mufasa, good question, hope i can add something to the ton of good advice you have already received.
i am not or never been a personal traininer, though i have helped out many friends and acquaintances with exercise programs. i am a meat and potatoes guy. all my programs center around 5-6 movements, squats, deadlifts, pulls, rows, benches, chins, overhead pressing.
when working something out for a total novice, i often started them right with the “meat and potatoes” just at lighter loads, like free squating a broomstick for example. but you would not believe how many people out there that cannot even squat there own bodyweight with correct form.
as a result, i often hurt a lot of people, usually there low back.
recently, i have taken a diffferent approach.
my most recent experiment was with my ladyfriend mirtha. she is a 33 year old mother of two, who has been an athlete all her life, soccar, basket ball, gymnastics, volly ball ect.
but never any weight training.
for six full weeks 3-4 times a week i had here doing core (abd-low back) and hamstring work before i let her get under a barbell. i had here doing 3- 4 abd movements like leg raises,standing cable abds, side bends, stability ball cable crunches, ect. and 45 degree back raises, reverse hypers, ball leg curls, ski squats, band leg curls, one leg stiff leg deadlifts with dumbells, ect. and a load of forward sled dragging.
i gradually worked in barbell romanian dl’s, front squats and overhead squats with medicine balls, then an empty ez-curl bar(25lbs), then an olympic(45lb) bar. to make a long story short, the FIRST time i had this 145 lb 33 year old mom under a squat bar, she nailed 200lbs for reps ass to ground RAW. not because whe was a freak, but because she was in condition.