Beginner’s workout plan

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pull up workout

I want to start working out, what should I do?

As a trainer, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard this phrase.  It’s great to hear because when people exercise… they’ll feel better, look better and they’ll truly enjoy their life so much more.

However,  most people never follow through with their new ambition because there’s so much workout information available that its hard to figure out where to start.  Pick up any fitness magazine and try to find a beginner workout, and you’re sure to be more confused than before you started.

Should I do cardio, should I do weight training, should I train like a bodybuilder, should I workout 3 days per week, should I go nuts and go 5 days per week?  There’s a lot of variables in a workout, so we’re gonna keep it simple for you and start you off on the right plan today!

Get This Workout And More Like It HERE
What’s the best way to start seeing results?

  • To get the best results in a 4 week program, we’re going to focus on weight training in the 8-12 rep range and also on a basic, easy to follow diet.  Since most people on a new plan get overwhelmed and quit because of too much to do, we won’t introduce the diet plan until the 2nd week of the workout so that you’re comfortable in your new workout plan.

Who’s this workout for?

  • If you have never worked out before but want to get in shape, lose that stubborn body fat and change your life forever.
  • If you were previously in shape, but have since fallen off the wagon and want to get back to your old self.
  • If you have a busy life and don’t want to spend 2 hrs. in a gym everyday
  • If you aren’t seeing results with your current workouts

What will this workout do for me?

If you’re a guy, this workout will…

  • Burn lots of fat
  • Build muscle in all of your large muscle group areas ( chest, arms, core, thighs, back, butt, calves)
  • Boost your metabolism
  • Set an excellent foundation for any type of workout program to follow

If you’re a woman, this workout will…

  • Burn body fat through your whole body
  • Increase your metabolism
  • Give you a tight, toned look in your arms, stomach, thighs and butt.

What you’ll find in this article

  • Part 1 : A 3 day per week workout which shows you step by step what you need to do at the gym
  • Part 2:  What to do after you’ve completed the beginner’s workout plan
  • Part 3:  A very simple and easy to use meal plan to incorporate once you’re comfortable in your workout routine (this will help you lose more fat and look better)

 

Get This Workout And More Like It HERE
Ok let’s get started…..

The Beginner’s Gym Workout Plan

If you haven’t worked out in a long time, or you’re just starting for the first time, your main goal for the first few weeks will be to learn the correct form for each exercise and to build a base of strength and stability.  This will set a good foundation for your workout program.

For the first four weeks, we’ll be doing a warmup and two exercises each day.  For many people who are used to doing a lot of isolation exercises (i.e. bicep curls, calf raises), you might think that two exercises is barely a workout.  But the difference here is that we’re doing compound exercises that work the largest muscle groups, which means more definition in your muscles and a higher amount of fat is burned.

Monday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, doing jumping jacks,  using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Squats -  1 set of 12 repetitions with no barbell and then 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the barbell (no added weights
  • Shoulder Press -  3 sets of 12 reps with the barbell

Notes: Rest 60-90 seconds between each set

Wednesday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Deadlift – 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the barbell. (see note #2 below)
  • Chin ups/pull ups – 3 sets of 8 reps  (see note #3 below if you cant do a chinup yet)

Note: Take a 60-90 second rest between each set

Note 2:  To perform the deadlift with just a barbell, you’ll need to put the bar on something about 6-8 inches high to simulate the height the bar would be if there were weight plates on it.  My suggestions would be putting the hooks on the squat bar really low, stacking weights up, using step ups or stools, use fake plastic plates or use plyo boxes.  The goal is to simulate the height that the bar would be with real plates on it.

Note 3: If you can’t complete 8 chinups (most newbies can’t) there are a few ways to get assistance.  Use an assisted chinup machine at the gym which will provide assistance for you and help push you up.  Make sure the asssistance you use makes it hard to finish 8 reps (dont use it as a trampoline!)  You can also use stretch bands by hanging them over the top of a squat rack and hooking them under your feet.  Your last option is to have a partner hold your feet and help push you up and down.

Friday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Squats -  1 set of 12 repetitions with no barbell and then 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the barbell (no added weights
  • Bench Press – 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the barbell (no weight added).  If the barbell is too heavy then use dumbbells that allow you to do 12 reps.

Notes: Rest 60-90 seconds between each set

———————————————————————————–

Week 2 workout

Monday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, doing jumping jacks, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Deadlift – 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the barbell.
  • Chin ups/pull ups – 3 sets of 8 reps

Note: Take a 60-90 second rest between each set

Wednesday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Squats -  1 set of 12 repetitions with no barbell and then 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the barbell (no added weights
  • Bench Press – 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the barbell (no weight added).  If the barbell is too heavy then use dumbbells that allow you to do 12 reps.

Note: Rest 60-90 seconds between each set

Friday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Deadlift – 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the barbell.
  • Shoulder Press -  3 sets of 12 reps with the barbell

Notes:  Rest 60-90 seconds between each set

———————————————————————————–

Week 3 workout

Note: Add in our simple diet plan during week 3

By now you should have a good grasp of all of the basic exercises we’re going to be working with.  If you still can’t complete the workouts listed above with the barbell as weight that’s perfectly fine.  Just continue the two week workout above for another two weeks before moving on to the Week 3 workout.

For week 3, we’re gonna add two new elements to your workout…

  • a simple diet plan
  • weight to the barbell (unless you feel you’re not ready)

If you’ve made it through the two workouts above and feel like you can add weight to the bar, then we’ll add weight in this workout.

To add weight to the bar, you’ll want to add a weight that makes it hard to do 12 reps.  Notice I said 12 reps, not 13 or 14!  If you’re putting up more than 12 reps, it’s not enough weight.  Your last few reps should be very tough to eek out.  Also make sure you are completing all 12 reps with GOOD form.  If you have to do half assed shoulder presses to get 12 done, then the weight is too much.  Proper form is much more important than lifting more weight.

This is really a trial and error process with picking a weight, but a good place to start would be to add about 15 lbs to each end of the bar (30 lbs total) and then move up or down from there to find your correct weight for 12 reps.

Monday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Squats – 1 set of 12 reps with just the barbell, and then 3 sets of 12 reps with the added weight
  • Shoulder Press – 1 set of 12 reps with just the barbell, and then 3 sets of 12 reps with the added weight

Notes: Rest 60-90 seconds between each set

Wednesday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Deadlift – 1 set of 12 reps with just the barbell, and then 3 sets of 12 reps with the added weight
  • Chin ups/pull ups – 3 sets of 8 reps

Note: Take a 60-90 second rest between each set

Friday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Squats – 1 set of 12 reps with just the barbell, and then 3 sets of 12 reps with the weight added
  • Bench Press – 1 set of 12 reps with just the barbell, and then 3 sets of 12 reps with the weight added

———————————————————————————–

Week 4 Workout

Ok its week 4 now, and we’re almost finished with the 4 week beginner program.  Time to finish strong.  If you look back at your notes from last week, you should check to see if you need to add/lose some of the weight on the bar.

If you were falling short of the 12 reps, you’ll need to lose some of the weight plates, and if you were pumping out 12 reps rather easily you’ll need to add some more weight to the bar.

Monday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, doing jumping jacks, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Deadlift – 1 set of 12 reps with just the bar, and then 3 sets of 12 repetitions with weight added.
  • Chin ups/pull ups – 3 sets of 8 reps

Note: Take a 60-90 second rest between each set

Wednesday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Squats -  1 set of 12 repetitions with the barbell and then 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the weights added
  • Bench Press – 1 set of 12 reps with just the barbell, and then 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the weight added.  If the barbell is too heavy then use dumbbells that allow you to do 12 reps.

Note: Rest 60-90 seconds between each set

Friday

  • Warm up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
  • Deadlift – 1 set of 12 reps with just the barbell, and then 3 sets of 12 repetitions with the weight added
  • Shoulder Press -  1 set of 12 reps with the barbell and then 3 sets of 12 reps with the weight added.

Notes:  Rest 60-90 seconds between each set

———————————————————————————–

What to do after you’re done with week 4…

Get This Workout And More Like It HERE

After you’ve completed the 4 week beginner’s workout program, we’re going to up the intensity and work on building more strength and muscle.  We built you up a good base with the beginner’s program, but now it’s time to build as much strength as possible.

In the beginning stages of working out (1-9 months)  you’re going to see the biggest gains in strength.  Adding 10-20 lbs on the bar every squat session is not uncommon.  You’ll also see noticeable results in how you feel and the way your body looks.  Your muscles will show more, and the fat is going to start melting off your body.

So after you’re done with the beginner’s program, get started immediately on the strength training program or if you’re a guy and you’re looking to put on some muscle mass, you should check out the muscle building workout. You’ll see some GREAT results!

-Terry Asher

Gym Junkies

I’m Terry I’m here to help you achieve the body you want. I truly believe anyone can achieve the figure they want, with the proper guidance. Through my eBook I have been able to help thousands of people online lose weight, tone up and get in shape. My goals are to continue to help people all around the world and change people’s life for the better.

42 Comments

  • avatar

    Thanks a lot for this very useful post

  • avatar

    Thanks for this post. I’m working on this plan right now. Would you recommend doing various other lifting or training with energy remaining after doing these workouts?

  • avatar

    Hi Vic Magary!
    hope that u will be safe and sound
    thanks that u send a n outstanding exercises shedule…
    Take care

  • avatar

    Vic, I just found this site and love it. I have a question…I’m a 60 yr old female and I have real trouble doing chin ups/pull ups…can you replace that with something else? Thank you for your help and knowledge.

    • avatar

      @ Cris: There are lots of options for when you are still building pull up strength. Partner assisted pull ups, negative pull ups, body rows, and band assisted pull ups can all be useful. I get this question often, especially from female readers. . . perhaps I’ll do a post about it. Thanks for your comment!

    • avatar

      Yes this will be very helpful. My grandmother too had the same problem and I have been helping her in doing head exercises before and now she is brave enough to do them on her own.

  • avatar

    Hi Vic,Yes please do a post on alternatives to pull ups – I would really appreciate it – as a female beginner – being able to do pull ups is one of my ultimate goals – so that I can pull myself onto a boat without help!

  • avatar

    Vic,

    I just found this site and I must say I am impressed. I was looking for a beginning workout, smething light to get me back in shape. Your workout plan is what I was needed. I will keep you informed on how my progress goes.

    Thanks for the info. and for your knowledge!!!
    Dennis

  • avatar

    Hi Vic. Greetings from Greece. Your workout is very good for a rookie but i have one important problem. I exercise at home and i dont have the equipment for pull ups (or body rows). Please help me to replace pull ups with an other compound exercise. Thank you for your help!

    • avatar

      The bent over row will be your best bet. It’s not my favorite exercise, but given your situation it will be your best pulling motion.

  • avatar

    You mention lifting with the barbell and no added weight. Are you talking about an olympic barbell or a standard? The one I have is a standard and weighs about 12 lbs. Seems pretty light to start with!
    Thanks for your advice.

    • avatar

      Olympic barbell… It should be 45 lbs…

      Good question Laura!

      - Vic

  • avatar

    Hi Vic,

    Like many others who have commented, I stumbled upon your site and love it. Great job! I’ve recently started dieting and working out for weight loss, but only using isolated movements (arm and leg ext, curls, lateral raises). I want to make the switch to the full-body methods you advocate. How do you feel about using the Smith Machine for the movements where the bar is overhead (shoulder press, squat), and even for the bench press? I haven’t seen you mention it anywhere, but I imagine it may take away from gains in balance? What about for the beginner trying to learn good form? Thanks!!

  • avatar

    Was curious to know whether the above workout set (M,W,F) could be altered to where instead of having the weekend off, you just take one day off and continue moving along?

    Also, on the days that these techniques are done, can a cardio workout (about 20 min. or so) still be added?

  • avatar

    Love the site and the no B.S. approach! Question: I have a bum knee (flat, pronated feet) that prevents me from doing loads of squats, jumping, sprints etc. that I KNOW builds tons of muscle and burns fat. Now, at 32, 5’10, 170#, 37% BF, mother of 3(nursing too), I want to get lean and hard. But how? I’ve been doing slow jogging for 30-40 minutes but don’t really have the time.

    I’m starting Burpees as they don’t seem to irritate my knee too much.What other low (or relatively low) impact cardio can I do at home for max results?

    My dream is to get to at LEAST 20% BF.Changed my diet to ~1600calories, 1 cheat meal a week, no “white” products, limited simple carbs, etc. Doing good in that department.

    THANKS AND KEEP UP THE SITE

    • avatar

      Sounds like you have a good start with the diet and braving the burpees. If getting lean is your goal, ditch the long slow 40 minute jogs. Sure it’s better than sitting on the couch, but it is not the best choice.

      To get lean, you have to accelerate the heart rate to a level that is what I refer to as “uncomfortable”. Burpees are a great choice as are any movements where you have to jump. But if jumping irritates your knees, my go-to substitute is kettlebell swings. Another option I’ve used with clients is boxing drills; just shadow box as best you can – as long as you are not making impact with a bag or focus mitts, it will be ok if your technique is not perfect. The important thing is to move!

  • avatar

    I have had two operations for collapsed discs in the lower back and although my doctor is happy for me to exercise, even with weights, there are some exercises he does not recommend and the “deadlift” falls into that category. What alternative could I use that places no strain (or danger of strain) on the lower back?

    • avatar

      First, ask your doctor. If your current doc is not too sharp on his exercise lingo, see a sports medicine specialist.

      That being said, I too have lower back issues that become aggravated with the deadlift. I’ve found that using versions of the deadlift that force you too use much lower weight treat my back fine. But that’s MY back we’re talking about and your issues are likely different. With that disclaimer (I was a lawyer), I have had success using the suitcase deadlift and the single leg deadlift. Another alternate I use is heavy double kettlebell swings.

      Train hard but train safe. Good luck!

  • avatar

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  • avatar

    [...] routine, try to add some strength training into your life. Whether you have access to a gym or not, GymJunkies.com is a fantastic resource for strength training from beginners to experts. Other options of [...]

  • avatar

    I just bumped into this website— And As other have said it before, I absolutely LOVE IT!!!!! Thank You bunches—

    I will be 30 this March, 160 pds 5’9. And would like to shed off 20 pounds as my and gain strength as my Bday gift. I do work out daily but results are very slow if not stagnant. I used to be an athlete, when I was younger, did swimming competetions for seven yrs. When I stopped, I gained so much weight. { Familiar story–} I am astrong believer of strenght training and have been searching for a perfect routine. May I say- I love this one already—

    One Question, Am I considered a beginner even if I am a regular gym attendant, and does pilates twice a week? I lift weights yes- but not religiousely— So I am not sure…. Pleas ekindly advice

    • avatar

      Going back to the basics of the beginner program is never a bad thing. Give it two weeks and see how you feel. If it is too easy, you can always move on to the strength building program at the link below:

      http://www.gymjunkies.com/strength-training/

      Train hard!

  • avatar

    Thanks for your response. i think I spoke too fast. These exercises are killer. I under-estimated the intensity of this workout. I think beginners is Just fine.

    This is official week 1. Even though i tired other exercises last week.. I cannot believe how weak I am. No problem, I am up for the challenge. NO BS. No feeling sorry for myself. I am TRAINING HARD! It hurts so bad , but if i can recover after 48 hours, thats fine.

    Thanks!

  • avatar

    I see that all of these deal with having to use weights and different equipment. Are there simple stuff around the house or just stuff in general I could use instead as I am under a tight budget as well. therefore I don’t have the income to buy some of the equipment.

  • avatar

    Great Post! Just discovered your site… really great info here.

    This post is dead-on about how to set up a training plan for newbies. And you’ve made it detailed enough to answer newbie questions without making it too wordy to be confusing.

    And I’m glad you stuck with basic, compound lifts. In my experience, that’s what results in the greatest gains.

    Definitely worth bookmarking and pointing out to others on my site.

    Good job!

  • avatar

    Same here! I just happened to come across this website and I completely love it. Now, Im a beginner and I want to start off right and not use the machines at the gym so Im trying to learn all I can about using free weights. Im 5’8 135lbs, I unlike many woman want to gain weight or better said gain some muscle, I dont really want to be too lean (prefer thicker legs and a butt please). Should I eat more, like a bodybuilder? Why isnt there more mass building info for woman that dont want to look like Ms. Olympia but rather like a very fit brazilian carnival dancer(I dont know, just love thier bodies)

  • avatar

    Hi Vic I just found this website and it’s amazing I started to do this plan and I hope will help me I’m very skinny but I trying to eat much as I can, everyday I Drinking 1/2 gallon milk… This website is really helpful and a lot of great workouts!
    Thanks! Joey

  • avatar

    Hello Vic.
    I’m 40 years 180lbs/5’11” and about 6 months ago I started going to the gym. I’m mainly using the machines to working out but I’ve seen not much of improvements, hopefully I found your site and it looks very helpful and full of valuable information, I’m planning to start with your system for beginner and later jump to the strength training because I’m not interested in becoming a bodybuilder or anything but I would like to burn fat,gain strength and some muscle. Do you think that a person at my age can achieve good results? Thanks.

  • avatar

    I love the information and how straight up you are. Im 15 years old, 5’4, 130 lbs and going into my sophomore year in September. I’m planning to do the beginner , strength training, and muscle building workouts. I want to be stronger so i can have a physical advantage while playing soccer. Is it smart to do these workouts, how fast do you see results in all the workouts, and in what order do you think is best i do the workouts?

    Thanks for the advice
    Eaton

  • avatar

    Hi, like you website and workouts. I’m doing the strength workout, 5 reps per set, 5 sets. I read your comments regards the use of maximum weight for 5 reps. Should I use the same weight for all the sets that will allow me to complete 5 reps for all 5 sets? Or should I max out the weight for each set, lowering the weight for each set for I can complete 5 reps? Thanks

  • avatar

    thanks i am frm india
    and found ur workout plan to be grt
    however i did not understand as why you left tuesdays,thursdays and saturdays from the schedule
    regards

  • avatar

    Hello Vic,

    Wonderful website,I have been following this for two weeks now. I am basically doing this for muscle building. I am a 20 year old guy, 5′ 8″ and 135 lbs. I have one question for you. While doing the work out following these schedules. During the days that are assigned for rest(T,TH,SA,SU) Can I go out and run and work on my abs( sit ups, leg lifts ?). Also the beginning warm up, can that be extended longer? to about 15-20 minutes?

    Thank you.

  • avatar

    hi i am Rav, i am from Australia.

    i hv came across to your website a week ago. i was going to the gym regularly about 5 yrs ago. I have recently started working-out again. I am following your guide and wish to develope a good physics within 6 months. i strictly follow my diet and workout schedule. I really want to develop good body with big thighs, and shoulder/arms.

    Will you plz guide me in diet section. I am a vegetarian but I do eat fish. I know diet is the most important thing in making good body. My body responds really well with respect to workout. Just need proper diet so I don’t get those ugly stretch-marks.

    One more question… will it be good idea to workout in gym everyday with-out day off?

    I am 6 foot tall, 82KG weight, i have Athletic body(im not fat).

    Thanks….keep doing good work Vic.

  • avatar

    Hi There,

    I love the website. I was just wondering if these workouts where going to be working your abs?
    I want what most girls do to be toned. I would love to get a six pack but a girl one and be toned and slightly have deifintion all over.

    Will this let me acheieve this.

    Thank you

  • avatar

    thanks. no more excuses =]

  • avatar

    Thanks for information. need to start work out

  • avatar

    excited to start building my body beacause of your info..
    just want to ask a favor..can you please email me the diet..tnx

  • avatar

    very useful information…….great job.thank you

  • avatar

    i look forward to this

  • avatar

    Great for me as beginner

  • avatar

    What do you do on the days in between the posted workouts? Rest? Cardio?

    Thanks
    Liz

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