Many beginners struggle with finding a bodybuilding program to help them get leaner with more muscle definition.
So three ripped people came together and created the Novice Bodybuilding Program for newbies who are just entering the game.
Is it right for you? Keep reading to find out.+
About the Creators – Eric Helms, Andy Morgan, and Andrea Valdez
This program is a page torn from the book The Muscle and Strength Pyramid.
Eric Helms, Andy Morgan, and Andrea Valdez are the masterminds behind this book and the Novice Bodybuilding Program found inside.
Eric is a pro bodybuilder, powerlifting coach, and expert researcher on protein and strength. He has also competed in the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation).
It’s safe to say that Eric Helms knows his bodybuilding science as he taught Nutrition and Exercise Science at graduate and undergraduate levels.
Some of Eric’s other credentials include:
- BS in Fitness and Wellness.
- Masters in Exercise Science.
- Masters in Sports Nutrition.
- Ph.D. in Strength and Conditioning.
Andy is an online fitness and nutrition coach who has written multiple books on bodybuilding training, diet, and nutrition. He is also the founder of RippedBody.com and Athletebody.jp, where he blogs about everything ripped.
Andy Morgan has hundreds of client testimonials and pictures to prove he’s an experienced coach.
Andrea is a professional athlete and bodybuilding coach with a Master’s in Exercise Physiology from the University of Oklahoma. She is also a content creator, podcast host, and member of 3D Muscle Journey.
Novice Bodybuilding Program Overview
Here’s a brief overview of the Novice Bodybuilding Program:
- Fitness level: Beginner or Novice
- Duration: As long as needed
- Workouts per week: 4 workout days per week
- Average workout duration: 40-50 min
- Equipment needed: Dumbbell, Barbell, Kettlebell, Smith machine
- Goal: Build muscle, Gain strength
The Novice Bodybuilding Program is a high-volume, medium-frequency program that runs 4-days-a-week. The program continues until you’re satisfied with your gains or ready to move to something more challenging.
The aim is simple – Bodybuilding!
Your training days are split into two. You’ll have two strength days and two-volume days. Strength training promotes muscle growth (hypertrophy) when you progressively lift heavier loads.
The program is also packed with exercises that train all your muscle groups to ensure full-body development. It’s also flexible with training because the creators considered people’s exercise preferences and available training equipment.
The authors advise us to spread workouts across the week and avoid training for two days in a row to give our bodies adequate time to rest.
And ensure you don’t train to failure. Failure is a point where you can no longer move the weight or your form breaks down. Training to failure can lead to severe injuries!
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Novice Bodybuilding Program Schedule & Details
- Day 1: Lower Body (Strength)
- Day 2: Upper Body (Strength)
- Day 3: Lower Body (Volume)
- Day 4: Upper Body (Volume)
You’re supposed to warm up before training to prepare your body and reduce your chances of injury.
Also, remember to rest between sets, so your body has time to recover before you continue.
This program recommends resting for 2-3 minutes between main exercises. But smaller isolation exercises like bicep curls require only 60-90 seconds of rest between sets.
The table below contains the schedule and details for the Novice Bodybuilding Program:
|Day 1 – Lower Body (Strength)|
|Exercise||Sets x Reps||%1RM||1st Set RPE||Rest Between sets|
|Squat VariantsE.g. Front Squats, Barbell Back Squats||3 x 5||82.5%||NA||2-3 minutes|
|Deadlift VariantsE.g. Good mornings, Trap Bar, Romanian||3 x 5||82.5%||NA||2-3 minutes|
|Single-Leg VariantE.g. Lunges, Bulgarian Split Squats. You can also do Single-leg Squats with a Dumbbell or Kettlebell (Pistol Squats)||3 x 8||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
|Standing Calf RaisesLeg Press is an alternative||4 x 8||NA||8||60-90 seconds|
|Day 2 – Upper Body (Strength)|
|Exercise||Sets x Reps||%1RM||1st Set RPE||Rest Between Sets|
|Horizontal PushE.g. Dumbbell Press or Bench Press||3 x 5||82.5%||NA||2-3 minutes|
|Horizontal PullE.g. Seated Cable Rows, Dumbbell Rows, or Machine Rows||3 x 5||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
|Vertical PushE.g. Dumbbell Press, Overhead Barbell press, or Landmine Press||2 x 8||72.5%||NA||2-3 minutes|
|Vertical PullE.g. Chin-ups, Pull-ups, or Lat-pull down||2 x 8||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
|Flys||2 x 15||NA||8||60-90 seconds|
|Day 3 – Lower Body (Volume)|
|Exercise||Sets x Reps||%1RM||1st Set RPE||Rest Between Sets|
|Hip Hinge Variant||3 x 8||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
|Leg Press VariantSeated Leg Press, Hack Squat||3 x 8||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
|Leg Extension||3 x 12||NA||8||60-90 seconds|
|Leg Curl||3 x 12||NA||8||60-90 seconds|
|Seated Calf Raise||4 x 15||NA||8||60-90 seconds|
|Day 4 – Upper Body (Volume)|
|Exercise||Sets x Reps||%1RM||1st Set RPE||Rest Between Sets|
|Horizontal Push||3 x 10||67.5%||NA||2-3 minutes|
|Horizontal Pull||3 x 10||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
|Incline Push||2 x 12||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
|Vertical Pull||2 x 12||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
|Triceps Isolation||2 x 12||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
|Biceps Isolation||2 x 12||NA||8||2-3 minutes|
*NA = not applicable for that exercise.
The Program requires you to understand the terms “%1RM” and “RPE.”
%1RM is short for “percentage of 1-rep maximum”. 1RM tells you how much load to put on the bar the first time you start the program.
For example, Squat 2 x 12 (75% 1RM) means you’ll perform 2 sets of 12 reps, using a weight that is 75% of the weight of your maximum single-rep.
You can easily check your 1RM with this 1RM calculator.
Now let’s discuss the other elephant in the room, “RPE.”
RPE stands for Rating of Perceived Exertion based on Repetition In Reverse (RIR). It’s used to judge the intensity of your workout, and it’s measured on a scale of 1-10.
Using RPE may not be entirely accurate because it’s subjective to the person’s perception of intensity. But RPE is still an excellent way to determine how much effort you should apply to each exercise to make sure you don’t burn yourself out.
Novice Bodybuilding Program Diet
The creators of the Novice Bodybuilding Program didn’t provide a specific diet, but a classic bodybuilding diet should contain:
- 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight.
- A caloric surplus.
- A macronutrient balance of 55-60% carbohydrates, 25-30% protein, and 15-20% fat.
- A healthy diet without alcohol, fried foods, or sugary foods. But you could sneak a burger once in a while.
Now, we won’t break down every little thing in the diet, but the foods you eat for bodybuilding should fall under the categories below:
- Red meat like steak and pork
- Poultry like chicken and turkey
- Fish like salmon or cod
- Whey protein
- Casein protein
- Nuts like peanuts, almonds, and cashews
- Beans like black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans
- Seeds like chia seeds and pumpkin seeds
- Milk, Yogurt, or cheese
- Whole grains like oatmeal, rice, cereal, quinoa, or popcorn
- Starchy vegetables like yams, cassava, or potatoes.
- Grains like bread and pasta
- Fruits like apples, bananas, watermelons, and oranges
- Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, squash, and other leafy greens
- Coconut butter
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Krill oil
- Fish oil
Pros of The Novice Bodybuilding Program
- Newbie-friendly. The notorious noob will love a ripped body program like this because it’s specifically designed for people with a low-no training experience in bodybuilding.
- Flexible. The Novice Bodybuilding Program isn’t strict with its diet or training exercise. It allows you to select foods, schedule training days, and pick between various exercises.
- Exercise alternatives. The program’s creators added a huge list of exercises and alternatives because some people may lack training equipment while others prefer specific exercises.
- Customizable. It allows modifications to suit your needs. For example, you can add more sets and reps or more advanced exercises to match your training experience.
- Targets all muscle groups. You’ll be able to build a perfect beach body because the program includes exercises to develop all your muscle groups.
- Made by professionals: You can rest easy knowing this program was created by fitness experts, nutritionists, and professional bodybuilders. The program’s creators are Eric Helms, Andy Morgan, and Andrea Valdez.
Cons of The Novice Bodybuilding Program
- Made for beginners. The Novice bodybuilding program is specifically for beginners. This means intermediate and expert bodybuilders may not gain much from this program.
- Diet details are behind a paywall. You can follow a typical bodybuilding diet and probably get decent results with this program, but if you want to do things exactly as the authors intended, you’ll need to pay for the Muscle and Strength Pyramid books.
Is The Novice Bodybuilding Program Good for You?
Once again, it depends. Are you a scrawny newbie who just started bodybuilding? Or are you halfway to a Mr. Olympia body?
If you’re a beginner, the Novice Bodybuilding Program will surely do wonders for you. You’ll certainly see your sweet noob gains.
But, if you consider yourself an intermediate or expert bodybuilder, you’ll probably be better with a more advanced bodybuilding program. Although, the creators say the program can be customized for more experienced people.
Either way, this program is well-structured and gives you flexibility with your diet and preferred exercises. The exercises in this program also target all your muscle groups, which is an efficient way to build mass and strength throughout your body.
Tips To Help With Bodybuilding
Below are a few tips to help maximize your bodybuilding program:
Progression With Training
Without progression in your training, your muscle growth will slow down or stop because the current load isn’t enough to induce the tear-repair cycle that builds muscle.
Progression simply tells you to lift heavier dumbbells or kettlebells in your next workout session.
Many beginners think training every day non-stop is a faster way to build a ripped upper body, but it’s actually the opposite.
Overtraining your muscles can cause problems like strains, severe dehydration, or weakened immunity.
Research also shows that training three days in a row can have negative effects on your performance.
Supplements Can Help
Bodybuilding doesn’t require supplements, but a few of them can improve performance, enhance strength and help with recovery.
Below are a few supplements to help you on your bodybuilding journey:
- Pre-workout powder: enhances power output and supplies energy during strength training (2016).
- Whey Protein Powder: provides all essential amino acids, and its fast-digesting nature helps with recovery post-workout.
- Creatine: enhances strength, endurance, and focus during workouts (2020). Creatine also improves muscle recovery (2009).
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
This is one of our top recommended whey protein powders because of it’s high protein content per serving, extreme deliciousness, and the fact that all Swolverine products are sourced from GMP-certified facilities
Use Weightlifting Shoes
Grabbing a pair of weightlifting shoes before you hit the gym can help you add stability and improve your lifting performance.
Weightlifting shoes will help you out during squats and Olympic lifts.
Novice Bodybuilding Program Conclusion
The Novice bodybuilding program is perfect for newbie bodybuilders. It also offers great flexibility and a wide variety of exercises to suit your preference and experience level.
The program can even be modified with more intensity and volume if you have more training experience or see little-to-no gains.
But don’t forget that bodybuilding takes time. So ensure you avoid overtraining to prevent failure or muscle damage, especially for newbies.
Build a Superhero Body Without Training Like One
Getting in shape isn’t easy. But this program gives you a real-life approach to building a leaner, more muscular body without obsessing over fitness 24/7.