When you first start going to the gym, it can feel a bit intimidating. You’ve got the woman who seems to be made out of pure muscle hanging from a bar doing reverse sit ups, while a man in the corner grunts and groans as he lifts a piece of equipment that you’ve never even seen before. Not to worry! When you are just beginning your workout routine, keep it simple! These nine easy exercises are great for beginners because they will only use a mat, free weights, and an exercise ball. If you do all nine, you will get a full body workout that will become second nature once you do it a few times. This is a great routine to get you started!
1. Core: Abs
Start your workout by grabbing a mat and a large exercise ball. Lay it down on the floor and stretch out on it, belly up. put your feet straight up in the air. Grab your ball, and put it between your two feet. Now slowly lower your feet with the ball in between them. Then raise your feet, still with the ball held in between them, and pass the ball to your hands. Lower your arms above your head, and then raise them. Pass the ball to your feet. Repeat this move 12 times, lowering first your feet with the ball between them, and then your arms with the ball held in your hands. Lower only as far as you can with your lower back still pressed to the mat.
2. Core: Lower Abs
Set the ball aside, and stay on your mat. Keep your lower back pressed into the mat while you lower your legs. You should feel your lower abs working. Lower your legs to a count of 3 seconds, and then raise them up. Repeat 12 times.
3. Core: Back Raises
Flip over on your mat so that you are lying on your stomach. Keep your legs pressed together and put your arms out into a “T” shape. Next, raise your arms and your legs simultaneously slightly off of the mat, so that you feel your back muscles working but feel no pain or strain. Just raise and lower your legs a few inches, hold it, and then release. Repeat this 12 times.
4. Arms: Bicep curls
Set aside your mat and ball, and move to the free weights section of the gym. You should see dumb bells of various weights, anywhere from 3 lbs to 30 lbs. As a beginner, you should try a weight that you can lift repeatedly without strain. Don’t be shy to start low; you will work your way up as you continue to weight train. Stand facing a mirror and hold a dumbell in each hand. Bend your arm at the elbow and begin curling the weight towards your shoulder. You should feel your bicep working. Repeat 12 times.
5. Arms: Tricep Extensions
Drop one weight, and hold the other in both hands, above your head. Raise it until your arms are all the way extended, with the weight centered over your head. Lower, and then raise it again. You will feel your triceps fire up. Repeat 12 times.
6. Shoulders: Shoulder Raises
Pick up your other weight so that you have one in each hand. Stand with square shoulders, arms extended. Raise your shoulders towards your ears, and then release.
7. Legs: Calfs
While you are doing your shoulder raises, you can simultaneously do calf raises. Move to your tip toes, and then come back to flat feet. Repeat!
8. Legs: Quads and Glutes
Set aside your weights, and stand facing the mirror. Make a fist with one hand, and put it out in front of your face. Hold onto your fist with the other hand. Next, place your feet hips distance apart. Bend your knees and lower until you are in a position similar to sitting in a chair. Hold this, and then rise up. Repeat this squat 12 times.
9. Legs: Hamstring and Glutes
Find your mat and ball again. Lie down in extended bridge position, with the ball beneath your heels. Roll the ball up as your knees bend, and then extend your legs and roll the ball away from you. The underside of your upper legs should begin to burn! Repeat 12 times.