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Novice Bodybuilding Program (by Eric Helms)
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4-day a week program based on the principles from the book Muscle & Strength Pyramid: Training
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Program Description

The Novice Bodybuilding Program is a four-day a week program based on the principles from the Muscle and Strength Pyramid: Training book by Dr. Eric Helms, Andy Morgan, and Andrea Valdez. We highly recommend reading the book to learn evidence-based training and nutrition.

This beginner bodybuilding program has exercises to ensure all muscle groups are adequately trained to help you build a well rounded physique. There are two ‘strength’ days and two ‘volume’ days. Strength development complements the accumulation of training volume and aids hypertrophy.

Read below for full program guidelines.

Program Overview
Level
Beginner, Novice
Goal
Bodybuilding, Powerbuilding
Equipment
Full Gym
Program Length
12 weeks
Days Per Week
4 days
Recommended Days
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat
Time Per Workout
60 minutes
down_app
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
3
5 Reps
82.5%
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
3
5 Reps
82.5%
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Standing Calf Raise
1
3
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
5 Reps
82.5%
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
2
8 Reps
72.5%
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Overhead Press (Barbell)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Chest Fly (Cable)
1
1
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
2
Leg Press
1
2
8 Reps
8 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Extension
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Leg Curl
1
2
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Seated Calf Raise
1
3
15 Reps
15 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
10 Reps
67.5%
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
2
Seated Row (Cable)
1
2
10 Reps
10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chin-Up (Weighted)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
5
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
6
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
1
1
12 Reps
12 Reps
RPE 8
What People Are Saying(161 ratings)
Only ratings with written feedback are displayed here.
4.17/ 5
Jose M.Age 44, Man
21 days ago
5 weeks complete
2 years of prior experience
As expected strength gains
As expected muscle gains
Marginal modifications
3dmj rocks
Виктор семеновAge 27, Man
a month ago
11 weeks complete
1 year of prior experience
As expected strength gains
As expected muscle gains
Marginal modifications
Added some lateral raises and biceps triceps

General guidelines

Spread your workouts out across the week and try to have no more than two sessions back to back. This is better for recovery.

Rest for ~2-3 minutes for the main exercises; ~90 seconds for others.

Spread your workouts out across the week and try to have no more than two sessions back to back.

%1RM = % of 1-rep maximum. It is a guideline for how much you should load the bar the first time you start the program (only). If you don’t know this, just use an RPE of 8.

1st Set RPE = a guideline for how many reps you should stop short of failure for your first set. 8 means to stop when you could do 2 more reps before failing. This determines how much load you should put on the bar.

So, as you get stronger, the same load will feel lighter (a lower RPE) and you can increase the weight. The purpose of this is to help you manage fatigue.

Progression guidlines

After the first session, just add weight in steady increments each time. (This is where ‘linear’ in linear progression comes from.)

For the heavy full and lower body compound movements (e.g., squats and deadlifts) increase 10 lbs (~5 kg) from last week, assuming you can do so with good form. For other exercises that work less overall musculature, (e.g., the bench press, overhead presses, rows, and any isolation exercises) you’ll want to progress in 5 lb (~2.5 kg) or 2.5 lb increments.

Example Novice Progression using 5x5:

  • Week 1: Load 135 lbs, reps 5,5,5,5,5 (25) => add load next time

  • Week 2: Load 145 lbs, reps 5,5,5,5,5 (25) => add load next time

  • Week 3: Load 155 lbs, reps 5,5,5,5,3 (23) => same load next time

  • Week 4: Load 155 lbs, reps 5,5,5,5,5 (25) => add load next time

  • Week 5: Load 165 lbs, reps 5,5,5,5,5 (25) => add load next time

What if you stall?

Reduce the load by 10% if you fail to achieve your target reps in two consecutive workouts. The next workout, return to the weight you were unable to complete the target repetitions with and you will more than likely succeed. This is a very simple method of “deloading.” This is a strategy that allows built-up fatigue from weeks of training to dissipate, which in turn lets us continue progressing. There is no need to set this at specific time intervals for novice progression, but it will become necessary for intermediate progression.