Muscle Building Program for Beginners

Cutty February 26, 2013 19
Muscle Building Program for Beginners
pinit fg en rect gray 20 Muscle Building Program for Beginners

Have you been going to the gym for a few months but not noticing any difference in your physique? A good reason for this is you might not truly understand what it takes to build muscle. Sure, going to the gym and lifting some weights doesn’t hurt and gets you out of the house; but why can’t you build slabs of muscle?

Muscle building isn’t a science. You lift weights, eat, sleep, and recover and you will build muscle right? There is one important key factor missing, consistency. In order to truly build muscle you have to be consistent in your diet, training, and recovery.

Many people search for a magical program that will “add slabs of muscle” or “get you shredded in 6 weeks” but they all seem to have something in common that fails the people who try them. Progressive overloading is where each training session you go to the gym you try to add reps to your set or add weight to the bar for every exercise. Progressive overloading is what makes your body stronger and build muscle.

The Program

Anyone can benefit from this program, but it is geared more towards the novice lifter. The program is a 3 day split; Monday, Wednesday, Friday. The actual days you do this on do not matter as long as you are consistent. I would highly recommend a day of rest in between each session.

This program consists of mainly barbell compound movements that will give you the best “bang for your buck” for the time spent in the gym. These big compound lifts are followed up with assistance lifts that will help build upon these compound lifts and give you a balanced physique.

The set and rep scheme for this program is 3 sets and 6 reps per set on Monday and the same weight on Friday for 3 sets of 8 and on Wednesdays you do 3 sets of 8 for each workout.

Below is a list of the workouts:


  • Squat
  • Bench
  • Barbell Row
  • Pull Ups
  • Tricep Extensions


  • Deadlift
  • Military Press
  • Face Pulls
  • Seated Rows
  • Curls


  • Squat
  • Bench
  • Barbell Row
  • Pull Ups
  • Skull Crushers

The program works by using progressive overloading. Start with weight you can do for 6 reps and build from there. That next week strive to add 5 pounds to each of your compound lifts. If your gym does not have 2.5 pound plates, I would highly recommend investing in a set. Being able to add 5 pounds per compound lift is much smoother than trying to build up and jump 10 pounds.

If you do not have 2.5 pound plates and do not have the means to purchase them, I would suggest this scheme for your compound lifts:

  • Week 1: Monday: Do the weight for 6 reps; Example: 135×6 on bench press.
  • Week 1: Friday: Do the weight for 8 reps; Example 135×8
  • Week 2: Monday: Do the weight for 10 reps; Example 135×10
  • Week 2: Friday: Do the weight for 12 reps; Example 135×12
  • Week 3: Monday: Add 10 pounds and do 6 reps; Example 145×6
  • Week 3: Friday: Do the weight for 8 reps; Example 145×8

Follow this scheme and you will build muscle. Accessory lifts can be progressed in the same fashion. The point is to continuously progress by adding more reps or weight.

If you get weeks into the program and start continuously missing your lifts, back it off and deload. Cut the weights in half for a week. If after that you still miss I would recommend cutting 10 pounds per compound lift and start building up again.


Click here for a free Excel document laid out with the 12 week program. Print out for a paper log or use on the computer.

I write about the importance of keeping a log here, check it out.

Any questions or comments, leave them below.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a message below!

Written by Cutty

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  1. James Stevens November 24, 2013 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Okay two more questions: 1) is it okay to run this workout as a circuit for the 1st 3 compound lifts if time is a factor? 2)What is the advantage of 3×6 compared to 4×6?

    • Cutty November 24, 2013 at 10:19 am -

      Run it as a circuit if you are running low on time, just make sure it’s quality work. The advantage to doing less sets is being able to add more weight to the bar. As a beginner your body adapts quickly and you are going to notice some really nice strength gains. With weight training more volume isn’t always better.


  2. Mcr01 January 27, 2014 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Hi pal just stumbled across this and have completed my first session! Was just wondering do I do any cardio in with this at all? And is there anything I could replace the barbell row with? I just can’t get the technique right!

    • Cutty January 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm -


      Congrats on starting the routine. Cardio can be done whenever you have time. There’s a couple articles I’ve written about cardio and doing it post-workout is great for active recovery. Cardio is great on off-days as well for recovery and just staying active is key.

      It took me a long time to figure out the barbell row technique, but if you are having trouble might I suggest either a 1 arm dumbbell row or some lat pulldowns or pull ups. Pick something that works best for you and run with it!

      Any more questions just ask!


  3. Mcr01 January 28, 2014 at 5:32 am - Reply

    Cheers for the reply cutty! I’ll try the one armed rows and some cardio also mate! Also I’ll post some pictures
    Up of my progression


    • Cutty January 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm -

      Definitely man, if you want to start a log on my friend’s forum, Muscle and Brawn I am there all of the time and we can help motivate and give you tips on how to make the best of your training. If you join, write in the “Introduce yourself” forum and let me know you came over from my site I’ll make sure to subscribe to your posts.

      Good luck,


  4. Dee Harrison February 8, 2014 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Is it ok to replace some excersies with dumbbells,like on the bench press is ok for me to use dumbbell press instead?

    • Cutty February 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm -

      I prefer people work with barbells, but if you feel comfortable with dumbbells or prefer them, then by all means use them!


  5. Uriah Kabemba February 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Why am I only deadlifting once a week according to this program? Why not deadlift twice a week like I would be doing with the bench press and the squat?

    • Cutty February 27, 2014 at 7:54 pm -

      Beginners can progress rapidly off of this routine. If you were to add in more taxing work on the nervous system, you are going to start getting burned out before you make many gains because your body isn’t used to strenuous nervous system work.


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