Are you a beginner looking to get big and strong? This 8 week workout programme for beginners covers all of the basics needed to build lean muscle mass! Building your desired physique isn’t all that complicated. But simple doesn’t mean easy.

This is all too evident with the beginner. Many newbies want to skip over the time-tested trench training and go straight to advanced techniques, marathon workouts, and stockpile a king’s collection of supplements.

You need a solid, basic workout program to help you build muscle. Try this 8 week workout for beginners to kick start your muscle building quest, and with a little patience and a huge serving of hard work, you’ll say goodbye to the beginner and be on the road to your ideal physique.

1. Workouts Will Be Split

For the first 4 weeks of this 8 week workout programme, you will follow a 2 day split, work out for 2 days followed by 1 day of rest and then rest on weekends. By following this split, you’ll provide your body with adequate rest, allowing it to recover from the workouts.

From week 5 onward, you will work out for 3 consecutive days followed by a rest day and then work out for another 2 days, totalling at 5 workouts a week.

Related article: 10 Exercises You Need To Do For Achieving Single-Digit Body Fat

2. Add Little Weight Increments

This is one of the biggest mistakes that gym novices make, adding too much weight, too soon. Adding too much weight to what you can lift before your muscles have had enough time to develop and grow stronger, will only increase the risk for injury.

Making small weight increments to your lifts (or even isolation movements) will allow your body to grow and adapt to progressive overload. This is one of the most basic ways to grow stronger and bigger.

3. Practice Your Form

Training with poor form is just as big a risk for injury as training too heavy is, let alone doing both at the same time.

If you practice your form with lighter weight, you’ll be able to execute near-perfect form with the heavier weights. Also, training with bad form will not only increase your risk of injury, but you won’t get the most out of the muscle group that you’re training.

That’s why the first 4 weeks of this beginner workout programme should be focused on executing your movements with great form. This doesn’t mean that you’ll only be training with light weights, it just means that there will be a special emphasis placed on your form.

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4. Train To Fail

Learn how to train to failure.

Though the first 4 weeks of this programme will place more emphasis on training with the correct form, the last 4 weeks will be a test of your will power.

During the last 4 weeks, you’ll have to push yourself both mentally and physically to train to failure. However, training to failure doesn’t mean that you train until you can’t train anymore. It simply means that you should use a weight that would allow you to fail at a number of reps.

For example: If I said that you should do 10 reps to failure, that means that you should choose a weight that would fail you on the 10th rep and that performing the 11th rep would be impossible.

5. Keep The Rest To A Minimum

When training for a physique change, the rest that you take in between sets is extremely important. It’s recommended to rest 1-2 minutes between sets. Unless you’re training for strength, resting for longer than 2 minutes will deter your gains.

For muscle-building, you want to rest just long enough to allow your body to get rid of metabolic waste in the bloodstream and allow you to catch your breath for the next set.

However, muscle groups differ in size, therefore, for smaller muscle groups, resting closer to the minute mark is advised. Training muscle groups like the legs or back require more rest, and therefore resting up to 2 minutes would be enough.

Related article: Extremely Effective Bodyweight Exercises for Fat Loss

6. Change = Growth

If you want your body to keep growing, you need to keep forcing it to adapt. One way of doing that is by overloading the muscle. Another way of doing it is by changing the routine.

By changing your routine: exercises, reps, sets, intensity principles, etc. Are what will help your body to change.

The 8-Week Beginner Workout Programme

Phase 1: Weeks 1-4

Key Points:

  • Train 2 days on, 1 day off. Rest weekends.
  • Rest 1-2 minutes between sets.
  • Emphasise on form over weight.
  • Warm-up sets are not included. Perform 2-3 warm-up sets.
  • Increase weight by 2-5 pounds each week.
  • Perform workouts as upper body day, lower body day, etc.
  • Never perform two consecutive upper or lower body workouts.

Related article: The Ultimate Ab Workout For Men

Workout 1: Upper Body

Workout 2: Lower Body

  • Barbell Squats: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
  • Leg Press: 3 sets, 10 reps
  • Hack Squat: 3 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Planking: 3 sets, 30 seconds

Workout 3: Upper Body

Workout 4: Lower Body

Related article: 5 Essential Skipping Exercises To Burn Fat And Tone Your Body

Phase 2: Weeks 5-8

Key Points:

  • Train 3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on. You’ll be training for a total of 5 days a week, which could be Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed (Rest), Thurs, Fri, Sat (Rest).
  • Rest 1-2 minutes between sets.
  • Keep form in mind, but train to failure on two isolation exercises per workout.
  • Warm-up sets are not included. Perform 2-3 warm-up sets.
  • Keep increasing the weight by 2-5 pounds each week.
  • Keep performing the workouts as upper body day, lower body day, etc.
  • Never perform two consecutive upper or lower body workouts.

Workout 1: Upper Body

Related article: 5 Kettlebell Exercises To Strengthen Your Whole Body

Workout 2: Lower Body

Workout 3: Upper Body

Workout 4: Lower Body

Related article: 4 Deadlift Variations To Achieve A Banging Body!


Keep the ‘rules’ that have been outlined in mind and in your workouts, and soon, you won’t be a beginner in the gym.

Keep pushing through and keep trusting the process. The results won’t come over night. I wish that they did, but that’s not the case. If it was, then everyone would be doing it and there would not be any admiration for a good physique.