To enable you to start improving your fitness Ian David Worthington of GymWolfPT has written a beginners home exercise workout plan that does not require using any gym equipment and can be adapted to meet your own fitness goals.
General Rules For All Workouts
The below ‘general rules’ need to be applied to each workout, every time. Regular physical activity is fun and healthy, and increasingly more people are starting to become more active every day. Being more active is very safe for most people. However, some people should check with their doctor before they start becoming more physically active.
✅ An adequate warm-up and cool-down must be completed pre and post-workout.
– Warm-up: 5-10 minutes of light intensity cardio to raise your body temperature. Follow this with dynamic stretches, specifically focusing on the muscle group(s) you will be working.
– Cool-down: 3-5 minutes of very light intensity cardio to return your body to its normal state. Follow this with static stretches.
✅ Correct form, technique and range of motion must be kept at all times. If you are unsure of how to perform an exercise do not ‘guess’ or ‘wing it’! Ask, search on Google/YouTube for exercise demonstration/instructions or check with Ian
✅ If any of these exercises aggravate or cause an injury stop immediately and seek medical help.
✅ Drink plenty of water during each workout.
✅ Always start with a light weight until you have mastered the form, technique and range of motion. Once you have mastered the exercise, aim to safely progress the weight each week, even if only by 1kg or 1 pound.
✅ When lifting heavy with free weights or on a bench, ensure you have a ‘spotter’ present.
✅ Log your sessions, either via a Gym Notebook or Phone App (the GymWolfPT App is the very best for this!). You should be logging sets, reps, weights, rest times and any other useful information.
✅ Before using any equipment or machine at the gym, or at home, ensure it is in ‘working order’ and safe to use.
Your Fitness Goals
The number of reps and rest times should be adjusted to fit your specific goals. Below are the general ‘rule of thumb guidelines for specific fitness goals:
✅ Training Goal: General Fitness. A General Fitness programme should target both strength and muscle building.
When deciding on reps and sets, somewhere in the range of 8 to 15 repetitions for 2 to 4 sets will help you accomplish both.
✅ Training Goal: Strength. Strength training uses the most weight, least number of reps, and longest rest periods.
When your aim is building strength, lift heavier for fewer reps, compared to when you’re trying to build muscle size or muscular endurance.
For example, you might use a ‘5 x 5 system’. That means five sets with five reps in each set. You’ll use higher loads for these reps and sets, and also take a longer rest between sets (3-5 minutes). But never compromise on form and safety!
✅ Training Goal: Muscle Hypertrophy. Hypertrophy for muscle size and bodybuilding training utilises lighter weights, more repetitions and less rest time.
Example Home Based Workout Plan for Beginners
These bodyweight workouts are home-based and aimed at beginners. The workout will take approx. 30-40 minutes to complete (cardio workout approx.15-40 minutes).
Exercise 1: Push-ups
Workout Advice: Push-ups are great for building muscle and strength in your chest muscles. They also work your shoulders and triceps as secondary muscle groups. You can do regular push-ups on your toes, or alternatively modified push-ups on your knees, which are much easier and are perfect for beginners who need to increase their upper body strength.
Place your hands on the floor at shoulder-width apart and then lower your chest down and gently touch the floor. Push back up and really place 100% tension on your pecs and squeeze your chest muscles.
Exercise 2: Side Planks and Side Crunches
Workout Advice: Side planks are superb for building strength in your abs, obliques and overall core.
Your core consists of the four main stomach muscles that wrap around your midsection like a belt and include the rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques and transverses abdominis. Along with these 4 muscles, your core also includes your lower back, pelvic floor and your hips. You can see why the side plank is such an important exercise for developing strong functional muscles that you use every single day.
To start the side planks, position your body on the floor and rest your upper body on your right elbow. You want to have a straight line from the top of your shoulder all the way down to your elbow with your body elongated and your feet stacked on top of each other. Start by pushing your hip up towards the ceiling and really feel the tension in your abs, obliques and lower back. Do 10-15 reps and then switch over to your left arm. If you have any shoulder issues, you can take a lot of the tension off by doing leg raise crunches which allows you to take the weight off of your shoulder joints yet still works the core muscles very well.
Exercise 3: Lunges
Workout Advice: This is one of the best bodyweight exercises for toning your legs and bottom.
Start by placing your left foot out in front of you and make sure to keep your back straight with good posture. Slowly lower yourself down and really try to feel the tension in the front of your leg (quadriceps). You must not lean over during this exercise. Always keep your posture solid throughout the entire range of the movement and keep your head straight while looking directly forward. Do 10-15 reps and then switch to your other leg.
Exercise 4: One Leg Deadlifts
Workout Advice: These are fantastic for working your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. One leg deadlifts also work your core muscles and trains your body for overall coordination and balance.
Bend forward on one leg and slowly lower your upper body down to about waist level. This isolates one leg at a time and is excellent for toning your leg muscles. Do 15 reps and then switch to your other leg to complete a full set.
Exercise 5: Triceps Press
Workout Advice: The triceps press exercise is great for toning and tightening the back of your arms (triceps).
Using a piece of furniture like your dining room table or your couch, place your hands shoulder width apart and slowly lower your upper body down to the bottom position while keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides to maximize the tension on your triceps. Push yourself back up to the top and focus on squeezing your triceps muscles as you extend your arms.