Walking into the gym with a plan will boost your confidence and results!
Walking into the gym for the first time can be scary. We get it—we’ve all been there! But having a plan when you walk through the doors is a great way to replace anxiety with confidence. If you’re ready to get fit, our ultimate 7-day gym plan for beginners is an excellent place to start. Walk into the gym with your head held high! You’ve got a plan and you’re going to execute it.
Everything You Need to Know About this Beginner Plan
There are a few things you need to know about this week-long program. First, it’s designed with beginners in mind. The exercises are basic but effective. That said, we’ve included alternative exercises for the majority of the moves— just in case a piece of equipment is unavailable.
Now we realize that, as a beginner, you might not know how all of the gym equipment works. For this reason, we’ve included instructional videos for each exercise and its alternatives. We highly recommend saving this plan to your phone so you can refer back to it while you’re at the gym. Most machines also have instructions printed on them, so you can always check that out, too. And of course, if you’re still unsure of how to use a piece of equipment, ask a staff member or trainer for help. It’s better to be sure than to risk injuring yourself.
The Ultimate 7-Day Gym Plan for Beginners
All you need to participate in this gym plan for beginners is access to a gym. We highly recommend bringing a bottle of water and a gym towel with you, too.
Before we get to the actual exercises, we want to go over how many reps and sets you should perform, how long you should rest, and what weight you should use to reach your specific goals.
How Many Reps and Sets Should I do?
The answer to this question depends on what your goals are! Here are some suggestions based on common goals.
- Improve general fitness: Perform 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 15 reps with a medium weight. Rest for up to 60 seconds between sets.
- Increase endurance: Perform 3 to 5 sets of 15 to 20 reps with a light to medium weight. Rest for up to 60 seconds between sets.
- Build (tone) muscle: Perform 3 to 5 sets of 8 to 12 reps with a moderately heavy weight. Rest for 2 to 3 minutes between sets.
- Get stronger: Perform 5 sets of 5 reps with a heavy weight. Rest for 3 to 5 minutes between sets.
How Do I Choose the Right Weight?
How light or heavy a weight feels varies from person to person, so you’ll need to choose a weight that feels right for you. You may have to play around with it a little at first to figure it out. Keep in mind that the weight you use should be challenging by those last few reps of each set. Don’t make it too easy!
Pro tip: Once you know which weight feels right for you, write it down or make a note on your phone so you know what to use next week.
For instance, if you’re trying to build muscle, you shouldn’t have a whole lot left in the tank when you get to reps 8 through 12. Challenge yourself! That’s how you will see real change.
Now that you know how many reps/sets to perform, how long to rest, and what weight to use, we can jump into the program. You’ve got this!
Day 1 – Chest and Triceps
- Flat Bench Dumbbell Chest Press (if a bench is unavailable, use the chest press machine)
- Assisted Dip Machine (if the machine is unavailable, do bench dips)
- Pec Fly Machine (if the machine is unavailable, do dumbbell pec flys on the floor)
- Flat Bench Dumbbell Pullover (if a bench is unavailable, use a mat on the floor)
- Triceps Cable Push-Down (if cables are unavailable, do dumbbell triceps kickbacks)
Day 1 Instructional Videos
Flat Bench Dumbbell Chest Press
(Alternative) Chest Press Machine
Assisted Dip Machine
(Alternative) Bench Dips
Pec Fly Machine
(Alternative) Dumbbell Pec Fly (on the floor or flat bench)
Flat Bench Dumbbell Pullover
(Alternative) Dumbbell Pullover (on the floor)
Triceps Cable Push-Down
(Alternative) Triceps Dumbbell Kickbacks
Day 2 – Rest Day
It’s your rest day, but feel free to do some cardio or perform a yoga routine to limber up! We recommend trying The Best Yoga Routine for Overall Flexibility!
Day 3 – Back and Biceps
- Standing Dumbbell Rows
- Standing Hammer Curls
- Note: Curl up with palms facing each other.
- Wide Grip Cable Pulldown (if the cables are unavailable, use the Lat Pulldown Machine)
- Back Extensions (if a Roman chair is unavailable, perform the exercise from the floor)
- Standing Cable Curls (if the cables are unavailable, do dumbbell curls)
- Note: Curl up with palms facing upward.
Day 3 Instructional Videos
Standing Dumbbell Rows
Standing Hammer Curls
Wide Grip Cable Pulldown
(Alternative) Lat Pulldown Machine
Back Extensions on Roman Chair
(Alternative) Back Extensions on Floor
Standing Cable Curls
(Alternative) Standing Dumbbell Curls
Day 4 – Rest Day
Go for a walk, jog, or run, try these 10 Yoga Poses for Faster Weight Loss, or just take the day off!
Day 5 – Legs and Glutes
- Dumbbell Squats (you can use the Leg Press Machine instead)
- Dumbbell Deadlifts (you can use the Hamstring Curl Machine instead)
- Leg Extension Machine (if the machine is unavailable, do dumbbell walking lunges)
- Hip Abduction Machine (if the machine is unavailable, use bodyweight or a band)
- Glute Bridges on Floor (if you’re unable to get on the floor, do standing kickbacks)
- Note: Feel free to add resistance to this one! (rest a dumbbell on your hips or place a band around your thighs)
Day 5 Instructional Videos
(Alternative) Leg Press Machine
(Alternative) Seated Hamstring Curl Machine
Leg Extension Machine
(Alternative) Dumbbell Walking Lunges
Hip Abduction Machine
(Alternative) Bodyweight Lateral Walk with or without Band
Glute Bridges on Floor
(Alternative) Standing Glute Kickbacks
Day 6 – Rest Day
Go for a walk today and stretch out those legs! Try these 6 Yoga Poses that Lift and Tighten Your Butt.
Day 7 – Shoulders and Abs
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press (if a bench is unavailable, perform from a standing position)
- Reverse Fly Machine (if the machine is unavailable, do dumbbell reverse flys)
- Dumbbell Alternating Front to Side Raise
- Plank (Hold for 30 to 60 seconds)
- Note: You can start on your knees and work your way up to your toes.
- Reverse Crunches (if these are too difficult, you can do regular crunches)
Day 7 Instructional Videos
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Reverse Fly Machine
(Alternative) Dumbbell Reverse Fly
Dumbbell Alternating Front to Side Raise
Plank on Knees (Easier)
(Alternative) Plank on Toes (Harder)
(Alternative) Regular Crunches
If you participate in this 7-day gym plan for beginners, be sure to share your thoughts with us! What did you think? How do you feel? We want to know! Comment below!
Need a healthy diet to follow, too? Eating healthy and working out will accelerate your progress! Try any of these yummy options in conjunction with this fitness plan:
- The 7-Day Mix and Match Meal Plan for Long-Term Weight Loss Success
- 7-Day Whole Foods Meal Plan for Beginners