2 Day A Week Beginner Strength Program

This is a 2 day a week beginner strength program that will help get stronger and grow muscle as well.

How many days a week?2
GoalBuild strength
Duration8 weeks

You will find all the sections in the menu below.

To see the workouts, simply click on Workout A or Workout B in the menu.

How Much Should I lift?

Start very, very light as you learn the movements of the exercises.

This will give you a basic starting level that you will build on throughout the program.

2 Day A Week Beginner Strength Program woman lifting
©Bastien Plu

Ask the trainers in the gym for help so that you learn the exercises correctly.

Form and Technique

ALWAYS stick to good form first. That will help you get strong and fit without getting injured.

If you can’t complete the lift with good form because it is too heavy, stop and use a lighter weight.

How Long Should I follow this Program For?

8 weeks.

Go to the gym twice a week for 8 weeks in a row to complete this 2 day a week beginner strength program.

Progression within the Program

Your aim is to lift slightly heavier weights every session. You are only competing against yourself, nobody else around you.

Write everything down in a training book. That way you will know how much you lifted last week, so if you completed the allocated sets and reps for that exercise then you can add 1 or more kilograms to the barbell, or go up to the next dumbbell.

For example, say that you need to do Standing Hammer Curls next.

Look in your training book and see what weight you used last week. Let’s say you used 5kg dumbbells and completed all the sets and reps. This week, choose the 7.5kg dumbbells and complete all the sets and reps.

If you manage it, with good form, then use the 10kg dumbbells the following week.

If you fail to complete the sets and reps at that weight, no worries, simply write that down and try again next week.

Write Everything Down

Buy a small notebook and write everything down each session.

This serves multiple purposes. On one hand you know what you did last session, and where and when you need to add weight.

On the other hand, it shows your improvements. Every extra kg you add is you getting stronger.

Celebrate these small victories and use them to stay motivated.

I guarantee after 5 or 6 weeks you will see some great results in terms of numbers.

Consistency is KEY

The most important aspect of this program is consistency. Just showing up and getting into the gym is a victory.

Some sessions will go well, some will feel heavy and slow, but simply show up and do the work.

If you work through the program, track and write down your progress and gradually lift heavier weights over time then you will get stronger and build muscle.

Most Important Exercises

Sometimes life gets in the way of even the best laid plans. There may be sessions where you don’t have as long as you would like.

In these cases, prioritise the exercises that have been marked with italics in the tables below.

Man with barbell and headband.
©Bastien Plu

These are the major barbell compound exercises that are the most important. They will give you the maximum bang for your buck.

What are Sets and Reps? What Does that Mean?

Sets and reps are the method in which your lifting is organised.

SETS are blocks of Reps. They refer to how many times you repeat the block of reps before you move onto the next exercise.

REPS mean how many times you lift the weight (without resting) in that single set without stopping.

Let’s look at that in practice.

Say you have to complete 3 x 10 of the Seated Cable Row exercise.

That means 3 sets of 10 reps.

Get set up with the exercise then perform the movement 10 times (that means completing 10 reps). Your first set is complete.

Next, rest for 1:30 – 2:00 minutes.

Now perform your second set of 10 reps.

Rest again for 1:30 – 2:00 minutes.

Finish with your third set of 10 reps.

You have now completed the 3 x 10 of the Seated Cable Row.

Go onto the next exercise.

How long Should I Rest Between Sets?

Rest 1:30 – 2:00 minutes between every set.

This will give you a chance to recover some strength, but still tire you out and challenge your body and muscles so that they can recover, adapt and grow back stronger.

Warm Ups

When you do each exercise, start with two exceptionally light sets to warm your body up for the “working sets”, the actual sets that matter.

These can be done with no weight on the barbell, or with a super light weight that is incredibly easy.

Man rowing
©Bastien Plu

The aim is not to tire yourself out, but to get your body warmed up for the movement ahead.

Before the workout, spend 5 – 10 minutes on a rowing machine or bike to get the heart rate a bit higher and get the blood pumping.

The Workouts

Below are the two workouts you will complete each week.

Workout A

Rest 1:30 – 2:00 minutes between every set.

ExerciseMain Body PartsSets and Reps
Barbell DeadliftBack, Hamstrings,
Glutes, Core
3 x 5
Seated Cable RowBack3 x 10
Barbell Strict PressShoulders3 x 5
Dumbbell Lateral RaisesShoulders3 x 10
Seated Incline
Concentration Curls
Biceps3 x 10
Standing Hammer CurlsBiceps, Forearms3 x 8
Sit UpsCore3 x 12

Workout B

Rest 1:30 – 2:00 minutes between every set.

ExerciseMain Body PartsSets and Reps
Barbell Back SquatLegs, Glutes, Core3 x 5
Lunges holding DumbbellsLegs2 x 10 (with each leg)
Barbell Bench PressChest3 x 8
Incline Dumbbell Bench PressChest3 x 10
Cable Pull DownsTriceps3 x 10
DipsTriceps3 x 5
Plank Shoulder TapsCore3 x 30 seconds (do longer each session)

How Does Building Strength Work?

This program works with a principle called progressive overload.

The human body gets stronger by exposing itself to progressively heavier stimuli (lifting weights) over time. It then adapts, recovers and grows stronger.

Each session forces you to work hard. Your muscles, central nervous system and mind work together to cope with the stress. Afterwards you rest, eat well and your body recovers. The next time you step into the gym you are stronger than before so you raise the weights and lift heavier than last time.

Again, you work hard, your body adapts to the stimuli and afterwards you rest and recover. You grow stronger.

Rinse and repeat.

A Note on Nutrition

This article concentrates on the format and method of the program.

However, good nutrition is equally important when it comes to growing stronger and building muscle.

During each session you challenge your muscles to work hard, good food helps them repair and grow back stronger.

Try to increase the amount of protein and complex carbohydrates that you have in your current nutrition.

Having a couple of protein shakes is an easy and efficient way to achieve this.

Other high yield protein sources include:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli
  • Kidney Beans
  • Cous Cous
  • Bulger
  • Oats

I would also recommend upping the daily amount of water that you drink. This will help you stay hydrated at all times.

Exercise Archive

These technique videos are here for your convenience. They will give you a general idea of how to perform each exercise.

They show you every exercise you will need in this 2 day a week beginner strength program.

If you want, do as much further research as possible. This will help you to understand everything on a deeper level and expand your knowledge.

Barbell Deadlift

Seated Cable Row

Barbell Strict Press

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Seated Incline Concentration Curls

Standing Hammer Curls

Sit Ups

Barbell Back Squat

Lunges Holding Dumbbells

Barbell Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Cable Pull Down


Plank Shoulder Taps

We hope this 2 day a week beginner strength program was useful for you!

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