Thursday, December 17, 2015

Beginner and Standard Muscle Gaining Training Programs

2 Different training programs you can use to grow muscle. It is good to alternate between programs when you plateau or every 3-6 months for muscle confusion to keep growing muscle at a faster rate.

1. Beginner's Warm-Up Program

This workout program is great for beginners who haven't lifted weights before. It is lighter and has a lower intensity that 'wakes up' the major muscle groups and preps the body for harder programs that can follow it. It can also be used as a high-rep program to recover joints and ligaments after workout programs that have put a lot of strain on them (low reps), or to strengthen joints before heavier workout routines. Muscle growth is achieved here by working muscles more frequently, but less concentrated.

Day 1: Lower Body:

Exercise 1: Squats (3 sets of 20)
Exercise 2: Knee Extensions (3 sets of 20)
Exercise 3: Hamstring Curls (3 sets of 20)
Exercise 4: Calf Raises (3 sets of 20)
Exercise 5: Weight Crunches (3 sets of 20)
Exercise 6: Weighted Incline Back Extensions (3 sets of 20)

Day 2: Upper Body

Exercise 1; Bench Press (3 sets of 20)
Exercise 2: Dips (3 sets of 20)
Exercise 3: Pull Ups (3 sets of 20)
Exercise 4: Barbell Curls (3 sets of 20)
Exercise 5: Dumbbell Side Bends (3 sets of 20)


  • Each exercise is performed with 3 sets of 20. The weight used is the same with each set. For example, when you perform barbell curls, use a 20 kg barbell for all sets.
  • If you are just starting a weight training program, follow a day 1, rest day, day 2, rest day, day 1 pattern until you are able to alternate between day 1 and day 2 without taking rests in between days (6 days a week = 3xDay.1 and 3xDay.2 per week).
  • If you can perform 20 reps in all three sets, then increase the weight. Work until you can do 20 reps of each set before increasing the weight again.

2. Standard 5-Day Split

The standard 5- day routine is most commonly used in weight training. This routine is a great program to move onto after the beginner's warm-up program above. Instead of splitting workouts into 2 days, the 5-day split separates workout days into 5 major muscle groups and supporting muscles. Each muscle group is focused on and worked harder in this program, but is also given a longer time to recover before being stimulated again.

Day 1: Chest and Triceps


Exercise 1: Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (4x12)
Exercise 2: Dumbbell Bench Press (3x8)
Exercise 3: Close-Grip Bench Press (3x8)
Exercise 4: Dumbbell Flies (3x10)

Note: exercise 1 and 2 use dumbbells because barbells can often be hard to get a hold of during rush hours at the gym. If you are more comfortable using barbells for these exercises, that is OK.


Exercise 1: Tricep Dips (3x20)
Exercise 2: Skull Crushes (3x12)
Exercise 3: Pull Downs (3x12) 

Day 2: Back and Biceps


Exercise 1: Pull Ups (3x20)
Exercise 2: One Arm Row (3x8)
Exercise 3: Bent Over Rows (2x12)
Exercise 4: Low Row (2x10)
Exercise 5: Chin Ups (Machine) (3x8)


Exercise 1: Barbell Curls (3x8)
Exercise 2: Hammer Curls (3x8)
Exercise 3: Incline Curls (3x12)
Exercise 4: Concentration Curls (3x8)

Day 3: Core

Lower Back

Exercise 1: Stiff Legged Dead Lifts (3x20)

Overall Core

Exercise 1: Weighted Planks (3x2 minutes)
Exercise 2: Cable Wood Choppers (3x20)


Exercise 1: Weighted Crunches (3x20)
Exercise 2: Bicycle (3x20)
Exercise 3: Captain's Chair


Exercise 1: Side Planks (3x 2 minutes)
Exercise 2: Dumbbell Side Bends

Note: When doing weighted planks, build up until you can hold each set for 2 minutes, and then increase the weight by putting a plate on your lower back, increasing the weight of the plate as you get stronger.
Note: For cable wood choppers, swing the cable from the top handle down to use more of your core. Swinging from the bottom up will use shoulders.
Note: For bicycle, increase weight by holding a dumbbell behind your head.

Day 4: Shoulders and Forearms


Exercise 1: Machine Shoulder Press (3x15)
Exercise 2: Dumbbell Lateral Raises (4x8)
Exercise 3: Dumbbell Reverse Flies (3x8)
Exercise 4: Dumbbell Military Press (3x8)
Exercise 5: Upright Rows (2x12)


Exercise 1: Reverse Dumbbell Wrist Curls (4x20)
Exercise 2: Barbell Wrist Curls (4x20)

Note: With forearms, the first exercise has palms facing down and the second exercise has palms facing upwards to target different parts of the forearms

Day 5: Legs

Upper Legs

Exercise 1: Squats (10, 8, 6, 6, 4)
Exercise 2: Knee Extension (3x12)
Exercise 3: Hamstring Curls (3x12)


Exercise 1: Standing Calve Raises (4x15)
Exercise 2: Seated Calve Raises (4x15)

Note: with squats, the reps should decrease as the leg muscles start to fail. Once you can do the amount of reps specified in the 5 sets above, increase the weight.


  • Even though this is a 5-day split, it can still be done 6 times a week. For example, week 1 can have day 1-5 Monday-Friday and day 1 again on Saturday, so that week 2 starts with day 2 on Monday
  • If you miss out on a workout, don't skip that day's muscle group. For example, if you missed Core on Wednesday, do them on Thursday when you are back in the gym instead of moving over to Shoulders and Forearms. This way, every muscle group is stimulated a day later than usual, instead of one muscle group missing an entire week of training.

For an advanced training program, called the GARRY bodybuilding workout program, click here.

The beginners program is a great introduction to weight training for beginners and helps strengthen the joints and tendons. The standard 5-day split is a great workout program to use regularly. It is also beneficial to alternate between the standard 5-day split and other weight training programs to keep muscles on their toes, growing as much as possible to adapt to new stimulus. STAY STRONG!