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Beginner Workout!

One of the greatest mistakes I have seen in the gym environment, other than bad form, is the use of advance workouts by novice lifters. Here are the reasons why it is bad and a good workout for beginners.

One of the greatest mistakes I have seen in the gym environment, other than bad form, is the use of advance workouts by novice lifters.

A typical scenario is the beginner reads articles about their favorite bodybuilder, the new lifter emulates the heavy workout program, and then expects to achieve the same results as their favorite bodybuilder.

There's nothing wrong with admiring the bodybuilder's achievement, however, achieving the same goals in such a short period of time is nearly impossible.

First Off

  • First of all, the professional bodybuilder has trained for years, maybe even decades, to achieve his/her desired look or physique.

  • Second, the professional bodybuilder has a genetic factor that is desired in the professional circuit. That alone makes him/her in the 99.9 percentile of the bodybuilding hierarchy, a hierarchy that is an exclusive club, and outsiders are not welcomed by the judges.

    Judges ensure that any body, which doesn't meet their "standards" or achieve a certain look, are culled out during pre-judging or the bodybuilder with the undesired look receives a low placing during the bodybuilding contest.

  • Third, most professional bodybuilders are "enhanced" with alternative medication.

    Unfortunately, this also has been a clarion call and pitfall of many novice lifters: resorting to some sort of alternative medication when they do not see the desired results as soon as he/her hoped.

    Rome Wasn't Built In A Day!
    Take Your Time & Learn To Do It Right. © Avidan

  • Fourth, the professional bodybuilder has experience on how to achieve their "look" by manipulating their diet and water consumption, with the help of leading sport nutritionist. Furthermore, all the years of bodybuilding contests have helped them hone their physique to be on target for the contest, or a photo shoot.

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For the reasons noted above is why many novices will never achieve their desired look in a short period of time, even with the help of alternative medication.

But back to the topic above, what should a novice bodybuilder/lifter do to at least prepare them for their future physical endeavors. First and foremost, I strongly recommend that the novice lifter enlist the help of a personal trainer.

As I highlighted on a previous article, form is essential in order to achieve the desired results. Although many bodybuilding articles provide excellent pictures and descriptions on how to execute the exercise, there are still many "gaps" or "loopholes" of information left open to misinterpretation.

Some of the misinterpretations are the fault of the writer, and sometimes the fault of the reader, whose reading ability is somewhat below par, thus unable to really understand the true function of the exercise and how to properly execute the exercise. Therefore, the recommendation to enlist the help of a personal trainer.

Personal Trainers

Although it may seem expensive, the novice lifter should look upon a personal training session as an investment in themselves.

  • The personal trainer dispels with false notions that pervade the fitness industry.

  • The personal trainer also aids the novice lifter on how to properly execute the exercises.

  • Finally, a personal trainer helps correct any bad habits the novice lifter may commit before the habit becomes an acute problem, thus preventing future problems with injuries.

I must, however, underscore the most important piece of information in relation to personal trainers: A good personal trainer will help the novice lifter cut through years of experimentation with workouts that are unproductive, and inherently lead to over training and ultimately exhaustive.

In general, novice lifters should experience fatigue during their workouts, but not a fatigue/soreness so deep that they are unable to get out of bed the next day.

This is where the experienced trainer steps in and tells the novice lifter to ease up, otherwise the novice lifter will experience over training, and little by little, avoids workouts and eventually, stops working out.

Again, this is where a good personal trainer steps in and helps the beginner get acquainted with a program which the novice can accomplish with some degree of difficulty, but it should not be brutal, not yet anyway. But enough with the pluses of employing a personal trainer.

Find A Good One

      If you decide to employ a personal trainer, the best recommendation for finding a good personal trainer is to shop around and interview with perspective trainers, don't automatically settle for your best friend's trainer; look for a trainer whose training philosophy matches yours.

However, if it isn't economically feasible, ask an advanced bodybuilder's help and treat them to dinner. On second thought, it may be cheaper to just go ahead and spring for the personal trainer.

Novice Lifter's Workout

Anyway, for the most novice lifter/out of shape individual, I recommend the following program on commercial gym exercise machines with one minute's rest between sets.

Commercial Gym Exercises
Lower Body Upper Body
Leg Press- 2 X 15
Leg Extension- 2 X 15
Leg Curls - 2 X 15
Calve Raises - 2 X 15

Printable Log Of The Lower Body

Bench Press - 2 X 15
Shoulder Press - 2 X 15
Seated Row - 2 X 15
Triceps Pushdowns - 2 X 15
Biceps Curls - 2 X 15

Printable Log Of The Upper Body

Once finished with the workout, perform twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic exercises in your own target heart rate (In the future, I plan to write an article on how to figure out your training heart rate to achieve your desired results). Do the above workout three times per week with one day of rest between workout days.

For Example

      Work out on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, with Tuesday and Thursday and the weekends off.


Workout on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday with Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and Mondays off.

The purpose of the above workout is just to start working with the major muscle groups, to lay the foundation for future physical endeavors. Also take notice that I have the novice performing only two sets per exercise; the purpose of this is to ensure the novice does not over train.

If, however, two sets are not stimulating a little soreness or tightness the day after the workout, then the lifter is either going too light on the weights, taking excessive rest between sets, or the exercises are not being performed properly.

Once the lifter has exercised for two months with the above workout, I then suggest for the novice to increase their volume by adding an additional set for each exercise, making it a total of three sets for each exercise. By adding a third set for another 2-4 weeks, the novice is ready for the next level.