If you are starting out with weight lifting both Starting Strength and StrongLifts 5×5 are great programs. Both websites offer plenty of information to teach beginners how to lift with proper form and how to rapidly build strength. Make sure that you get your diet down so you can build muscle and gain strength.
If you have already have been lifting for around a year and have good basic strength then Wendler’s 5/3/1 is an excellent program. 5/3/1 focuses on bench, squat, deadlift, and military press where each day is focused on each lift.
Madcow is a good follow up to SL 5×5, as your weight becomes more stressful on the body this program aims for more recovery with fewer sets and only weight increases every week.
PHAT – Layne Norton’s Power/Hypertrophy program
StrongLifts 5×5 Advanced is a program to move to after one has completed an intermediate program like Madcow. It is setup similar to Madcow but for optimum recovery. You could add 100lbs to your lifts in a year. Do not do this program unless you are an experienced weight lifter who has good strength.
Don’t have access to a gym or to free weights? Build muscle and strength with these body-weight programs.