Just starting out in the gym and need a solid workout routine with some dieting advice? Look no further! This 3 day weekly routine is perfect for beginners!
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
    Full Body
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration9 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout45-75 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines, Other
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Recommended Supps
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

The most common question we get asked is: “Is this workout good for beginners?”

So, we’ve decided to create the perfect workout for true beginners in the gym.

This program will focus on the most important lifts you should be doing to build a foundation.

And, we’ve provided some general dieting tips to help you maximize your results.

Once you’ve completed this program, you can move on to any number of workout routines in the M&S database with the necessary strength to execute them perfectly.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t necessarily be exciting because basics are necessary for true beginners, but if you put in the work, give consistent effort in both your training and nutrition, you’ll see great results from this beginner workout routine.

Editor's Note: Make sure you’re doing all the right things you need to be doing to build lean muscle mass. For those looking for a more in-depth resource to teach them how to build muscle, we’ve created a FREE 5 day Muscle Building Email Course.

The course will teach you how your body builds muscle, how to utilize workout plans on our website to maximize muscle growth, how to eat to build muscle, how to supplement to build muscle and how to track your progress.

Sign up below today to learn and ensure you get the most out of this workout program.

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3 Day Workout for Beginners

The program outlined below contains 3 full body workouts and is meant to be performed 3 times per week with at least 1 full day of rest/recovery in between each training session.

For the most part, it consists of compound exercises. These exercises will be the focus of the routine as they’ll do the most in helping you build muscle and burn calories. In addition to the compound lifts, there are a few isolation lifts that will help target key body parts that most who enter a gym will want to focus on (arms and abs).

The workout is meant to be performed for 9-12 weeks. It can be performed longer than this, however, this is a good duration to build quality muscle and strength to perform future workouts.

The reps listed have ranges and it is recommended to perform different rep schemes every 3-4 weeks. For example, on the main lift of each workout, start off by performing 3 sets of 5 for 3-4 weeks. Every 3-4 weeks, lower the reps by 1 and increase the weight used until you are performing 3 heavy reps on the final week.

For the accessory lifts or other lifts in the program, you may want to start on the lower end and increase the reps each week.

Whatever you decide to do will allow you to progress by utilizing heavier weight and/or more repetitions during the program and keep things from getting stale.

For rest periods, the first big main lift will require 3-5 mins of rest in between sets. On the remainder of your compound lifts, rest for 60-90 seconds. And on arm, calf, and core exercises, rest for 30-45 seconds.

Full Body Workout for Beginners

Exercise Sets Reps
Trap Bar Deadlift 3 3-5
Bent Over Row 3 5-8
Dumbbell Overhead Press 3 6-10
Lat Pull Down 3 6-10
Dumbbell Bicep Curl 2 10-12
Rope Pressdown 2 10-12
Plank 2 Failure*

*Time yourself and try to improve the duration of your plank. 

Full Body Workout for Beginners

Exercise Sets Reps
Front Squats 3 3-5
Romanian Deadlift 3 6-10
Farmer's Carry 3 45 Secs
Dumbbell Row 3 10-15
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
Calf Raise 3 15-20
Dead Bugs 2 6-12 Each

Full Body Workout for Beginners

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 3-5
Leg Press 3 6-10
Leg Curl 3 8-12
Lateral Raise 3 10-15
Cable Row 3 8-12
EZ Bar Curl 2 10-12
Skullcrusher 2 10-12
Pallof Press 2 6-12 Each

Diet Advice for Beginners

There’s a lot of debate on whether beginners should focus on counting calories and macros, or if they should focus on increasing the quality of their food.

And, to be honest, it depends on your starting point and current lifestyle.

It’s a lot to ask of someone who eats highly processed foods and doesn’t currently count calories to all of a sudden eat nothing but healthy whole foods while maintaining a newly calculated calorie budget.

So, it really depends on you as an individual how you get started with a beginner diet.

Although, it seems that when an individual adopts healthier eating patterns and fills most of their calories from whole food sources, their caloric intake seems to self-regulate. For that reason, I generally like to recommend people begin by focusing on controlling the quality of food they put into their bodies.

Foods that are helpful for beginners to eat throughout the day include:

  • Lean and quality protein sources: lean chicken, lean beef, turkey, whey protein, low fat dairy, beans, fish, and eggs.
  • Quality carbohydrates: Whole wheat, oats, rice, beans, grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, nut butters, nuts, seeds, etc.
  • Fruits: All fruits – the more variety the better.
  • Vegetables: All vegetables – the more variety the better.

Trying to add a serving of each of the food groups listed above into each of your meals daily is a good idea. But, start slow. Begin by adding one meal that contains those food groups into your diet each day consistently. Once you’ve done that for a week, add a second, then a third, and so on and so forth.

Once you’re in a habit of eating the right types of food for the majority of your meals and you want to take it a step further figure out your calorie needs by using a daily calorie calculator tool.

And once you know your calories, you can read the following resources to build a diet that really maximizes your potential of accomplishing your goals:

  1. How to Calculate The Perfect Macros
  2. How to Create a Bodybuilding Diet

Start small, be consistent, and reap the many benefits of eating a healthy, varied diet full of high quality food sources.

Final Words & Advice for Beginners

Getting started in the gym can be difficult.

But, with the plan laid out in this article, you’ll be able to notice gains (both in your health and in muscle size) pretty quickly.

Focus on being consistent with your workouts and try to establish better daily dietary routines slowly. Adding both of those habits into your life will pay off tremendously as you get stronger, healthier, leaner and more muscular.

If you have any questions about the program or nutrition, please leave a comment section below. We’d be more than happy to help you get started in the right ways.

Posted on: Mon, 07/03/2023 - 03:26

I was wondering how much calorie I burn for one of gym using your routine

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 07/07/2023 - 06:44

No way to accurately predict that because size, effort, metabolism, and intensity all factor into that. Your best bet is to get a calorie tracker and determine that one on your own. Each person could have a different result.

Posted on: Tue, 06/20/2023 - 15:55


I was wondering what exercises I can sub the leg curl and Pallof Press with?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 06/22/2023 - 06:48

Hi, Thomas. What equipment do you have access to, or why can you not do them? I want to make the best suggestion possible.

Posted on: Thu, 10/06/2022 - 17:06

Should I be doing any cardio before or after the work outs?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 10/09/2022 - 15:45

Hello, Craig. If your goal is fat loss, then you can do cardio after the weight training. Never do intense cardio before weights because it will deplete your glycogen levels, and the workout will suffer. If you're focused on getting bigger, then save the cardio for off days. Either way, start with moderate effort before going for anything high intensity.

Posted on: Thu, 09/29/2022 - 07:44

I'm gonna start this routine, but I'd like to ask is it suit to lose weight for beginner?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/29/2022 - 10:35

It is. I would suggest following this guide for nutrition information to support this workout. You should see good results. Thanks for reading M&S!


Posted on: Sun, 09/18/2022 - 01:17

I started doing this routine Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Do you recommend continuing on a rolling basis so I don’t take 2 days off? E.g., Monday/Wednesday/Friday, Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday, etc

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/22/2022 - 17:03

Try it, Julian. I used to train that way and loved it. If you find that you can recover well enough to perform as you expect, roll with it!

Posted on: Fri, 09/16/2022 - 15:38

Hello, I am a beginner and wanted to know what to do to gain more mass. I am 17 years old and 51KG at 169 cm. I would like to get to 72 kg but I don't know how many calories I should consume everyday. Would really appreciate it if you could help me out with this.

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Posted on: Tue, 09/20/2022 - 16:27
Steven santos
Posted on: Sun, 04/03/2022 - 21:44

Do you have a upper/ lower body workout for planet fitness machines only? The location I go to doesn’t even have a trainer on staff please help thanks steven s.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 04/20/2022 - 19:40

Hi, Steven. This is the closest we got. Just replace the free weight movements with machines that work in similar ways.


Posted on: Wed, 11/24/2021 - 23:29

I want lean muscle.is there any workout plan?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 11/27/2021 - 14:29

Hi, Sauri. This is a plan for building lean muscle. Go with this one.

Posted on: Thu, 11/18/2021 - 02:30

I’m currently in the 5th week of your 9 week routine for beginners. I know I still have 4 weeks to go, but I was curious if you could give me another routine to work with after I’m done completing the 9 week beginner?One of your recommendation.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 11/18/2021 - 11:57

Hey Tyler, what is your goal going forward? Do you want to get bigger, or do you need to lean out? Give us some extra info about what you want to do, and we will find a program that can help you out.

Posted on: Sat, 11/20/2021 - 01:13

Sorry for the late response. I would like to get bigger and stronger, however, I’m 39 so I don’t know if it is to late for that or not. I’m not looking to go all out like the Ultimate Warrior or anything, but I’d definitely would like to add some muscle mass and slowly get back into cardio as well. If there is anyway you could find something for me that would fit my age department, I would really appreciate it. I’m just hoping with me being 39 that it is not to late to change my body and muscle physique

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 11/22/2021 - 18:49

39? You got plenty of time yet. Give this one a go after your run on this one ends.


Posted on: Mon, 11/22/2021 - 19:34

Thank you, brother. I really appreciate all your help.

Posted on: Sat, 10/23/2021 - 01:59

The gym I go to does not have a trap bar. Do you recommend a substitute for this?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 10/23/2021 - 19:34

Hey Tyler, if your gym has heavy enough dumbbells, go with dumbbell deadlifts with the weights to the side. If not, then go with traditional barbell deadlifts.

Posted on: Mon, 10/25/2021 - 01:20

Thank you, sir. I have another question for you. I’m currently following one your 3 day beginner routines to get back into shape. I’ve had experience in the gym, but in the past. Due to injury I had to separate myself from there. The routine calls for Monday-Wednesday- Friday. I’m unfortunately not able to go To the gym on Friday or Saturday. Due to the circumstances, I have to do the routine Monday-Wednesday-Thursday. In your opinion, do you believe that will be ok? I have Friday, Saturday and Sunday to rejuvenate. But at the same time, I feel like 3 off days are to long. I’m 39 years old, no old man by any means, but I’m a little out of my prime lol. But unfortunately, the only days I can go are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Do you recommend any workouts I can do on the weekend at home? Or do you think I should rejuvenate on those 3 days? I apologize for typing a book, I just really want to get back into shape and wanted to make sure I’m doing it right.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 10/25/2021 - 20:07

No problem. The longer questions with details help with answering them.

That schedule would be ok. While these programs are great to follow as recommended, not everyone has a perfect office or work schedule, so do what you gotta do. As for that Saturday, do one of the bodyweight workouts in this article. No equipment needed, and you can still challenge yourself. The article is meant for three days a week training, but for your needs, pick one a week and add it to the program you're following.


Posted on: Tue, 10/26/2021 - 00:33

Awesome. Thank you very much

Koijam Liklaisun
Posted on: Tue, 01/19/2021 - 15:23

say- i want to workout 6days a week. can i use this routine repeatedly! twice of each workout routine in a week???

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 01/20/2021 - 09:23

Hey Koijam - since these are full body workouts, you shouldn't do these 6 days per week. If you're serious about working out 6 days a week, check out this workout: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/6-day-dumbbell-only-workout

Posted on: Thu, 10/15/2020 - 19:18

What about tempo and time under tension? Plus can i do low reps for all my workout 3-5 and then change for 8-12 the 2nd week ? This way i will train for strength and hypertrophy

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 10/16/2020 - 08:41

Hey Serge - it's best to follow the program as written. Are you looking for a 3 day workout that targets strength and hypertrophy?

Posted on: Fri, 10/16/2020 - 10:11

Yes please

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 10/16/2020 - 10:36
Evance komanest...
Posted on: Tue, 01/19/2021 - 15:43

Is good

Terrence Dover
Posted on: Sat, 08/22/2020 - 11:14

I'm very interested in beginning this workout. With my busy schedule, I'm sure that I can manage to work this in three days a week for a beginner. However, I'm a little confused, are all the exercises meant for one setting or do you do the three separate on different days, if I'm making sense.?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 08/26/2020 - 13:20

Hey Terrence,

You'd perform each workout on 3 separate days, 3 times per week with at least 1 full day of rest/recovery in between each training session. Do this for 9 weeks total.

Monday: Full Body Workout

Posted on: Thu, 01/23/2020 - 07:47

What to do next after this routine?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:46

Hi Leo,

That depends on your goals and the number of days you'd like to workout. You could do something like this:


Or something like this:


Posted on: Thu, 01/23/2020 - 12:45

Hi, I am a beginner. It has been 2 weeks since I have started gyming. Currently, I am going 6 days and targeting new muscle daily which is not working for me I am feeling very tired always.
Age 24
Height 5'11
Weight 142 lbs
My goal is to reach 170 lbs with a good muscle look equally in full-body within 6 months period.

Your suggestion is highly appreciated.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:24

Hi Leo,

Give full body workouts a try. They may work better for your beginner status.

Posted on: Fri, 01/17/2020 - 18:39

can i do it 2 days in a row ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/20/2020 - 10:16

Hi Bruno,

I wouldn't recommend it. But, sure it could be done.

Patrick Boyle
Posted on: Tue, 01/07/2020 - 13:05

Should I incorporate cardio on off days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 01/08/2020 - 14:35

Hi Patrick,

Sure - you should be fine doing that.

Posted on: Sun, 11/17/2019 - 09:41

What is the best way to find the correct weight to start out with

Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2019 - 05:39

I have some exercises that I should avoid due a back injury. Is it possible to replace deadlift, front squat and bent over row?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2019 - 09:22

Hi Ramos,

With the need to replace those movement patterns, and with your injury, I'd recommend working with a personal trainer in person. They'll be able to create a program based on your individual needs.

Posted on: Thu, 08/15/2019 - 16:14

Just wondering about the 3 different full-body workouts posted above, do you do a different one each day? Or do you just stick with one for the entire 9 weeks? Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 08/16/2019 - 16:32

Hi Kville,

You perform them all throughout the course of a week (preferably on nonconsecutive days) for 9 weeks.