A Strength Training Routine Lays The Foundation of Fitness

A strength training routine is probably the best place for a beginner to start their journey into weightlifting, bodybuilding, powerlifting, or any physical sport. I hate to use the worn out cliché about building a house with a strong foundation but it really does hit home here. A training routine lays that foundation nice and strong and helps you to build enough mass on your frame to excel in any sport. As I've said in other articles your basic rule of thumb is that you should be able to bench your bodyweight, squat 1.5 times your bodyweight and deadlift twice your bodyweight before you even think about starting a workout program that is not targeted toward improving strength.

The reason for these measurements is that this is the level most people have built sufficient mass, strengthened their tendons and trained their stabilizing muscles enough to safely start doing more advanced routines. A strength program can be boring as it typically does not involve much variation in the form of exercises or training frequency. This is just the nature of the beast. To get stronger you have to focus on the big compound movements and steadily add weight to those movements until you achieve your goals.

You are basically going to train on bench press, deadlift, squats, overhead press, bent over rows, and everything else you do is second priority and is just an assistant exercise. Strength training routines are structured around the big lifts and low reps with several sets. The goal is to steadily add weight to these lifts over time and keep getting stronger.

For Example in Mark Rippletoe's starting strength program a basic beginners strength training routine looks like this:


The Original Starting Strength Novice Program

Workout A

  • 3x5 Squat
  • 3x5 Bench Press
  • 1x5 Deadlift

Workout B

  • 3x5 Squat
  • 3x5 Press
  • 5x3 Power cleans

Workouts A and B alternate on 3 non-consecutive days per week

Or you could go with the variation he made in his Practical Programming Book.

Practical Programming Novice Program


  • 3x5 Squat
  • 3x5 Bench Press / Press (Alternating)
  • Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps


  • 3x5 Squat
  • 3x5 Press / Bench Press (Alternating)
  • 1x5 Deadlift


  • 3x5 Squat
  • 3x5 Bench Press / Press (Alternating)
  • Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

Either of these plans will build you a strong foundation and get you deep into a strength routine.

gain 41 lbs of muscle in 24 weeks