The hardest thing to do when starting to work out is deciding on exercises and how to set up your workout program. If you survey magazines and websites, you likely see fitness models who are huge and ripped telling you how they work out and stay in shape. Odds are, you're not going to look like that without many years of strict diet and training. It doesn't make sense to start with the level of workouts that fitness models regularly perform. It's better for your mind and your body to start out small and then work towards that.
The following workout will get you started in the right place and has the potential to help you reach your goals. Trying to start your training regimen with more advanced workouts will more than likely cause frustration and your plans for building muscle may fail. Patience and persistence are the best methods for seeing results. As long as you are able and your doctor says it's OK, regular weightlifting should be a good option for you.
To get started, you will either need a gym membership or space at home to work out. You will also need some basic equipment, such as a pair of dumbbells, resistance bands, or both. Some exercises work better with one or the other. You will also need a pull-up bar. For the dumbbells, it's better to go a little heavier so you don't outgrow them in two weeks. Here are a few suggestions:
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- Pull-up bar: FLYBIRD Doorway Pull Up Bar
- Beginner dumbbells: TRX Hex Rubber Dumbbells
- Resistance band set: First Place All-Purpose Exercise Band
This is a full-body workout that you can perform three times per week with a day of non-weightlifting exercise between sessions. More is not better; your body needs to recover after a workout. You can also do cardio on the opposite days.
Following the exercises below, you will perform three rounds of each exercise and eight to twelve reps per set; when you can do perform 12 reps, increase the weight. These are dynamic exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time, so you get more bang for your buck.
Perform the push-ups slowly and controlled. Go two seconds down and two seconds back up. After you finish the first set of push-ups, roll onto your back and perform the chest press.
Lay on your back on the floor, pick up the dumbbells, and press towards the ceiling. Perform slow and controlled movements, concentrating on your chest muscles. Rest for two minutes and do the next push-up chest press set.
Start with your body weight as you dial in your form. After you get used to it, begin to incorporate the dumbbells. Push your butt back as you squat down to keep the pressure off your knees.
Go from set one of the squat directly to deadlifts with weight. Keep control of your body and go slow. Go back and do the other two combo sets after resting for two minutes.
This is definitely one of the hardest exercises for a beginner, so only perform as many as you can. If you need help, use bands or use a chair to get you to the top of the bar, slowly let yourself down, and then repeat. Go directly to the rows after the first set of push-ups.
If you are using dumbbells, perform bent-over rows. If using bands, perform the rows in a seated position. Maintain slow and controlled movements so you get the most benefit from your effort.
Use the dumbbells or bands and go slowly. Keep your elbows against your sides and don't use momentum to aid you in your curl. When you finish the first set, move on to the triceps dips right away.
Perform the dips with your hands behind your back on a chair or bench. Start with your feet on the ground. As you become stronger, place your feet up on another chair to add resistance.
You can perform these either seated or standing. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder level and press them high over your head. Perform the same movement if using bands.
Get into a push-up position on your elbows instead of your hands, keep your body straight and hold the position for 30 seconds for each round. Rest 15 seconds and then perform another rep. Perform five reps.
Perform this workout for 12 weeks, increasing the weight as needed, and sticking with it at least three times per week. You will notice some very impressive changes after 12 weeks and that will become your motivation to keep going. When you get there, you will be ready to start some more intermediate workouts. No excuses, go ahead and give this workout a try!