Whether you're fresh to the gym or are just coming back after a long layoff, there will be a phase which has great benefits - and setbacks. The good news is that you'll probably have a much easier time packing on muscle mass than at any other point in your bodybuilding career.
However, it's an absolute necessity to get the form right at this stage - otherwise you're building a mind-muscle connection set on the "wrong" grounds, which will - at best - be hard to unlearn later, or - at worst - earn you a nasty injury once you've started piling on the weight plates.
Injury Prevention Articles:
Don't Go For Conventional Wisdom
Some people reason that a fresh guy should stick with the easy stuff that won't get him injured, which is essentially machines. The point here would be that since the body is pretty much fixed, there's no way to fail to do the movements right. That means no injury, and everybody happy, right?
I disagree. It's like putting a student driver in a car with autopilot when he's taking his driving test. Sure, he'll be fine during the test - but what happens when he sits down in a NORMAL car and pulls out into the real traffic?
Pretty much the same as a guy who never got the basics right, but has gained enough strength to hurt himself really bad when he tries anything BUT machine movements (and this day will come, if he expects any progress beyond the initial rush).
Get It Right
So, my advice is to get it right from the start - master the classic, powerbuilding exercises while you're not as strong yet, and subsequently uses less weight. The risk of injury is way smaller, you have more wiggle room for mistakes and you'll learn the "feel" of the right muscles working.
Suggestions For Getting Started
Depending on how much time you can spend every week, there's a couple of different setups. In my example, I assume we have a normal working guy who's already short on time, so we're starting with a minimum of time - 2 workouts per week.
Now, we have a choice to make - should you train you entire body twice per week, or split your body in two parts and train your entire body just once per week? That's where you, as an individual, has to determine if you recover fully between workouts? If not, go for the two-split.
Either way, you'll eventually have to start splitting the body into 2, 3, 4, sometimes even 5 separate workouts as you get more advanced, so for now I'm assuming the 2-split version is OK.
Keep in mind, there's no right or wrong in this part of the scheduling - you're an individual, and nobody but you will be able to figure out exactly what works best for you. Don't be afraid to experiment, but make sure to keep a close eye on signs of overtraining.
Day 1: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders & Abs
- 2 sets - Machine Presses
- 2 sets - Cable Crossover
- 2 sets - Dips
- 2 sets - Skullcrushers
- 2 sets - Dumbbell Lateral Raises
- 2 sets - Dumbbell Bent-Over Laterals
- 2 sets - Cable Crunches
Day 2: Back & Legs
- 2 sets - Chins
- 2 sets - Dumbbell Rows
- 2 sets - Deadlifts
- 2 sets - Leg Extensions
- 2 sets - Squats
- 2 sets - Leg Curls
- 2 sets - Standing Calf Raises
Examples Of Interchangeable Exercises