A complete home workout for beginners
Did you ever see someone working out and think, ‘There’s no way I could do that!’ You CAN, and I’ll get you started with this home workout for beginners.
I know exercise – and especially gyms – can seem intimidating. But you don’t need experience or loads of expensive gear to get fit. All you need is a bit of room to move, a will to give it a go and have some fun. I’ll coach you through the rest!
I’m so passionate about helping you feel strong and confident that I created a 6-week home workout program for true beginners. FIT Foundations is your entry point to fitness, with easy at-home workouts for beginners featuring low-intensity strength and entry level HIIT to help you burn fat, get fit and build life-changing habits.
How to get started with my beginner workout routines
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done a workout before, or if you tried a class years ago and never went back. With FIT Foundations I’ll help you feel at home on the workout mat and start building a routine with the best at-home workouts for beginners.
When you do start training regularly, you’ll discover that the fitness world has its own language. It can be confusing at first, but with these 4 essentials, you’ll be ready to start your first workout!
Rep: Short for repetitions, as in how many times you repeat a move. For instance, a bicep curl is an exercise where you raise a dumbbell to your shoulder, then lower it back down again – this up and back motion is 1 rep.
Set: Sets in a workout tell you how many times to do a collection of reps. Let’s say you’re doing squats and the workout calls for “3 sets of 5 reps”: you’ll do 5 squats (then rest) three times before moving onto the next exercise.
Round: Rounds are groupings of exercises that make up your entire workout. A round is usually made up of several different exercises, each performed for a certain number of reps and sets.
Rest: Rest breaks in a workout allow you to catch your breath and regain strength, then go into the next exercise with full intensity. A rest break could be 10 to 120 seconds, depending on whether it’s between exercises, sets or rounds – my workouts will indicate this for you. You can stop completely or choose to do active rest, in which you keep moving through the break at a lower intensity, i.e. marching on the spot.
Now you know the lingo, let’s jump into your first no-equipment workout routine for beginners. (Okay, you will need a chair, but I’m guessing you already have one of those!)
I know you can do this! Let’s start with the warm-up.
Your beginner workout warm-up
Warming up with light dynamic movements for just a couple of minutes prepares your body for exercise by increasing blood flow to oxygenate your muscles, lubricating your joints, opening up your range of motion and getting your mind into the zone. By warming up you’re less likely to get injured and more likely to perform at your best.
Remember, the warm-up is part of your workout, so it is totally normal to feel like you’ve already started exercising. Keeping good form during your workout is crucial, including your warm-up. I’ve got form tips on each of these moves below.
How to march on the spot: Standing up tall, march on the spot. You don’t need to lift your knees up high or swing your arms with force, just find a steady rhythm and march.
How to do butt kicks: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bending at the knee to kick your right heel up towards your butt. Place it down, then kick your left foot up towards your butt, and continue alternating. Use your arms to help drive the side-to-side movement by pushing your fists forward, then elbows back.
How to do mini squats: Stand with your feet around shoulder-width apart. Drop into a mini squat by lowering your butt until there is a slight bend in your knees – pushing your hands in front of your body as you squat down. Then return to standing tall, and repeat.
How to do a leaning overhead reach: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your hands held up near your shoulders. Drop into a mini squat, and as you do so, reach your right arm up to the opposite side of your head. Return to standing, then squat down and reach your left arm above the opposite side of your head. Repeat.
How to do straight-leg toe touches: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your arms held out to form a ‘T’ shape. Twist at the torso to drop your right hand down to touch your left foot, return to the standing ‘T’ shape, then twist to touch your left hand to your right foot. Continue alternating.
How to do standing torso twists: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Grip one hand over your other fist so your arms form a basket at your chest. Engage your core by drawing your belly button back towards your spine, then twist your torso from left to right. Your torso should drive the movement, not your legs or glutes.
Your easy at-home workout for beginners
Are you ready to work out with me? This session your lower body (legs and glutes), which is crucial for building full-body strength. And because your lower body is home to some of the biggest muscle groups in your body, working this area is a great way to burn fat.
Technique is so important! Read on for my extra form tips for the exercises in this beginner workout.
How to do a squat to chair sit: Using a chair is a great way to lock in your squat form. Place the chair just far enough behind you that your butt sits at the front of the seat when you squat down, and make sure it won’t slip. Now, stand hip-width apart in front of the chair, and brace your core as you bring your fists together in front of your chest. Bend at the knees and lower your butt to squat down, until you are sitting on the chair. Pause slightly on the seat, then return to standing. Repeat.
How to do a shallow static lunge: This is a unilateral exercise, so we’ll work your left side for 30 seconds, then your right side for 30 seconds, before repeating. Standing with your fists together at your chest, step your right foot back and prop on the ball of your foot (heel raised). Your left foot should stay firmly planted. Now lunge by dropping your right knee towards the floor and bending at your left knee. Only lunge down as far as is comfortable. Complete 30 seconds, then switch to lunge on your right side.
How to do standing calf raises: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. You can hold the back of a chair on one side to support balance. Raise your calves by lifting up onto your toes, then lower your heels back down. Try to control the pace at which you lower your heels to work your calf muscles even more.
How to do a bodyweight deadlift: A deadlift is usually performed with weights, but using only your body weight is a great way to find good form and start building strength. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, core engaged, and arms straight so you are holding your fists in front of each thigh. Now hinge at the hips, lowering your fists towards the top of your feet. Return to standing position, and repeat.
How to do a sumo squat: Take a wide stance with your feet, with your toes pointing outward. Engage your core, bring your fists together at your chest and lower your butt down into a squat. As you build strength, you will be able to squat lower. Squeeze your glutes to push back up again, then repeat.
You did it! Now you’ve worked up a sweat, let’s cool down.
Your beginner workout cool-down
Cooling down after a workout will return your heart rate and breathing to a resting state, and help you to stretch out any tight spots. Let's release those muscles you just worked so hard.
Let’s talk through these stretches in a little more detail.
How to do a standing quad stretch: As you kick your left heel back, grab the top of your foot with your hand, and use it to pull your heel up towards your butt. You should feel a stretch through the front of your thigh. Hold the stretch as long as you can (if it’s less than 30 seconds, reset and go again). After 30 seconds, swap sides and pull your right heel up to stretch out your right quad.
How to do a standing calf stretch: Take a position similar to the lunge we did in the workout, with your left foot extended behind you, heel on the floor. Keeping your rear leg straight, as you bend at your front knee you should feel a stretch through your calf muscle in your rear leg. Hold the stretch. After 30 seconds, switch so that your right foot is extended behind you.
How to a hamstring stretch: Sit on the floor with your left leg extended, and the other leg bent so your right foot is tucked in near your left knee. Keeping your back straight, tip forward at the hips, reaching your hand towards your left foot. You will feel the stretch through the back of your thigh. Tip as far forward as you can manage, and hold the stretch. After 10 seconds or so, as your muscle loosens, you may be able to lean into it a little more, to increase the stretch. Don’t rush it – you’ll get more flexible as you continue to exercise and stretch. After 30 seconds, swap sides to stretch out your right hamstring.
How to do a lying glute stretch: Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Now cross your left leg so that your ankle is resting just above your right knee. Now lift your right foot off the floor, and grip your right knee by threading your left arm through the gap between your legs, and interlocking your fingers. As you pull your right knee towards your chest, you will feel the stretch through your left glute and into your hamstring. You may not need to pull far to feel the stretch – again, your flexibility will continue to grow. After 30 seconds, swap sides to stretch your right glute.
This is just the beginning of your fitness journey! With FIT Foundations I’ll help you learn the basics, grow your confidence and start loving your workouts.
Personal trainer • Founder
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
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