Before you can get into the specifics of putting your workout routine together, you need to figure out what your weight training experience level is.
Meaning, would your level of weight training experience be considered:
The reason this needs to be known beforehand is because there are many differences between the 3 experience levels in terms of what you are capable of doing AND what will work best for you.
What I’m saying is…
- Beginners need to use a beginner workout routine in order to get their best results.
- Intermediates need to use an intermediate workout routine in order to get their best results.
- Advanced trainees need to use an advanced workout routine in order to get their best results.
So, I guess the next logical question is, what the hell are you? A beginner, intermediate or advanced trainee? Let’s find out…
Beginners (aka newbies, newbs, noobs, etc.) are people who are either completely new or at least somewhat new to consistent intelligent weight training.
Exactly what that means will vary slightly depending on who you ask, but in my opinion, I’d consider a beginner to be anyone who has been weight training for LESS than 6 months.
And again, that is 6 consistent months of intelligent weight training.
Meaning, I don’t care if you’ve been weight training in some pointlessly inconsistent on-and-off format for the last 20 years. I also don’t care if you HAVE been weight training consistently for a long time but you’ve been doing it in some incorrect and/or absolutely horrible way that caused your results to be nearly or completely nonexistent.
If you haven’t been following some kind of intelligently designed weight training workout routine (that actually produced some amount of positive results) for at least the last 6 months consistently, you are most likely a beginner, at least for a short amount of time.
The same goes for anyone who actually did weight train consistently and intelligently at some point in their lives, but have since stopped for a significant period of time. In most cases, you are considered a beginner all over again.
Intermediates are the next level up from beginners. If you HAVE been weight training consistently and intelligently for the last 6 months or more, then you most likely qualify as (at least) an intermediate trainee.
At this point, intermediates would have at the very least already used some type of beginner program that allowed them to build up at least some base level of strength and muscle, improved your work capacity and volume tolerance to some degree, and learned (and damn near mastered) perfect form on every exercise you’ve done thus far.
This is the category the majority of the population falls into.
Advanced trainees are the next level up from intermediates, and would be considered the highest weight training experience level there is.
While beginners and intermediates were classified by a combination of how long they’ve been weight training and what type of results they’ve gotten, I classify advanced trainees solely by the results they’ve gotten.
What I mean is, I’d consider an advanced trainee anyone who has already gotten the majority of the results they wanted to get and are extremely close to reaching their natural genetic potential.
For some people that can take 3 years, or 5 years, or 8 years, or 10 years. There is really no duration of time that matters here. Whenever your body has improved almost as much as it can possibly improve, you are considered advanced.
This is the category the least number of people fall into.
I know this is the category everyone likes to think they are in (which is why many people stupidly go straight to the “advanced workout routines”), but in all honesty, if you’re reading this, I’d say there is a 95% chance that you are NOT advanced.
Beginner vs Intermediate vs Advanced vs Dumbass
Now comes the point where I’m going to beg you to please be realistic about what your weight training experience level is.
Like I mentioned a second ago, everyone likes to think they are more advanced than they truly are. That’s just a recipe for disaster 100% of the time.
Why? Because advanced programs only work well for people who truly are advanced. You wouldn’t see an advanced person using a beginner program (for the same reason: beginner programs only work best for beginners), so you shouldn’t see it the other way around either.
The truth is, workout routines are designed for specific experience levels for a reason. They take into account everything that does and does not work at that point so that you end up doing everything in the way that is going to work best for you at that exact point in your training experience.
So, if you want results that are worse than they should be for you or just pure crap altogether, feel free to be a dumbass and use a workout routine that you aren’t ready to use yet.
But if you want the best results possible, use a workout routine that is tailor made for your exact training experience level.
With all of that out of the way, you’re finally ready to begin putting your workout routine together. The next step? Finding your ideal exercise frequency…
Exercise Frequency – How often should you workout per week?
(This article is part of a completely free guide to creating the best workout routine possible for your exact goal. It starts here: The Ultimate Weight Training Workout Routine)