Strength and Conditioning

    The Best 2 Day a Week Gym Workout Program for Beginners

    Did you know that you don’t need to become a total gym rat and live in the weight room to get back in shape? As long as you keep your workout routine consistent, you will get the necessary workout. Visit your gym near you, at a minimum twice per week for at least an hour per visit. In addition, you can map out an excellent gym workout program for beginners in your fitness facility with a little planning.

    The trick to getting started is to get started.

    Want to get back in shape? The hardest part about working out is just getting to the gym near you. And get your fitness program started. Your mind is on other things, and your body isn’t used to the extra physical exertion. Therefore, you must choose to block out your daily schedule to go to the gym and make the lifestyle change. Starting a new habit is not easy, but it’s not that hard too. Just set your mind to do it.

    Splitting things up

    There are generally two ways to break up your workout over your two-day plan. First, you can split your exercises into cycles, push and pull. Second, focus on the upper body one day and the lower body on the second day on alternating days.

    Day 1: chest, back, arms, and shoulders

    Day 2: lower body squats, lunges, hamstring curls, glute bridges, and other core exercises

    The other option is to do a lower-intensity full-body workout on both days. Make sure you space out your gym days enough to allow your body to recover.

    You can experiment a little when starting to see which style works best for you. It’s important to keep exercising. You may want to pick one and stick with it eventually. The key to making the most of your workouts is keeping things consistent. And I have many personal training clients who tell me that same thing.

    Your workout modality may vary. But the workouts you’ll be doing at the gym will be basically the same, just with different spices. The only thing your two-day plan will affect is which workouts you decide to do when and where. Here are a few exercises that are great for a gym workout for beginners.

    Upper Body workout program for beginners

    Bicep Curls

    Bicep curls are a great exercise for a beginner workout for working the arms and upper body. You can do this exercise essentially anywhere as long as you have free weights to work with.

    Start in a standing position, arms at your sides and palms facing your hips while holding the weights. From there, bend your arm at the elbow, rotating your palms forward as you curl the weight. Try to keep your upper arm relatively still and move in a slow and fluid motion. Then ease the weight back down to your starting position, maintaining control. Don’t let the weight drop and release, as this could strain the muscles and ligaments in your arms.

    Make sure to have your elbows in front of yourself (not resting on your stomach/chest) just off. If you want to advance your workout, you can add in a lunge, and if you want more challenge, a shoulder press. If you want to progress this further, our personal trainers can help you further.


    Rows are great for working your posterior chain muscles or back (lats, traps, deltoids, and rhomboids). There are many ways to do this. To start, you can lean on an incline bench on your stomach but not let your chest touch the multi-use bench. Next, let your arms hang down in front of you while holding your free weights. From there, slowly pull your arms straight back against gravity with your elbow tight on your side. Try to touch behind your back so that your hands are in line with your waist. Then slowly lower the weight back down to its starting position. Again, you want to make sure you don’t round your shoulders forward.


    Push-ups are a great workout for chest and upper body training, and the best part is you can do them anywhere. Start by getting into a plank position on your knees or feet (whatever you can hold correctly with good form). Your hands must be shoulder-width apart while keeping on your toes. From there, bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest lightly touches the ground. Don’t let your core and mid-body sag down so far that your hips are sagging, or you are simply laying on your stomach. Keep your back straight and make sure most of your body weight is supported by your shoulders, arms, and core. At the bottom, when your chest touches the ground, push up and extend your elbows and return to your starting plank position. For best results, use a full range body motion, use an explosive motion to launch yourself back up, and ease yourself back down.

    Lower Body workout program for beginners

    Squats or Booty lifters

    Squats are a great way to work your butt muscles, thighs, calves, hamstring muscles, and even a little of your core muscles. This will cause you a tighter, firmer bum. You can either hold a free weight like a dumbbell or kettlebell in the goblet position. Hold your hands as you would hold a goblet cup grasping the weight, or use a barbell resting across the back of your shoulders.

    If you’re starting, using the goblet position is much easier to work with. Stand with your feet about shoulder-length apart. Feet pointed slightly outward. While squatting, brace your core by breathing out forcefully. Maintain that tightness after but maintaining breathing. Keep your core and body muscles tight and ready, and keep your knees in line with your feet. Next, bend your knees until your hips are just below your knees or at least close. From there, drive upward, pressing your feet into the ground to stand back up and reset your position. If you feel pain at any point of your squat, seek a personal trainer or a physiotherapist.

    Leg Lifts to lift your butt

    Leg lifts are great for working both your core, glute muscles and your thighs. First, start on your back, lifting your feet just ever so slightly off the ground. Then, keeping your legs straight as you can without feeling discomfort in your back. Next, lift your legs until they’re at a 45-degree angle to the rest of your body. Then ease your legs back down to the starting position, making sure not to let your feet touch the ground.

    Use slow controlled motions. The benefit of the exercise comes from forcing your body to do the work on both the upward and downward motions. It is called eccentric contraction and concentric contraction. It is not just letting gravity take over and dropping the weight once you’re done with the lifting portion. Control is everything right, control freaks?

    Core workout program for beginners

    Glute Bridges

    If you’re looking to firm and tone your posterior, glute bridges are a great way to get your body ready for beach season. Start out laying on your back. Knees bent with your heels by your rear end or bum. Keeping your head and shoulders on the ground. Lift your hips, lift your bum off the ground or mat, and then ease yourself back down to the starting position. If you want to intensify, hold your bum up for 5 seconds. You can also use sandbags, dumbbells, barbells, or duffel bags laid across your hips to help increase the weight and resistance.

    V-Ups or sit-ups with a twist

    While most people are familiar with sit-ups, V-ups can be considered their more hardcore relative. A V-up is essentially a combined sit-up and leg lift. Start flat on your back, hands on your shoulders, or increase your workout intensity. First, hold them above your head. Then, lift your legs and sit up simultaneously, trying to touch your hands to your toes in one motion. Then let yourself reset to the starting position. These can be absolutely brutal if you’re not used to them.

    V-ups are one of the best workouts for your abs and core. And they can be done anywhere since you don’t need any additional weights. And if you do giv’er you crazy mo’ fo’.

    How many Sets and Reps for a beginner workout

    When planning your workout for a beginner or experienced psycho fitness freak, start small. You’ll want to do about 10 minutes of a cardio workout to warm up. Or maybe a few (5-10) minutes on the treadmill or doing jumping jacks for about the same time. When it comes time to do the exercises, pace yourself and start with low-weight high repetition sets. Pick a weight you can lift comfortably without straining too hard. And aim for 3 sets of 10 – 15. While it might start easy, you’ll start to feel it gets hard towards the end. As your body gets used to the weight, the more you work out, start increasing the weight to your abilities. Eventually, you can switch to high-weight low repetition sets once your body is used to the physical exertion levels. And you may want to start bulking up on muscle rather than just toning.

    There is always a happy medium. Whatever it is you choose to move, do it, move it, or lose it. Would you rather be able to stand up when you’re old or have someone help you off the toilet?