FWIW, I don’t think that program is ideal for people that haven’t accrued some experience. They don’t know how to adequately push themselves to get enough out of it. As written in the article itself,
The best program performed 80% effort will give you less results than a basic program done at 100%. This is the most important thing you need to remember. So to get amazing results, you need to apply the proper level of intensity.
Look, given all the constraints you have articulated, I’ll share a program that I myself wish I had ran when I was a beginner.
Estep’s Three Days a Week Beginner Program
A. Abdominal Work: Leg Raise– 50 / Crunch– 50 / Jackknife– 50
B. Squat– Two warmup sets (15 reps and 8 reps). Work sets: 3 x 8, then add weight and do 2 x 5
C. Bench Press– Two warmup sets (15 reps and 8 reps). Work sets: 3 x 8, then add weight and do 2 x 5
D. Seated DB Curl– 3 x 8
E. Incline Tricep Extension– 3 x 8
You can superset the last two if you want
A. Deadlift– Two warmup sets (15 reps and 8 reps). Work sets: 3 x 8, then add weight and do 2 x 5
B. DB Row– 3 x 8
C. Behind the Neck Press– 3 x 8
D. Shrugs– 4 x 6
E. Calf Raise– 3 x 12
This is not ideal with regards to “looks first, strength second” but given your writings I think you’ll have a hard time getting properly invested in something that’s not oriented around the big four.
On that note, I’ll happily add it’s possible to pursue your goal
without back squats, overhead presses, flat barbell bench presses and deadlifts.
Since an article with some more advanced methodologies was linked, I think it is important to point out to you @tinkertailortanker that the advanced methods that you’ll find in a lot of articles aren’t necessary for a beginner, or necessarily an intermediate either.
Why? The advanced trainee (which you are not, and not very many of us are — I’m not) has become adapted to the physical training to such an extent that it is necessary to employ these methods to provide their body with enough added stress to stimulate an adaptation. At your level, adding reps, weight, and even volume (in the form of an additional work set at the end of say a four week block) is perfectly adequate.
There are four hypertrophy triggers.
If you take some of your work-sets to failure, or close to failure, that will give you muscle fiber fatigue. You don’t need rest-pause or myo-reps yet. You can just go straight to failure. After a while, you might go to failure, drop weight, and go to failure again. This can also be a time-saver at times.
Muscle damage, go heavy-ish. 5-8 reps is fine. Again, the article covers this.
Include some tempo work, and you got mTor covered.
And then finally there is Local Growth Factors & Lactate Release which is not something you’d find in Starting Strength for instance. You get this by doing a slow tempo and keeping constant tension on the muscle.
Different people will respond differently to these triggers depending on their genetic makeup. Meaning, some people can build a lot of size through muscle damage alone but those would be people adept at healing (high level of natural testosterone, good immune system). I’ve probably confused you even further at this point but here’s the main take-away:
There’s a lot of stuff to learn, and things can be optimized in perpetuity. That’s not necessary for you though. Deal with those cross-roads when you get there.