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Men’s Beginner



Description

The 12-week Men’s 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 Men’s 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 of men’s weight training programs before you start this program.

Suitability

  • Beginners
  • Lifters with less than 3 months of consistent weight training experience
  • Experienced lifters who haven’t trained for more than 3 months

General instructions

  • Always use an amount of weight that makes completing the reps challenging
  • Whenever you have to increase the weight, add a maximum of 5 lb (or 2.5 kg) to upper-body exercises or 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. Also, try to develop a mental connection with your muscles and the movement patterns
  • If training at home in the absence of cable machines and other specialized equipment, see below the exercise tables for exercise alternatives
  • Don’t forget to warm up before, and stretch after, each workout
  • Once you have completed the Men’s Beginner 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 (i.e. AXAXAXX, where ‘A’ is a workout day and ‘X’ is a 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 30 minutes
ExerciseReps
Dumbbell squat*15–18
Wide-grip lat pull-down15–18
Seated or lying leg curl15–18
Dumbbell bench press15–18
Machine standing calf raise25–30
Seated cable row15–18
Bicycle crunch15–20
Seated dumbbell overhead press15–18
Dumbbell curl15–18
Dumbbell kickback15–18
*Bodyweight squat for first week

Alternatives for the cable/machine exercises

Microcycle 2: Full-body circuit (3 weeks)

  • For microcycle 2, you will perform another full-body circuit
  • Complete either 3 workouts a week (i.e. 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 35 minutes
ExerciseReps
Barbell squat13–15
Close neutral-grip lat pull-down13–15
Dumbbell Romanian deadlift (YT)13–15
Push-up (on knees if necessary)13–15
Dumbbell lunge13–15
Bent-over dumbbell row13–15
Seated or lying leg curl13–15
Dumbbell one-arm shoulder press13–15
Standing dumbbell one-leg calf raise25–30
Bicycle crunch20–25
EZ bar curl13–15

Alternatives for the cable/machine exercises

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 (Workout A) and all of your lower body in another workout (Workout B). 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
  • The recommended workout schedules are 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)
ExerciseSets x Reps
One-arm lat pull-down2 x 13–15
Seated cable row2 x 13–15
Barbell bench press2 x 13–15
Barbell shoulder press2 x 13–15
Cable face pull2 x 13–15
Triceps rope push-down2 x 13–15
Dumbbell concentration curl2 x 13–15
Cable twist2 x 13–15
Front plank2 x 45–60 s
s = seconds
Workout B (Lower body)
ExerciseSets x Reps
Barbell front squat2 x 13–15
Dumbbell rear lunge2 x 13–15
Barbell Romanian deadlift2 x 13–15
Seated or lying leg curl2 x 13–15
Standing dumbbell one-leg calf raise2 x 20–25
Machine seated calf raise2 x 20–25
Lying side hip raise2 x 20–25
Bicycle crunch2 x 20–25
Lying leg and hip raise2 x 15–20

Alternatives for the cable/machine exercises

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
  • The recommended workout schedules are ABCXABX (and 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 35 minutes
Workout A (Back, biceps, core)
ExerciseSets x Reps
Barbell sumo deadlift2 x 12–14
Medium-grip lat pull-down2 x 12–14
Seated twisting cable row2 x 12–14
Dumbbell curl2 x 12–14
Barbell reverse curl2 x 12–14
Lying side hip raise2 x 25–30
Bicycle crunch2 x 25–30
Seated leg raise2 x 25–30
Workout B (Chest, shoulders, triceps, core)
ExerciseSets x Reps
Barbell bench press2 x 12–14
Incline reverse-grip dumbbell bench press2 x 12–14
Dumbbell one-arm shoulder press2 x 12–14
Reverse dumbbell fly2 x 12–14
Cable face pull2 x 12–14
Diamond push-up (on knees if necessary)2 x 12–14
Decline dumbbell triceps extension2 x 12–14
Captain’s chair leg and hip raise2 x 12–14
Workout C (Legs and core)
ExerciseSets x Reps
Barbell sumo squat2 x 12–14
Dumbbell side lunge (YT)2 x 12–14
Weighted one-leg hip thrust2 x 12–14
Seated or lying leg curl2 x 12–14
Machine standing calf raise2 x 20–25
Machine seated calf raise2 x 20–25
Wheel rollout2 x 10–15
Cable wood chop2 x 12–14

Alternatives for cable/machine exercises



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