After the Western world realized it might just have a problem with sedentary lifestyles and the obesity epidemic they have caused, it instantly turned to the other direction. These days, fitness is king and if you don’t work out, do TRX suspension training, or even take Zumba lessons, you don’t exist. But what about people who, obese or not, have never worked out before, but would like to start somewhere? The prospect of picking up a heavy effort workout routine justly daunts them and often deters them from even starting. And beginning a new workout plan can be especially intimidating if you’re older, or otherwise out of shape. There are, indeed, many workout regimens out there who promise to get you started on your journey toward getting fit or losing weight. Yet some impose very strict schedules, others are simply not friendly to ‘dummies’, while other work outs, still, begin as if you’re going to become an expert in body building overnight.
This guide is here to tell you that there’s no need to despair if you’re determined about exercising and/or losing weight. You, too, can have that beach body, those ripped abs, or those impressive biceps. All you need to do is start somewhere, with low to moderate effort, and you can do just that with our workout plans for beginners. Our guides address different types of activities and are all geared to help you build strength and tonus. Check them out, then change into your yoga pants, grab your gym bag and get ready to get fitter. Your new lifestyle, diet and exercise included, starts right here, right now.
Beginner Crossfit workouts
These days, if you’re at all interested in fitness, there’s no way you haven’t heard of Crossfit. It’s the latest (and greatest, according to its advocates) workout craze, touted as one of the most efficient ways to tone and strengthen your body. It’s HIIT (high intensity interval training) and can be performed with or without equipment, machines, and weights – at least as far as beginner workouts go. So we’ll save you the fluff and the lingo, such as WOD, AMRAP, and ‘for time’. You can check those out elsewhere online, as Youtube is full of free downloadable info on Crossfit. For the time being, we’ll focus on presenting three different, yet highly effective Crossfit101 workouts for beginners. We’re giving you a starter kit, as it were, on which you can build up your strength. You can perform these exerciseswith weights or just your bodyweight, anywhere, including at home, or at your local Crossfit gym. And, perhaps most importantly, you get to decide for yourself which one better suits your lifestyle, goals, and abilities.
1. The Crossfit Total Workout
This beginner Crossfit workout is great for those who have tried – and liked – weightlifting before. Though not at all complex, it’s challenging enough to keep a beginner interested. In short, you’ll be doing:
- 5 back squats
- 3 overhead presses
- 3 deadlifts
You will obviously require some weights to complete this workout. It’s been designed for the barbell, but if you don’t have one at your disposal, you could adapt it for use with dumbbells. Bear in mind that this workout is not timed, since its aim is to teach you the basics about weightlifting and its effects on your body. For starters, focus on form, not on pushing your limits. Make sure you know how to perform every lift and if you’re not sure check out an online video tutorial or ask a lifting intstructor for pointers.
2. The Helen workout
This workout combines lifting with running and it is performed for three rounds, all of them timed. To complete it, you’ll need to do:
- A 400 meter run
- 21 swings with the kettlebell
- 12 pullups
Much like with the famous Tabata workout, one of the main takeaways of this Crossfit workout for beginners is to learn how to pace yourself. Your goal is to increase the endurance levels of your own body. Remember you need to do 3 rounds of that 400 meter run, so don’t exhaust yourself to the point of burnout the first time around. The lifting part is also about getting a better grasp of what your body can do. The original workout involves American kettlebell swings (in which the weight needs to be lifted above your head), but for an easier, safer version, you can amend it by performing Russian kettlebell swings, in which the weight is lifted up to your shoulder only. As for the pull-ups, if you need a real challenge, you can wrap a resistance band around the bar and truly test your limits.
3. The wall ball &burpees workout
For this workout, you’ll be performing a set number of reps for time, according to the 21 – 15 – 9 sequence. The moves you need to complete are as follows:
- Wall balls
In case you’re wondering why this particular rep sequence is involved, then consider the fact that all numbers of multiples of 3, so you can perform the 21 reps as 3 sets of 7 repetitions and take a break in between sets, if you feel the need to. Though simple on first glance, the wall ball-burpee workout is an intense strength training workout, which will truly put your entire body to the test, not just your arms, or just your legs. Sure, at first the wall ball will test your arm strength, while the burpee will put your leg strength to work; but by the time you’re finished, you will feel that your entire body has been activated.
Machine workouts for beginners
Does the mere thought of bodybuilding intimidate you? Are you curious about weightlifting, but confused by all the available equipment at the gym? Then check out the following workout routine, which strictly uses gym machines. It will work wonders toward isolating particular muscle groups; to boot, it’s also a highly customizable type of workout, in the sense that you get to decide what weight you’re comfortable with. Essentially, you get to call all the shots in this workout plan – how far you want to push yourself, at what pace you want to reach your goals, and so on. The following routines should be performed for three non-consecutive days per week. They target both toning and muscle growth, so, no matter what your goals are, you can be sure that this weekly workout will bring you closer to them. All exercises are performed with the aid of a full minute timer. We recommend that you chart your progress, as you become more and more committed to this workout regime. Also, remember to always check with your MD before starting any new type of physical activity.
· Start with three sets of 10 reps of leg press to work out your upper legs. Then, move on to 3 sets of 14 reps of calf presses, still on the leg press for a lower leg workout.
· To work out your chest muscles, use the Smith machine bench press – 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.
· Do 3 sets of 10 reps on the machine shoulder press, followed by 3 sets of 10 reps of the cable seated row on the resistance cable machine.
· Work out your triceps with 3 sets of 10 reps of the machine triceps extension.
· Finally, strengthen your core muscles by putting in 3 sets of 12 reps on the ab crunch machine.
· The second day of this equipment workout plan for beginners also starts with your legs. Do 3 sets of 12 leg extension reps, followed by 3 sets of 14 standing calf raise reps.
· To pump some iron with your chest, you’ll be doing 3 sets of 10 reps of the machine incline press.
· Move on to your back and shoulders, with 3 sets of wide grip lat pull-down reps, followed by 3 sets of 10 shoulder press reps on the Smith machine.
· If on the first day you gave your triceps a workout, now it’s time to focus on your biceps, with 3 sets of 10 reps on the bicep curl machine.
· Finally, strengthen your abs with 3 sets of 14 cable crunch repetitions.
· Day 3 follows the same pattern in isolating and strengthening muscle groups, but it amps up the intensity and difficulty. For your upper legs do 3 sets of 12 seated leg curls, then move on to your lower leg muscles on the Smith machine, where you’ll be performing 3 sets of 14 reverse calf raises.
· Next, it’s time to focus on your chest, with 3 sets of 10 reps of machine flyes.
· Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions of machine assisted pull-ups for your back, followed by 3 sets of 10 reps of Smith machine shrugs for your shoulders. Remember, it’s important to have strong shoulders, to support your arm, back, and core muscles.
· On the third day, you’ll be working out both the major arm muscle groups: do 3 sets of 10 reps of the close grip cable curl for your biceps, followed by 3 sets of 10 cable triceps pushdowns.
· Finish the workout plan off with 3 sets of 12 repetitions of the cable side bends.
Beginner workout plans for men
Some guys you know train for the 5k. Others swear by the Everlast boxing workout. Others still regularly follow the P90X routine, or some Ultimate Insanity workout type thing. Meanwhile, you spend all day surfing the web and can barely consider doing your daily calisthenics – and even those are becoming a painful chore. In plain English, you’re in dire need of a good, easy fitness regimen for absolute beginners. But you need one that will stick, first and foremost; at the end of it all, you’re not going to come out as a consummate track and field triathlete, but you will certainly rediscover muscles you’d nearly forgotten you had.
The workouts can be performed according to a schedule of your own choice, either independently or as part of a one month program. For those adamant to see results, you can try to adapt it into a 90 day workout program for beginners. Complete the two days each week, with at least one day of rest between them. Each workout takes 35 minutes and for each exercise you will need to put in 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps. Make sure to rest appropriately between exercises. For further tips on proper form, check out YouTube videos, and make sure to get plenty of protein pre and post workout.
· Dumbbell squats, followed by 30 seconds rest. Push ups, followed by 30 seconds rest.
· Dumbbell reverse lunges, then 30 seconds rest. Standing dumbbell shoulder presses, with 60 seconds rest.
· Bulgarian split squats, 30 seconds rest. Dips, 30 seconds rest. Russian twist, 60 seconds rest, then 12 to 20 minutes on the stationary bike, elliptical machine, or treadmill (if you find you’re too tired for the bike). Alternatively, you could try the rowing machine, or at least walking at a brisk pace for the prescribed amount of time.
· Dumbbell Romanian deadlift, 60 seconds rest.One-arm dumbbell rows, 60 seconds rest.
· Straight leg glute bridges, 60 seconds rest. Lat pull downs, 60 seconds rest.
· Dumbbell single leg deadlifts, 60 seconds rest. Dumbbell biceps curls, 60 seconds rest.
· Planking for as long as your body holds out, followed by 60 seconds rest. To wrap things up, get in 12 to 20 minutes of moderately hard cardio, be it by swimming, walking, rowing, or using the stationary bike.
Workouts for beginners for women
In one of the previous parts of this post, we took a closer look at mens beginner workouts. But whats there to do for women who want to get fit? Like you, I had tried it all: Zumbadance lessons, a brand new DVD recommended by the hottest Hollywood star, the Ultimate Beachbodyplan – just about anything the fitness industry is selling, I bought it. And like me, here you are, some hundreds of dollars later and 20 DVDs later, unable to reach your goals, be they to lose weight, tone up, or increase your levels of energy. You’ve read every review and taken every step to make sure this time you stick to your programs. And yet you’ve failed. How about switching up your approach, then?
Our approach for the best beginner workout plan for women is all about enjoyment. Check out the suggestions below, see if they fit your profile and include them in your weekly workout planner, but don’t rule out other options, too. Half an hour of cardio per day, for instance, can work wonders, so long as you stick to it. Swim, take up running, jump rope, sign up for yoga or Pilates classes. Any of these things will do a lot more for your body than some new-fangled expensive fitness fad. That being said, here’s our suggestion of a basic workout for women that’s good both for weight loss, as well as for strengthening.
WebMD recommends that you start out by doing cardio activities three days a week. Typically, those days should be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but you can adjust this to fit your schedule. The point is to leave one day in between cardio session, so as to allow your muscles to heal from the strength training.
Most gyms that cater to women have a wide range of cardio machines set up. If you’re entirely new to the gym, check out each one of them in turn and figure out which one it is you like best. Usually, you should be able to choose between treadmills, steppers, rowing machines, elliptical machines, and stationary bike. Also, cardio machines usually allow you to adjust the intensity level of your workout, as well as the speed.
If you’re over 40 and especially if you’ve already been through menopause, the hormonal changes in your body will have caused the density of your bones to decrease. In order to accommodate these changes, try to opt for a cardio machine that allows you to stand on your feet (think treadmill, elliptical, or stair climber). Make sure to start out conservatively, in order to avoid injury or premature exhaustion. Start out with 15 minutes on your cardio machine of choice, then work your way up, in terms of time, intensity, and speed. You will notice that, in time, your heart and lungs will adjust to your new physical activity regimen and allow you to move for longer spans of time.
There are a lot of myths out there surrounding women and strength training. The most prevalent one, that strength training will cause you to bulk up like the Hulk, couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, since women have lower levels of the hormone that builds muscle (testosterone), strengthening will help boost your metabolism, by increasing the pace at which you accumulate lean muscle mass. What’s more, lifting and strength work will help improve your bone density, thus keeping you safer from injury. A good example of a strength workout for beginners for women should include one set of 8 to 12 repetitions of the following moves: chest press, shoulder press, leg press, leg curls, leg extensions, back rows, and crunches.
Start out moderately, with a weight that you can lift comfortably, but that also challenges your current strength level. Focus on learning the proper form for each exercise at first, because you otherwise risk injury. As you progress, increase the weights you use, to the same threshold: be comfortable, but keep yourself challenged.
Make sure to wrap up each workout, be it cardio or strength, with a good 10 to 15 minutes of stretching. This will de-contract your muscles, help you unwind, and also prompt your muscular fiber into healing the micro-tears that the workouts have induced. Furthermore, stretching will greatly improve your flexibility, which is likely affected by long office hours spent sitting in the same position. Stretching will lengthen your muscles and lower the tension in your muscles. It’s good to stretch after a workout, since your muscles have already been warmed up and will make the most of the elongation that stretching provides. Choose static positions in which your muscles are lengthened and maintain them for 15 to 30 seconds at a time. Focus on your gluteal muscles, hamstrings, and back muscles in particular, since sedentary office jobs take the heaviest tolls on these muscle groups.