Best Beginner Barbell Program

The best beginner barbell program involves making progress on a few main lifts. You get strong, learn correct technique, build the habit of regular exercise, overcome challenging work sets, and boost confidence quickly, safely, and efficiently. It's simple, hard, and effective.

Best Beginner Barbell Program – Keep It Simple

The best novice programs are simple, hard, and effective. They do the following things:

  • Learn & make progress on the main lifts
  • Be efficient – don’t waste time
  • Planned progress & PRs

Programs that involve a large number of exercises prevent lifters from learning proper form and progressing rapidly. This ultimately deflates lifters’ confidence, leading to reduced compliance and an increased likelihood of stopping the exercise program.

Constant variation, muscle confusion, and other concepts embrace complication over simplicity and effectiveness. They waste time and tend to frustrate lifters.

A simple program involving a few core lifts, such as the squat, press, deadlift, and bench press done for a moderate amount of volume. Increase the stress in a linear fashion.

Because increasing strength produces the most bang for your buck, especially for novices, the best beginner barbell program adds weight each workout, to allow for linear progression.

This early progress encourages lifters, as they lift more weight each workout and see rapid progress and strength gains. It helps bolster their exercise habit.

Best Novice Strength Program – Stress Goldilocks Zone

Many people would like to get stronger, but fail to stress their bodies adequately to elicit strength adaptations.

Others, however, may feel, especially in the early workouts, that they’re not doing enough. They want to add things like isolation exercises. Or, they feel like they’re not working hard enough because they don’t end the workout sweating and out of breath. The best beginner barbell program delivers the appropriate amount of stress.

Depending on the athlete’s athletic background and experience, conditioning and other exercises may be added right away, but for most people a few lifts for a few sets provides the best way to get stronger and healthier and transform their bodies and confidence.

With enough time and consistency, the lifter will have to add more exercises, and workouts will get longer. Enjoy the simple, relatively short workouts that comes with beginning a novice.

Beginner Strength Program – First Workout

Depending on your goals and limitations, your first workout may look slightly different than what is outline below.

What we have found, however, is that the best beginner barbell program, done for 3 or 4 days a week provides the most simple and effective strength program for the biggest swath of lifters.

In your first workout, work up to a moderate weight for a set of 5 on the main lifts. This means picking a weight you can do for roughly 3-4 more reps (RPE 7).

Your first workout will look something like the below workout:

  • Squat 1×5
  • Press 1×5
  • Deadlift 1×5
  • Bench Press 1×5

Performing one set helps prevent or at least reduce soreness. The moderate weight allows longer progress and the improvement of technique. This is an important aspect of the best beginner barbell program.

Novice Barbell Program: Different Frequencies

Lift either 3 or 4 days a week. 3 and 4-day programs look different, with the 3-day plan involving more frequent lower body exercises, whereas the 4-day split option provides higher frequency for the upper body.

A 4-day split nicely allows for conditioning on lower body days and an upper body pull and eventually hypertrophy as the lifter advances.

See the example 3 and 4-day options for the best beginner barbell program.

Best Beginner Barbell Program 3-Day Week

Best Beginner Barbell Program 4-Day Week




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