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Taking the next step and going from being a little more active during your day to working out for a set amount of time may seem daunting at first. Not to worry, I have a great new beginner’s routine, a foundation workout, to help get you started.
My aim as a trainer has always been to help people fall in love with exercise. The type of love that will last a lifetime, get better with time and help you gain self-confidence. That’s why I avoid having people jump right into something too structured, too soon. It’s best to get comfortable with simple movements and know what and why you’re doing a certain exercise before rushing through to complete a set amount in a certain time. Yes, I know my workout approach may sound like relationship advice. But I believe that when you take a calculated approach (in life), your chances of achieving long-term success seem to be better.
There are so many ways to get your body moving. Last week, I shared ways to get up off the couch and simply get active by adding small amounts of extra movement into your daily schedule. Some may question whether this concept of adding that small bit of extra activity actually makes a difference. I can tell you it does help. Research shows that doing small bouts of exercise is beneficial for your health, and in fact, you can accumulate your daily 30 minutes of exercise by being more active.
I believe that every second counts when it comes to improving your fitness level. Admittedly, walking an extra five minutes a day is not going to get you through a marathon. The real aim with getting active is to build confidence and gently ease your body into movement. This comes with the hope that a little bit of extra activity will eventually lead to more. The feeling of accomplishment and joy that comes from making it to the top of a flight of stairs without being breathless may not seem like a big milestone to you if you’re an avid exerciser. For someone who’s typically inactive, it’s a huge accomplishment and a wonderful step toward attaining an improved sense of wellness.
For today, lets keep it simple and work using a number of repetitions as your guide. I’ve learned through experience that great results can be obtained when you get into the habit of doing things right from the start. I love to teach basic movement patterns and have people get confident achieving a set number of repetitions in their own time with no focus on the clock. This beginner’s workout will include doing the 5 most basic exercises in repetitions.
When you practice executing good form for each rep, you’re getting the maximum benefits from that exercise. And you’ll be working your joints and muscles in the way they were designed to move. It can feel a little bit slow and sometimes even boring to do things right, but the important things in life tend to be the least interesting. I assure you that once you get comfortable with the basics, you can race against the clock and add in more dynamic movement patterns. The 5 beginner’s workout moves I’m going to talk you through can be progressed into advanced moves.
If you’re reading this and are past the basic stage with your personal fitness, let me tell you that even the pros go back and focus on the basics to rebuild their foundation every few months. Consider taking a day to slow things down, focus on your breathing and body posture.
The aim of a foundation workout is to perfect your form. Take your time, listen to your body and try to perform all sets. Just know that if your form starts to suffer, stop and rest before continuing. Foundation workouts are about movement confidence, and strengthening essential muscles and tendons. I see this phase as one that sets you up for future workouts.
Perform between 12-16 repetitions of each move. Rest for 60 seconds in between each set (a set is once you have completed 12-16 repetitions of the 5 moves). Aim to do 3 sets.
Squats: This is the basic movement that works your glutes (one of the largest muscles in the body), legs and stabilizers in your back and feet.
Modified Push-up: This is called a total body exercise because it literally works all of your major muscle groups. It’s especially great for core strength, and the chest and back.
Lunges: Lunges are simply a step forward and a step back. A lunge can be done in many ways and is great for learning balance, developing leg strength and working your hip flexors, are an important muscle of the core.
Crunches: Performing crunches is a great way to work the abdominal muscles.
Hamstring bridge: This exercise works your core muscles and your hamstrings; it’s great for working on your balance and pelvic floor muscles.
Work slowly on each move focusing on your breathing and counting your reps. You don’t want to work to failure with a foundation workout, so aim to complete a minimum of 12 reps. If you can’t complete 12 in good form, make a note of how many you can do and start working towards getting to 12 reps. This may take you a 1-3 weeks if you haven’t worked out in while.
Repeating this workout 2-3 times a week in addition to your daily activities will help you slowly progress your muscular strength and control. Next week I’ll show you how you can advance the basics and use timing to progress these exercises into a calorie torching routine. Remember to have fun with this beginner’s workout.