12 Week Beginners Training Routine

12 Week Beginners Training Routine
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

Build Muscle
Full Body
Beginner
2
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female

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!

3.9 STARS
271 VOTES
RATE THIS
About The Author
Doug is an ex-competitive bodybuilder with over 20 years fitness experience, specifically diet & nutrition, weight management and training techniques.

685 Comments+ Post Comment

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/12/2011 - 14:30
Steven

The above program is way too much and not needed for a beginner.
You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here are some articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/building-muscle-eating-like-a...

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 10/04/2011 - 21:30
Cody

I am working out in a fairly basic apartment complex gym. I will be ubnable to do the laying leg curls, the back extension, and the seated row...due to lack of equipment. Can you give me an idea of some substitutes?

Thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/05/2011 - 15:54
Steven

Do you have access to a barbell and dumbbells?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 10/07/2011 - 22:09
Cody

Limited dumbells. They go from 10 pounds then to 35 next. I have not idea why. Our "barbell" isn't really a barbell, as it is one of the slider type with the safety latches.

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 10/08/2011 - 23:12
Steven

That's going to present some problems. Any other gyms in the area?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 10/03/2011 - 23:30
lazio

we do upperbody and lowerbody in the same day right?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 10/04/2011 - 13:52
Steven

Yes, correct. Perform the entire workout.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/27/2011 - 15:20
Airman Snyder

Hi i dont know if you are still answering questions on here but im trying to get back into weight lifting. in high school i was in advanced body building and was lifting every day but since i graduated i joined the air force and im trying to get back into it. my question is, do you think this work out is good for me to start out with and turn into a 4 day split? and what weight should i start out with on each workout?

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 10/01/2011 - 11:52
Steven

This workout is a good place to start. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 09/24/2011 - 22:35
steve hogg

Hi, I have been following this routine and have noticed a definite gain in strength and a weight loss of 2kg (assisted by rowing and bike). Can you recommend a routine to follow after I complete the 12wk routine? I am 50, 6' 2" and weight 92kg, I work 4 on and 4 off and hit the gym on my 4 days off. Just want to keep fit, remain strong and enjoy my routines in the gym, many thanks.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 09/21/2011 - 08:46
Winston Patokie

Hi Steve

I am not new to weight training. However, i have not trained in years. I am interested in burning fat (around tummy) and gaining muscles. Is this workout suitable for me. Also, when i was working out, i noticed that my left arm was way weaker than my right and as a result i could not lift heavy for get the kind of workout i am looking for. Is there any advice that you can give me to correct this problem?

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 10/01/2011 - 11:49
Steven

This workout is a good choice. You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/20/2011 - 01:16
john a

1st of all how do i determine how much i should be lifting for each workout?
second will it effect me if i start with doing this 3 times a week instead of only 2. i just started at a gym and dont know what im doing, but im going mon wed fri.

if u need to know im 20 5'10" 145lbs

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 10/01/2011 - 11:49
Steven

Take a few weeks to get the feel for each lift, and after that point focus on progression of weight. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 09/15/2011 - 09:42
Anthony

Hello,

I have just started this program. I am 28, 6'1", and a touch under 200 lbs. I have skinny arms and a bit of a gut at the moment and I just want to burn fat and gain some mass - I'm assuming this is a good program?

Also - Is there a good breakfast shake and recovery drink you can recommend with this program?

lastly, Is it ok if I do cardio (running or elliptical) on off days?

Thanks!

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/15/2011 - 09:53
Steven

Hi Anthony,

This program will serve you well. You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

You can do cardio on off days, or after lifting. As far as shakes, any of the top whey protein powders from the store will serve you well. For recovery, check out Scivation's Xtend.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 09/08/2011 - 03:37
nick

hi lethia , my wife is age 40 and 87 kilos is this programm good to start and how much aerobic trainning she has to do ??? thank you.

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/15/2011 - 12:06
Steven

This workout is a good choice. What are her goals?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/02/2011 - 23:41
ben

Hey is it ok to replace bench press with dumbbell press from the get go?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/15/2011 - 12:05
Steven

Sure, that will work.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:03
scorliss

Hi Steve,
just starting out your routine,
The question I have is:
Can i substitute leg press for Squats
lying leg curls for Standing Dead lifts
and seated cable rows for a rowing machine....
As you can infer i don't have a leg machine....just dumbbells and a rack.
Cheers,
Shawn

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/02/2011 - 15:32
Steven

Hi Shawn,

Those swaps would work.
________________________________
Need more help? <a href="http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/">Ask me on the forum.</a>

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 08/30/2011 - 19:52
Ryan

Hey Steve. I am 27 have done some weight training and want to gain muscle and loose fat. Is this a good workout to do and can i do crosstraining everydaay with this??

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/02/2011 - 15:30
Steven

Hi Ryan,

This workout is a great place to start. You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here are some articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/building-muscle-eating-like-a...
________________________________
Need more help? <a href="http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/">Ask me on the forum.</a>

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 08/30/2011 - 18:21
Mike

Hey Steve,

I used to be fit and in shape and worked out all the time maybe 2 years ago. Since then I have gained a lot of weight. To start with, I'm not looking to bulk or build muscle mass. I want to simply lose weight in a healthy manor. I understand that dieting may be the most important part here but will his workout work alongside dieting? Would I be better of with a more challenging workout with more splits? I'm open to any plans/suggestions for now or down the road. Thanks!

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/02/2011 - 15:28
Steven

Hi Mike,

This workout is a good choice. If you want to hold on to your existing muscle while cutting, you will need to work hard with the weights. The best way to make a workout challenging is by focusing on progression of weight. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. Do this and most any workout will help you reach your goals.
________________________________
Need more help? <a href="http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/">Ask me on the forum.</a>

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/26/2011 - 21:21
Mike

Hi Steve,
Just getting back into the gym after a couple years off. I have continued running throughout the years, but would like to build a little more muscle. Since there is 2 days of rest in between would you recommend avoiding all excercise during that period or can I still hit the treadmill for a couple miles?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:35
Steven

Hi Mike,

You can still run as long as your eating plan is solid. You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended

number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here are some articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/building-muscle-eating-like-a...
________________________________
<strong>Need more help? <a href="http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/">Ask me on the forum.</a></strong>

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 08/25/2011 - 08:22
Gunny

G'day Steve,

This program has really reignited my motivation for getting back into the gym.

I'm about to start week 7 and am wondering what program to follow this up with. I'm 44...192cm/6'3" and 90kg/198lbs.

I want to develop some definition and muscle that suits my body type.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers mate!!!

Gunny

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:34
Steven

Hi Gunny,

I recommend taking a look at this workout:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines/real-results-pull-squ...
________________________________
<strong>Need more help? <a href="http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/">Ask me on the forum.</a></strong>

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/22/2011 - 18:28
shane

never hit the gym regular before! quite skinny, wanting to bulk up! is this suitable? and is there a diet or protein supplement to go with this?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:59
Steven
No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 08/18/2011 - 15:16
Jay

Hey Steve,

I'm just getting back into lifting weights although I have a good background but its been awhile since I've hit the weights so to speak and I'm finding it hard to get back into a routine. . I'm looking for a good full body workout routine that I could use for a long period of time and gain strenght and muscle along the way plus is there any supplements you would reccomend to help gain wieght and muscle? If you could help me out that would be great, Thanks!

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 08/22/2011 - 16:57
Steven
No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 08/18/2011 - 03:44
Jatin

Hi... I am 5' 10" , 20yr . i haven't done any workout earlier. i want to gain muscles and put on some weight. so please tell me which exercise would be better for me ? will this workout help me out?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 08/22/2011 - 16:54
Steven

Hi Jatin,

This workout is a good choice. You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here is an article that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/12/2011 - 05:58
sam mcgovern

i was wondering if this is an appropriate workout for me i am 15 years old and fit, i am about 5'9.

if not would you recomend any workouts for getting started because i need a workout formy gym membership

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 08/12/2011 - 15:17
Steven

Hi Sam,

This workout would be a great place for you to start.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/10/2011 - 17:58
ant

Hi after the 12 week programme, what Should I move onto next? thanx, ant

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 08/12/2011 - 15:17
Steven

Hi Ant,

If you make good gains you may be able to try one of the intermediate workouts on the site.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/27/2011 - 22:38
Harsh

I have been doing intense cardio with a balanced diet for more than 6 months now. In the process I have lost 6-7 kgs and am very close to my ideal weight. I want to tone my body and develop a good physique by doing a certain amount of weight training along with my cardio. Is this the right place to start ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 07/26/2011 - 18:00
Brian

Hi Steve, I am planning on beginning this workout. Would you use a weight where 15 reps are manageable per each set? Or would you use a slightly heavier weight and gradually work to be able to do 15 reps?

Thanks.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 07/24/2011 - 16:37
Sam Khan

Hi Steve,

I started hitting the gym a couple of weeks ago with a goal to gain lean Muscle Mass. I am a 74Kg, 5'9' 22 year old guy. I want to achieve something similar to the picture link below. Can you please advice me on a diet plan as I already have a workout routine which is showing good results but my current diet plan sucks. Also can you please advice me if i need to do an interval training (if yes, then how much) and the protein intake??

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=4258

Thanks

Sam

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 07/24/2011 - 13:45
Drayken

Hi, I am kinda starting all over. I lifted weights way back, but not for a long time. I am 5'9", 212 lbs. I was 250 lbs about 5 months ago. I have been on low carbs since. Although I am happy with my weight loss, I don't want to be all flabby and weak, when I reach my goal. I would like to add some strength and muscle, so I can burn a little more calories throughout the day, without having to do lots of cardio all the time, which I despise! lol.

I have a bowflex, and want to do a 3 day routine. I am comfortable with my form on most exercises. A question I have is, can I do the weeks 7-12 routine, or should I go to another routine like:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines/3day-beginners-workou...

I kinda like the 7-12 routine, because I get to work either upper or lower body twice in a week, where it seems most other 3 day routines work a smaller section, and only once a week. I am NOT looking to BULK up, I am looking to try to build some muscle, but still lose weight, which I have been reading, is hard for most, besides newbs, which I am, lol. I know less is more, but I have been on the 7-12 week routing for two weeks now, and I like it. I am not feeling drained or too sore, but the next workout. Should I stay on it, or do you recommend I look for a more split routine?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 07/22/2011 - 11:12
Maddy

Hello

This is Maddy, 28yrs & 5'10" & 155lbs.

I started going to Gym 2 years back but for the last 9-10 months I didnt go to gym due to family problem.

Now I am going to start again. If you could let me know what should be my workout plan. I have also bought 'WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE'. When do I need to take this and what would be my diet plan.

Thanks in advance.

Regards,
Maddy.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/21/2011 - 00:41
Scott

Hi im 17, 6'2", and around 185-90 lbs. Ive played football for 4 years but im not this year and i need to start weight lifting again. Ive weightlifted for about a year and a half, but i havent got after it in a couple of months. I mainly just want to gain strength and mass but i want to keep some definition at least. Should i do this twelve week program(or one like it) to start again, or can i go to a heavier workout like Dougs 4 day split?? Any input would help! Thanks alot

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 07/17/2011 - 10:40
Jessica

hi, 23yo female, 5'4 275lbs, im ready for a lifestyle change, the last time i worked out was over seven yrs ago. i've invested in a gym membership but its extra for a trainer so here i am. would this be a good starting place for me or would you recommend another routine. obviously my main goal is to lose fat and get in shape. i want my life back! :) any advise please?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/14/2011 - 13:21
Anton

In the 2nd part of the workout it soays to split and do it 7-12 weeks. Can you keep doing it after 12 weeks just add more weights to keep biulding muscle. Or can you move onto another 3 day or 4 day split?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 07/09/2011 - 08:14
lizett

steve,
I need help. About 5 yrs ago I was pregnant and gained alot of weight. I gave birth weighing 215 pounds and that put alot of pressure on my bones. During delivery I strained both my knees, and since that, I'm scared to do certain workouts. Squats are difficult and lunges. Is there any alternative exercise I can do? I can't afford a trainer, but I just need a positive motivator that can get me started.