all of your major muscle groups
  • Strengthen your core and primal movement patterns
  • Encourage body-wide neuromuscular adaptation
  • Develop a strong foundation of muscular endurance

The beginner weight training program is very important because it will lay a strong foundation upon which you can safely build in the subsequent programs. Without this strong foundation, you will be at risk of injury. By the end of the program, you should have developed significant strength (mostly due to neuromuscular adaptation), muscular endurance, and muscular tone, as well as dramatically improved your overall fitness.

The program is divided into four microcycles, each one lasting for three weeks. The first two microcycles focus on full-body circuit training, which means that you will be training your entire body in each workout and having minimal rest between exercises. The last two microcycles focus on split training, which means that you will be dividing your body and training different parts in different workouts.

Please don’t be intimidated by the number of exercises in some of the workouts. You will be flying through them with very little rest, so the workouts will be over very quickly.

Please read the Overview before you start this program.

Suitability

  • Beginners
  • Lifters with less than three months of consistent weight training experience
  • Experienced lifters who haven’t trained for more than three months

Instructions

  • Use an amount of weight that makes completing the reps challenging.
  • As you get stronger and need to increase the weight, add a maximum of 5 lb or 2.5 kg to upper-body exercises and a maximum of 10 lb or 5 kg to lower-body exercises—just enough to make the rep range challenging again.
  • Complete the exercises in the order provided.
  • Try to master the proper form of each exercise, including proper breathing technique.
  • As you train, try to develop a mental connection with your muscles.
  • If, for some reason, you can’t perform one of the exercises, see the Overview for alternatives.
  • Don’t forget to warm up before, and cool down after, each workout.
  • Each workout, including warmup and cooldown, should take no longer than an hour.
  • Once you have completed the beginner weight training program, you must take a deload week (a week during which you must either rest or train lightly). Only then can you move on to the next program.

Specific instructions for each microcycle are presented below.

Microcycle 1: Full-body circuit (3 weeks)

  • For microcycle 1, you will perform a full-body circuit
  • Complete 2 circuits per workout
  • Complete 3 workouts per week, with at least 1 day of rest between each workout (AXAXAXX, where “A” means workout day and “X” means rest day)
  • Rest for only 20 to 30 seconds between exercises
  • Rest for 2 to 3 minutes between the circuits
  • Each workout should take less than 40 minutes
Exercise Reps
Dumbbell squat* 15–18
Wide-grip lat pull-down 15–18
Seated or lying leg curl 15–18
Dumbbell bench press 15–18
Machine standing calf raise 25–30
Seated cable row 15–18
Bicycle crunch 15–20
Seated dumbbell overhead press 15–18
Dumbbell curl 15–18
Dumbbell kickback 15–18
*Bodyweight squat for first week (YouTube link)

Microcycle 2: Full-body circuit (3 weeks)

  • For microcycle 2, you will perform another full-body circuit
  • Complete either 3 workouts a week (AXAXAXX) or a workout every other day (AX)
  • Complete 2 circuits per workout
  • Rest for only 20 to 30 seconds between exercises
  • Rest for 2 to 3 minutes before starting the second circuit
  • Each workout should take less than 40 minutes
Exercise Reps
Barbell squat 13–15
Close neutral grip lat pull-down 13–15
Dumbbell Romanian deadlift (YouTube link) 13–15
Push-up (on knees if necessary) 13–15
Dumbbell lunge 13–15
Bent-over dumbbell row 13–15
Seated or lying leg curl 13–15
Dumbbell one-arm overhead press 13–15
Standing dumbbell one-leg calf raise (YouTube link) 25–30
Bicycle crunch 20–25
EZ bar curl 13–15

Microcycle 3: Upper–Lower split (3 weeks)

  • For microcycle 3, you will perform an upper–lower split. This means that you will train all of your upper body in one workout and all of your lower body in another workout. Also, instead of circuit training, you will perform set training, which means that you will complete all of the sets for one exercise before moving on to the sets of the following exercise
  • Recommended workout schedules: ABXABXX or ABX
  • Rest for only 20 to 30 seconds between sets
  • Rest for only 60 to 90 seconds between exercises
  • Each workout should take less than 40 minutes
Workout A (Upper Body)
Exercise Sets x Reps
One-arm lat pull-down (YouTube link) 2 x 13–15
Seated cable row 2 x 13–15
Barbell bench press 2 x 13–15
Barbell overhead press 2 x 13–15
Cable face pull 2 x 13–15
Triceps rope push-down 2 x 13–15
Dumbbell concentration curl 2 x 13–15
Cable twist (YouTube link) 2 x 13–15
Front plank 2 x 45–60 s
s = seconds
Workout B (Lower Body)
Exercise Sets x Reps
Barbell front squat 2 x 13–15
Dumbbell rear lunge 2 x 13–15
Barbell Romanian deadlift 2 x 13–15
Seated or lying leg curl 2 x 13–15
Standing dumbbell one-leg calf raise (YouTube link) 2 x 20–25
Machine seated calf raise 2 x 20–25
Lying side hip raise 2 x 20–25
Bicycle crunch 2 x 20–25
Lying leg and hip raise 2 x 15–20

Microcycle 4: 3-day split (3 weeks)

  • For microcycle 4, you will perform a 3-day split in which you will train your back, biceps, and core in Workout A; your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core in Workout B; and your legs and core in Workout C
  • Recommended workout schedules: ABCXABX (then start from C the next week) or ABCX (i.e. three days on, one day off)
  • Rest for only 20 to 30 seconds between sets
  • Rest for only 60 to 90 seconds between exercises
  • Each workout should take less than 40 minutes
Workout A (Back, biceps, core)
Exercise Sets x Reps
Barbell sumo deadlift 2 x 12–14
Medium-grip lat pull-down 2 x 12–14
Cable twisting one-arm row (YouTube link) 2 x 12–14
Dumbbell curl 2 x 12–14
Barbell reverse curl 2 x 12–14
Lying side hip raise 2 x 25–30
Bicycle crunch 2 x 25–30
Seated leg raise (YouTube link) 2 x 25–30
Workout B (Chest, shoulders, triceps, core)
Exercise Sets x Reps
Barbell bench press 2 x 12–14
Inline reverse-grip dumbbell bench press (YouTube link) 2 x 12–14
Dumbbell one-arm overhead press 2 x 12–14
Dumbbell bent-over lateral raise 2 x 12–14
Cable face pull 2 x 12–14
Diamond push-up (on knees if necessary) (YouTube link) 2 x 12–14
Decline dumbbell French press (YouTube link) 2 x 12–14
Captain’s chair leg and hip raise (or hanging variation) 2 x 12–14
Workout C (Legs and core)
Exercise Sets x Reps
Barbell sumo squat (YouTube link) 2 x 12–14
Dumbbell side lunge (YouTube link) 2 x 12–14
Weighted one-leg hip thrust (YouTube link) 2 x 12–14
Seated or lying leg curl 2 x 12–14
Machine standing calf raise 2 x 20–25
Machine seated calf raise 2 x 20–25
Wheel rollout 2 x 10–15
Cable wood chop (YouTube link) 2 x 12–14

Medical disclaimer

Just to be safe, please consult your doctor before starting the beginner weight training program. WeightTraining.guide will not be liable for any incidental, consequential, or other damages arising from the application of the information presented on this website.


7 Comments

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  • Hi,

    I want to start follow the workout plan as mentioned above, but I don’t really get on the schedule for the workout plan. For example, on microcycle 1 plan there are 10 types of exercises. Should we do all those training every single day for 3 weeks? Or are there any recommended daily plan for that?

    Thanks

    • Hi, Bony!

      For Microcycle 1, you must train 3 days a week. For example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (AXAXAXX).

      Each time you train, you must complete all 10 exercises very quickly, rest for 2 to 3 minutes, and then complete all 10 exercises very quickly again.

      Don’t worry, the workouts will only take 30 to 40 minutes because you will be doing the exercises very quickly, with hardly any rest between them (just 20 to 30 seconds).

      Good luck!

  • Lovin this program! Love the way its set out. Lots of thought has obviously gone into it. Feels good too!

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