Never do Nothing!

Our March motto is “never do nothing”! Everyone, no matter your skill level, should be moving and staying active. This is the key to a healthy and productive life. Our last post featured 25 awesome body weight exercises you can perform at home with little to no equipment. Many of those exercises cater to an intermediate skill level, so today we’re featuring 10 perfect body weight exercises for the beginner.

Arm Circles

Sorta self explanatory. Yes, that exercise your gym teacher made you do in 3rd grade is still a great way to tone your arms! Biggest thing to remember is to keep your core tight, which helps support your arm movements. Circle them babies forward and back until you burn out (until you can’t do any more.)

photo: fitnessmagazine.com

photo: fitnessmagazine.com

Marching in Place

Begin by marching in place, lifting your knees as high as you are comfortable. Once you’ve mastered marching in place, try adding speed incrementally so eventually you are jogging in place. Rest at your own pace.

photo: allworkoutroutines.com

photo: allworkoutroutines.com

Jumping Jacks

This age old exercise is tried and true. Combining aerobic exertion with strength training and endurance, this exercise has it all. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump to a shoulder-wide stance as you raise your arms above your head, and jump back to your starting position as you lower you arms. Complete 8 reps and rest.

photo: mauricebright.com

photo: mauricebright.com

Jumping Rope

All you need is a quality speed rope and a sidewalk! After you master the standard jump with both feet, try jumping on one leg or alternating legs or incorporating high knees into your jumping.

photo: alimcwilliams.com

photo: alimcwilliams.com

Windmill Exercise

The most basic version of this exercise is with a non-moving base. Begin with your legs just wider than hip-width with your arms extended out to the sides. Bending at the waist and keeping a flat back, touch your left instep with your right hand and resume to start position. Switch and bend toward the right instep with the left hand. Continue for 16 reps (or 8 on each side).

photo: ultimatebodypress.com

photo: ultimatebodypress.com

Squats

Squats are fairly simple to perform provided you don’t have knee or back injuries. If so, only go as low as your body will allow without discomfort. You can also hold onto a bar to ensure stability. Make sure to keep your back straight even as you squat, and never let your knees extend over your toes. If you can perform a single squat fairly easily, complete 8 reps and rest.

photo: maxfitness.com

photo: maxfitness.com

Squat & Punch with Weights

You can perform this exercise either in a standard squat position or a sumo squat position (where the feet are slightly turned out and the stance is wider than the hips). The idea is to hold the squat while punching with weights. If squats are fairly easy for you, try using a 1-3 lb weight and punching across the chest and forward. Remember to hold your core tight and keep a firm base. Complete for 8 reps on each side and rest.

photo: fitnessmagazine.com

photo: fitnessmagazine.com

Leg Lifts on All Fours

Leg lifts in all forms are great. Experiment a little. Try leg lifts to the front, to the side, and to the back while standing. You can even try leg lifts while lying on your back. We want to introduce you to leg lifts while on all fours. Evenly distribute your weight between your palms and the shins of your legs. Engage your core as you lift one leg to your chest and extend behind you with either a straight or bent leg. Return the leg to the start position and switch sides.

photo: philosophyfit.blogspot.com

photo: philosophyfit.blogspot.com

Plank

Hold plank on either forearms or in push-up position. Don’t let the belly sag, and don’t let the back bow. Keep a straight line that extends from the heels out the top of the head. If this is extremely difficult for you, hold push-up position on your knees and work to holding the position on your toes. If this is easy for you, hold for 30 seconds and rest for 10. Repeat 2 times. For an even more advanced version, lift one leg while holding plank.

photo: eatdrinkandbeskinny.com

photo: eatdrinkandbeskinny.com

Assisted Push-Ups

For the ultimate beginning push-up, stand with your hands on a wall in front of you. Lean into the wall, keeping your elbows in tight to your sides, and push yourself back to your start position. Complete 8 reps of this exercise and rest.

Assisted Push Ups

photo: paceliving.com

A second, more advanced option, is to try a standard push-up on your knees. Remember to keep your elbows in tight to your sides, which forces the triceps and biceps of the arm to really work!

photo: the-exercist.tumblr.com

photo: the-exercist.tumblr.com

 

Additional Resources:

Web MD: Beginner’s Guide to Fitness
Nerd Fitness: Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating
Men’s Fitness: Beginner’s Guide to Weight Lifting
Women’s Magazine: Beginner’s Guide to Losing Weight