If you have been looking for a beginner bodybuilding routine for mass, you have come to the right place. In this article, you are going to find a workout plan that is going to take you from scrawny to brawny.
I know this, because this is part of the plan that I used in order to put on my initial muscle. After doing this routine for a few months, you can move on to 3 DAY OVERLOAD. Which is available in our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play).
I will warn you, do not go with 3 day overload unless you are ready for some serious commitment. Even though it is only 3 days per week, there are 12 exercises each day. Believe me, this is a TON! And considering that this beginner plan is only 5 exercises per day, you can imagine just how intense it is!
Before we get into the actual beginner bodybuilding routine for mass, I want to give you a few tips. The first one is commitment. This routine is only 3 days per week, so it shouldn’t be too draining on your life. Learn how to make exercise a habit, and don’t miss a day.
The second is to make sure you are in this for the long haul. Come to terms with the fact that you will not see significant results for months.
The last tip I have for you is that you need to be eating at a caloric surplus. Muscle cannot be built in a caloric deficit. In fact, I find this so important, that I created a section before our routine. Let’s read on.
Eating at a caloric surplus for building mass
You can workout your whole life and never gain an ounce of muscle. I know this because I personally worked out for years before I realized I was not eating enough calories for building mass.
After that realization, I built over 20 pounds of muscle in the first year.
Here is the truth. If you want to put on mass, you have to workout AND keep your body in a constant state of caloric surplus. I won’t get into too much detail here, but start by learning how to calculate your maintenance calories.
Once you dial in your maintenance calories, then you can monitor and eat over your daily maintenance calories. A good place to start is to aim for 500 calories per day over maintenance. If you aren’t gaining at least a half pound per week, then it’s time to up your calories a little more per day.
3 Day beginner bodybuilding routine for mass
Now that we know we have our formula for building mass (caloric surplus + weight training), we can now get on with the actual exercises that we need to do in order to build that muscle.
Keep in mind, this workout routine is meant for beginners. You absolutely will build muscle on this program, but it is just a stepping stone.
Keep at it, and once you are comfortable, it is time to move on to something a little more intense.
Day 1 – Chest and Arms
It’s time to show those glamour muscles! These are the muscles that make you feel good about yourself, and are fun to show off.
This is personally my favorite workout day. I always feel like a beast after each day.
Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets, 8 reps)
The bench press in general is a great exercise. You might be more familiar with the barbell bench press. I personally prefer the dumbbell bench press because you end up working out more muscles than just your chest muscle.
Your balance muscles are challenged, and all sorts of periphery muscles get hit too.
Low Cable Crossover (3 sets, 8 reps)
If you are doing the low cable crossover correctly, you are going to feel like your chest is going to cramp up. Don’t worry though, it won’t. You will just feel an intense tightness in your chest muscles that other exercises won’t provide for you.
Weighted Dips (3 sets, 8 reps)
In the video, I do understand that I am not using weights. Not using weights is fine on this exercise. However, you might want to try out adding weights with a weight belt with a chain. I recommend this one from Amazon.
Weighted dips are a great way to workout your chest, even if you don’t have access to a gym!
Cambered Bar Curl (3 sets, 8 reps)
The cambered bar curl is the king of all bicep curls. That is why it is the only bicep workout in this whole entire beginner bodybuilding routine. Don’t worry though, your biceps are already getting worked out as periphery muscles on many of the exercises.
Seated Tricep Cambered Bar Press (3 sets, 8 reps)
Using the same bar that you used for your bicep curls, you can go ahead and switch over to tricep cambered bar presses. I recommend finding a bench with a low upright back. These are commonly referred to as a shoulder press bench.
Try to keep your elbows as tucked in as possible. The more they flare out, the more you will attempt to use your body to swing them up. Therefore taking away the effectiveness of this exercise.
Day 2 – Back and Shoulders
Building your back and shoulders gives you a more well rounded look when it comes to building your body. No beginner bodybuilding routine for mass is complete without back and shoulders.
Don’t be the person that only does chest and arms and the rest of their body looks skinny. When you commit to bodybuilding, you want the most well rounded look!
Barbell Bent Over Row (3 sets, 5 reps)
Barbell bent over rows can be performed with either a preloaded barbell, or an Olympic barbell with weights added on.
I personally prefer the olympic barbell method because you can keep adding on more weight. But either way will get the job done. It just depends on what your gym has.
Wide Grip Pullups (3 sets, 5 reps)
You can do more than 5 reps per set here, but I will say, if you are doing these right, you won’t need more than 5 reps.
Wide grip pullups really challenge you to use mostly your back muscles to pull you up. You can even add your chained weight belt and use some weights for this exercise.
Trap Bar Deadlift (3 sets, 5 reps)
I know you are probably thinking, why is he using a deadlift in the back workout category. Because deadlifts are the best all around workout. And the trap bar deadlift is going to help you put on muscle all throughout your body.
If your gym doesn’t have a trap bar (commonly referred to as hex bar), I recommend this one from Amazon.
Barbell Overhead Press (3 sets, 8 reps)
Similar to the bent-over row, this can be performed with a preloaded barbell or an olympic barbell with weights added on. Really, what you should focus on here is whatever works for you.
This is one of the best shoulder workouts of all time, and it will also workout your arms, upper chest, and upper back.
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets, 8 reps)
This is an isolation exercise at it’s finest. Meaning all you are going to workout is your shoulders. The seated dumbbell shoulder press is incredible for building those peaky shoulders that we all love.
Be sure to start off with light weight just to get the hang of it.
Day 3 – Legs and Core
Legs and core are the most neglected categories in all of bodybuilding. Why? Because the upper body is what people see the most. But, you will find many benefits to doing legs and core.
It has been proven that leg workouts increase testosterone production. And that affects your whole body, not just your legs. That alone should be reason enough to not skip leg day.
Squat (3 sets, 5 reps)
I have yet to step foot into a gym that does not have a squat rack. So hopefully your gym has one.
Squats are great for building quad muscles. If you are interested in making your quads the focal point of your body, you should really check out 6 of the best quad workouts for mass.
Deadlift (3 sets, 5 reps)
On the back day, we already saw a deadlift of a different type. That was the trap bar deadlift. This is the standard deadlift. This will still work your back out. In fact, it will workout your whole body.
But you will notice that your legs are the target here.
Leg Extensions (3 sets, 10 reps)
Leg extensions are like the tricep extension, but for your quads. This exercise alone is what helped me build muscle around my knee and overcome knee pain.
Standing Calf Raise (3 sets, 12 reps)
No leg day is complete without some calf exercises. This is one of those parts of your legs that most people choose to neglect.
It is easy to understand why, but we cannot neglect any muscle in our body if we want a body that a bodybuilder would admire.
Medicine Ball Seated Knee Tuck (3 sets, 20 reps)
This exercise is challenging for your abs and core. Normally, I would put in a few ab exercises, but since we only have the spot for one exercise, I had to make it count.
If you can master the medicine ball seated knee tuck, you can master just about any ab exercise out there.
Main Point: Beginner bodybuilding routine for mass
As you can see, this is a great beginner bodybuilding routine for mass!
Don’t let the fact that this is only 5 exercises 3 days per week fool you. If you eat at a caloric surplus and follow through with these exercises, you WILL gain muscle.
Remember, you cannot build muscle during a caloric deficit. This is as basic as they come, yet so many people choose to ignore this fact. Do yourself a favor and make sure you are eating enough calories.
All of the exercises in this routine are tried and true. No experimental exercises here! This is the type of stuff that bodybuilders have been doing for centuries. And guess what, it works!
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