If you're a beginner, then you should completely avoid Madcow's dual factor 5x5. The single factor is probaby too much also (although I don't understand why it's complicated).
Try this program for a few months before you get into some of the more advanced stuff. It's a post of mine from another site, but the program is by Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength, probably the best book I know of for beginners to lifting. Rippetoe is known for putting 30-40 lbs of muscular bodyweight on his athletes in their first 4-6 months of training.
[i]Here's a routine for beginners suggested by Mark Rippetoe, who specializes in getting beginners big and strong. A 30-40 lb increase in muscular bodyweight over a 6 month period is pretty standard with his athletes.
3x5 Bench Press
3x5 Military Press
3x5 Power Clean
Warm up using several sets before doing the 3 work sets (or 1 for the deadlift). If you're using 175, for example, it would look like this:
Warm up sets
2x5xbar (sets x reps x weight)
You alternate workout A and B, 3 non-consecutive days per week. So you might do:
Add weight to the bar whenever possible. If you're very new to lifting weights, or if most of your lifting has focused on curls and other isolation movements, you'll probably be able to add some weight each workout. Maybe 5-10 lbs each time in the squat and deadlift, and about 5 lbs in the other three lifts. Eventually you won't be able to sustain such progress, and you'll have to get microplates so you can increase by smaller increments.
And eat a lot of food. A whole lot.
It's fine to add some assistance work such as abs, hypers, or maybe some direct biceps and triceps work, but don't overdo it. For direct arm work, 3 sets of 8 of one lift for each muscle at the end of your last workout of the week will be plenty. Your arms are getting hit hard all week on this routine, so you don't want to blast them with iso stuff as well.
The part about food is important. You MUST eat big to get big. Rippetoe recommends 4 meals per day, plus a gallon of milk spread throughout the day. That seems to be working well for me. Make the meals big. For instance, I might have an 8 oz steak, large baked potato, a big salad with olive oil and vinegar, and a large glass of milk. This is around 1000 calories for this one meal. A lot, yes, but you need a surplus to grow. You may gain some fat, but it's much easier to lose fat and preserve muscle mass than it is to gain muscle without gaining fat.[/i]