The best muscle-building workout for absolute beginners

A quick, basic routine perfect for gaining mass and strength.

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The best muscle-building workout for absolute beginners
Duration 30
Exercises 6
Equipment Yes

The hardest part about beginning a fitness regimen when you're starting from ground zero? Knowing where to start. That said, if you've never set hand on a weight before, you're at an advantage. You can practice proper form, which can lend itself to optimal muscle memory, a lesser chance of injury, and faster gains. So, book an appointment with a personal trainer to walk you through the basic mechanics, speed, and stance of the essentials (pushup, curl, squat, deadlift, bench press, and the like—then give this workout a go.

Directions

Frequency: Perform the workout 3 days a week for 4 weeks, resting at least one day between each session.

How to do it: Perform the exercise pairs (marked A and B) as alternating sets, resting 60 seconds between sets. You'll complete one set of exercise A and rest; then one set of B and rest again; and repeat until you've completed all sets for that pair.

On your very first training day, perform only one set for each exercise. Progress to two or more sets (as the set prescriptions below dictate) from your second workout on. On the weighted exercises, choose a load that allows you to complete a few more reps than the prescribed number (you may need to adjust this load between sets as you discover your strength levels). For instance, if an exercise calls for 12 reps, choose a load you estimate you can perform 15 reps with before having to stop (but complete only 12).

Exercise 1.

Front Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Front Squat thumbnail
2 sets
8 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 2a.

Three-point dumbbell row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Three-point dumbbell row thumbnail
2 sets
12 (each arm) reps
30 sec. rest

Exercise 2b.

Pushup How to
Pushup  thumbnail
2 sets
12-15 reps
30 sec. rest

Exercise 3a.

Single-Leg Glute Bridge How to
Single-Leg Glute Bridge  thumbnail
2 sets
12 reps
30 sec. rest

Exercise 3b.

Pullover/Triceps Extension You'll need: Barbell How to
Pullover/Triceps Extension  thumbnail
2 sets
12 reps
30 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

Plank You'll need: No Equipment How to
Plank thumbnail
2 sets
60 sec. reps
60 sec. rest
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