The love of exercise does not come naturally to most people. The beginning can be daunting, however, once you have gotten used to it and your body is feeling the rewards, it’s hard not to fall in love. The beginner workouts will help you get back into shape without feeling out of shape.
Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily will help you create your best body. You will be full of energy; strong enough to handle the encounters of your day and you will leap out of bed full of life.
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As a start, you can take this quick fitness test to know your fitness level. If you have any health-related risk factors, you should check with your doctor before exerting yourself.
These two home workouts require little equipment. They are also great for those who are not yet gym confident. If it gets too hard, you can do them without dumbells.
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Stretch for 2 minutes. Do 5 minutes of light cardio (marching on the spot, climbing stairs), then leg swings, torso twists, and arm swings.
Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps, depending on the weight of your dumbbells and endurance. Exercise 2-3 time a week. As you progress, add more weights or reps to your workout, then rest for 10 seconds between sets. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it. Take it easy when you’re starting, but also make sure you challenge yourself enough to feel the workout.
End each workout with 12-16 torso twists. Then stretch all major muscles, holding each stretch for 20 seconds without bouncing.
For a high-performance body aim to get 30-45 minutes of cardio or any aerobic exercise 3-5 times a week, varying activity, intensity and duration of the workout. Try to engage in activity that moves your body in a variety of directions, such as running, swimming and different cardio or dance classes.
We’ve covered a few of the basics and now it’s over to you. So, get moving. I promise you’ll feel lighter and fabulously refreshed.
EXERCISE WORKOUT 1
Use 2-4 kg dumbbells
I use this non-slip surface yoga mat for extra comfort and balance.
One-legged overhead press with a mini squat
- Stand with legs straight and feet width apart.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, on your sides, palms in.
- Lift your left foot slightly off the floor, right knee slightly bent.
- Contract abs and press arms overhead.
- Lower arms to shoulders, bend right knee, lowering hip to a quarter squat position.
- Straighten right leg, left foot still lifted and repeat combo for all reps.
- Switch legs and repeat on the opposite side to complete 1 rep.
This exercise strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks, shoulders and upper back.
Wide row/deadlift combo
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging at sides, palms in, legs straight but not locked.
- Squeeze shoulder blades down and together; contract abs and slightly bend the left leg
- Then keeping the right leg straight and lower back naturally curved, hinge forward at hips, then lift the left leg up and back, letting arms hang in front of legs.
- Lower torso till you feel a stretch in hamstrings.
- Contract buttocks and hamstrings as you lift torso to an upright position and repeat combo.
This exercise strengthens the upper back, shoulders and hamstrings
Rear lunge/arm combo
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms at sides, palms in, chest lifted, abs tight.
- Step back with the right foot, bending both knees so left knee aligns with ankle and right approaches floor, heel lifted.
- Simultaneously, lift arms up and over your shoulders, palms facing in.
- Lower arms to sides and step forward to starting position.
- Repeat on the right side (makes 1 rep)
This exercise strengthens the quads, hamstrings, butt, calves, biceps and shoulders.
Bent-over kickback/ rear fly combo
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms bent at 90 degrees with elbows at sides, palms in, forearms parallel to the floor and each other.
- Keeping abs tight, bend knees and hinge forward at hips until torso’s almost parallel with the floor.
- Maintain position and lift arms up and out to sides.
- Bring elbows back in, aligning upper arm with side of torso; instantly straighten both arms behind you (don’t lock elbows).
- Bend elbows back to 90 degrees; still hinged forward, repeat combo.
This exercise strengthens mid-back, shoulder, triceps.
Bridge/chest press combo
- Lie face-up on th
e floor, knees bent and feet flat, a dumbbellin each hand, arms at 90 degrees, elbows aligned with shoulders, forearms parallel, palms facing in.
- Contract abs, then lift hips until body forms one line from shoulders to knees.
- Maintain lifted position; straighten arms mid-chest without locking elbows.
- Bend elbows and repeat press 3-5 times before lowering hips.
- Immediately repeat combo to complete 1 set.
This workout strengthens the chest, shoulders, triceps, buttocks, hamstrings.
Kneeling leg-lift balance
- Kneel on all fours, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips.
- Place a dumbbell behind left knee and squeeze calf against it.
- Contract abs and extend left arm forward in line with shoulder, then lift right knee to hip height, foot pressing upwards without arching back.
- Lower knee until slightly off the floor and repeat leg lifts for all reps, left arm still raised.
- Repeat with right arm raised and left leg lifting to complete 1 rep.
This exercise strengthens the butt and hamstrings.
- Lie face-down with legs extended, feet together, forearms and elbows on the ground shoulder-width apart, palms rotated in with hands resting on the ground.
- Draw shoulder blades down, pull abs up and in.
- Keeping buttocks, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves tight and knees straight, tuck your toes under and lift torso, hips and legs off ground as one unit, so body forms a straight line from head to heels.
- Hold for 10-20 seconds, progressing to 30 seconds and then 1 minute.
- Repeat 2-3 times total, resting 30-45 seconds between sets.
This exercise strengthens the abdominals, spine extensors, butt and rotators.
Avoid: shrugging your shoulders, hunching your back or bending your knees. Don’t stick your rear up in the air or let your belly sag as it can stress your back.
Four-point opposite lift
- Kneel with palms flat, wrists aligned under shoulders, knees hip-width apart, arms straight, but not locked.
- Find a neutral spine by letting abs drop, then pull belly up, keeping the spine long so body forms a straight line from shoulders to hips; draw shoulder blades down.
- Maintaining torso position, lift left arm and straightening right leg up to torso height. Keep shoulders, hips and pelvis level.
- Pause for 3 seconds, then lower arm and leg and repeat with opposite arm and leg.
- Alternate to complete 10 reps on each side. To progress increase to 15 reps, pausing each time for 5 seconds.
This exercise strengthens the abdominals, spine extensors, butt and front shoulders.
Avoid: lifting your leg too high as you may arch your back.
Single leg balance squat
- Stand on your left foot, leg straight with hips flexed forward, right heel lifted, and right knee bent at 90 degrees;
- relax arms at sides and contract abs.
- If you can maintain balance, bend left knee, keeping hips square. If you can’t balance do a normal squat.
- Pause then straighten left knee and repeat.
- Repeat for 15 reps or simply hold for 30 seconds on each side.
This workout strengthens quads, hamstrings, buttocks.
Avoid: letting the arch of standing foot to drop inward, which can shift your knee inward, stressing your knee joint. Don’t shift your hips or lean too far forward.
Front lunge rotation
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a 2-4kg dumbbell in front of your waist.
- Contract abs then lift chest and relax shoulders.
- Step forward with the right foot, bending both knees so right knees aligns with right ankle and left knee approaches the ground, heel lifted.
- As you lunge, rotate torso to bring dumbbell next to right hip.
- Rotate back to centre as you push off right foot to return to start position.
- Repeat on the opposite side, lunging with the left leg and rotating to left.
- Do 8-10 reps on each side (both side equal 1 rep).
- To progress, do walking lunges, stepping through to next lunge without pausing.
This exercise strengthens quads, hamstrings and abs.
Avoid: dropping your hips, move only your arms or lunging past your toes.
Taking responsibility for your health and wellbeing is empowering but can also be overwhelming. Therefore, this quick two workout guide will help you find your start. The not so secret ingredients in any fitness success story are motivation, information and variety.
Get started, wherever you are in your fitness journey. If you can’t do the whole workout when staring out its ok. Don’t be hard on yourself, just do what you can each day, gradually increasing the reps and endurance.
Above all, get up, move and take it one day at a time.