5 Day Strength Training Workout Routine for Beginners

5 Day Strength Training Workout Routine for Beginners

Strength training can be difficult to grasp to a beginner.

They see guys in the gym benching 225 and deadlifting 405 and get overwhelmed by how hard it must be to get there. To tell you the truth, it’s not really that difficult.

This workout routine is designed to build strength and utilizes exercises and rep schemes that work well for beginners. That means there are no crazy calculations you need to use and you don’t have to worry about what percentage of your 1 rep max this lift is… you just go lift.

What does the workout routine schedule look like?

This 5 day strength training routine allows you to train specific exercises each day so that you can effectively target all of your weaknesses.

  • Day 1: Workout A
  • Day 2: Workout B
  • Day 3: OFF
  • Day 4: Workout C
  • Day 5: Workout D
  • Day 6: Workout E
  • Day 7: OFF

While you don’t have to follow this specific schedule, I do not recommend going more than 3 days without a break. Doing so is not beneficial to your nervous system and you will affect your progress.

Do you have any nutrition suggestions?

I’ve written a few articles on nutrition that I think you should check out – but here are a few take home tips to get the most from this workout routine.

  • Aim for 150-225 grams of protein each day.
  • Aim for 250 calories above your maintenance levels.
  • 20%-25% of your calories should come from quality fat sources such as avocados, olive oil, peanuts, fish, etc.
  • Strive to cook and prepare as many meals as you can – limiting your fast food intake will increase your performance, make you feel better overall, and can help with body recomposition.

Do you have any supplement suggestions?

I would rather someone spend their money on healthy and nutritious food sources over going out and buying supplements but here are 3 supplement suggestions that I personally recommend.

Pre-WorkoutMTS Nutrition Clash

Pre-workouts can be a great source of energy if you purchase one with stimulants in them (like the one pictured to the right) and can really enhance performance in the gym.

I’ve tried quite a few pre-workouts in my time and I have to say that overall I like MTS Nutrition’s Clash the best.

I used to like Jack3d until the DMAA made them illegal and they had to reformulate – but Clash is my newest favorite. It tastes great, mixes easily, and doesn’t make me too jittery.

BCAARich Piana 5% AllDayYouMay

BCAAs help with recovery by giving your body a great source of muscle-building amino acids.

I enjoy sipping on BCAAs throughout the day, while I’m training, or just before I go to sleep.

I’ve had quite a few different BCAAs and I would have to say that my favorite right now is Rich Piana’s 5% AllDayYouMay. It tastes great, has a great amino loadout and overall it’s my favorite.

Note, I’ve also had some that were better tasting that had proprietary blends that I don’t trust.

Overall, this takes the cake.

Multi-VitaminOptimum Nutrition Opti-Men

Multi-vitamins help round-off any nutrients you may not have received that day through your diet.

There are a lot of great multi-vitamins out there but I have always liked Optimum Nutrition’s Opti-Men.

It’s a brand that has been around a long time and I know their products are quality.

Whether you eat a well-rounded diet or not, multis won’t create a miracle but they will help.

Progression

Sticking to a workout routine and striving to add weight and doing better than last week is the goal here.

Every time you walk into the gym, record your workouts in a log and start being mindful of how you feel during these reps.

If you complete every rep of every set, great job. Next week add 5 pounds (or the next increment you can).

If the next workout you do not complete all reps in every set, the week after that keep the same weight and attempt to complete all sets and reps.

Many beginners see a failed set as a loss – regardless of how many reps they may have done before.

If you fail 2 weeks in a row, knock the weight back 10 pounds, ensure your form is good, and keep going.

Note: If you stick with this routine for 12 weeks, you could essentially add 60 pounds to your squat, 60 pounds to your bench press, and 60 pounds to your deadlift. That doesn’t sound too shabby, does it?

5 Day Strength Training Workout Routine for Beginners

Below you will find the exercises, sets, and reps for each exercise.

The exercises that are linked have tips on proper form for that exercise.

Workout A – Legs and Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 5 5
Leg Press 4 8
Goblet Squat 3 12
Walking Lunges 2 20
Leg Extensions 3 15
Side Planks 2 ALAP

 

Workout B – Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Bent Over Barbell Rows 5 5
Lat Pull Downs 4 12
Close Grip Seated Row 3 15
1 Arm Dumbbell Rows 3 8
Face Pulls 3 20
Barbell Shrugs 2 AMAP

 

Workout C – Chest and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench 5 5
Incline Dumbbell Bench 3 12
Pec Dec 3 20
Low Cable Cross 3 15
Close Grip Bench 2 AMAP
Skull Crushers 2 AMAP

 

Workout D – Legs and Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlifts 5 5
Romanian Deadlifts 3 12
Leg Curls 4 15
Reverse Hypers 4 8
Weighted Decline Sit Ups 4 AMAP
Planks 3 ALAP

 

Workout E – Shoulders and Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Barbell Overhead Press 4 12
Arnold Press 3 8
Shoulder Press Machine 4 15
Face Pulls 3 20
Dumbbell Shrugs 3 AMAP
EZ Curl Preacher Curls 3 10
Cross Body Hammer Curls 4 12

Conclusion

  • AMAP – As Many As Possible – Be able to finish your last rep just barely.
  • ALAP – As Long As Possible
  • Sticking to the routine for a full 12 weeks will yield impressive results.
  • Cook as many meals as you can for yourself.
  • Use correct form – developing bad habits will be hard to break later on.
  • Strive for progression.

 

If you have any comments or questions, leave them below!

39 thoughts on “5 Day Strength Training Workout Routine for Beginners

  1. Hey Cutty,
    I’ve been doing your 4 day gym workout for a few weeks now. I’m just wondering what the difference between that one and this one is, other than the extra day of course? Do they have different goals? I’m working on losing fat and gaining strength. I am new to lifting. Does either of these workout plans have advantages for me that the other maybe doesn’t?

    Thanks,
    Darin

    1. The main difference between these routines are days, sometimes exercises, and unless it’s stated, goals. So there are some that are built for building strength (low volume high intensity) and some that are higher volume. Other than that, your diet is doing to be what dictates if you lose weight or bulk up.

      Start cleaning up your diet and find a routine you like to do consistently – finish up the current routine and run it for 12 weeks and find another routine to try after that. Consistency and progression is key to anything Darin.

      Keep me updated on how you are progressing man!

      Cutty

  2. Been running this for about two weeks, and I’ve added 25 lbs on squats and deadlifts and 30 on bench. I tweaked the back workout and exercises here and there but the set up is great

  3. Hey Cutty,

    I really like how you’ve designed this routine, using the main compound lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press, and row) as the focus for each day with accessory work to follow.

    I’m going to run this for 12 weeks starting once I get back from vacation at the end of the month. Was curious how you determined the set and rep ranges for the accessory exercises? I ask because I may swap out some exercises for others in order to address my specific weaknesses and I want to maintain your rationale behind the original program.

    Thanks,
    Jason

  4. Hey cutty,

    What if your weight isn’t a problem, do you still have to do cardio, or is the cardio just used to accelerate weight loss?

    Great routine BTW

    Cheers Jimmy

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Cardio and conditioning should be a factor everyone puts an emphasis on. Yes cardio does help with weight loss by burning calories and working synergistically with weight training to ramp up your metabolism, but what cardio also does is improve heart health.

      Your ability to go up stairs or walk a long distance without getting winded or tired is your conditioning level. A higher conditioning level means a better quality of life plus the ability to produce more power and strength. So conditioning equals output. For someone who doesn’t have weight issues, I would recommend a HIIT or other high intensity training. This will target mostly your heart health instead of long steady state cardio.

      Cheers

  5. Hey cutty I got a question I’ve been working out 3 years now I do have an old injury broke my left collar bone when I was 19 I’m 31 now but I’m uneven a bit that side is higher so kinda ruin my form but I feel I should be able to lift more I stared I could only bench like 60 lbs now I still can only do 185 for 3 reps on a good day I do work 9 hr days welding and stuff physical job so anyway was just wondering a good way to build better strength in all my lifts

    1. I would look into a chiropractor and help get you realigned. Being uneven doesn’t help anything and eventually if you keep working through it, it can become an issue. I would recommend getting straightened out and look up some upper body mobility/scapula work to help loosen up those tight muscles. Believe it or not, 185 for a triple is respectable, especially if that’s near body weight. The monsters you see benching 5 and 600 are genetic or chemical freaks, so don’t compare yourself to them.. you’ve put on 125 extra pounds on your bench and can do that for 3 reps, be proud.

    2. Thanx for that and I am proud of it just wondered if that could be the reason and it is over my weight I’m 5 10 165 chest is 42 inch arms 15 and half I look decent most people think I can lift alot more then I can but I don’t think I can fix the uneven it’s the way it healed less I get surgery I guess it s possible I also should say I don’t eat as well as I should more as in not enough could also be the reason

    3. Chiro will be able to fix you, trust me. I’ve had ankle surgery in 2010 and I fought through pain and I am getting back aligned and I feel like a different person.

      You can bench more than your body weight which is more than most can say.

  6. Hey Cutty

    I was just wondering why the rep ranges are so high in some of the exercises
    Is it really better to do it like that because I ‘feel like it hits better’ if say I am doing Pec Dec – 20 reps (workout c) and lower it to 10 reps with a little heavier weights.

    Understand that I haven’t much knowledge about this thing so I am just purely asking

    1. Volume on smaller muscles helps. If you prefer a different rep range, feel free to change it up.. The issue is getting volume to the muscle without fatiguing it too much.

  7. Hi cutty ,

    I read in the earlier reply to a comment that it depends on your diet if you want to lose weight with this. Would you recommend this plan with a calorie cut, I am looking to lose fat, but build muscle mass as i have lost some when i first lost weight and now im smaller but still need to lose weight. Also would cardio benefit on the off days, or would it be too much?

    1. Start by cutting 200 calories from your regular diet for a month and see how that does. Work on getting some more exercise outdoors, find a place to hike or play sports.. that way it’s fun and you’re getting into shape.

  8. Looking forward to starting this workout plan and thanks for sharing. I had my ACL replaced twice, do I need to concern myself with the squats? That’s been my hesitation. I been working out for the last 2 years, but, more maintenance than anything.

    1. If your doctor has cleared physical activity like that, just start light and slowly build up. Gotta get those tendons and ligaments stronger again before you go full bore.

  9. Hi Cutty:

    Thanks so much for this detailed routine and advice. I am a beginner and these really help!

    I have a question on warm up sets. Do the reps in the routine already include warm ups? And should I keep the weight constant for all reps and only add more next week even if I can finish the reps easily?

    Thanks again for the sharing Cutty.

    Cheers,
    Kelly

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Your warmups shouldn’t tax your body, doing the movements and getting your body primed is all you need to do. I would work up to your work weight and keep that weight through all reps and sets. This is a different approach to something like a pyramid where you go up each time… but I’ve found it to work better mentally and physically.

    1. Calorie intake is dependent on if you’re looking to lose weight or build muscle. If you are underweight or are okay with packing on a little fat with a lot of muscle, aim to eat 200 to 300 calories more than you burn per day.

      The more whole, nutritious foods you eat, the better.

    1. Learn to cook and start cooking your own meals (at least cutting out most processed junk) along with lifting weights will drastically change your physique. You don’t need to worry about anything else other than eating more nutritious foods and lifting.

      Get the cardio in to keep the heart healthy and make some gains.

    1. That depends on how much you can safely lift. The goal is to get stronger, so start at just the bar and keep progressing until you are benching 225 or however much you want.

  10. how do i involve cardio with this routine, like before or after, how long. and what if I dont feel like ive done enough in my workout amd want to go more

    1. If you finish a workout and you’re wanting more, you didn’t lift heavy enough.

      I usually do 10 or 15 minutes before I workout and if I have time I’ll do some afterwards. You can also do something outside the gym as well.

    1. I generally do around 30 seconds for small accessory work and 1-5 minutes for the big compound lifts. Sorry for the delay!

  11. Haven’t lifted weights in 20 years , gonna try this program to start, how much weight should I begin with?

    1. You can start with the smallest amount you can and work your way up. It’s easier to learn new good habits instead of just throwing weights up and having to fix bad habits.

  12. CUTTY,
    Do you recommend doing the 4 day beginner for 12 weeks and then upgrading to this workout to change up?

    1. I’d only recommend changing up if after 12 weeks you’re stalling. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Consistency is what matters in fitness. If there’s a lagging body part or a weakness in your lifts, address that instead of completely changing the routine. But if you ran it for 12 weeks and jumped into this one, it wouldn’t hurt.

    1. Yes, there’s hardly any gains you are going to “burn up” from doing cardio. Get in shape and your body will be more efficient and healthier. Find something fun and active to do like shoot hoops or go for hikes. It doesn’t have to be slogging along on a treadmill in a gym 🙂

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