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The Ultimate Collection of Beginner Workout Programs

For this blog post I compiled a list of our previous blogs to provide what we think of as the Ultimate Collection of Beginner Workout Programs. The programs focus on various areas including strength, power, cardio by way of running, conditioning, muscular endurance, and mobility.

Any one program can be used in isolation, but combining programs may be a powerful approach for you. For example, the powerlifting program could be combined with the 5K running program to create a cross-training program that helps you work on total fitness. By that logic, you could combine the powerlifting program with the bodybuilding program to create a powerbuilding program.

The exact way you utilize the included programs is up to you, though if you are a true beginner to workout programs, especially online, it may be best to follow the strength or cardio plans as-is. Most of them can be used as-is with no changes and with little thought beyond what load or pace to use. However, you might have more or less time than the beginner workout program dictates, so adjust the programs as needed. Even if you only complete some of the weekly workouts, but do so consistently with enough intensity, you will see progress.

Resistance training programs

These resistance training programs are designed to operate independently of each other. However, the list below places the plan in something of a hierarchy. Ideally, you could complete the programs in item one, then the plan for item two, before finally moving on to item three and be able to progress in a logical manner if implemented as noted in the blogs. This is not a necessity and the programs can be utilized independently of each other.

1. Example general strength program – this blog offers two programs, one of which is a simple three-week program that utilizes compound lifting three days per week. The barebones approach will help build full body strength as well as muscular endurance and build muscle. It offers enough variety to be engaging but not overwhelming for the new lifter. This is a good lead into the powerlifting program listed below.

The second options takes Day 1 from the first option, then adds in a fitness element for Day 2 and Day 3, but also adds in a fourth week. The program is a good lead into the bodybuilding program.

2. A simple yet effective bodybuilding program - training program included – the name says it all. This is a bodybuilding program that follows a simple three-week, six day per week design. No frills, just some compound lifting paired with isolation work. Keep repeating the three weeks, trying to use more load or more volume with each iteration and you will build muscle, strength, and to a lesser degree, fitness.

3. A simple but effective powerlifting program for big strength gains – this is the program for the beginner who wants to build big lifts for the bench, squat, and deadlift. The program is 12 weeks in length, but the exercises repeat every three weeks. What changes is the target weight and volume, which leads to progressive overload and the big gains in strength. Simple, but effective.

Cardio programs

1. How to improve your mile time - training program included – a beginner runner will do well to target shorter distances and improvements in running form before moving on to longer distances. This blog offers two training plans six weeks in length, with the second slightly harder than the first. Option two could be completed immediately after option one to help a person continue to improve short distance run times and running form before moving on to the 5k plan included next.

2. How to improve your 5K - training program included – this program picks up where the mile programs left off, in the sense that someone who successfully completes option one and option two of the mile programs should be able to begin this program. This program still includes some of the elements of the mile programs, but emphasizes more mid-distance runs, such as 2 miles, 3 miles, 3.1 miles, and 4 miles.

3. How to improve your 10K - training program included – when you are ready to kick up your running volume from the 5k program, this 10k program does just that. Fewer shorter runs are included and you will regularly see runs anywhere from 2- to 6.2 miles in length. If you followed both programs in the mile plan and completed the 5k program as listed, then your running performance has improved and the 10k plan will take you to the next level.

Final thoughts

If you read this, you are likely a beginner. If you are not, then what are you doing here? At any rate, these programs will put the beginner lifter, beginner runner, or the beginner who want both on the path to success. For the plans to work you must follow them and implement them in a safe manner, but still with enough intensity to force adaptation. With any beginner workout program available online, there are always myriad questions that could be asked and too many to be covered here.

If you have questions about these programs, email me at Be sure to include that you read the blog, the program you are inquiring about, and be specific with your question(s).

Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.

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