There are many reasons men may want to start a muscle building workout plan for beginners. Lean muscle is important for everyday activities and reduces the risk of injury. Increased lean muscle mass also raises your metabolism and helps you burn fat.

muscle building for beginnersPlus who doesn’t want to show off a strong, chiseled physique?

If you’re a beginner to weight lifting, the big problem is figuring out how to get started.

You may even wonder if you are too old or inexperienced to start lifting weights.

But just because you’re new to lifting weights doesn’t mean that you can’t start building muscle now to be in the best shape of your life.

What you need is a comprehensive muscle building workout plan for beginners.

Workout Plans for Muscle Growth

Workout plans designed for endurance and fitness and workout plans targeted towards building muscle require different approaches.

Both are great goals and have amazing benefits. Plus, if you are exercising to build muscle you are also going to be improving your long term health and fitness.

muscle building workout plan for beginnersThere is the misconception that as you age, it isn’t possible to have the same muscle growth as you did at a younger age.

Luckily, this isn’t true. And it doesn’t require high priced supplements or complicated workouts.

All that is needed is the motivation and dedication to a workout and nutrition plan that is focused on building muscle.

As you get older, you do need to take a different approach to strength training.

For one, your hormone levels, namely testosterone, decrease with age.

This means you will need to adjust the number of days you workout a week and the amount of rest you give your body between workouts.

Another factor that changes with age is the amount of time at your disposal. When you were younger, you may have had countless hours to spend at the gym.

But now you’re a busy dad with a full-time job. In addition, your body needs longer recovery periods to minimize injury risk.

Therefore, you need workouts that are effective but also efficient.

If you are a beginner as far as muscle building exercises go, you also need a workout plan that is straightforward and easy to follow.

Luckily, the Fit Father Project is here to help you discover that fitness plan.

Muscle Building Workout Plan For Beginners

The first question you probably have as a beginning weightlifter is: How many days a week do I need to strength train? And what areas should I be focusing on?

muscle building workout plan for beginnersStudies have shown that as men age, the most efficient workout plans involve full-body workouts spread out three times a week as compared to only hitting specific muscles once a week (1,2).

When you only work out one or two muscle groups a day, you are limited to only targeting these areas one time during the week.

There are just not enough days in the week to do more!

And, if you are only working out these muscle groups once a week, you will likely end up trying to do too many sets and reps in that one day.

This high volume can lead to increased muscle soreness, higher risk of injury, and overtraining.

Optimal Number of Sets For a Muscle Building Plan

So now that you know how many days a week you should be strength training, the next step is understanding the optimal number of sets per muscle group to perform.

muscle building workout plan for beginnersI’m sure you’ve seen other guys spending hours at a time in the gym, sticking to the “more is better” mindset.

However, there is a point where you can stress your muscles too much.

Not only will this overtraining not give you any additional muscle-building benefits, but you are also setting yourself up for injury.

Each individual is a little different, but as a general guideline, larger muscle groups will need more sets than smaller muscle groups.

For the beginner, the optimal number of sets per muscle group per week will follow guidelines similar to this:

Legs: 12-14 sets
Back:12-14 sets
Chest: 10-12 sets
Biceps: 6-8 sets
Triceps: 6-8 sets
Shoulders: 6-8 sets

So, to get 12 sets of legs in during the week, you can do four sets three times a week. This plan can be broken up in any number of ways.

For example:

Monday: 4 sets of squats
Wednesday: 2 sets of lunges, 2 sets up glute bridges
Friday: 4 sets of deadlifts

By dividing these exercises out over three full-body days you can get effective workouts without overtraining or risking an overuse injury.

By working out the same area 48-72 hours later, you can reach your full muscle-building potential.

How Many Reps Should I Be Doing?

If you are looking to increase muscle size, then higher weights and lower reps is best.

Studies have shown that you can achieve similar increases in muscle hypertrophy with low weights and high reps as long as you push your muscles to fatigue.

However, these same studies also showed that higher weights were superior in maximizing strength adaptations (3).

Now, this does not mean choosing a weight so high that is going to cause an injury. You should aim for a weight that will allow you to complete 6-8 reps with proper form.

What About Rest Periods?

Taking adequate rest between sets is crucial to increasing strength and seeing an increase in muscle size. During lifting, your muscles use energy to contract.

ATP InfographicThis energy comes from a molecule called ATP. As the work of the muscle increases, more ATP is used and must be replaced in order for the muscle to keep contracting.

To maximize the regeneration of ATP, you need to have adequate rest between sets. By doing this you'll be able to lift to your full capacity.

If your rest periods are too short, not enough ATP will regenerate and you will not be able to lift to your maximum potential.

For heavy lifting, you should rest two to three minutes between sets.

This will allow your energy stores to replenish so that you cannot repeat the next set at your highest effort.

Can I Gain Strength Too?

There are a variety of different exercises that can be put together into a solid strength training workout plan.

strength trainingWhen starting on this strength-building journey, it is best to begin with the tried and true muscle-building exercises that incorporate all the keys to strength training mentioned above.

Luckily there is a place where these exercises can be found – The Fit Father Project.

A great place for the beginner to start is with the free program: The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercise For Men Over 40.

This is a step by step tutorial, perfect for beginners. In addition, this free introductory plan will give you great tips on form, reps, and sets to maximize your muscle growth.

Once you have wet your feet with the free program, the next plan you have to look at is Old School Muscle.

The Fit Father Project and Old School Muscle

If you want a program built around the keys to a muscle-building plan for beginners, then you have definitely come to the right place.

FFP-ProfileOnce you have really committed to transforming your body, the must-have fitness plan you have to experience for yourself is Old School Muscle.

This 9-week program from the Fit Father Project will provide you with safe and effective workouts along with nutrition and supplement advice.

On top of that, this program will keep you motivated and accountable to your fitness goals.

It provides step by step workout and meal plans, so everything is laid out for you to follow.

And it’s sustainable!

While the plan itself is nine weeks in length, this is something you can come back to as often as you want for continued muscle building for years to come.

And you don’t have to take my word for it!

Trust the hundreds of men that have testified to the benefits of Old School Muscle and the Fit Father Project.

Enhance Strength and Build Muscle at Any Age

It is never too late to start a weight training program to build muscle and gain strength.

Don’t believe the naysayers that try to tell you that strength training is only for younger men or experienced bodybuilders.

The truth is, you can get a ripped body and chiseled muscles at any age and starting at any fitness level.

Building muscle isn’t about quick fixes or “top secret” workouts.

The best strength training workout plans for men use the science behind exercise and your body’s physiology to maximize each and every exercise you do.

This includes optimizing your volume of training per week, sets per muscle group, and rest periods during your workouts.

By following the guidelines and incorporating the exercises offered by the Fit Father Project plans, you will be on your way to lifting heavier weights and building a muscular physique.

Then, if you’re up to the challenge try out the Old School Muscle program and really take your training to the next level.

Even if you are a beginner that has never lifted a weight in your life, the experts at the Fit Father Project will have you transforming your health and body.

So start today with Old School Muscle, a workout plan that will help you build muscle and achieve your fitness goals.

Your friend and new workout coach,

Holly Smith, M.D. – Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. – Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelor's degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, Olympic distance triathlons, half marathons, and numerous other road races.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

If you’re interested in a completely laid out “done-for-you” muscle building program – designed especially for busy men over 50…

Then I’d recommend you read the program overview letter for our Old School Muscle Program (OSM).

Inside OSM, you'll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Muscle Building Meal Plan
  • The awesome Old School Muscle workout plans
  • Full Muscle Gain supplement guide
  • Key accountability steps to help you through your journey

Read the Old School Muscle Program overview letter here to see how our plan can help you gain lean, solid muscle and keep you training safely and effectively… whatever your age!


*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on a muscle building workout plan for beginners.


1 and 2) Schoenfeld, B. J., Ratamess, N. A., Peterson, M. D., Contreras, B., & Tiryaki-Sonmez, G. (2015). Influence of resistance training frequency on muscular adaptations in well-trained men. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(7), 1821-1829.

3) Ochi, E., Maruo, M., Tsuchiya, Y., Ishii, N., Miura, K., & Sasaki, K. (2018). Higher training frequency is important for gaining muscular strength under volume-matched training. Frontiers in physiology, 9.