Beginner Workouts

Welcome to our “Workouts” section. We hope that you’ve already gone through the “Muscle building” section, where we explain the methods and principles used in the beginner, advanced and elite workouts you will see in this section.

If you haven’t checked them out yet, we will be referencing the principles with hyperlinks throughout the articles in this section. Make sure to give them a read, since they are the very basic, most important principles and methods, that will help you better understand the workouts and how they actually work.

Now let’s get right into it!

Before we move on to the actual workouts, let’s remind ourselves a couple of important things that every beginner should know, before they start their training cycle.

  1. How can we measure the workout?

Every workout that we do, is measured by 3 parameters:

  • Intensity
  • Volume
  • Density

Below, we’re giving you a short description of each parameter, however, feel free to check out our full article on Training Parameters.

Intensity– A quality characteristic, the value of which increases or decreases, the closer or further we get from the one repetition maximum (1RM, 100%) respectively.

Volume– This is the quantity of the workload. (Measured in kilograms, pounds, jumps etc.)
Example- One set, using 50 kg for 10 reps. 50 kg x 10 reps = 500 kg volume of that SET.

Density– This is the volume of the workload, referred to the time needed for its completion.
Example- 3 sets using 50 kg for 10 reps, completed in 7 minutes – 3 sets x 50 kg x 10 reps= 1500 kg volume | 1500 kg: 7 minutes = 214 kg/min

  1. What should our goals be in the beginning of our training?

Do NOT set a goal such as:

  • 16-inch arms
  • Shredded abs
  • Wide back

Instead, be rational and set TWO goals, one long term goal, and one short term goal.

Long term goal

  • Achieve a pleasing to look at physique (That will, of course include bigger arms, chiseled abs, round shoulders and an overall feeling of muscle symmetry and correct proportions)

Short term goal

  • Learn the correct technique on each basic exercise
  • Improve your physical properties- Strength, strength endurance, cardio, cardio endurance
  • Improve your eating and sleeping habits

You should acknowledge that sculpting the perfect physique is not a short-term process, however, progress stacks up with every day of consistency.

Now that you have those goals set, it’s time to move on to the actual workouts!

Principles used in the workouts we’re going to show you below:

Type of exercises we’ll use in the workouts

  • Mostly compound movements

Legend for:

CWS- Classical Weider System

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1-2 Full body (A) Rest Full body (B) Cardio Full body (A) Rest Full body (B)
Week 3-4 Full body (A) Cardio Full body (B) Rest Full body (A) Cardio Full body (B)
Week 5-8 Full body CWS Cardio Full body CWS Rest Full body CWS Cardio Rest
Week 8-16 Upper body (A) Lower body (A) Cardio Upper body (B) Lower body Cardio Rest

Full body workouts

During the first 4 weeks of your training cycle, you will be doing full body workouts every other day (Alternating between workout A and B), as well as 1-2 cardio sessions a week. These workouts include 3-5 sets per muscle group, using basic exercises.

An important thing to note here is that the exercises are done in an antagonistic fashion. Antagonists are two muscle groups, that are located in the same joint but have opposite functions- flexors and extensors. (e.g- Biceps & triceps)

Warm up

Warming up before every workout is MANDATORY. Take 10-15 minutes to get into the workout- Stretch, flex, rotate. Take 5-10 minutes to do some light cardio in order to get your blood moving. (You can do light running or rope jumping.) This, combined with the pyramid sets on the first exercises, will prevent you from injuries, which are the thing we least want during our beginner’s phase.

Workout A

Workout A (Week 1 – 4) Body Part Exercise Repetitions
All exercises are done with full range of motion
Body Part Exercise Repetitions
Chest Flat dumbbell or barbell bench press Pyramid- 15,12,10,8,6 repetitions. First two sets are warm up, then you move on to 3 working sets with a heavier weight (Failure must NOT be reached)
Back Lat Pulldowns Pyramid- 15,12,10,8,6 repetitions. First two sets are warm up, then you move on to 3 working sets with a heavier weight (Failure must NOT be reached)
Shoulders Dumbbell Shoulder Presses 4 sets- 10 repetitions
Pyramid is not required after the first two exercises, due to the fact the muscles involved, are already properly warmed up and ready to go through 3 or more working sets with a significantly heavier weight.
Biceps Alternating Dumbbell Curls 4 sets – 8-12 repetitions
Triceps Rope Pushdowns 4 sets – 10-15 repetitions
Quadriceps Bodyweight Squats 5 sets – 15 repetitions
Hamstrings Laying Hamstring Curls 4 sets – 12 repetitions
Calves Straight Leg Calf Raises 5 sets- 15 repetitions

Workout B

Workout B (Week 1 – 4) Body Part Exercise Repetitions
All exercises are done with full range of motion
Body Part Exercise Repetitions
Chest Incline dumbbell or barbell bench press Pyramid- 15,12,10,8,6 repetitions. First two sets are warm up, then you move on to 3 working sets with a heavier weight (Failure must NOT be reached)
Back Cable Rows Pyramid- 15,12,10,8,6 repetitions. First two sets are warm up, then you move on to 3 working sets with a heavier weight (Failure must NOT be reached)
Shoulders Lateral dumbbell raises 4 sets- 12 repetitions
Pyramid is not required after the first two exercises, due to the fact the muscles involved, are already properly warmed up and ready to go through 3 or more working sets with a significantly heavier weight.
Biceps Preacher curls (Separately on each arm with a dumbbell, or with both arms on a machine) 4 sets – 8-12 repetitions
Triceps Bench Dips 4 sets – 10-15 repetitions
Quadriceps Leg Presses 5 sets – 15 repetitions
Hamstrings Laying/standing hamstring curls 4 sets – 12 repetitions
Calves Seated Calf Raises 5 sets- 15 repetitions

Cardio

To understand how you should approach that one cardio session you have during the first two weeks of your training cycle, read our article on Cardio for beginners.

Important note: Do NOT exceed 15-25 minutes per cardio session. As you can read in our ‘cardio for beginners’ article, the extensive aerobic workouts get into a ‘competitive fight’ for energy with the weight training workouts, therefore, as a response you have a weakly pronounced adaptive reaction from the organism, impeding the so-desired muscle hypertrophy (growth).

Week 3-4

During weeks 3 and 4, you keep on doing workout A and B, as well as one more cardio workout. Your cardio workouts take place on Tuesday and Saturday.

Important note- As we said, during the first 4 weeks, your primary focus should be learning the proper execution of each exercise. Weight can be added on every single exercise, as long as you keep proper form and full range of motion. However, you MUST NOT reach failure during the first 4 weeks of your training cycle.

Full body CWS workouts

Week 5-8

Alright, now that you have learned some exercises, developed some strength, endurance and cardio capabilities, you are ready to expose your body to some new, previously unseen stress- Sets until failure.

To implement the principle “Sets until failure” we will be using the CWS (Classical Weider System for beginners).

To get a good read on the CWS, click HERE.

The CWS can be applied on workouts A and B.

This method of training is very simple. The exercises are done consequently in 2 working sets. In order for the body to be prepared for the working sets, we use a pyramid method for the first two exercises.

The pyramid goes from higher reps with lower weight, to lower reps with higher weight. Weights for the working sets should be picked accordingly and the extreme amounts of intensity must not be reached.

Set 1- 15 reps (Warm up)

Set 2- 10 reps (Warm up)

Set 3- 6 reps (working set 1)

Rest for 2 minutes

Set 4- Until failure, maximum effort (This is our second and last working set)

After that we move on to the next exercise, with no rest whatsoever.

After the first two upper body exercises done in pyramid fashion, we do two sets for every other exercise for the upper body – One with 6 reps and the second until failure.

When we move on to the sixth exercise, that involves the legs, we do the same pyramid, in order to warm up the legs and prepare them for the heavy loads.

Important note- If you feel strong and confident enough, you can use a barbell for your squats, instead of doing them with your bodyweight, on your Workout A day. You can also start adding weight on your tricep bench dips, by putting a disk on your legs.

By week 8, you should already be noticing change in how your body looks and handles higher workloads. If you’ve done everything correctly, and kept your nutrition in check, you should be stronger, better looking with higher endurance levels, both strength and cardio wise.

Now that you’ve made some decent progress, it’s time to move on to split-like workouts (You’re still in the beginners’ phase, but we shift the training sessions from generic, full body workouts to more goal-focused ones.)

Week 8-16

So, for the next two months, you will be splitting your workouts into Upper and lower body workouts. This means you will be able to learn new movements, as you can include one more exercise per muscle group.

Full Body CWS Workouts(Week 8 – 16)
Upper Body
Body Part Exercise Repetitions
Chest Incline barbell bench press Pyramid – 15,12,10,8,6
Flat dumbbell bench press 2 sets of 12
Back Wide grip pull-ups 3 sets until failure
T Bar rows 3 sets 8-10 reps
Shoulders Dumbbell shoulder presses 3 sets of 10
Dumbbell lateral raises 2 sets of 15
Biceps Straight barbell curls 4 sets of 10
Triceps Overhead dumbbell extension using two hands 4 sets of 12
Full Body CWS Workouts (Week 8 – 16)
Lower Body
Body Part Exercise Repetitions
Quadriceps Bodyweight Squats 3 sets of 15 reps
Barbell Squats 4 sets of 10-12 reps
Leg Presses 2 sets of 15 reps
Leg Extensions 3 sets of 15 reps
Hamstrings Romanian Dead-Lifts 4 sets of 10 reps (Starting off with a very light weight, moving on to the last two sets that are supposed to be significantly heavier, failure is not reached)
T Bar rows 3 sets 8-10 reps
Laying or Standing Hamstring Curls 3 sets of 15
Calves Standing and seated calf raises 3 sets of 15 for each variation

Week-to-week summary

Week 1-4

  • Learn exercises
  • Start developing strength, strength endurance and cardio endurance

During this period, we have 4 workouts per week

Week 5-8

  • Expose your organism to new stress by increasing the intensity on your newly learnt exercises and reaching failure

During this period, we have 3 workouts per week. We have less workouts but more intense stress.

Week 8-16

  • Get used to more frequent workouts with bigger volume, by splitting them into Upper and lower body days and adding more exercises

Conclusion

So, as we mentioned, sculpting the perfect physique takes time and effort. If you are just a beginner, you can use the beginner training scheme presented above, in order to build a decent base, which you can further develop from then on.

In the next section, we will be moving on to more goal-focused, specialized workouts, that will include even more exercises.

Another interesting thing you will see in our next section is the Muscle building cardio you will be doing!

If that sounds interesting to you, feel free to move on to our “Advanced workouts” section! However, refrain from using the advanced workouts if you’re still a beginner.

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