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12 Week Beginners Training Routine

Average: 3.9 (258 votes)
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A twelve week full body beginners routine designed to get your body ready for an intense split routine. Includes a detailed week by week plan.

Workout Summary

Main Goal:
Build Muscle
Workout Type:
Full Body
Training Level:
Beginner
Days Per Week:
2
Equipment Required:
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Target Gender:
Male & Female
Author:

Workout Description

Everyone has to start somewhere. If you have never trained with weights before, you need a routine to get your muscles prepared for more serious training. It's essential that you complete a full body routine (like the one in this article) for 12 weeks before starting a split routine.

If you're new to the gym and working out, head over to our forum and get some advice to make sure you're on the right path and don't waste your gym time!

Weeks 1-6: Total Body Circuit Workout

  • Complete the following on two non-consecutive days per week.
  • During the first three weeks, do each exercise for one set of 15 reps: during the last three weeks, do two sets of 12 reps for bodyparts indicated (using a slightly heavier weight on all sets)

WEEKS 1-3:

Weeks 1-3
Weeks 1-3
Bodypart Exercise Sets Reps
Quads/Glutes Leg Press 1 15
Hamstrings Lying Leg Curl 1 15
Upper Back Seated Cable Row 1 15
Chest Flat Bench Press 1 15
Shoulders Dumbbell Press 1 15
Traps Dumbbell shrug 1 15
Triceps Pushdown 1 15
Biceps Barbell curl 1 15
Lower Back Back extension 1 15
Calves Standing calf raise 1 15
Forearms Barbell wrist curl 1 15
Abdominals Crunches 1 15

WEEKS 4-6:

Weeks 4-6
Weeks 4-6
Bodypart Exercise Sets Reps
Quads/Glutes Leg Press 2 12
Hamstrings Lying Leg Curl 2 12
Upper Back Seated Cable Row 2 12
Chest Flat Bench Press 2 12
Shoulders Dumbbell press 2 12
Traps Dumbbell shrug 2 12
Triceps Pushdown 2 12
Biceps Barbell curl 2 12
Lower Back Back extension 2 12
Calves Standing calf raise 2 12
Forearms Barbell wrist curl 2 12
Abdominals Crunches 2 12

Weeks 7 – 12: Split Workout with Increased Intensity.

  • Divide your body into two parts (upper and lower), increasing weight training days to three non consecutive days per week (i.e., Monday, Wednesday, Friday).
  • Alternate between the two exercise routines. In the first week, you’ll end up doing Workout 1 twice, while in the second week you’ll do workout 2 twice etc.
  • Do sets and reps as indicated.
  • Rest 60-90 seconds between the sets.
  • Choose exercise alternates on occasion to work the muscles a little differently

Workout 1: Upper Body

Workout 1: Upper Body
Workout 1: Upper Body
Bodypart Exercise Sets Reps
Chest Flat Dumbbell Press Pec Dec Fly 2 1 10-12 10-12
Upper Back 1 arm dumbbell row Seated Cable Row 2 1 10-12 10-12
Shoulders Seated dumbbell press Dumbbell lateral raise 2 1 10-12 10-12
Traps Dumbbell shrug 2 10-15
Triceps Pushdown 2 10-12
Biceps Barbell curl 2 10-12
Forearms Barbell wrist curl 2 10-12

Workout 2: Lower Body

Workout 2: Lower Body
Workout 2: Lower Body
Bodypart Exercise Sets Reps
Quads/Glutes Smith machine squats 1 8-12
Quads Leg extension 1 10-12
Hamstrings Lying leg curl 1 10-12
Lower Back Back extension 1 20-30
Calves Standing calf raise 1 12-15
Abdominals Crunches Reverse crunch 2 2 15-40 15-30

If you need any help with the workout on this page head over to our muscle building forum. Our experienced members will make sure you're on the right track!

Related Workouts View all Muscle Building Workouts

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    Average: 3.9 (258 votes)
  • About The Author
    Doug is an ex-competitive bodybuilder with over 20 years fitness experience, specifically diet & nutrition, weight management and training techniques.
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Comments (677)

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Danny O
Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 16:56

is this workout also good for getting rid of fat around the stomach?

(Y)thx

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 05/19/2010 - 08:33

Fat loss comes from a proper diet approach. Here is an article that will help:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/losing-body-fat-and-cutting-wi...

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brad
Posted Mon, 10/24/2011 - 22:39

hey, i used to be into working out back on deployment i started seeing some results,,,is this a good routine to pick up and stay on top of to get cut i guess u can say not necessarily big just cut and fit?

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Ikenna O
Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 12:40

This isn't my first time "working out", but I have not done any type of muscle training in a long time (6 months +), do I still need to complete this? Also, by doing this guide, do I still gain muscle mass, or am I just preparing my muscles for future workouts?

17 years old, 6'3, trying to be fit for basketball (currently, almost no muscle on my body)

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 13:22

You wouldn't need to do this specific program, but it would be good to ease back into lifting for a couple weeks by using moderate weight.

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Ikenna O
Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 13:33

Thanks, and also do you think it is a good idea to combine whatever muscle guide I choose with an abs workout guide. Thanks.

Also, I was thinking of using this guide, but am unsure if it is "too difficult" for me at my current level, although I was going to use your advice of using moderate weights to get comfortable with weight lifting again.

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/4-day-power-muscle-burn-workou...

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 11:16

If you have a decent mastery of form on the lifts you could use that workout. That was a staple workout for me for quite some time.

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ameya
Posted Tue, 04/09/2013 - 05:11

hi steve
i am new gay to u but i am very passionate person toward fitness..
i am student here......
here we lack of guidance ..
if something we want to achieve than to thing required one is hard working and other proper direction we have hard work but not proper way......

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Daniel F
Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 15:38

I hadn't worked out for more than a year. I know alot of excercises, but I never was able to put together a solid workout routine that I could stick with. I found this workout using google and have followed it strictly. I am now on week 7, just finished Day 1 this morning. I am looking forward to Day 2 of Lower Body work, but it seems like I will be working out less in week 7 than I did in week 6. Am I just imagining things? I like the extra sets in Day 1, but Day 2 seems like a pretty light day. Are the sets right for Day 2 (workout 2 lower body)?

Also, after I complete week 12, should I go to the 4 day split workout?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 18:06

You are adding weight so by week 7 you maybe performing fewer sets but they will be getting more difficult, if that makes sense. After 12 weeks you could go to a 4-day split, or a full body routine.

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drake
Posted Mon, 03/21/2011 - 17:58

i'm just starting to heal up,after a serious car crash april 11th 2010,i have a wielder home gym an heavy an kick bag in my basement.i haven't worked out in about 5 years,other than ripp it up on my dirt bike.what type of weight should i start out with,i'm 6"1-240 lbs an outta shape.ie:50 -100lbs?

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Jacob B
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 00:23

hey i was just curious how you like the routine here? Also how much progress are you making, any decent results yet? good luck

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kenz
Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 07:27

Why a 2day split can't you just do workout 1 and work out 2 together mon, wed + fri, why is it more beneficial to break it up? Is this routine suitable for women?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Tue, 05/25/2010 - 08:06

The initial weeks are break-in weeks where you are learning form and developing the routine of hitting the gym. As you add weight and progress, you need to start reducing the daily workload - it's better on the body, and better for recovery.

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ahmed
Posted Wed, 07/14/2010 - 13:47

heyy there dude i just wanted some help...im a beginner..so...can u tell me what are sets and reps?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 07/14/2010 - 14:56

A rep is the act of lifting or moving a weight. 10 reps would be lifting a weight 10 times in succession. A set is a group of reps.

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Ikenna O
Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 11:38

Can this be done 3 times a week instead of 2?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 14:08

I wouldn't recommend it. This routine is used to ease into training and it is best not to push yourself too much out of the gate.

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Ikenna O
Posted Fri, 05/28/2010 - 13:33

Can I replace the Flat Bench Press with the Pec Dec or another exercise that focuses on the chest?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 05/30/2010 - 13:00

No, I wouldn't do that. The bench press is extremely important for upper body muscle mass.

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Lazarc1204
Posted Sat, 05/29/2010 - 16:06

I am a runner and I will just be starting to work out using any kinds of weight. I am looking to tone up my body especially my core and gain a bit of muscle...will this workout routine do that even though it is a "beginner training routine"?

Also, what kind of weight should I be starting out with? Should it be tough for me to finish each rep?

Thanks

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 05/30/2010 - 11:07

Beginners gain easily, so all they really need is a simple workout with plenty of heavy, compound lifts. Make sure you eat plenty while training for both sports. Spend a few weeks practicing form and then slowly start to add weight. After a couple months you want to have very good form, and start to add weight at every opportunity.

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Kyle
Posted Mon, 05/31/2010 - 14:54

Hello,

I'm not new to weight-lifting and muscle training, but have not lifted for 6 months or so and have some personal issues that had me stressed to the max and I lost some weight. I'm 5'10" about 154lbs or so. 10 years ago while playing rugby, from training and eating the most I ever weighed was 170, with about 10% body fat. I'm a very lean guy with nice muscle tone, albeit when I working out. It doesn't take me long to get strength and size back, but can lose it just as fast.

I am looking for a exercsise routine to gain some weight and strength on a 12 week program. I'm not looking to hulk out, but looking to regrain some weight and strength. If I could get to a solid 160, that would be fabulous.

I need a outlined program to help me focus. Back in the day I had a great program that a friend used, but lost it. So now when I go to the gym I just to a 'general' work out which isn't optimizing my time.

Can someone assist? I'm even willing to shell out $10-15 if it great.

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 11:51

Hi Kyle.

Since you have some training experience, I recommend a workout like this:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/4-day-power-muscle-burn-workou...

If you haven't reached your goals after 12 weeks, run it for another 12 weeks. The above program has helped me add size and strength. This workout will help you hit your goals.

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jocel
Posted Sun, 08/07/2011 - 01:35

consume a lots of protein and carbs,..and train hard

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Bazz
Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 05:40

Is this a suitable routine for me, I play rugby leauge and I'm looking to bulk up whilst also keeping fit, Is there any way I can bulk up alot and still do aerobic workouts at the same time? I am not an absolute beginner but I haven't done much in the gym for a while. thanks.

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 10:45

Absolutely. You can gain muscle while doing cardio. Just remember to eat enough, and to push yourself for more reps and weight during all your workouts.

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ryan
Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 14:10

hey, I am fairly new to weightlifting but im looking to add size and strength. Is there any use in me doing this routine or would it be better for me to do another one. I have tried this routine and didn't find it at all challenging. I take creatine and whey based weight gain, will this routing help me bulk?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 17:02

Hi Ryan...I have some beginner routines in the following article that might be of interest to you.

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/forget-steroids-5-fullbody-wor...

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Beau
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 03:30

Hi, I am 32 6ft 2in about 175 lbs very lanky and have no form nor strength never worked out. I am gonna start working out this monday. What do you recommend? The gym I am using uses assisted weights also, I see you guys use free weights, does it makes a big difference?

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Steve
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 16:29

Free weight exercises make a world of difference, especially for a beginner. That is not to say that all machines are bad, but you should rely mostly on barbell and dumbbell movements.

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viv
Posted Sat, 06/05/2010 - 08:50

Hi,
I used to work out few years ago quite intensively; during that time i was a ble to bench about 200 lbs or more. Currently i can only do may be 120 or so. I want to get back on track and quickly build muscles. Is this a suitable workout or should I follow what I used to do in the past. I am 34 and weigh 150 lbs; I believe I weigh almost the same as when i used to train however i've lost all the muscles now. thanks.

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Steve
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 08:58

It sounds like you made some good progress in the past. I might suggest taking it easy for a couple weights, working out with lighter weight to get the feel of the movements, and then maybe trying a more challenging beginner, or possibly intermediate routine.

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raven
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 22:42

Can I do standing leg curl instead of Lying Leg Curl? because we dont have a machine to do that.
thanx.

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 07:51

Absolutely!

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raven
Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 11:05

Hi again.
This is my 4th week following this, feel much better.
I hope its okay to increase weight and sets (12 x 3) for the workouts?

After completing the 7 – 12: Split Workout, should I continue this with more intensity? or should I find a intermediate or advance workout?

Thanks

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Steve
Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 17:05

Definitely start to push for heavier weights.

After this workout, I would look for a more advanced beginner workout.

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Raven
Posted Tue, 06/08/2010 - 02:00

Hi Steve,

I found this workout.
http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/shaun--s-3-day-muscle-building...
You think this would be a good one to move on to after finishing this? Or would you suggest a different one?

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Steve
Posted Tue, 06/08/2010 - 08:55

That's a very good workout. I would give it a try for a minimum of 8 weeks.

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kd
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 09:21

I am trying to get my wife a good workout routine to start with. Will this work for women?

Thanks,

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Steve
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 14:32

Absolutely!

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moisesg305
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:07

am 16.....6 feet and 120 pounds......i want to gain some muscle and get lean during tha summer....well this routine help me?!!?

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Steve
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 18:54

Are you saying you want to lose fat and gain muscle?

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Mike
Posted Thu, 06/17/2010 - 23:03

Hi Steve. I have lifted before in my life but as of right now I am very out of shape and I am looking to build muscle and lose roughly 70-80 lbs. I am 6'1 and weigh 267. I know I need to start somewhere but I am just trying to figure out where and the best way for someone like me to do this with out putting myself in a position to injure myself. Any help you could give would be appreciated.

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Steve
Posted Fri, 06/18/2010 - 10:36

Hi Mike,

For diet, I would recommend eating around 2300 to 2500 daily calories, and at least 30 to 40 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours. On this program, you want to take several weeks to practice form, and then start to slowly add weight. After that point, you need to start pushing yourself for more reps, and eventually more weight on every set of every workout - using good form.

If you don't like heavy and eat correctly during weight loss, you run the risk of losing muscle and fat while while you diet, and you will end up skinny but still somewhat flabby.

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hugh
Posted Wed, 06/23/2010 - 07:15

hi ive been doing weights for about a year now but when i started i started straight into a 3 day split routine ive seen some good results but they have realy started to slow down was wondering where should i go from here im lookin to build muscle and mass was thinking of starting protein aswel any advice?? thanks

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Steve
Posted Wed, 06/23/2010 - 14:50

Hi Hugh,

It's a good idea to eat at least 30 to 40 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours. You will also want to eat more then it takes to maintain your weight, and push yourself on every set of every workout for more reps.
Whey protein is good first thing in the morning and after a workout. Casein protein is good between meals and before bed.

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Deodney Robinson
Posted Wed, 06/23/2010 - 17:01

I've been lifting weights for a about year now but i have been very inconsistent with the workout and diet. I havent really build a lot of muscle but now i am serious about it. Should i do this workout or an intermediate?

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Steve
Posted Thu, 06/24/2010 - 08:47

I would stick with this workout for at least 8 to 12 weeks.

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S.A.M
Posted Mon, 06/24/2013 - 17:39

Hello Sir,
Can I do this workout 3 days a weak instead of 2 days a week?

After 12 Weeks I'm planing to do this work out

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/4-day-power-muscle-burn-workou...

I dont want to be bulky I want cut and clean SO if there is another work out plan that would suite me then PLEASE PLEASE tell me

THANX IN ADVANCE

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