10 Workouts For Absolute Beginners To Do At Home
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been online and seen a “workouts for beginners” that is, in no way, designed for those actively looking to get started with a healthy lifestyle. Let’s be honest, it is really, really HARD to start being active when you’re overweight, unfit or simply don’t know what to do. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t start your own weight loss journey.
So, I decided it was high time someone collated some genuine moves that ANYONE can work with. All of these are adjustable, to better suit your level of fitness. Remember, no matter how “slow” you go – you’re still lapping everyone on the couch. This article is all about making your workout suit your needs and changing things up just enough to ensure you feel good about completing a full set.
Not sure what a full set is? Check out some of our other articles, designed to help you understand what means what. These will take you through the theory – but this article is about giving you a true starting point with which to start your own, personal race. Without the use of a gym or a workout buddy.
There’s no shame in starting out with the most basic cardio there is – walking! If you aren’t keen on going outside, then simply march in place. The key is to get yourself moving and your heart rate up a little. Once you’ve done this, all that oxygen-rich blood will start pumping to your muscles at a faster rate, helping to keep your body prepped and ready to go. You can use this as a standalone workout – aiming for a mile a day, for example – or use it as a warm-up, by walking for 5 or 10 minutes before continuing.
I know, I know – push-ups are a tough one to start with. BUT there’s a secret to be had, here… You don’t need to do a push-up on the floor. Instead, keeping your back straight, you can do the same motion while pushing out from a wall. For people are just getting started, this is a great way to keep a good form (body position), while still using your bodyweight for exercise.
If pushing outwards from the wall is too easy – great! Start to move yourself, so that you’re more angled. Use the back of the couch, for example, or a footstool (just make sure they won’t shift from under you).
Squats are super easy to adjust – the lower you bend your knees, the harder the squat. Remember, your knees should never go in front of your toes while you perform your squat. An easy way to remember this is to imagine you need to go poop in the woods – the arse goes out, so you don’t make a mess, and the knees stay pretty much aligned with your feet. Obviously, don’t actually poop, though.
If you’re still worried about losing your balance, it can be worth popping a chair behind you. So that each time you squat, you end up sitting down and then stand back up. Obviously, once you get used to the motion and start trusting yourself, simply remove the chair and then keep working to get those squats even deeper.
Not entirely dissimilar to squats, you can adjust these by altering how low you’re willing to go. The lower you go, the harder your muscles will work to bring you back up – and vice versa. Again, be mindful that the knee doesn’t overtake your toes and try to keep your shins and knees in line with your feet, to avoid any damage to your muscles or tendons.
Once you’ve gotten used to the motion, a good way of kicking things up a notch is to utilize your steps. By placing one foot on a step and dipping, you’ll be really working those muscles and burning calories in no time at all – especially if you then opt to use weights (we’ll get onto a good way to make your own weights at home in a little while). Only do this if you’re able to complete 3 sets of 10 lunges without feeling muscle fatigue, though.
If you want to work out your core (central muscles, such as your abs) – and you should, since a strong core can help with everything from becoming stronger to burning calories – you should try the humble leg raise. The good news is that these can be completed while lying down. Kinda.
Lay flat on your back and bring your legs up into the air. It’s up to you whether you do these one at a time or both together – only work with what you’re comfortable doing. In the end, your form should look similar to the rather muscle man is demonstrating (rather well, might I add), above. If you’re struggling to get that high, just raise your legs as high as you can for now – and try to beat that, the next time you come to work out.
Planks are another option that can look really hard – but can easily be adjusted to suit your own fitness level. Much like the push-up/out, it gets easier, the higher you are. So, you don’t have to rest on your forearms if this is too low for you – just rest on your hands, or use a (secure!) footstool/chair to perform your plank with, instead.
You can also spread your feet wider or closer together, depending on what is more comfortable for you. Or, if you’re feeling cocky and have a friend nearby, you can high-five each other mid-workout, for some reason. Why the heck not? If you’re not feeling good about your accomplishments… well, you should.
We’re back to our beloved steps again (if you don’t have stairs at home, any secure footing will do – such as a dining chair) and this time you can take your time to complete as many as possible with one leg, before switching to the other. Or, if you prefer, you can stick your sets and up the ante with weights, once things get a little easier.
All you need to do is step up, completely, with one leg, before reversing the motion and standing back at the base again. The higher the step, the harder the action will become, so start with the bottom step if you need to and work your way from there.
A back fly is simply about leaning forward at the hips, while keeping your back straight. Place your arms together in front of you and then move your arms out to both sides, as wide as they can go before bringing them back together. This is a great one to start off with, because it helps you learn to keep an eye on your back while working out – a skill you’ll need once you get into your fitness regime and try a few, tougher workouts.
If this becomes too easy for you, you can work with dumbells. Don’t have those at home? You can fill up two 500ml bottles with water and use those. Still too easy? Try the 750ml bottles or 1L varieties! See, I told you we’d teach you how to make homemade dumbells. Just be sure to keep them tightly closed – the last thing you need is water escaping and soaking your living room.
Another option that can be altered, simply by how low you’re willing to go (and not in the fun way) – the lower you go, the harder the dip. Place both hands securely on a raised platform – this can be a step, dining chair, couch or anything that will give you enough room to dip.
The higher the platform, the less likely you are to bump your rear end on the floor. You can also control your depth by bringing your knees up slightly. If it starts getting a little too easy, pop your legs further out, until they’re fully extended.
At this point, you might be grateful for another lie-down – which is why the bridge is another fantastic exercise to get into, when you first start on your weight loss journey. Lay flat on your back and bring your knees to a 90-degree angle. Then, use your feet and legs to push your midriff up off the floor.
There are two ways to measure this; you can hold the position for as long as you can, or look to complete as many as you can within a short period of time (for example, 30 seconds). If it starts to get a little too easy, you can then revert back to 10 reps and begin to add some weights, to give yourself a little extra challenge.
Workout Tips For Beginners
A good starting point for all of these exercises (bar walking) is to try to complete 10 reps, 3 times, taking a 30-second rest between each set of reps. If you’re struggling, there’s no shame in simply doing as many as you can, before moving to the next exercise. It’s important to remember that you aren’t competing against anyone here – except for yourself, of course. And – on that note – a great way to keep yourself motivated is to mark down your personal best, each time you come back to this workout. Aim to beat your PB each time – and take a day to rest if you’re feeling sore (which you will, at first – but that’s a good sign!).
Apart from taking care of yourself and ensuring you don’t go too hard, there are no rules when it comes to improving your fitness. What works for one person, may not work for another. Women tend to have stronger legs, while men will often have a stronger upper body strength, for example – that doesn’t mean one is weaker than the other. Like all things in life, our differences are what make us so unique and so strong as a human race.
If you found this article helpful, please do let me know in the comments – and I’ll do some more workout tips for beginners!