A Complete 8-Week Beginner/Intermediate Muscle Building Program

So you’ve finally made the decision to become big and muscular, paid for a gym membership and started lifting weights. Kudos to you! Joining a gym has never been an easy choice for any beginner, but if you are consistent and keep going without making any excuses, you will look back a year from and wonder why you were even scared in the first place. It’s human nature to resist change and want to stay in the comfort zone. That’s why it can seem so hard at first, but it is out of the comfort zone where growth, change and adaptation take place.

In this article we present you an 8-week workout routine which even though it won’t take you too far from your comfort zone that it eventually breaks you, it will nevertheless force the body to grow new muscle mass and continually adapt to the progressive weight overload. And this is exactly what you’re looking for. Without continually challenging your body with increasingly heavy weight, you won’t give it reason to grow and it will eventually remain the same. That’s what we as bodybuilders are trying to avoid.

You definitely don’t want to be that person who has been going to the gym for many years, doing the same routine, same reps, sets, using the same weight and has nothing to show for it. He looks exactly the same as when he first stepped inside the gym. That’s why you need a solid plan of action, like the 8-week workout routine we are about to present.

Depending on the weights and intensity you can do this program as an intermediate as well.

The program:

Phase 1: Weeks 1-4

Key Points:

  • You will train 2 days on, 1 day off. Rest on the weekends.
  • You will rest 1-2 minutes between sets.
  • You will prioritize correct form over weight.
  • Warm-up sets aren’t counted as work sets. Do 2-3 warm-up sets.
  • You will increase the weight by 2-5 pounds each week.
  • Perform workouts in an upper/lower body day fashion. Never do 2 consecutive upper or lower body workouts.

 

Workout 1: Upper Body


Flat Barbell Bench Press
 — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Incline Dumbbell Press — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Flat Bench Dumbbell Flyes — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press — 4 sets of 8-12 reps

Upright Rows — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Side Lateral Raises — 3 sets of 12 reps

 

Workout 2: Lower Body


Barbell Squats
 — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Leg Press — 4 sets of 12 reps

Hack Squat — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Leg Extensions — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Planks — 3 sets of 45 seconds

 

Workout 3: Upper Body


Bent-over Barbell Rows
 — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Lat machine Pull-downs — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Seated Cable Rows — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Barbell Curls — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Concentration Curls — 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Close-grip Bench Press — 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Rope Press-downs — 3 sets of 12-15 reps

 

Workout 4: Lower Body


Romanian Deadlift
 — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Lying Leg Curls — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Standing Calf Raises — 4 sets of 12-15 reps

Donkey/Seated Calf Raises — 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Planks — 3 sets of 50 seconds

 

Phase 2: Weeks 5-8

Key Points:

  • You will train 3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on. You will be training for a total of 5 days a week. A sample week would be Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (Rest), Thursday, Friday, Saturday (Rest).
  • You will rest 1-2 minutes between sets.
  • As before, correct form is top priority, but this times you can train to failure on 2 isolation movements per workout.
  • Warm-up sets aren’t counted as work sets. Do 2-3 warm-up sets.
  • You will keep increasing the weight by 2-5 pounds each week.
  • You will keep performing the workouts as upper body day, lower body day, etc. Never do 2 consecutive upper or lower body workouts.

 

Workout 1: Upper Body


Flat Bench Dumbbell Press
 — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Incline Barbell Press — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Incline Dumbbell Flyes — 4 sets, 10-12 reps

Bent-over Barbell Rows — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Pull-ups/Chin-ups — 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Seated Cable Rows — 3 sets of 10-12 reps

 

Workout 2: Lower Body


Barbell Squats
 — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Leg Press — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Stiff-legged Deadlift — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Lying Leg Curls — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Seated Leg Curls — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Planks — 3 sets of 50 seconds

 

Workout 3: Upper Body


Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press
 — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Upright Rows — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Front Dumbbell Raises — 4 sets of 12 reps

Dumbbell Curl — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Hammer Curls — 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Dips — 3 sets of 10-12 reps

EZ-bar Skullcrushers — 3 sets of 10-12 reps

 

Workout 4: Lower Body


Hack Squats
 — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Lunges — 4 sets of 10-12 reps per foot

Leg Extensions — 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Standing Calf Raises — 4 sets, 12-15 reps

Donkey Calf Raises — 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Seated Calf Raises — 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Planks — 3 sets of 60 seconds

 

Summary

Always follow the key points outlined above and implement them in your workouts and very soon you won’t be a beginner anymore. Push through the pain and trust the process. Of course getting big and strong is just not going to happen without a proper eating regime.

The pursuit of gaining muscle mass is not an easy one and you won’t get results over night. If they did everyone would be walking around with a perfect physique and it wouldn’t be desired by everyone.