When first starting their fitness journey’s, most people are full of enthusiasm and energy. However, all too often the exercises people choose aren’t right for their current level of conditioning. This may lead to an injury or at the very least an annoying niggle arising. But what it will lead to is a lack of consistent training and consequently a lack of results. And when your results aren’t what you expected, it’s easier to give it all up together. So check out 5 of my favourite exercises below, perfect for fitness newbies!
Here’s why they made my top 5
This exercise will fire up and engage your butt muscles, which are often asleep because we’ve been sitting on them all day. If these major muscles aren’t fired up before a walk, run or set of lunges then most likely your thigh muscles aka ‘Quads’ will OVER work, which may eventually lead to knee pain and the demise of even the best-laid exercise plans.
An alternating plank not only works the usual plank muscles (Your Transverse Abdominis), but when you alternate from side-side you also work the stability muscles in your shoulders as well your side tummy muscles, aka the ‘Obliques’. Functionally speaking, having a strong core helps protect and stabilise your trunk so that there is less pressure on your spine when both working out and doing everyday activities.
I prefer the lunge over the more traditional squat because the lunge works all the same muscles as a squat, whilst also challenging your flexibility and stability. Just getting into a lunge requires hundreds of muscles to co-ordinate and switch on, otherwise, you’d simply fall over. You can also make this exercise harder by either:
- Raising your hands behind your head,
- pulsing down the bottom,
- or adding in a jump to make it a plyometric lunge.
If you’re after super-fast results, it’s important you practise exercises that work lots of muscle groups all at once. Push-ups work your shoulders, core, triceps, chest and even the back of your neck muscles that keep your head aligned with the rest of your spine. This is why the Push Up is a soldiers staple exercise – they’re functional and they’re hard. But, if you haven’t been to ‘Navy Seal Bootcamp’, I suggest starting with a Wall Push Up. Once you master 10 of these, try a Push Up with your hands on an elevated bench and your knees on the ground. Just like you wouldn’t start speaking fluent Italian during your first lesson, you can’t expect to master full push ups on your toes during your first month of training. The human body takes time to get stronger, so start at level 1 and progress to the next level once you feel confident.
“Walking…I walk everyday” I hear you say. While this is true, do you walk as much as you can? Or do you choose to drive 2 minutes up the road instead of walking for 15 minutes? Now I’m not saying you should walk for hours and hours – what I am saying is that I bet you could easily DOUBLE your current daily steps, without any risk of over-training or injury. You can’t really say this for any other exercise. The reason walking will get you faster results (link) is because you can do it virtually all day, every day without any special equipment, other people or weather conditions. And while walking won’t burn as many calories as hill sprints in the same time-frame, it’s the fact that MORE walking can be instantly intertwined into your everyday life which equals fast and, more importantly, lasting results.
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