If you have decided to get in shape this year but don’t know where to start, try this body weight workout for beginners! Don’t worry if can’t get to a gym, you can try this workout right from the comfort of your own home using just your body weight. The following exercises use multiple muscle groups for a total body workout to help you burn calories, build muscle and lose weight! As always, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program. WARM UP Before you begin your workout, it is very important that you begin with a proper warm-up to avoid injury. This can include any type of cardiovascular activity that gets your heart rate up such jogging in place, jumping jacks or jumping rope. Aim to warm up for about 5 minutes to get your muscles loose and warm. CIRCUIT ROUTINE After your warm-up, you are ready to begin! You will want to aim for 3 rounds of the following circuit with minimal rest (15-30 seconds) in between each exercise:
- 20 squats
- 10 push-ups
- 20 lunges (10 on each side)
- 20 second plank
- 25 jumping jacks
Don’t worry if you can’t make it through 3 full rounds your first time, as you get stronger and your endurance increases, you will be able to build up to this in no time! If your heart rate starts to get too high at any point, take a small break and return to the exercise when you ready but be sure to keep your feet moving at all times. Read below to learn the proper form and modifications for each exercise.
SQUATS Squats are one of the best exercises to help strengthen your lower body because they utilize multiple muscle groups and can help define your thighs, glutes, and core. Start by standing up tall with feet about shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward and abs tightened. Keeping your weight in your heels, inhale as you squat back by bending at the knees and driving your hips back, sticking your glutes out and bringing your arms up as you lower. Keep your head and chest up and your eyes looking forward. Try to get your thighs parallel to the ground and be sure not to let your knees go past your toes. As you stand back up into starting position, exhale and push through your heels and squeeze your glutes. Repeat for a total of 20 squats.
Modification: If regular squats are too difficult, you can always use a chair to assist you by holding on to the back of the chair as you squat. This will take some of the weight off until you become stronger and will also help with your balance.
PUSH-UPS Push-ups are a great upper body exercise that work multiple muscles including chest, shoulders, triceps, back and abs. Start by getting on the floor on your hands and knees, positioning your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Extend your legs back so that you are on your hands and toes. Be sure to keep your body in a straight line from head to toe without dropping or raising your hips, or arching your back. Keeping your abs tightened, inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. As you push back up to the starting position, exhale and squeeze your chest muscles together, making sure not to lock out your elbows. Repeat for a total of 10 times.
Modification: Standard push-ups can be challenging to do, especially if you are a beginner. To modify this exercise, place your knees onto the floor so that you are on your hands and knees, which will help take some of the weight off. Keeping the same form and making sure to keep your hips in line with the rest of the body (body should be in a straight line from head to knees), continue with the exercise as stated above (see top image).
LUNGES Lunges are another great lower body exercise which help to strengthen the quads, hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors. To begin, start by standing tall with chest lifted and abdominals engaged, feet facing forward. As you take a big step forward with one foot, be sure that your legs are aligned. As you lower into a lunge, bend your knees, pressing your back knee straight down toward the floor, aiming for a 90 degree bend in your knees. It is important to keep your chest upright and not lean forward. Also be sure your front knee does not go past your toes, keeping it aligned with your ankle. Push back into the starting position, squeezing your glutes and keeping your abs engaged and chest lifted. Repeat on the other leg for a total of 20 lunges.
Modification: Stand between two chairs that are facing away, holding on to the backs of the chairs as you slowly lunge down with one leg then the other, using the same guidelines as above. Just as with the modified squats, this will help take some of the weight off and also help with your balance.
PLANKS The plank is one of the most effective abdominal exercises to help strengthen the core and improve stability. To get into the plank position, get on the floor on your forearms and your toes. Be sure to keep your body in one straight line and avoid raising or dropping your hips. Keep your spine and neck neutral while looking at the floor and tighten your abdominals by pulling your belly button into your spine. Make sure not to hold your breath; focus on your breathing while inhaling and exhaling slowly. Hold this position for 20 seconds or as long as you can.
Modification: If the standard plank is too difficult to hold, modify the position by placing your knees on the floor so that you are on your forearms and your knees, which will help take some of the weigh off until you become stronger. Be sure to keep a straight line from your head to your hips, keep your weight forward and avoid raising up your hips too high.
JUMPING JACKS Jumping jacks are a great aerobics exercise than can help improve cardiovascular health and promote weight loss. Jumping jacks also work multiple muscle groups, including shoulders, legs, abs, and the heart! Begin by standing straight with feet together and arms at your sides. At the same time, jump and spread your feet wider than shoulder width apart while raising your arms up above your head. Immediately reverse the movement back to starting position without pausing. Repeat 25 times. Modification: If regular jacks are too difficult, modify by removing the jump and extending one leg out to the side at a time while raising your arms above your head. Reverse the movement back to starting position and repeat with other leg for a total of 25 times. COOL DOWN
Just as the warm up is important to help loosen the muscles and avoid injury, it is also essential to cool down properly to safely bring the heart rate down and stretch the muscles. After you complete your workout, be sure to march in place or walk around until you bring your heart rate down back to normal. After this is completed, be sure to properly stretch
all the big muscle groups you just worked, including arms, chest, back, quads, glutes and hamstrings. Don’t forget to also refuel your muscles with a good source of protein and healthy carbs after your workout. Lastly, it is essential that you hydrate properly with plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.