The first thing to know when creating a strength training program is that you need to work out all of the muscle groups to prevent injury or an awkwardly proportioned body (you don't want to look like the Hulk up top when you look like a stick figure down below). This being the case, there are two ways you can approach building a workout routine:
- Do full body routines each workout.
- Focus on specific muscle groups each workout.
Personally, I think the "full body" approach is better for people new to strength training. There is a very good article on the Nerd Fitness website that talks about building your own full body routine. An important excerpt from the article is:
- Quads – squats, lunges, one legged squats, box jumps.
- Butt and Hamstrings – hip raises, deadlifts, straight leg deadlifts, good mornings, step ups.
- Push (chest, shoulders, and triceps) - overhead press, bench press, incline dumbbell press, push ups, dips.
- Pull (back, biceps, and forearms) – chin ups, pull ups, inverse body weight rows, dumbbell rows.
- Core (abs and lower back) – planks, side planks, exercise ball crunches, mountain climbers, jumping knee tucks, hanging leg raises.
Pick one exercise from each category above for a workout, and you’ll work almost every single muscle in your body. These are just a few examples for what you can do, but you really don’t need to make things more complicated than this.
Starting off, you'll want to only do 2-3 full body workouts every week, depending on your desired intensity level. You'll also want to put a day or two of rest in between each workout so your muscles have time to recover.