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Beginner Weight Training Template 1

Planning and action. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Experience Level: 0-1 year

Frequency: 3 days a week, 1 hour each session

Type of template: Full body, compound movements

  • This template is for the complete beginner, or those coming back to training after a long time off and looking to get back into it. You are in the gym three times a week, with at least 1 rest day between workouts.
  • The goal of this template is to get your body used to the major lifts and build a solid foundation. Weight used initially is not important; the key is to use a weight that is comfortable that allows you to concentrate more on the form and control of the exercise than struggling to complete a rep.
  • As you feel more comfortable (probably within a month or two) then start adding weight whilst keeping the reps and sets the same.
  • Increase weight slowly; when you can complete all the sets and reps comfortably then next time add 2.5 to 5 kgs and keep going.
  • Follow this template until you find that you are not progressing i.e. you find yourself stuck on the same weight and reps for a few weeks. When this happens substantially lower the weight for a week to let you body recover and then go back to the program, re-starting at the weight you were using.
Days 1, 2 and 3 Full body
Exercise Body part targeted Sets Reps Notes
  1. Flat dumbbell bench press
Chest/Shoulders/Triceps 4 10 Keep shoulders pinned back
  1. Pull-ups
Upper back, biceps, core 3 AMRAP* each set Stop short of complete failure; leave one rep ‘in the tank’ each set
  1. Deadlifts
Back, forearms, traps, hamstrings, glutes all body 4 6 to 8 Keep back flat and core tight.   Keep bar close to the body
  1. Back squats
Quads, back, all body 4 10 Thigh should be at least parallel to the ground. If this is not possible then work on flexibility on rest days to get this depth
  1. Leg raises
Core 2 AMRAP each set Keep each rep controlled; don’t swing or use momentum. Try and keep legs as straight as possible.

*As Many Repetitions As Possible

As stated, the primary aim of this program is to ‘groove’ each movement and start the development of the mind-muscle connection; this is why the same full body routine is carried out three times a week, to give more practice to each exercise.

In regards to exercise order you can move the 5 exercises around however make sure squats always follow deadlifts. The reason is that to perform deadlifts properly you need your lower back to be fresh; squats will fatigue the back making bad form and therefore injury more likely if you follow them with deadlifts.

Of course deadlifts will fatigue your back for squats as well but squats put a lot less stress on that area, so at the relatively light weights that you will be using here this is acceptable.

As you progress to intermediate training you will start to split up your workouts into days separating the squat and the deadlift with adequate rest in between for precisely this reason.

Some further points to consider:

  • Everyone has a different reaction to training and no-one starts from the same place. What I mean is that some people will be naturally stronger, maybe have a background in sports or just adapt quicker than others. Equally everyone has different exercises they are good at.
  • For example a tall person with long legs may find squats more challenging because they have to move the weight over more distance and their leverages may be less suited. A person with long arms will find the dumbbell press more challenging for the same reasons but they are likely to find the deadlift easier than a person with short arms who excels on the bench press as their long arms now shorten the path of the bar.

The key is don’t worry about other people, just concentrate on making sure you have control of the weight and good form; if you perfect the movement it is much easier and will be much faster to increase the weight as you progress.

It takes a lot longer to undo and re-learn a bad habit than to learn it right in the first place.

A good habit to get into now is to record your progress.  It’s probably not necessary for each and every workout at this stage but a brief record of your reps and weight lifted for each exercise at the end of each week gives you a good tool to track your development and provides motivation. 

As you progress and get more advanced this will become important so start now!

For simplicity, download and print out a template with the link below to have a chart for recording your monthly progress.

Download template 1 here

Once you have followed Template 1 for a few months you can continue with it if it is still working well for you or you can try one of the other beginner Templates.  But as always, stick with one and give it time! If you are completely new to training this template should really help you and I would advise sticking with it for at least  3 months.

If you have trained before or adapt fast you may want to explore other templates after a month or so.  Go at your own pace.

As always please comment below for suggestions or questions or send me an e-mail at contact@thetrainingtemplate.com or comment below.

Happy training!

2 Comments on Beginner Weight Training Template 1

  1. Do you have any video of that? I’d like to find out more details.

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