The Beginner's Guide To Building Your Own Weight Workout Program

Last updated on : April 20 2022

She workouts in the gym.

Creating a training routine is both enjoyable and demanding. It takes time to perfect and constant adjusting but seeing the results of your hard work can be pretty fulfilling.

Even though we should tailor exercise to our age, goals, nutritional needs, and free time, to name a few. It's easy to make the process too complicated because there are many exercises, variations, and routines.

There are several elements to get a handle on when creating a tailored workout program for you. And in this article, we will walk you through all you need to know to get started.

1. Define Your Goals

The idea is to write down your goals and be conscious of what you aim to achieve. For example, you might want to reduce your weight, bulk up, or grow muscle, or you might want to prepare for a marathon. 

Your specific goals are essential to understand as they will influence how you construct your workout program. 

Using the SMART technique to set goals is an excellent way to go. 

  • Specific – Your objectives need to indicate what you want to achieve. Make them simple and easy to understand – for example, "I want to lose ten pounds by the end of this year."
  • Measurable – To track your progress, you need to have goals you can measure. For instance, your specific objective might be to put on 5 pounds of muscle - to keep track of your progress; you'll rely on body composition equipment to measure your fat and muscle mass.
  • Attainable – Unrealistic goals lead to unnecessary frustration and disappointment, so make your objectives achievable in the real world. For example, gaining 0.5 pounds of muscle mass per week is reasonable. The more you multiply that number of pounds, the less likely it becomes. 
  • Relevant – Tailor your fitness objectives to your specific interests, requirements, preferences, and abilities. For example, your goal might be to boost your endurance so that you can finally go for a long hike with your partner. 
  • Timely – You need to have a deadline for completing your goals. If you aim to gain 5 pounds of muscle, a suitable time frame would be ten weeks, as an example.

2. Determine How Much Time You Have 

You commit to going to the gym 6 or 7 days a week after the initial surge of motivation that comes with the choice to start working out and then feel bad about yourself when you don't. It just doesn't work.

Many of us make the mistake of organizing our workouts around how much time we can spend in the gym in the best-case scenario. Remember that life is messy, and things rarely go as planned. 

Setting unreasonable goals for yourself can only lead to disappointment. That being said, you'll never "have" all that time to exercise. You'll have to create it yourself.

It's time to make a decision, taking into account all of your present responsibilities and priorities:

  • How many times a week is acceptable for you to work out? Even better if you can pinpoint the precise day(s) of the week.
  • When are you going to work out? 
  • How long do you intend to exercise?

We recommend a minimum of three days of exercise per week, but four to six days will be more successful if your goal is to gain muscle mass. 

Any quantity of exercise is preferable to none, regardless of your schedule. Do the best you can with the time you have.

It's also worth mentioning that you can break up your training. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), doing three 10-minute bouts of exercise throughout the day for a total of 30-minutes of activity is just as effective as doing one 30-minute session.

Also, you can choose where you want to work out: whether it's in a dedicated fitness area in your home, at the nearest gym, outdoors (like in a park), or somewhere else. 

Your workout location will largely determine whether you will exercise with your body weight or do gym-style weight training. Either way is good, and you'll work with what you have at your disposal to construct the most effective workout possible.

3. Choosing Your Exercises 


The ideal workout is the one you stick with the longest. 

Most people overcomplicate things by targeting a billion different specific muscles with six different sorts of exercises for each body area. It's tedious, time-consuming, and for some people, it's even terrifying. So keep it straightforward!

We will pick five exercises and work on getting incredibly strong with them. We recommend choosing a full-body regimen that you can do 2-3 times per week (unless you've been weight training for years and know what you're doing).

You need a workout regimen that includes at least one exercise that is appropriate for you:

  • Core (abdominals and lower back)
  • Back, biceps, and grip ("pull" muscles)
  • Chest, shoulders, and triceps ("push" muscles)
  • Glutes and hamstrings (back of your legs)
  • Quads (front of your legs)

You can create a full-body routine with only four or five exercises by focusing on compound movements that stimulate numerous muscles simultaneously.

Here's a rundown of which compound workouts are best for each of those muscle groups:

  • Quads – lunges, squats, box jumps, one-legged squats
  • Glutes and Hamstrings – deadlifts, straight leg deadlifts, hip raises, step-ups, good mornings.
  • Push (chest, shoulders, and triceps) – dips, push-ups, overhead press, bench press, incline dumbbell press
  • Pull (back, biceps, and forearms) – pull-ups, chin-ups, bent-over rows, bodyweight rows.
  • Core (abs and lower back) – exercise ball crunches, jumping knee tucks, mountain climbers, hanging leg raises, planks, side planks.

Choose one exercise from each category of your workout, and you'll work almost every muscle in your body.

If you're not sure how to do these exercises, you can always find some examples on YouTube. But make sure you are training with the right person. If you don't like someone's approach, find somebody else. YouTube is full of good instructors who give their tips for free. 

4. Sets and Reps

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) advises 8-12 reps for 2-4 sets for healthy people.

As you begin to design your training regimen, keep the following general rules in mind:

  • Keep the number of repetitions per set in the 8-15 range if you want to burn fat while building muscle.
  • Consider increasing the weight or the complexity of the movement if you can accomplish more than 15 reps without much trouble. This category includes lunges, bodyweight squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and similar exercises.

Other commonly accepted 'rules' for determining how many reps you should target per set according to your goals include:

  • Reps in the 1-5 rep range help develop super thick muscle and strength.
  • Reps in the 6-12 range generate muscular strength and size in roughly equal amounts.
  • Muscle endurance is built by reps of 12 or more.

As a beginner, start with a lesser weight and more reps as you get more comfortable with each exercise. Then determine whether you want to do more reps with less weight or vice versa. Remember that the most important thing is to get started; you'll learn how your body reacts and can adjust as you go.

5. Choosing the Weights

Lift just enough to get through the set, but not so much that you don't have any fuel left at the finish. Trial and error is the only way to figure out how much that is. 

When starting out, always come down on the side of "too light" rather than "too heavy". Focus on your endurance and use a natural workout supplement to help boost your energy levels to push through the challenges. 

The NSCA has a 2-for-2 guideline for increasing resistance: If a person can accomplish two reps (or more) over their established target, they should raise the load.

By how much should you increase weight?

  • For beginners, increasing the weight by 2–5 pounds for upper body exercises and 5–10 pounds for lower body exercises is recommended.
  • For more advanced gym-goers, it is recommended that you raise the weight for upper body exercises by 5–10 pounds or more and for lower body exercises by 10–15 pounds or more.

If you're doing exercises with only your body weight, we'd recommend gradually increasing the difficulty of each exercise as you get in shape. 

After you've completed 20 reps and aren't exhausted, it's time to switch things up.

In Closing

Last but not least, keep track of your workouts and evaluate your progress. With each day of exercise, you'll be getting stronger, faster, and fitter. Every time you see how far you've come, your routine will inspire you to keep going. 

We're rooting for you to create an exercise routine that works well for you and ultimately helps you feel stronger, healthier, and happier.

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