The Great Eight: Top Exercises for Beginners

february 1

Tips from Prescribed Burn:

  • For beginners, all of these exercises can, and should be, performed with ONLY bodyweight.
  • As you progress, resistance and balance elements can be used to make the movements more challenging. Resistance bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, weighted bars, and even Bosu balls and suspension trainers to challenge your perfect executions of each move.

Demos & How-To’s:

  • Squat
  • Pelvic Lifts
  • Hip Hinges
    • Shown with bar in video, but can be performed without the bar, using only your bodyweight
  • Tricep Dips
    • To make this easier, you can bend your knees at a 90 degree angle, keeping your feet flat on the ground as you perform the dip.
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups
    • Hands Elevated (the higher, the easier) Start performing a push-up on a wall, progress to setting your hands on top of a desk, then maybe a couch seat level, and lower until your hands are on the ground.
    • Performed on Tops of Thighs
  • Planks
    • The hand, or high plank, is the most basic. If you’re just starting try elevating your hands on a small step or the coffee table. The closer your body gets to parallel to the ground, the more challenging. Aim for a one minute hold before you progress. You can see some more advanced progressions in the link above. Once you’ve got this mastered, check out my exercise index for even more variety.
  • Step-ups
    • Make these harder by using a higher step. Keep your hands at your hips and chest perpendicular to the ground. Use your hamstrings and glutes to step up.

Don’t Forget:

  • Did you read the word perfect up above? Do you know what perfect means? Until you can perfectly execute each movement, you should start with the easiest version of the bodyweight movement.
  • Progression is simply a way of ensuring that you maintain your perfect form. If you aren’t ready to do a push-up fully parallel with toes on the ground, you can modify the movement. As you master the movement, you can progress. Make the bodyweight version more challenging (as mentioned above). Or add resistance or a balance component.

Make it a Workout:

  • Just starting? Try 10 or even just 5 of each, moving through slowly with control, in perfect form.
  • Pair them up into supersets: Alternate between 5-10 reps of the first exercise, following with 5-10 of the second exercise in the set. Aim for 2 to 3 sets. Try:
    • Squats and Planks
    • Lunges and Step-ups
    • Pelvic Lifts and Good Mornings
    • Tricep Dips and Push-ups
  • Go for time. Set your timer for 1 minute and try to do as many reps as possible (perfectly!) during that minute. Try it for each movement. Alternate sides after 30 seconds for the lunges and step-ups. Try to hold your plank for as long as possible (up to 1 minute).
  • Watching TV? Make your way through 10 reps of each exercise, as many times as you can throughout the show. Break during the commercials and as needed!

What are some of your go-to, beginner or basic bodyweight exercises that are staples in your routines?

Comment below!



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