Program: full body for beginners Focused on muscle growth

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You start strength training for the first time or you resume your training after a long rest period and hypertrophy (muscle growth) is your main goal? Then you can make a lightning start with this full body training program for beginners. A proven building block for muscle growth!

EXPLANATION

As mentioned, this program mainly focuses on hypertrophy, or muscle growth. It is a full body program, which means that you train your whole body three times a week, on non-consecutive days. For example on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So you have one day of rest between two training sessions and you have two days, in this case the weekend, free to start a new training cycle (training week) fully rested.

Because it is a full body program, you focus on the large muscle groups with large basic exercises (compounds), supplemented with isolation exercises.

TRAINING VOLUME

Beginners need about 10 sets per muscle group per week to build muscle optimally. See also this article. Our schedule is therefore based on that training volume. To be precise:

  • Chest: 10 sets
  • Back: 11 sets
  • Shoulders front: 9 sets
  • Shoulders side: 9 sets
  • Back shoulders: 6 sets
  • Biceps: 9 sets
  • Triceps: 10 sets
  • Quadriceps: 9 sets
  • Hamstrings: 7.5 sets
  • Calves: 7 sets
  • Abs: 9 sets

Note that these numbers include indirect sets, that is, we count fractional sets (hence the 7.5 sets). The front of the shoulders, for example, has 6 direct sets (dumbbell shoulder press) and 2x 1.5 set, because the front shoulder heads also cooperate with the barbell and dumbbell chest press.

Per training you do about 25 sets in total and at most 6 sets per muscle group. The latter means that we have neatly divided the training load per muscle group over three training sessions, which benefits the quality of the sets. In addition, the growth stimulus, seen per muscle group, starts to stagnate already after five sets, to come to a standstill around ten sets (the principle of reduced returns) — see further this article.

The Friday training is in our opinion the toughest training; this because you can then rest for two days before the next workout starts.

Are you no longer a beginner? Then you can feel free to add sets. Please note that training sessions do not become too long; from a certain training volume you should increase the training frequency to four times a week.

ORDER OF EXERCISES

Logically, we have always placed the large, compound exercises at the beginning of the training sessions. Furthermore, you do not work through the workouts per muscle group, but the exercises are criss-cross in terms of muscle groups. That way, one muscle group can always rest while you train another muscle group.

INTENSITY

Training intensity is twofold: on the one hand the absolute intensity (the training weight and the rep range), on the other hand the relative intensity (the number of Reps In Reserve, RIR).

In theory, you can achieve maximum muscle growth in any rep range, but in practice, it’s best to operate in the range of 6 to 20 reps, to be precise:

  • 6-10 reps in compound exercises;
  • 10-20 reps in isolation exercises.

In this schedule we have chosen to train in the range of 6 to 12 repetitions.

RIR stands for Reps In Reserve, or the number of repetitions that you stay away from muscle failure. As a rule, that

  • 2-3 RIR in compound exercises;
  • 1-2 RIR in isolation exercises.

So choose a weight with which you can do the desired number of repetitions, taking into account the RIR. For example, if you want to do 10 reps at 2 RIR, you choose the weight that allows you to do a maximum of 12 reps.

It is not forbidden to train until complete muscle failure (0 RIR), but preferably only do this during isolation exercises and only in the last set. We have not mentioned this separately in our schedule.

REST BREAKS

For compound exercises, rest for 2-3 minutes between sets, for squats, if desired, use 3-5 minutes. With isolating exercises you can suffice with 1-2 minutes.

THE SCHEDULE

Our schedule looks like this. Obviously, you don’t necessarily have to do these exercises: there are plenty of alternatives in our exercises section.

MONDAY

Practice Sets Reps RIR Rest
Barbell bench press 3 8-10 2-3 2 minutes
Leg press 3 8-10 2-3 2 minutes
Barbell row 3 8-10 2-3 2 minutes
Leg curl 3 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Cable fly 2 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Lateral dumbbell raise 3 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Barbell bicep curl 2 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Triceps pushdown 2 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Hanging leg raise 3 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute

WEDNESDAY

Practice Sets Reps RIR Rest
Dumbbell shoulder press 3 8-10 2-3 2 minutes
Romanian deadlift 3 8-10 2-3 2 minutes
Cable fly 2 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Lateral dumbbell raise 3 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Leg extension 3 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Reverse pec deck fly 3 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Lying triceps extension 2 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Hammer curl 2 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
RKC plank 3 1,5 minute

FRIDAY

Exercise Sets Reps RIR Rest
Pull up 3 6-8 2-3 2 minutes
Barbell squat 3 6-8 2-3 2-3 minutes
Incline dumbbell chest press 3 8-10 2-3 2 minutes
Abductor machine 3 10-12 1-2 2 minutes
Dumbbell shoulder press 3 8-10 2-3 1,5 minute
Lateral dumbbell raise 3 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Barbell bicep curl 2 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Triceps dip machine 2 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Calf raise 4 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute
Kneeling cable crunche 3 10-12 1-2 1,5 minute

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