How to Design an Effective Workout Plan: Ultimate Guide for Beginners | Joanna Soh

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How to Design an Effective Workout Plan: Ultimate Guide for Beginners | Joanna Soh

Having an effective workout programme is extremely important towards achieving your fitness goals. You can’t just have a goal and expect to achieve it, if you don’t have a clear and detailed plan. Without it, you’re probably wasting your time and effort.

There isn’t a “one plan fits all” solution. That’s because we are all different. Creating an exercise programme varies based on your age, goal, fitness level, lifestyle and more. Even with tons of workout videos out there, you still need to have the knowledge of knowing why you’re doing this workout, rather than just blindly following it..

So what I’ll be sharing with you today are the foundations to start a simple yet effective workout programme. It might sound daunting, but once you know the basics and build from there, it isn’t difficult, in fact it’s a lot of fun. I’m going to try to keep it really simple and break it down into 5 steps. Watch this video to learn more!

Step 1 – Consistency (How often and when should I workout?)
Step 2 – Variety (What workouts should I do?)
Step 3 – Volume (How many sets, reps and rest time?)
Step 4 – Progression (How do I keep progressing and avoid plateau?)
Step 5 – Track (Why should I track my workouts?)

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How to Design an Effective Workout Plan: Ultimate Guide for Beginners | Joanna Soh
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If you are new to training and looking for a beginner workout to build muscle then this is the step by step workout plan you need. In this video, I take you through a workout for beginners that is 3 months in length, or possibly even longer if you decide to stick with the third month longer, that is designed to build both strength and muscle while making sure to build your body on a solid foundation.

Each month consists of three workouts, two of which are full body workouts and one of which focuses on your core and grip/forearm strength. The total body workouts are alternated on monday, wednesday and friday while the core and carry workout is repeated every tuesday and thursday. The weekends are taken off for rest and recovery.

The exercises in this beginner workout routine are grouped by movement patterns. Instead of focusing solely on specific exercises, I want the beginner trainee to think about how their bodies are moving and why that movement is important so that they may substitute in other exercises down the line with a knowledge of why they are acceptable alternatives.

The ten movement patterns are:

Squat
Hinge
Vertical Push
Vertical Pull
Horizontal Push
Horizontal Pull
Static Lunge
Dynamic Lunge
Core Flexion
Carry

Over the course of the 3 months of this beginner workout plan, you will see that the exercises that fit each movement pattern will change. By either increasing the complexity of the exercise or the amount of load that can be used on the exercise, we can ensure progressive overload is met while giving your muscles the stimulus they need to grow bigger and stronger.

Eight of the ten movement patterns are split up across two full body workouts as shown in the video.

Here is an example of how the A full body workout for beginners of month one is structured:

1. DB Drop Squat – 3 x 12-15 FF
2. 1 Arm DB Press – 3 x 12-15 FF each arm
3. Chest Supported Row – 3 x 12-15 FF
4. Bodyweight Split Squats – 3 x FF each leg

Here is an example of how the B workout for beginners of month one is structured:

1. Pullthroughs – 3 x 12-15 FF
2. Bodyweight Reverse Lunges – 3 x 12-15 FF each leg
3. Pushups – 3 x FF
4. Lat/Banded Pulldowns – 3 x 12-15 FF

Here is an example of how the C beginner workout of month one is structured:

1. Rollups – 3 x FF
2. DB Suitcase Carry – 3 x FF each arm

As you make your way through months one, two and three you will see that the reps will decrease (progressing from movement mastery into strength overload) and the overall volume will increase and then become streamlined for maximum efficiency at the end. Any beginner who performs this total body workout for beginners can expect to see increases in the amount of muscle mass they carry as well as how they look and feel by the end of the routine.

The majority of these workouts can be performed in any home gym, making this extremely friendly to anyone who is looking to build muscle but either cannot or does not want to go to the gym. A simple bench, barbell set and some dumbbells is all it takes for you to start building muscle as a beginner. If for some reason you cannot perform one of the exercises shown here, simply leave a comment below and someone will be able to recommend an alternative option that you will be able to do.

All beginner workouts should have something in common, and that is a focus on learning the basics while paying attention to perform the exercises you are doing the right way. There is no point in building strength upon a cracked foundation. Learn how to control your body in space and master the movement patterns before adding weight to prevent unnecessary breakdowns down the line.

Within these workouts you will find familiar exercises like pushups, squats, deadlifts, rows, pullups, lunges and more. The exercise progressions are what is important however and making sure not to move to an exercise that your body is not prepared to do properly at this time. The step by step workout plan for beginners is laid out as such to ensure that that doesn’t happen to you. Take it workout by workout and you will see that you can make great progress without any slips along the way.

For more complete full body workouts that will help you build muscle as a beginner, be sure to head to athleanx.com via the link below and check out the programs offered. No matter what your specific goal is, the program selector tool will help you find the one that is best matched to your current goals.

For more videos on total body workouts for beginners and the best full body beginner workout, be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel via the link below and remember to turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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40 Comments

  1. alexandra

    i do my workout at 6pm and i don't have time for dinner because i've seen that you shouldn't eat after 7pm and i can't eat anything before my exercises either so i just go to bed with an empty stomach i just drink green tea and that's it but i do have dinner in my rest days tho, is that unhealthy?

  2. Douglas Anderson

    This video is very informative 👏. I can't express this enough! I do however want to add that whatever you are trying to achieve, diet is 80 percent of the process. You don't want all your hard work going to waste because you did not eat enfough calories or that you had eaten to many. Plus dont forget to make sure you are getting the right type of calories(protein, fat, carbs) for you goal. No matter if you are trying to build muscle/ gain weight, tone up, or loose fat. It mostly comes down to diet and dedication to that diet. Also plenty of water and sleep!

  3. GREAT DUBAI

    Your Channel is Very Good, I already left my LIKE with you, CONGRATULATIONS!! ****

  4. Suzie

    I only want to work out twice a week for 30 minutes each..haha..😵

  5. Maya Horner

    this is very informative however you can’t increase the amount of muscle cells, strength training just makes the muscle cells larger.

  6. Poonam Yaduvanshi

    Please make video for weight gain.And running or skipping which one will be helpful for weight gain please suggest me.

  7. LeAnn

    Hi! I'm a fourteen year old girl and I would like to know if there is any home work outs that you could recommend to be to use since I have an endomorphic body type.. if you can help I will be so thankful to you ❤

  8. Lucy

    What I’ve planned from this:
    5 days, 30-60 minutes daily, 6pm
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
    Split: upper strength, lower strength, cardio, full body strength and cardio, full body strength and cardio

  9. Patricia

    I'm so happy I have found this video, now I know why I don't see the results, it's because I was not consistent with my workouts and I didn't go harder. I'm slim but I want to build muscle mass and I have also a lower belly fat that I'm trying to get rid of. It's so difficult but this video is so helpful. Thank you!

  10. Barange Deepti

    I absolutely love your videos, they are some of the best that cover a lot of information in a crisp manner! Well researched and well-presented videos! Thanks for Joanna!

  11. alex soto

    Best video ever, I had always wanted someone explain everything all the video is perfect, not like videos of random fit IG models in the gym doing push ups or exercises and not explaining nothing. I want to thank you !

  12. Harinder Walia

    You're so inspiring and after going thru the comments and your sweet replies to your subscribers i believe you try to solve everyone's issues☺🥀

  13. Srushti Garje

    Losing weight and becoming fit is my first resolution in the resolution list of 2022 …and I am so determined to do it after getting a lot of hate , taunts , etc….and I really love your training and the way you explain things…I promise I will do it and update about my progress..

  14. Rania

    Joanna can we get a video about modifications for commonly used exercises like lunges squats and the plank variations etc for those w injuries?

  15. maysoon waleed

    Amazing information thank you xxx

  16. Nicole H

    Soo soo good! Keep up the incredible work!!

  17. Liz Tucker

    Loved everything about this video! Great information!

  18. ATHLEAN-X™

    NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY – It’s back!! Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! 
    https://giveaway.athleanx.com/ytg/perfect-beginner-workout

    If you don’t win, no worries, you’re not going away empty handed. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

  19. leandrea tyler

    Going to start this workout 💪🏾 thank you so much for sharing this!

  20. Sven Proescher

    Startet yesterday…keeping you updated

  21. Tdrahllib

    What if i want to workout on less days? how do i change the workout days?

  22. timmyfasano

    How would you recommend doing any exercises that out a strain on the lower back, for those with existing back injuries?

  23. Saifuu

    For the suitcase carry, do you just carry the weight around until you can't no more. Then do 2 more of that?

  24. Vi Ki

    I can't do the roll up to save my life. How the hell do you get up without lifting your legs?

  25. Dang

    I can’t believe i watch all this video for free. Thanks big man

  26. Bench26

    Sir this month i strt work out this is my begginer..i subscribe already.

  27. Jack Aguirre

    My residential gym doesn't have barbells 🙁

  28. Mo

    What do you recommend that I do on rest days.

  29. Meddy

    Month 1

    Workout A (Total Body)

    4:37 Level 1 DB Drop Squat – 3 x 12-15 FF (Form Failure)

    1:41 Level 1 1Arm DB Press – 3 x 12-15 FF each arm

    2:24 Level 1 Chest Supported Row – 3 x 12-15 FF

    5:34 Level 1 BW Split Squat – 3 x FF each leg

    Workout B (Total Body)

    3:58 Level 1 PullThrough – 3 x 12-15 FF

    6:08 Level 1 BW Reverse Lunge – 3 x 12-15 FF each leg

    0:57 Level 1 Push Up – 3 x FF

    3:08 Level 1 Lat Pull Down || Alternate at 3:18 – 3 x 12-15 FF

    Workout C (Core/Carry)

    6:50 Level 1 RollUps – 3 x FF

    7:33 Level 1 Suitcase Carry – 3 x FF each arm

    Month 2

    Workout D (Total Body)

    4:57 Level 2 DB Goblet Squat – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    1:55 Level 2 DB OHP – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    2:38 Level 2 DB Tripod Row – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    5:42 Level 2 DB Split Squat – 3-4 x 8-12 FF each leg

    Workout E (Total Body)

    4:07 Level 2 RDL – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    6:16 Level 2 DB Suitcase Rev Lunge – 3-4 x 8-12 each leg FF

    1:12 Level 2 Bench Press – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    3:23 Level 2 Band Assisted Pullup – 3 X FF

    Workout F (Core/Carry)

    7:00 Level 2 Jackknifes – 3-4 X FF

    7:38 Level 2 Farmer's Carry – 3-4 X FF

    Month 3 (Add 5 lbs if able to perform setsXreps)

    Workout H (Total Body)

    5:05 Level 3 Back Squat – 3 x 5

    2:05 Level 3 Barbell OHP – 3 x 5

    2:50 Level 3 Underhand BB Row – 3 x 8

    5:52 Level 3 DB Bulgarian Split Squat – 3 x 8 each leg

    Workout G (Total Body)

    4:20 Level 3 DL – 3 x 5

    6:31 Level 3 DB Reverse Lunge – 3 x 8 each leg

    1:27 Level 3 BB Bench Press – 3 x 5

    3:37 Level 3 PullUps – 3 x FF

    Workout I (Core/Carry)

    7:09 Level 3 Hanging Knee Raise – 3 x FF

    7:44 Level 3 Overhead Carry – 3 x FF

  30. Iulian Bold

    Legendary workout! As for Carry / Core, what do you guys complement it with? It seems a little short to hit the gym for just those two movements. Cheers!

  31. Hanging with RAC

    I'm going to try this program

  32. Kshitij Naveed Kaul

    I have a question.

    Do I finish a certain exercise 3 times and then move on to the next or go through the entire workout 3 times?

    Thanks.

  33. Noblesse

    I just do 1000 push ups 1000 squats 5 minute plank 10 mile run and then meditating under a freezing waterfall with the weight of 9g

  34. ian solano

    Month 1

    Workout A (Total Body)

    4:37 Level 1 DB Drop Squat – 3 x 12-15 FF (Form Failure)

    1:41 Level 1 1Arm DB Press – 3 x 12-15 FF each arm

    2:24 Level 1 Chest Supported Row – 3 x 12-15 FF

    5:34 Level 1 BW Split Squat – 3 x FF each leg

    Workout B (Total Body)

    3:58 Level 1 PullThrough – 3 x 12-15 FF

    6:08 Level 1 BW Reverse Lunge – 3 x 12-15 FF each leg

    0:57 Level 1 Push Up – 3 x FF

    3:08 Level 1 Lat Pull Down || Alternate at 3:18 – 3 x 12-15 FF

    Workout C (Core/Carry)

    6:50 Level 1 RollUps – 3 x FF

    7:33 Level 1 Suitcase Carry – 3 x FF each arm


    Month 2

    Workout D (Total Body)

    4:57 Level 2 DB Goblet Squat – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    1:55 Level 2 DB OHP – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    2:38 Level 2 DB Tripod Row – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    5:42 Level 2 DB Split Squat – 3-4 x 8-12 FF each leg

    Workout E (Total Body)

    4:07 Level 2 RDL – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    6:16 Level 2 DB Suitcase Rev Lunge – 3-4 x 8-12 each leg FF

    1:12 Level 2 Bench Press – 3-4 x 8-12 FF

    3:23 Level 2 Band Assisted Pullup – 3 X FF

    Workout F (Core/Carry)

    7:00 Level 2 Jackknifes – 3-4 X FF

    7:38 Level 2 Farmer's Carry – 3-4 X FF


    Month 3 (Add 5 lbs if able to perform setsXreps)

    Workout H (Total Body)

    5:05 Level 3 Back Squat – 3 x 5

    2:05 Level 3 Barbell OHP – 3 x 5

    2:50 Level 3 Underhand BB Row – 3 x 8

    5:52 Level 3 DB Bulgarian Split Squat – 3 x 8 each leg

    Workout G (Total Body)

    4:20 Level 3 DL – 3 x 5

    6:31 Level 3 DB Reverse Lunge – 3 x 8 each leg

    1:27 Level 3 BB Bench Press – 3 x 5

    3:37 Level 3 PullUps – 3 x FF

    Workout I (Core/Carry)

    7:09 Level 3 Hanging Knee Raise – 3 x FF

    7:44 Level 3 Overhead Carry – 3 x FF

  35. Romain Altenbach

    I recently began this program, and there is something which troubles my mind : isn't there a lack of chest exercices in the program ? For example, on month 1, you do only 3 sets of pushups in week 1 and 6 sets of pushups on week 2 (then, 3 sets of pushups again on week 3, and 6 sets of pushups on week 4). I watched some videos where they advised more than that : for example, Jeff Nippard advises 10 – 20 sets a week, and Will Tennyson advises training muscles 2 times a week. So, what do you think guys? Do you think this program comprises enough chest work? Maybe it's enough for a beginner, or maybe you work your chest through the other exercices a bit?

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