Weight Lifting Routine For Beginners

beginner weight lifting routine


Welcome to Building Muscle 101's beginner weight training routine.

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The following weight training plan uses a one on, one off schedule. The program is a low intensity workout designed to focus your attention on developing proper form and balance.

The main goal is to adjust your body in order to get ready for higher levels of intensity. It's important that you understand that form is everything in weight training. Poor form ultimately leads to injuries.

Before you start building muscle, you will need to correct your form and balance. Don't get discouraged because this is something all weight trainers must do. I wish there was someone there who could have given me this advice when I first started out. It would have saved me alot of time and injuries.

Believe me, you need to establish correct form and balance before you start adding weight. If you start with bad form, you carry that form forward. When you start using heavy poundages, bad form will ultimately lead to injuries and bad joints.

Do not jerk or bounce the weight around. Don't be afraid to ask for help while you are in the gym. If you having trouble with certain exercises, ask the gym employees for help. They are usually very helpful and will answer any questions you may have.

Remember to drink at least two 8 ounce glasses of water before starting your weight lifting routine and drink two to four glasses while working out.

I suggest you follow the beginners routine for 3 to 6 weeks before moving on. Remember, you want to establish correct form as opposed to moving heavy weight. Be patient, you will eventually start to pile on the plates but for now, think form.

I strongly suggest you use a training log to record all aspects of your weight lifting. This will be very important in determining the success of your weight lifting routine. Click here for a sample training log.

Here is the training sequence:

Day 1 - Monday Total Body Workout
Day 2 - Tuesday
Day 3 - Wednesday
Total Body Workout
Day 4 - Thursday
Day 5 - Friday Total Body Workout
Day 6 - Saturday Rest
Day 7 - Sunday Rest

Let's take a look at the workout:

Workout Points

Duration: 3 to 6 weeks
To establish correct form and balance

Low intensity

To improve overall strength and muscle tone

Weight Increments: For the first couple of weeks, try using very light weight. Try using 5 pound dumbbells and assess your performance. If you can perform the prescribed repetitions with relative ease, try increasing the weight by 2 1/2 pounds for your next workout for that same exercise.

Rest: Rest refers to the amount of rest time between sets. Once an exercise is complete, rest for 40 seconds (time it takes to go to the water fountain) before proceeding to the next exercise. Proceed once you are fully rested.

Water: Ensure you drink at least 2 cups of water before your workout and 3 during and another 2 afterwards in order to keep the muscles hydrated and working at optimal levels.

Cardio: I suggest performing a 5 - 10 minute warm up prior to the workout. Also perform 15 minutes of cardio after each session.

The Workout

Total Body Workout: Monday - Wednesday - Friday
Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Leg extensions 1 15 - 20
40 seconds in between each set - Stretch in between each set
Leg presses 1 15 - 20
40 seconds
Leg curl 1 15 - 20
40 seconds
Lat machine pull downs 1 15 - 20
40 seconds
Flat bench dumbbell press 1 15 - 20
40 seconds
Dumbbell press 1 15 - 20
40 seconds
Standing barbell curls 1 15 - 20
40 seconds
Lying triceps extensions 1 15 - 20
40 seconds
Standing calf raise 1 15 - 20
40 seconds
sit ups or crunches 1 15 - 20 40 seconds
Cardio 10 to 15 minutes light cardiovascular exercise such as: walking (treadmill or street), bike (stationary), elliptical trainer, or other cardiovascular exercise.
Notes: Warm up : 5 - 10 minutes light cardio (walking, treadmill, bike etc.)

Rest 40 seconds in between each exercise. Proceed to the next exercise only when you are fully rested.

Day 2 , 4 , 6 and 7 - Rest
During day two, four, six, and seven, you're not going to be doing any weight training. It's during this time that you need to allow your body to rest and recover in order for it to get stronger. If you want to do something physical during this time, I recommend doing some light cardiovascular activities such as walking.

Repeat Cycle on Monday

I suggest you follow the beginner routine for 3 to 6 weeks.

If, after 3 to 6 weeks, you want to add more sets to your program, please feel free to do so. I suggest you do one to two more sets per exercise depending on your level of conditioning.

I suggest adding on an extra set after 3 to 6 weeks of using this routine to each of your exercises. That is, instead of doing 1 set of 15 to 20 for leg curls, you'll be doing 2 sets of 15 to 20.

If you want, you can keep up with this program for as long as you want. If you want more of a challenge, you can go on to the intermediate workouts (here).

Remember, if you are still sore on workout days, take it off and do the workout the next day. The above beginner weight lifting routine is an example and can be adjusted for your needs.

This beginner weight training routine is meant to help with your balance, mobility and strength levels. By using this routine, you will help improve your overall fitness and over time, improve your strength and muscle tone levels.

As you progress in your routine, you will need to add more free weight and compound movements to your program. As your balance and form improves, you can add more sets and repetitions. You will also need to split your workouts into different body parts to allow for a more vigorous workout.

Use this beginner weight lifting routine until you are comfortable moving on to the intermediate weight training routines. If you want to go to the intermediate routines, please click here.

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If you have any questions about this program, please email me at:

buildingmuscle101 @ vianet.ca (please excuse the spaces - avoid spam bots)

All the best,


P.S If your looking for some basic (And advanced) dumbbell routines, I highly recommend Mike Westerdals dumbbell workouts and exercises located here.

As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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