Simple and Effective Strength: The Perfect Beginner Workout
Meet Jimmy: Jimmy is a 32-year-old insurance salesman. He’s been happily married for the past six years and has two beautiful children. He loves reading history and spends every spare chance he can get at the local bookstore.
He also weighs 350 pounds.
A Common Scenario
Jimmy wasn’t always that big. It wasn’t until he got his job at the insurance agency that he started to pack on the weight. It was then that he began to spend the majority of his day sitting, trying to work his way through the never-ending mountain of paperwork. When he did have time to eat, it was usually fast food. He never liked the taste of coffee, so he began drinking multiple sodas throughout the day just to stay awake.
As a result, the weight came easily. But he knows he needs to lose it. His doctor tells him so every year during his physical. In fact, this year the doctor told Jimmy he is morbidly obese, (defined as a BMI greater than forty).
Jimmy wants to lose weight, but he doesn’t have the time or energy to do it. He tried working out at home with a training program he found online, but he wasn’t strong enough to do the push ups the program called for, so he quit. He joined a gym, but never felt comfortable there. Everyone else seemed so fit - and he was, well, Jimmy.
As a result of failing to keep his weight under control, Jimmy has resigned himself to the idea that he will be big forever.
If Jimmy’s story sounds like your life, then you need to know to this: you are not a hopeless case.
"I know you can do this workout, and by following this program in combination with sensible eating, you will lose weight. So keep at it and never quit."
Anybody can work out, and if you don’t feel comfortable going to the gym, that’s fine. And if you’re starting out from scratch, you don’t need to be doing push ups and pull ups from day one. I don’t expect you to, and you shouldn’t expect you to, either.
What you should expect of yourself is your best. With the workout provided below, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate a different type of strength. I am going to show you a practical, no-equipment, at-home workout that anybody can do. This workout will not only help you burn fat, but will also simultaneously build strength.
Wall Push Ups
Starting position is with your feet about two feet away from a wall and your arms extended. Bend your elbows until you just about kiss the wall. Push yourself back to a standing position. Try to keep your elbows from flaring out to the side. Instead of looking like a letter T, you should look like an arrow.
Keep a neutral spine and stay tight as you bring yourself closer to the wall.
Starting with your hands crossed on the opposite shoulder and seated in a chair. Stand up. If this is too easy, instead of coming to a complete rest in the chair every rep, slowly lower yourself until your butt touches. Don’t bounce yourself off of the chair, though. That way you’ll keep the muscles in your legs loaded throughout the entire movement.
Use your muscles, not momentum, to stand up from the chair.
Have a seat on the floor with both of your knees bent. Extend your arms straight in front of you, and lean back until you feel your abs tightening up. Hold this position.
Find the seated angle where you can feel this the most while maintaining good position.
Single Leg Hip Bridges
Lay down on the floor with both knees bent. Pick your hips up toward the ceiling until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Flex your butt as hard as you can at the top of the movement. The goal is to feel this in your butt and hamstrings. If you feel it in your lower back, then you’re not engaging your glutes. Focus on flexing your butt at the top to fix this.
Flex your glutes at the top of the movement to keep your body in proper alignment.
This is a good beginning movement to work on gaining the strength required for a full plank. Start on your hands and knees like you’re giving your little nephew a horseback ride. Raise both your knees off of the ground about an inch, and hold this position. You’re going to end up feeling this through all of your core.
This is the perfect progression for working up to a full plank.
Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Go through all five exercises in order, and once you finish resting, start back at the beginning and go through it again. You’ve finished the workout when you’ve gone through each exercise three times.
- 15 wall pushups
- 10 chair squats
- 30-second V -sit
- 15 hip bridges
- 30-second horse plank
- Rest 1-2 minutes
Altogether, this will probably take you between fifteen to twenty minutes. Start off by doing this routine three times per week. As time goes on, you are going to get stronger, and some of these exercises are going to become easier. When that happens, add 2-5 repetitions to those exercises.
"If Jimmy’s story sounds like your life, then you need to know to this: you are not a hopeless case."
Doing the exercises non-stop the whole way through will keep your heart rate elevated throughout the workout (you’ll see what I mean once you start) and help you burn fat. By going through the circuit multiple times, you’ll build up some muscle, which will also help you to further burn fat via an increased metabolism.
I know you can do this workout, and by following this program in combination with sensible eating, you will lose weight. So keep at it and never quit.
If you’re already a veteran when it comes to exercise, maybe there’s a friend or relative you can share this with to encourage them to get started.
Check out these related articles:
- Creating Balance In Fitness: Redefining Obesity for 2015
- A Call to Action: If Obesity Is Contageous, Maybe Fitness Is Too?
- Start Your Athletic Journey With Our Free Beginner Workouts
- What's New On Breaking Muscle Today
Photo 1 courtesy of Shutterstock.