Basic Whole Body Workout for Beginners

Here is a basic whole body workout based on one of Bradley J. Steiner’s workouts from the seventies (saying “based on” might be a stretch – it’s very much the same thing) that has remained a favorite of mine for two whole decades now. While it’s workout that is usually prescribed to beginners, it can also work extrememly well for intermedia and advanced bodybuilders, and I still return to it from time to time myself. As it’s one of the first workouts I ever used, it feels a bit like “coming home.” The workout makes use of Presses

Do the workout three times per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays). Here’s what it looks like:

Bench Presses 3 x 8-10
Standing Presses 3 x 8-12
Bent Over Barbell Rows 3 x 8-12
Barbell Curls 3 x 10-12
Squats 3 x 10-12
Chrunches 3 x max (as many as you can do)

That’s it! As you can see, it’s a very, very simple routine that has you in and out of the gym in no time. The use of basic exercises makes effective both in terms of strength and muscle building. One might object to things like the fact that the biceps effectively get more work than the legs, but trust me: the program works, and it works very well. More advanced bodybuilders might want to add in some stiff legged deadlifts (one of Steiner’s favorites) – or even a set or two of regular deadlifts. I’ve known people who also alternate between deadlifts and squats on a routine like this, doing four sets of deadlifts one workout, and four sets of squats the next – and so on. For beginners, however, it’s best not to deviate from the program described here. Just do the stuff you’re told to do, and go home.

I usually have my clients do a workout like this for the first three months of their training, before moving on to different stuff – either a 5×5 program (my preference at that stage), or a traditional bodybuilding two way split (a push-pull routine) depending on the clients goals, situation and personal preferences.

One thing I’d like to mention here: it is important to do the exercises listed here, and not substitute them. This is especially true for the squats. I’ve sometimes start beginners on this program and as soon as I’m out the door they will be doing leg presses instead of squats. That kind of cheating doesn’t just make the program less effective, but it sets them up for injuries later on when they start doing heavier lifts (like the squat) because of the simple fact that they’re leg muscles are too strong compared to the stabilizing muscles needed for these lifts. All healthy beginners should be doing squats – just like all healthy advanced lifters!

If you’re just starting out, or if you’re looking for a basic whole body routine to do for a few weeks, give this workout a try. Good luck!

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