New to fitness? Looking for a tried-and-tested workout program to build muscle? The resources here will show you some of the best proven barbell lifting programs for the beginner to intermediate levels.
First, why barbell lifting programs? Simply put, in terms of efficacy, barbell training is the most effective and efficient way to build strength. Having good knowledge of the basic barbell lifts will be an invaluable tool in your fitness arsenal. We are not saying that bodyweight exercises, kettlebells, etc. are ineffective, however, if your goal is first and foremost gaining strength and building muscle, the barbell training is the most efficient method of doing so, simply because of they allow the maximum amount of load to be placed onto your muscles.
The Top 3 Beginner/Intermediate barbell lifting routines are:
- Starting Strength – Routine popularized by Mark Rippetoe. A basic 5 x 5 (sets x reps) linear progression program focusing on the ‘Big Four’ barbell lifts: the Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, and Overhead Press, however the squat is definitely more emphasized. Mark has written an amazing book on his routine as well as a detailed description of the techniques and mechanics of each lift. Highly recommended, especially for beginners. Check it out here.
- Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 – Based on a undulating linear progression model, with more variance in rep schemes and a focus on a final ‘max reps’ set. Also focused on the ‘Big Four’ barbell lifts. Better for lifters entering the intermediate stage; a good program to follow once you have exhausted all of your ‘newbie gains’ from the 5 x 5 program. Check out his book here.
- Westside for Skinny Bastards – Popularized by football Strength and Conditioning coach Joe DeFranco, WSFSB, as it is called was a protocol he used for his high school and college athletes who needed to put on some serious muscle mass. Based on acclaimed powerlifter Louie Simmon’s Westside Barbell methods. More focus on exercise variation as well as ‘repetition’ and ‘dynamic’ days. Again, better suited for intermediate lifters. Check out the WSFSB program (3 variations) here, here, and here.
Well there you have it, with the right diet and consistently following any of the programs listed above, it is practically guaranteed that you will achieve success!
Remember, the most important part of any workout program is consistency!
Also, too many beginners get caught up in analysis by paralysis where they are so focused on finding the absolute perfect, results-guaranteed program there is, that they actually delay taking action. Remember, there is no absolute best program; as you progress in your journey, you will likely find yourself changing and adapting your workout routine many times. The most important thing is that you DON’T HESITATE AND TAKE ACTION NOW!
Other Workout Resources
- Exrx.net – A great informational site with pictures and animated gifs of exercises, as well as a listing of the muscles targeted by a specific exercise. Their Strength Standards page is also a good guideline on determining where you fall in the training spectrum.
- T-Nation – While the quality of the articles on the site varies greatly, there are some real gems in there. In particular, you may want to check out this great post 22 Proven Rep Schemes.
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