A weekly gym workout routine for beginners

A man in a black tanktop is doing seated shoulder press. He's no longer a beginner.

Every good workout routine, whether for beginners or more experienced lifters, have a few things in common. It’s built around compound movements, has at least two workouts for every muscle group weekly, and has a system for progression while trying to keep the volume at a reasonable level. We made the weekly gym workout routine for beginners with that in mind.

Let’s have a look at how the routine works before we get to the actual workout plan.

How the plan works

The old way of training suggested that training one muscle group and then giving it a full week of rest is the most effective for strength and muscle gains. Studies, however, have proved that training them twice a week is 48% more effective. That’s significant. As this workout routine is made to build muscle and strength fast, it will have two workouts for every muscle group each week.

The workout plan consists of 4 workouts every week. Enough to train every muscle twice a week, while the body has 3 full days to recover.

How to add weight

As a weight training beginner, it might be difficult knowing when to add weight in the different exercises, but it doesn’t have to be.

The workout routine doesn’t include an exact number of reps for each exercise but a rep range instead. Doing it like this isn’t to make it confusing but to make progression easier.

Once you have learned to perform the different exercises, you can add weight. If the rep range is 6-8 reps, you’ll aim to do somewhere between that. Once you manage to do 8 reps for all sets with good form, you can pick a heavier weight for your next workout. Be careful not to add too much weight too fast.

Warm up

Doing a warm-up before lifting might seem unnecessary, especially when you’re just starting. However, skipping your weight training warm-up will limit the effectiveness of your workouts and increase the risk of injuries. Not something you would want, no matter how experienced you are. A good warm-up should include the 3 points below.

  1. A light cardiovascular exercise to get the body temperature up. This could be 3-5 minutes of biking, rowing, etc.
  2. A dynamic warmup is important for mobility and to find the right state of mind. This could be 5 minutes of arm circles, hip circles, leg swings, etc.
  3. Activation exercise(s) prepares the mind and muscles for the coming task. A couple of sets with just the bar of the first exercise of your workout is usually enough. Slowly add weight before your first working set.

Static stretching, foam rolling, and other warm-up techniques could be included but shouldn’t substitute any of the activities above.

Related: Should you do cardio before or after your workout?

The gym workout routine

While the workout routine is mainly for beginners, most will increase muscle mass and strength by following it. It requires 4 days in the gym every week. Cardio, stretching, working on weak points, and other activities can be incorporated into the workout routine. However, adding too many days might lead to overtraining, especially amongst beginners.

The weekly gym workout routine for beginners

Let’s have a look at the workout routine.

Monday/Thursday – Chest, Shoulders, and triceps

The The push day of a workout routine for beginners
Push day for beginners

Tuesday/Friday – Legs, back, and biceps

The pull day of a workout routine for beginners
Pull day for beginners

While the push-day can be completed as it is twice a week, it’s recommended that you alternate between squat and deadlift on pull-day. Begin the gym routine with squats on Tuesdays and deadlifts on Fridays.

Remember: the program allows for flexibility. You can add or remove exercises to make them fit your goals and preferences.

Related: Dumbbell workouts

How fast will I see results from the workout routine?

It’s impossible to say precisely how fast and which results you’ll see by following the workout. Training experience, diet, genetics, age, and many other factors play a role. However, the average weight training beginner can gain the following in their first year of lifting.

Newbie gains are a real thing when it comes to lifting. A beginner can build around 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of lean muscle mass a month. That’s a total of 12kg (26.5lbs) in the first year. After the first year, however, it will slow down.

The strength levels can be increased fast in the beginning as well. Beginners can see an increase of between 50-100% in all lifts, some even more!

Related: Why am I not getting stronger?

Diet tips

It doesn’t matter which workout plan you’re following or how hard you work in the gym if you’re following a terrible diet. Let’s have a look at some of the most important diet tips for growing muscle mass.

  • The body needs to be in a calorie surplus to grow. Calculate how many calories you need, and make sure to eat 200-300 calories more than that. You can calculate how much you need here.
  • Make sure that you eat enough protein. Either by focusing on getting more protein-rich food or by tracking your macros.

Being healthy should always be a part of the goal. Eat vegetables, fruits, and fibers, even if it makes it harder to stay in a calorie surplus. You will feel better and have more energy for your workouts, which will show as better results from the gym long term.


There are many sports supplements on the market, and determining which is beneficial might be difficult, especially when starting. Let’s have a look at two of the most popular supplements, creatine, and protein powder.


Creatine is the most researched sports supplement on the market. It’s shown to increase muscle and strength gains, exercise performance, and numerous other health benefits.

Related: Does creatine make you fat?

Protein powder

There are many different types of protein powders on the market. The most popular is whey protein. Protein powders don’t have a direct impact on muscle or strength gains but instead are an easy source of quality protein. If you’re struggling to get enough protein, you might want to consider this supplement.

Remember: supplements aren’t necessary to see great results from the gym but can make the process a bit easier.


The gym routine for beginners has 4 weekly workouts. It’s created for weight lifting beginners, but most lifters could benefit from following a program similar to this.