As a novice the first thing you need to understand is this: muscle building is not a sprint. Do not rush into things, trying to force growth by adding volume, or by switching to some complex workout system. Right now you need one thing: to get strong on the basic, compound exercises. When you learn a new sport you must master the fundamentals. Weight training is no different. You must take time to study and practice proper form on the major exercises.

Understand that no one ever masters exercise form. Adding weight to the bar will always make keeping proper form more challenging. The point in all this is simple - never stop trying to improve your exercise form. This will minimize injuries and help you reach your goals more quickly.

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Week 1-2

For the first 2 weeks you will be lifting twice a week. No more and no less. If you can't make it to the gym for these workouts, you might want to look in the mirror and ask yourself if muscle building is something you really want. Do not miss workouts. If you want to be successful find a way to get it done. These are going to be "play workouts". Your goals during the first 2 weeks are:

  1. Find an appropriate amount of weight to use for each exercise.
  2. Practice form without the burden of heavy weight.
  3. Develop the routine of going to the gym and following a plan.
  4. Build up a small amount of conditioning.
  5. Perform the follow exercises in the order listed. Make sure to use a non-taxing weight. If you go too heavy for a set, back off the weight and try another set. Practice your form and take your time.
Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Squat 2 12
Bench Press 2 12
Dead lift 2 12
Military Press 2 12
Barbell Row 2 12
Cable Tricep Extension 2 12
Lat Pull Down To Chest 2 12
Barbell Curl 2 12
Seated Calf Raise 2 12
Sit Ups 2 12

Rest

Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Squat 2 12
Bench Press 2 12
Dead lift 2 12
Military Press 2 12
Barbell Row 2 12
Cable Tricep Extension 2 12
Lat Pull Down To Chest 2 12
Barbell Curl 2 12
Seated Calf Raise 2 12
Sit Ups 2 12

Rest

Rest

Rest

Rest

Week 3-4

During weeks 3 and 4 you will be increasing your training frequency to 3 times per week. Workouts will remain the same. Continue to use an appropriate, moderately-light weight; not challenging to the point where you are struggling to complete a set. Remain patient. You will begin to add weight during weeks 5-8.
Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Squat 2 12
Bench Press 2 12
Dead lift 2 12
Military Press 2 12
Barbell Row 2 12
Cable Tricep Extension 2 12
Lat Pull Down To Chest 2 12
Barbell Curl 2 12
Seated Calf Raise 2 12
Sit Ups 2 12

Rest

Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Squat 2 12
Bench Press 2 12
Dead lift 2 12
Military Press 2 12
Barbell Row 2 12
Cable Tricep Extension 2 12
Lat Pull Down To Chest 2 12
Barbell Curl 2 12
Seated Calf Raise 2 12
Sit Ups 2 12

Rest

Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Squat 2 12
Bench Press 2 12
Dead lift 2 12
Military Press 2 12
Barbell Row 2 12
Cable Tricep Extension 2 12
Lat Pull Down To Chest 2 12
Barbell Curl 2 12
Seated Calf Raise 2 12
Sit Ups 2 12

Rest

Rest

Week 5-8

During weeks 5 through 8 you are going to slowly add weight to each exercise until you feel like you could barely complete a set. When you do reach this point, continue to use this weight through the end of week 8. The point isn't to train to failure, but rather to learn about what you can handle for each movement for the given set and rep scheme. You will be learning more about your body and capabilities.

Squats and Deadlifts. For squats and deadlifts add 10 pounds each workout and perform the stated number of sets and reps. When the second set becomes challenging to complete, you have found your current limit weight. Use this weight for the given exercise until the end of week 8.

Other Exercises. For the other exercises, add 5 pounds each workout and perform the stated number of sets and reps. When the second set becomes challenging to complete, you have found your current limit weight. Use this weight for the given exercise until the end of week 8.

Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Squat 2 12
Bench Press 2 12
Dead lift 2 12
Military Press 2 12
Barbell Row 2 12
Dips 2 12
Lat Pull Down To Chest 2 12
Barbell Curl 2 12
Seated Calf Raise 2 12
Sit Ups 2 12

Rest

Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Squat 2 12
Bench Press 2 12
Dead lift 2 12
Military Press 2 12
Barbell Row 2 12
Dips 2 12
Lat Pull Down To Chest 2 12
Barbell Curl 2 12
Seated Calf Raise 2 12
Sit Ups 2 12

Rest

Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Squat 2 12
Bench Press 2 12
Dead lift 2 12
Military Press 2 12
Barbell Row 2 12
Dips 2 12
Lat Pull Down To Chest 2 12
Barbell Curl 2 12
Seated Calf Raise 2 12
Sit Ups 2 12

Rest

Rest