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New At The Gym? Here’s My Weekly Routine Guide To Help You Get Started! 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Have you ever had the feeling of being confused and extremely lost at the gym? Not knowing how to work a machine or unsure what to do exactly? Trust me, I have been there too! I understand that going to the gym can be scary especially when you don’t want to look silly or awkward. I’m not a professional and you don’t have to follow these exact steps (do what you think is best for you), but here’s my routine that I follow at the gym on a weekly basis!

Monday’s Routine

On this day I usually work on my back and biceps! As I said, I’m not a professional and I’m still a beginner at the gym, so I like to take things easy and slow when it comes to my workouts. First, it is important to stretch before you do any workout, and that you’re wearing comfortable clothing! Then, I usually get 10-pound weights for each arm to begin my biceps exercise, but if you feel like you need less or more than that then definitely go with what is good for you! I begin with cross-body hammer curls, which are essentially lifting up the weight and going across your chest with the weight (I’ll insert a link to every workout just for a better picture). I do around 10-12 on each arm for three sets. Next, I do upper bicep curls but for these, I keep going until I can’t do any more for about two to three sets, depending on if I’m tired or not. Then, I move on to the actual machines! 

For my back, I like to use the lat pulldowns and the low-row machine. I like to do 20 pounds for the pulldowns, and about 20-25 pounds for the low row. Essentially, for the lat pulldowns, you grab a metal bar that is hanging on top and you pull it down towards your chest. While for the low row, the cable cord is in front of you, and you are in a seated position with your feet up placed on the stand and you have to pull the cord towards your stomach area. I do about 15 for three sets for both of these machines! 

Tuesday’s Routine

On this day I like to work on my glutes and legs! I like to start off by grabbing one weight of about 40 pounds, and I follow this squats routine I found on TikTok. It is best to do these squats in front of the mirror to see if you’re maintaining the proper form! First, I do 15 goblet squats for three sets. Then, I do 12-15 sumo squats for four sets, and once those are done I do my last workout with the one weight, RDLs. I still don’t think I’m doing it right to be honest, but it’s a really hard form to master, so don’t feel too upset if you can’t get it down on the first try! I do about 15 for three sets! 

Moving on to the machines! My favorite one is this glute kickback machine, and it is probably the most fun for me because when I extend my leg and lean forward a bit it reminds me of a superhero flying in the air. For this machine, I use about 30-45 pounds depending on how I feel, and I do 15 of four sets! Then, I move onto the leg press and I do about 75-80 pounds for three sets of 10-12. One important thing I learned from doing this machine is to not lock your knees when you extend back, but instead to leave them a little bit bent! I had been doing that for a while until someone told me that isn’t a good thing to do for my knees. Lastly, I use the hip abductions machine, and I do about 85-90 pounds for three sets of 12-15! 

Wednesday’s Routine

This day is shoulders day! I gotta admit this is probably the hardest day for me because I am very weak in the shoulders, but I am working on it! I had no idea what to do for shoulders when I first started, but TikTok is so helpful because so many people post their step-by-step routines. For my first workout, I like to do lateral raises with 8-pound weights; I do about 10 for three sets! You can easily feel the burn with this workout, so don’t overwork yourself too much! After this workout, I do front raises which are similar to lateral raises but you’re doing it in front of your body. I do about 8-10 for three sets. Then, I do bent-over lateral raises, which is the same motion as the regular lateral raises except you’re bending over a little bit. I also do 10 for three sets! Lastly, I do around the world which is essentially lifting weights all around your body. This is very difficult for me to do, so I tend to do about five to seven for three sets. 

Shoulders Day Routine

Thursday’s Routine 

Chest and triceps day! First I do chest presses with 10-pound weights; you basically lay down on the chair, and you push the weights up, and as they go up you slightly have the weights tap each other. I do about five to seven for three sets! Then I do 12-15 tricep kickbacks in a set of three. I also use the fly machine and I do about 30 pounds for this one. It’s a very funny machine because when you extend out your arms, you kind of look like a bird. I do about 12-15 of these for three sets. Lastly, I do the tricep pull-down. For this workout, make sure you’re not moving too much of your elbow, but more of your forearms. I struggled with this part for a while because as I try to bring the weight down I would like to move my entire arm or elbow instead of keeping it still. For these, I do 10 for three sets using 10-pound weights. 

Chest presses, tricep kickbacks, fly

This is my weekly routine! For Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays I let my muscles rest but also do a little bit of yoga and cardio if I have time. I hope this is a helpful guide to start your gym journey! But, if you have a little trouble finding the right workouts for you, definitely do your research and ask around! I promise navigating the gym or doing workouts will be less awkward and stressful as time goes on. Plus everyone has been in the starter position before, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!

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Amanda Chung

U Mass Amherst '26

Hi! I’m a member of UMass Amherst’s HC, and I’m just spreading my ideas and having fun! :)