If you’re reading this, then you are probably fairly new to weight training and looking for the best workouts and routines for beginners like yourself.
Good, that’s exactly what you should be doing, and I’m going to provide you with a few proven sample beginner workouts at the end of this post.
However, before we get into the actual specifics of those routines, there are a few important things that you need to know about beginner workouts and beginners in general in order for your results to be as positive as possible.
How To Tell If You’re A Beginner
First, before you start looking for the best beginner workouts and routines, you need to make sure that you actually are a beginner.
If you are, then a weight training plan that is geared towards beginners is definitely what will work best for you and it’s definitely what you should be using (as opposed to something more advanced, which would be terrible for you at this early training stage).
But if it turns out that you’re not a beginner, then you’d be way better off using a program that is geared toward intermediate or advanced trainees.
So, I guess the first question we need to answer is: What the hell is a beginner?
As I’ve previously mentioned (Beginners vs Intermediates vs Advanced), I and most others consider a beginner to be anyone who has been weight training for LESS than 6 months consistently and intelligently.
And obviously, anyone about to start a weight training routine for the very first time is a beginner as well.
Once again, that’s 6 months of consistent and intelligent training. I don’t care if you’ve been training inconsistently for the last decade (or just in an incorrect way where your results were nonexistent).
If you haven’t been following some sort of intelligently designed weight training routine for the last 6 months, then you are most likely a beginner, at least for a short amount of time.
This also includes people who DID train consistently/intelligently at some point in their life, but stopped for a significant period of time. In most cases, you are considered a beginner all over again.
Now that we know what qualifies a person as a beginner, it’s time to go over the proven guidelines that should be met by all workouts and routines designed for beginners.
The General Guidelines Of A Beginner Workout Routine
One thing you’ll notice about most beginner workout routines is that they will almost always have a lot in common.
Why? Because there is a very specific list of weight training guidelines that have been proven to work best for beginners. And, any intelligent beginner program aims to meet them all.
These guidelines are:
- Higher frequency (usually 3 times per week).
- Full body split.
- Low volume.
- Primarily comprised of basic compound exercises and very little (or nothing) else.
- Very little exercise variety.
- No advanced methods or techniques.
- A huge focus on consistent progression.
And the reason for these very specific guidelines is because all beginner workouts are typically aimed at reaching the same equally specific goals. Here’s what I mean…
The General Goals Of A Beginner Workout Routine
Whether you realize it or not, all beginners essentially have the exact same goals.
Sure, someone might be more interested in losing a significant amount of fat, and someone else might be more interested in gaining a significant amount of muscle. Someone else might just want to get stronger, and someone else might just want to be more fit and healthy.
Those goals are all fine and good, and any intelligently designed beginner program WILL make each of them happen. But, they are NOT the true goals of a beginner.
See, the true goals of a beginner generally involve becoming better at weight training so you can then become better at reaching your other weight training related goals (muscle, tone, strength, fat loss, etc.).
What I mean is, all intelligently designed beginner workout routines are created with these specific goals in mind:
- Fastest improvement of motor learning, coordination, and proper form.
- Fastest improvement of work capacity, volume tolerance and recovery.
- Fastest improvement in building up a base level of strength, muscle and endurance.
At the beginner stage, these are the goals that are truly important. In fact, it’s reaching these goals as a beginner that makes those other goals (increased muscle, strength, tone, fat loss, improved health/fitness level) begin to happen rapidly pretty much as a side effect.
Remember that list of guidelines I mentioned before? Well, they are guidelines because they allow these goals to be reached at their fastest and most consistent rate.
The Best Beginner Workout Routines
Now that you know how to tell if you are indeed a beginner, what guidelines a beginner workout routine should typically meet and what the purpose of those guidelines are, it’s time to recommend some routines that take all of the above into account.
So, in no specific order, here are the workout routines that I most often recommend to beginners:
My Beginner Workout Routine
Here are 2 slightly different versions of my own ideal weight training program for beginners with ANY goal (especially people with “looks” related goals). Above all else, this has become my preferred beginner program:
The Starting Strength Program
Quite possibly the most often recommended beginner routine of them all (especially for people looking to get as strong as possible as fast as possible), you really can’t go wrong with Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program or any of its variations.
While I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book (Starting Strength (3rd edition)), you can find everything you need to know about the Starting Strength program online for free. Start here:
Practical Programming Novice Program
Here’s another of Mark Rippetoe’s proven beginner workout routines. This version is slightly different than the original Starting Strength program mentioned above, and I personally think the exercise selection is a bit more ideal for more beginners than Starting Strength is.
It’s once again part of a book that I highly recommend getting (Practical Programming for Strength Training), but you can once again find virtually everything you need to know about the program online for free. Start here:
Well, first you learned how to create the most effective workout routine possible, and then you learned how to create the ideal diet plan to support it.
You’ve now just been given some recommendations for what I (and most others) consider to be the most highly proven/effective routines for beginners which you can either learn from or, better yet, just use as is.
At this point, there’s nothing left to do but bring this guide to its conclusion and pass long some final important information…
(This article is part of a completely free and awesome guide to creating the absolute best workout routine possible for your exact goal. Check it out: The Ultimate Weight Training Workout Routine)