It is tough trying to put together your daily workout routine when you first start at the gym. That is why I am bringing you this easy to follow workout so you can get the most out of your training.

I am a nice guy and don’t want to see you just roam around the gym aimlessly going from one machine to the other.

That grows old quickly and combine that with a lack of results, it’s no wonder people give up on the gym.  I don’t want to see that happen to you.

Below is a basic template you can follow to get the most out of your training session.  Your workout should include:

  1. Warm up
  2. Main lift
  3. Accessory/Conditioning
  4. Fluff and buff
  5. Cool down

Your workout should not be anymore than 6-8 exercises.  Anymore than that and you are just overdoing it.  Some of my best workouts have only included 2 exercises.  So more is not always better.

Always start with your warm up.  This part is often the most overlooked and not always taken seriously. 

I understand that the warm up is not a big calorie burner and seems like a big waste of time, but it is essential if you want to get the most out of your training and Oh Yea! prevent injury.

Now that we have you all warmed up we can get into the meat and potatoes of the day, our workout.

Work big to small.  Your workout shout start with the exercise that are going to give you the most bang for your buck.

Exercises that work the most muscle groups are the most taxing on our bodies.   The most taxing exercises are the ones that help you build the most strength and burn the most calories, making this ideal exercises for anyone’s fitness goals.

The BIG exercises include power movements such as jumps, med ball throws, and  thr more advanced Olympic lifts. Other big movements include your heavy lifts such as squats, dead lifts, and pressing.

These lifts force different us to use many muscles at various joints while moving a heavy load.  That is why we make all our gains with these lifts.

Pick one main lift for each day. Alternate your strength days between your upper and lower body.  If you are only training heavy 2x a week, pair a lower body exercise with an upper body exercise for strength (i.e. squats/bench or dead lift/over head press).

Power work can be done heavy (heavy olympic lifting) or light.  Incorporate light power work on heavy lifting days, as it serves as an extended warm up for our main lift.

Once you get the big lifts out of the way that is when we move on to the accessory and conditioning work.

Next comes your accessory and conditioning work.  Programming these two together can really get you sweating and breathing hard while getting strong….aka “that worked out feeling”.

Accessory exercises are meant to help build strength toward your main lift(s) of the day.  Try to stick with body weight exercises or exercises where use light weight (40-60% of 1 rep max).  The point here is to perform high volume of reps to grow your muscles.  Light weight and body weight movements allow us to accomplish that.

Conditioning can be anything that gets you moving.  Some of my favorites are sled pushes/pulls/drags, loaded carries, sprinting, rowing and the assault bike.  These are great things to use either on their own, or combined with your accessory work.

Programming my accessory and conditioning work is where you are able to add creativity to your workout.  Accessory and conditioning work can be done quite a few ways.  Circuits, super sets, interval training, complexes,as well as sets and reps (bodybuilding style), are just a few of my favorites.

When everything is done that is when you move on to the fluff and buff work.

Fluff and buff work your glamour muscles  This is where you do the curls for the girls so when the sun is out so are your guns.

Now I can already hear it.  “But Steve why can’t I do bicep curls in the beginning”  Well I am glad you asked…. check this out.

Isolation exercises like bicep curls don’t hit that many muscle groups.  If we look at our sample workout below we actually are training our  biceps when we perform the power clean and pull up.

Not only are you training your biceps with those two exercises, but also your bigger back muscles, core muscles, and leg muscles.  Because you include all these other muscle groups you are burning an insane amount of calories and building massive strength.

Lastly, after all that hard work you need to cool your body down.  You need to bring your body back to normal after going 100 miles an hour in your workout.

Unfortunately like the warm up, this is often an overlooked part of a workout.  It is important to return our body to normal after the increased demands we put on it from the workout.

After a high intense workout I might start my cool down with some plank holds to stretch hips and allow my core, shoulders and hip muscles stabilize and to teach my body how to regather itself.

The cool down is the perfect time to perform static stretches to work on flexibility and reset your muscles to their normal length post workout.

Below is an example of what a dead lift day (pulling day) could look like using our template:

1)Light power clean 3×3 (power)

2) Dead lift 3×5 (strength)

3a)10-1 pull up (accessory)

3b)1-10 push up (accessory)

3c)50 foot sled push (conditioning)

4a) 50 bicep curls (fluff and buff)

4b) 50 vertical crunches (abs)

Pretty good day right there.  Little pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, conditioning and abs all in one training session.

This template offers you a simple, yet balanced way to attack your training.  It allows you to cover all your strength, conditioning, power needs in one session.  This template also provides you with a way to keep creativity and freedom to your workout to keep training fresh and interesting.

Let us know what template you use/or how this template works for you.  Happy training.

Like what you read?  Then subscribe to this blog.  New post to help motivate you and provide training tips every week.

Have suggestions for first timers in the gym?  Share in the comments below.

Steve is a NASM CPT and Crossfit Level 1 fitness coach who has a passion for building strength. He views strength building as the ultimate tool for weight loss, performance training, and rehab/prehab for injuries. Steve is currently studying to become a Physical Therapist Assistant. Steve provides in-home personal training as well as on-line coaching. You contact Steve at with any questions or comments you might have.




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