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How to Create a Good Workout Routine for a Beginner

Updated on March 15, 2015

Have you ever tried to create a workout routine?

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Common Mistakes

A lot of people create their personal workout routine by themselves before even starting going to the gym. Most of the times these have a lot of flaws. Of course, it is not a surprise - you cannot make something good without any experience. From my own experience, I can say that I had an awful workout routine a few months ago, but I really though that it was good. So, I had spent a few months in the gym and did not get any results just because of a bad workout. Why did it happen? Basically, because of lack of knowledge about fitness and human's organism. What can you do?

The first thing, which is always good for beginners, is to ask a trainer who could create the routine for you. Unfortunately, it costs money.

If you do not want to spend lost of money, you have to know basics and then you are able to create flawless workout routine and strengthen your muscles as fast as possible.


Do not repeat other people's mistakes...
Do not repeat other people's mistakes... | Source

A Few Steps You Should Know

Before constructing workout routine, I will make you familiar with some important things you should know before heading to the gym. Shortly, those are:

  1. The frequency of working out.
  2. Type of workout routine.
  3. Type of exercises.
  4. Best exercises for each muscle group.

Once you fully understand those steps, you will be able to create workout routine quite easily. If it is still going to be a problem, do not worry - I will give an example how you should build it.

3 Days - Enough

There exists a myth - more you are exercising, stronger you are. Well, this is not true. Actually, overexercising can even lead to injuries or you will not grow muscles, but destroy them!

You should keep the optimal number of training days. For a beginner, this number is 3. It is always good idea to have at least one day break between two training sessions. So, usually training days are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Of course, you can workout at other days, for instance, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. It depends on your schedule and how busy you are. However, I recommend to follow these rules:

  • Do not overexercise!
  • Have at least one day break between workout days.

Split or Full-body?

All workout routines are split up in two terms: splits and full-body routines. Let's analyze them.

Split - this is a workout routine when you train 2-3 muscle groups during a session. Usually, no more than 3 exercises are for one muscle group, especially when you are a beginner.

Full-body - a workout routine when almost all muscle groups are trained during one session. However, only 1 exercise is for one muscle group.

You can choose any of those as each of them has pros and cons. However, I would recommend you to select full-body workout routine if you are a beginner. Personally, I got much better results when I was on a full-body workout. But, if you feel split is better for you, choose it! It is absolutely up to you!

It Is Your Choice!

I can recommend you something, but you have a choice!
I can recommend you something, but you have a choice! | Source

Compound over Isolated

All exercises are divided into two parts: compound exercises and isolated exercises. What do they mean?

Compound exercise - it is a multi-joint movement that forces to work more than one muscle group at a time.

Isolated exercise - it is a single-joint movement that trains only one muscle group at a time.

There is no doubt that compound exercises are more efficient for growing muscles. As a result of that, you should choose them! At the start, forget about exercises like biceps curls or leg extensions (which are isolated exercises) and concentrate on compound ones such as squats or bench press.

Compound Exercises Are Best!

Bench press - one of the best compound exercises!
Bench press - one of the best compound exercises! | Source

Best Exercises for Each Muscle Group

So, what are the best exercises for your muscle groups? First of all, let's divide your body. Main parts are chest, shoulders, abs, thighs and back. Moreover, it has some other parts, such as biceps, triceps and calves. To train biceps and calves, you can use only isolated exercise. However, forget triceps as they are fully trained during compound exercises.

Best exercises for each of your body part:

  • Chest - bench press, dips, incline bench press.
  • Shoulders - military press, barbell rear delt row, alternating deltoid raises.
  • Abdominals - leg raises, side twists, cable crunches.
  • Thighs - squats, deadlifts, leg press, lying leg curls.
  • Back - deadlifts, pull ups, bent over barbell rows.
  • Biceps - biceps curls, hammer curls.
  • Calves - seated calf raises, standing calf raises.

You can see that some of these exercises are bold, some of them are bold and italic, others are normal. Bold and italic ones are big 3 - exercises you must have if you want to be strong and powerful. These are bench press, squats and deadlifts. Best exercises ever. Just italic ones are compound exercises and left ones are isolated.

As you see, I mentioned deadlifts twice. This is because it mainly targets two muscles - lower back and hamstrings (back of thighs).

Notice that all exercises for one muscle group are slightly different and target not the same place. For example, leg raises focuses on lower abs, meanwhile, side twists are wonderful for obliques. This means that in order to from wonderful body, you have to do all these exercises mentioned above, or at least a vast majority of them.

5 Best Exercises for Your Body!

Creating a Routine - Full-body

Now, when you know basics, you can easily create your full-body workout routine. So, what you should do?

Remember, what is a full-body workout. Forgot it? Scroll up and check it again. It is not because I am lazy to write or copy that again. It is because I want you to put all this information in your brains.

Now, let's start building. You are a beginner, so you are strongly recommended to train 3 times a week. You have to train nearly whole body during one session. Seems easy! Just select your days (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are recommended) and put one exercise for one muscle group in one day. For example,

Monday - bench press (chest), barbell rear delt row (shoulders), lying leg curls (legs), pull ups (back), leg raises (abdominals).

Wednesday - dips (chest), military press (shoulders), squats (legs), bent over barbell rows (back), calf raises (calves), side twists (abdominals).

Friday - incline bench press (chest), deadlifts (back and legs), alternating deltoid raise (shoulders), biceps curls (biceps), cable crunches (abdominals).

You can see that there are maximum 6 exercises in one day. Furthermore, notice that absolute majority of exercises are compound exercises. This is to ensure good development of your muscles.

Creating a Workout Routine - Split

Now I am going to give you some instructions how to create split routine. As long as you know basics, it is quite easy. Again, 3 days a week. However, this might be slightly more complicated as you have to group muscle groups. This is another reason why it is recommended to use full-body workout routine.

Most of people choose working out chest + biceps on Mondays, legs + shoulders on Wednesdays, back + triceps on Fridays. In addition to this, you should add abs in any of those days.

Monday - bench press, dips, incline bench press (chest), standing curls, hammer curls (biceps)

Wednesday - squats, leg press, lying leg curls, standing calf raises (legs), military press, barbell rear delt row, alternating deltoid raises (shoulders)

Friday - deadlifts, pull ups, bent over barbell rows (back), french press, bench dips (triceps).

Plus, add a couple of abs exercises in one of those days.

As you see, maximum number of exercises for one body part is 4 - for legs. Legs is a huge part of human's body, thighs are really strong muscles, so they do need special attention.

Check Out Other Articles!

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Do you want to start going to the gym, but do not know anything about it? Click here!

Not sure what is better - training at home or going to the gym? Take a look here!


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      Leo 2 years ago

      Abdominal strength-building is a big thing at our soohcl. Here are some exercises that may help:1. Reverse crunches: Lie on your back, arms crossed across your chest or flat on the ground at your side. Bend your knees and lift your legs so that your shins are parallel to the ground. Cross your ankles. From this position, lower your legs until your feet are about 3 inches off the ground, then hold for a count of four. Raise your legs back up. Repeat 8 times.2. V reaches: Lie on your back, arms flat at your sides. Lift your legs into the air, then split them into a large V. Reach your arms through your legs and hold for a count of 4, then relax. Repeat 8 times.3. Rope pulls: Lie on your back, knees bent but feet flat on the floor. Pretend that there is a rope going from your stomach up to the ceiling. For a count of eight, lift your back and abs off the floor and use your arms to climb the rope up. Relax, then repeat 8 times.4. Double extensions: Lie on the ground with knees bent and slightly raised, feet off the floor, arms crossed across your chest. Lift your head and upper back to focus on your knees. Simultaeneously, shoot your legs straight out to hover about 4 inches off the floor while you shoot your arms over your head. Return and repeat 8 times.5. Pushes: Lie on the ground with your knees bent, legs elevated off the floor. Raise your back and abs off the floor and extend your arms to either side of your knees, palms open and facing away from you. Sit up as high as you can, pushing away something in front of you. Pulse for a count of 8, rest, then repeat.These should get you started.