T Nation

Program for Newbie?


Hello all
I'm trying to write a lifting program for my girlfriend. She is a complete beginner; I'm pretty sure she's never even picked up a dumbbell. Any suggestions for a program/good exercises? Thank you.


There was a recent article on T-Nation regarding beginners. I'm not sure what your friend's goals are, but this might help.



There are tried and true programs for beginners; you don't have to invent your own, nor do you have to put her on a woman-specific program.

I started with Starting Strength, and I was very happy with that. Other common beginners' programs: Westside For Skinny Bastards, New Rules of Lifting For Women, Starr 5x5.

The only adaptation you might have to make for a completely untrained woman is that she may not be able to start with the bar for all barbell exercises. In which case, substitute dumbbells or (if your gym has it) a lighter bar.


Man if I had a dime for every time someone asks how to train their mom/girlfriend/sister at the gym on this forum.
I wonder what would happen if I went into the PL or BB forum and asked how to write a program for my boyfriend.
(which I have done, writing the program that is, but I digress)

But anyways, OP just google Rachel Cosgrove, show your girlfriend her site and let HER get started.


You might--stress might--get some help in the PL forum, the BB forum--not so much. :slight_smile:


the one she'll stick to.



Look up Cosgrove and I also started on New Rules of Lifting for Women, which I recommend to newbies all the time.

Free weights, barbells and general working out around deh menz can be intimidating for some women when they first start (was for me at least). New rules was like a weight lifting primer (full body 6 stage program geared at recomposition) including the sappy "you can do it too!" BS. But it was very helpful for getting over the whole "I feel like a tool being the only woman in the weight room" bit and the "wtf is push press". It has pictures and talks about food, etc. I really dug it. And after I finished that I went on to Starr's 5x5.

However, since she already has you to show her the way around the weights, she might be ready for something more... I would recommend talking to her about her goals and then like cbear said, finding something she's going to stick to, and of course, letting HER figure out what she wants to do.


Make sure to include squats,deadlifts,sit-ups & back extensions in the program.