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Beginning Muscle Building Routine?


Hello everyone, this is my first post here and I would like some advice on a beginning training routine for building muscle. I have trained before (although not in an ideal way) but have been out of the gym for a while and have lost alot of weight since then (currently 140 pounds at 5 11). I have done alot of research since then.

I know the main factors are nutrition, rest, focusing on compound movements, and progression. However I'm still having trouble just deciding on a routine to follow. So far I have considered a somewhat modified starting strength routine:

squat 3x5
bench 3x5
deadlift 1x5
pushup 2 sets (cannot do dips due to an old injury)
curl 2 sets

Squat 3x5
press 3x5
row 3x5
pullup 2 sets

I've also considered doing a very basic push/pull/legs routine in the 6-10 rep range doing mainly compound movements at about 10-12 sets per workout. Does anyone have any advice for me on a routine I should be following? Any advice on the ones I have listed? Thanks.


Eat lots, get on a proven program and sleep like a baby.

You have done a lot of research and that is good.

But seriously, the stickies (first four post on the forum) would be the place for you to read.

You are considering doing a lot of things, but what is your goal? Strength? General wellness? sports?

That program is not good. Don't do it.

5'11" and 140 lbs is quite small, btw. Please post a typical diet day.


Lift heavy and eat big and you will notice progress. When starting out the most important thing to do (imo) is to add weight to the bar everytime you touch it.


My goal is to build muscle and get bigger. That routine I posted is a begginer routine called starting strength, but i added in 2 sets of curls, i know i can do without those though. I know i'm small, im just starting to lift and eat correctly again this week.

The bulk of my diet is oatmeal, eggs, chicken, peanut butter,nuts, bananas, whole milk, sandwhiches, pastas,vegetables and potatoes, just to give a general idea. I keep track of what I eat and am making sure im getting the calories to gaining around a pound or 2 a week. Im just having trouble picking a routine to stick with. I know that squats, deadlift, bench, rows, shoulder press, and pullups will be the focus of the routine I just don't know how to structure one


I thought it looked familiar, but there is no need for changes. if you have been doing it for 6 months and feel comfortable with the movements, then yes, change.

Lots around here.

Strenght base would be something like SL 5X5, or 5/3/1 or Texas Method. As a side note, TM is what you are basically doing right now. Look into that, if you are comfortable with your current template. Actually, I'de recommend it. Same guy as SS.

Your choice of food is fine. How many calories a day? You did say you keep track of it and it would help to know the macros. Just a general idea on how many calories.

And lastly, consistency. Do the TM for six months, eat lots and you should see great changes. Don't worry about the scale, just see how you look in the mirror. And no, not staring at the mirror everyday :slightly_smiling:

P.S. When you don't know how to structure a program, don't. Lot's of proven programs out there. Just need to find the right one for you.




Thanks for the help JFG! One more question, does anyone feel it is better for a beginner to lift in the 5 rep range to build a strength base or would it be alright to get stronger in the 6-10 rep range, since it is more of a hypertrophy range? Also I actually came across this routine which doesn't look bad to me, what do you guys think?

Squat 3 sets
bench press 3 sets
barbell row 3 sets
curl 2 sets

deadlift 3 sets
shoulder press 3 sets
pullups 3 sets
dips (pushups in my case) 2 sets

Thanks everyone


^ forgot to mention it is done 3 days a week on non consecutive days alternating between A and B


No. I feel beginner should vary there rep schemes, like the Texas Method. KISS

The reason is simple. You have no idea what you really want to do. At your stage, it doesn't really matter. Just get used to the exercises. Learn what your body likes, get your brain to work with your body. your body will grow and get stronger.

But for the love of everything, just follow a proven program.

BTW, 1-5 reps: strength
6-8 reps: strength/hypertrophy
8-12 reps: hypertrophy
12-15 reps: maintenance

Rule of thumb.

In the end, you will do what you like/want. Just remember, Ripptoe (and all that have written proven programs) are way smarter then you. Then again, 3x10 (what you are almost describing) is not a bad program, IF you know what you are doing, so I never recommend it to beginners, as they lack experience.


What've you eaten so far today?

You're so underweight right now that I'd expect you to be gaining at least two pounds per week. Make sure you weigh yourself the same day each week, naked as a jaybird, first thing in the morning after using the bathroom/before eating or drinking.

You shouldn't structure a plan. Find a program template from a qualified coach and follow it to the letter.

In your current situation, as an underweight beginner, there's zero difference as long as you're eating properly. Whether your squat goes from 115x10 to 135x10 or 145x5 to 165x5, it's basically the same thing and your body will respond by increasing strength and muscle mass.

Food reading:

Training Suggestions:
http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/mass_made_simple ... or ...
http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/blending_size_and_strength_version_20 ... or ...
http://www.T-Nation.com/readArticle.do?id=508031 ... or ...

Yes, those are four drastically different-looking programs, but they'll all work just fine for what you're trying to do right now. Follow any one of those for 12 weeks or until you weigh 160, whichever comes first, then re-evaluate where you are.


ok guys thanks for clearing that up. And yea i wiegh myself every monday morning same time butt naked. For the the guy that wanted me to post what I actually ate ill list what I ate yesterday

meal 1
2 eggs with cheese (160 cals)
cup of oatmeal (300 cals)
cup of milk (150 cals)

meal 2
2 slices whole wheat bread (200)
7 ounces turkey and a couple slices cheese (about 300)

meal 3
leftover chicken soup with spoon of olive oil (bout 250)

meal 4
tbsp peanut butter (100)
cup milk (150)

meal 5
almonds (200)
protien drink at work (250)

meal 6
7 ounces pork (300)
rice (100)

before bed
cup of milk (150)

2600 total cals (i know its not alot but its def an increase from eatin 1500 a day like i was. Ill try to get that to around 3000)

Also thanks for clearing up the rep ranges. I think ill stick to mark rippetoes program for a few months, I like the fact that it gets you stronger pretty fast. Then i will go from there.


up your carbs. you have like 150g of carbs there (not counting lactose). put some crackers in yer damn soup!


Cool beans. Just make sure that your bodyweight is increasing consistently while your strength in the gym is also increasing on a regular basis. That's a good "rule of thumb" (should be rule of the wrist?) that you're building muscle along the way.

You have no idea how happy I am that you actually responded to this question. Sir, you given me a genuine day-after-Christmas present.

Just don't forget a quality protein and carb shake a little before, or even during, training on the days you lift. That's a crucial time to get some valuable nutrition put to use in the most effective way.


why did me posting my diet for that day make you happy? and yea before I lift i usually eat like oatmeal and eggs like an hour before. Some kind of protien and complex carbs, sometimes add in a banana or something.


^you wouldnt believe the amount of threads we get where people ask for help, but wont give any info as to where they are experience wise, what theyre doing etc - which helps us to help them


i've been doing a four day split that looks as follows

day 1 - all muscles on the 'right side' of the body
day 2 - all muscles on the 'left side' of the body
day 3 - rest
day 4 - all muscles on the 'front' of the body
day 5 - all muscles on the 'back' of the body

rest on weekends.

this ensures each muscle is getting hit at least 2x a week


HolyMac does pistol squats????


Like Caveman said, much more often than not, people totally ignore that kind of simple request. Last time I checked, I think it was a solid 60 or 75% of the time it didn't get answered.

The only other thing I'll mention is that pre-workout would be a better time for liquid nutrition - some kind of shake that's pretty much simple carbs and protein, not so much fiber and/or fat, so it can get into your system more quickly. Just make sure, if you do try out shakes instead of oatmeal/eggs, you're not actually dropping your total daily calories.


dont go to the gym to do 2 sets of pushups. seriously