Sample Weightlifting Routine

Bicep curls

If you're looking for sample weightlifting routines, make sure to pick one that is suitable to your current experience level. What may be a great workout for a seasoned gymrat can be an express ticket to the ER for a beginner, and the beginner workout can be all but useless to the veteran. Here are some ideas for both.

Sample Weightlifting Routine for Beginners

As a beginner, training the whole body in one workout may actually be the best route to go. You can also get away with training each muscle group twice a week, whereas you will need more time to recover between workouts as you get more advanced. So, this sample weightlifting routine can be done twice a week.

  • Abdominal crunches 3 sets, to failure
  • Lat pulls 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Seated cable rows 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell lateral raises 3 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Barbell military presses 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell chest presses 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Barbell bicep curls 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Tricep cable pressdowns 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Leg press machine 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Seated hamstring curls 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Seated calf presses 3 sets, 8-10 reps

Focus on form and make it a point to learn each exercise properly now, before you move up to the big weights. Ask a personal trainer for advice if you're uncertain about any of the exercises above.

Multi-Day Split for Advanced Trainers

As you gain more experience, you get better at inflicting damage on your muscles. This damage is a good thing; in fact, it's the whole point of working out, since the damage in turn triggers an overcompensation response by the body. Hence, you get stronger over time as the body gradually overcompensates a little after each workout. However, it is important that your body does indeed get the time it needs to perform the repairs. Thus, training each muscle just once a week, but putting more effort into it, is a more effective approach at this stage.

Day 1: Legs

  • Squats 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Leg press machine 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Leg extensions 3 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Lunges 2 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Standing hamstring curls 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Seated hamstring curls 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Seated calf presses 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Donkey calf presses 2 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Abdominal crunches 3 sets, to failure

Day 2: Chest and Triceps

  • Dumbbell chest presses 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Cable crossover flyes 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Push-ups 2 sets, to failure
  • Standing barbell military presses 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Dips 3 sets, to failure
  • Skullcrushers (aka French presses) 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Tricep cable pressdowns 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell kickbacks 2 sets, 12-15 reps

Day 3: Back and Biceps

  • Deadlifts 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Chins 3 sets, to failure
  • Dumbbell rows 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell shrugs 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Isolateral lat machine of choice 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Standing barbell bicep curls 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Seated one-arm concentration curls 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Standing dumbbell hammer curls 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Reverse-grip forearm curls 3 sets, 12-15 reps

You can do all three days in sequence, but for best results and peak energy levels, try to spread it out a little, like a Monday-Wednesday-Friday split where you hit the gym at about the same time each day.

Phasing Over From Beginner To Advanced

There's a big difference between the two approaches, so how do you know when it's time to make the leap? If you stick to the program and put in the effort, you should be ready to leave the beginner stage in 6-12 months. If you prefer an interim stage between the two, try a two-split in which you train legs and abs on the first day, then back, chest and arms on the second day. Good luck!

Sample Weightlifting Routine