Taken some time out from working out? If you’re a complete newbie to fitness, or if you’re heading back into the gym after weeks or months off, fitness coach Nicki Petitt reveals the basic moves you need to master in this simple bodyweight workout for beginners…
Want to get fit fast with the latest HIIT workout? Stop right there because, whether you’re new to exercise or returning to it after a lengthy break, the best place to start is back at the beginning with a simple, back-to-basics bodyweight workout.
These workouts will help you build a strong strength base and master the basic functional movement patterns (squat, hinge, lunge, push and pull). Do this and you’ll have a fantastic foundation of fitness from which you can launch more advanced methods and start to take on more resistance.
If you’re ready to give it a go, below is a bodyweight workout featuring eight basic exercises, from online fitness coach Nicki Petitt (@nickipetitt), that are great to start with. Using just your bodyweight, to enable you to focus on perfecting your technique, these moves will help you to build whole-body strength, mobility, stability and core control. Plus, you’ll sculpt your shape to boot.
For best results, do each move in this bodyweight workout for 50 seconds, take 20 seconds of rest, then move on to the next move. Repeat three times and enjoy the results!
Simple bodyweight workout for beginners
LOW PLANK / HIGH PLANK
Works shoulders and core.
- Start in a low plank, with your elbows directly under your shoulders, your core braced, back flat and your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold here for 25 seconds.
- Move into a high plank, with your hands directly under your shoulders, your core braced, back flat and your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold here for 25 seconds.
- Ensure your neck is in alignment throughout the move, looking through your hands.
SINGLE-LEG GLUTE BRIDGE
Works your quads, hamstrings and glutes.
- Lie on the floor with your feet flat and knees at 90°. Lift your right heel to the ceiling.
- Push through your left heel to drive up, then squeeze your glutes. Lower and repeat for 25 seconds.
- Switch to lift your left heel to the ceiling with your right heel on the floor, and perform for the final 25 seconds.
Works your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, plus increases the flexibility of your ankles and feet.
- Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands in front of your chest.
- Bend at your hips and knees, keeping your back straight and eyes forward to perform a squat.
- At the bottom of the squat, drive through your heels to stand, squeezing your glutes at the top of movement.
- Safety tip – do not hunch your shoulders and ensure your back is straight throughout the movement.
Works your lower body and increases the flexibility of your ankles and feet.
- Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands by your sides.
- Hold your arms at chest height, hands softly together. Brace your core and lunge your right leg backwards, keeping your front knee behind your toes, chest up and eyes forward.
- Ensure your back leg is an inch or two off the floor, your core is engaged and hips stable. Return your leg back to standing, with feet shoulder-width apart. Repeat on your left leg.
- To advance, add four pulses at the bottom of the reverse lunge. Don’t hunch your shoulders, plus ensure your back is straight and your chest up throughout the movement.
HAND RELEASE PRESS-UP
Works your chest, shoulders and triceps.
- Starting in a high plank position, position your hands under shoulders and lower your body to the floor, keeping your elbows tight to your core.
- Lying flat on the floor, lift your hands a few inches off the mat, then replace your hands under your shoulders and drive back up to high plank. Exhale as you press up.
- Brace your core throughout, do not let your hips arch down to the floor. To make it easier, place your knees on the floor.
Y T W
Works your back and shoulders.
- Lying flat on your stomach, stretch your arms above your head to form a ‘Y’ position (A).
- Brace your core, squeeze your glutes and lift your chest slowly off the floor, maintaining the ‘Y’ shape. Your feet remain on the floor and your head maintains alignment with your thoracic spine. Lower back down.
- Repeat, taking your arms out to the side into a ’T’ position (B). Lower.
- This time, from the floor with your arms out to the side, lift your chest, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your elbows towards your core to create the ‘W’ shape (C). Lower.
- Perform slowly and mindfully. Focus on your breathing, with a gentle and controlled approach to the lift.
Works your lower body and core.
- Performing a squat, touch the floor with your right hand, your left arm extending backwards, then drive up through your heels and stretch to the ceiling by going onto your tip toes.
- Repeat on the other side, touching your left hand to the floor.
- Perform at speed to add intensity. This is a great low-impact alternative to a squat jump.
Works lateral movement.
- Stand and take a big step to the left, lunging sideways by bringing your right leg behind your body and your left arm to the side, right hand in front of you.
- Push through your left leg to explosive jump to the other side, swinging your arms across your body (right arm to the side; lefthand in front of you), and land on your right foot.
- Continue ‘skating’ from side-to-side at speed.