Going to the gym for beginners can be a little daunting at first. Once you have the basic knowledge of the gym and have had a tour of the facilities, you are thrown into the deep end. While you are starting out it is important to know that you don’t have to rush to the machines to get the best workout. Sometimes it is best to get familiar first with the basic exercises to start in the gym before moving on to more complex workouts.

Basic exercises

Deciding to follow a healthier and active lifestyle is always a good idea, but you should be clear that getting your muscles and joints in shape will take some time. In your first sessions, the idea is to combine cardio with strength training, putting into practice some of the fundamental basic gym workout exercises.

To start in the gym and work towards getting in shape, a simple full body workout will get the ball rolling. This will benefit your adaption period to the gym significantly, as your muscles will acclimatize to the muscle soreness from working out quicker

The best basic exercises you can do

In addition to the essential cardio, which will help you increase your lung capacity and your heart rate, there are a series of basic exercises that will help you make the best start. It is important to note that as you continue to do these workouts, your body will take less time to recover which leads to quicker results. You can also use this time to look into a great workout program, so that when you are ready to go you will know what to do.

Dedicate the first sessions to learning how to execute the exercises correctly and increase the number of repetitions as you begin to master it. This way you can avoid the excessive aches, muscle pains or injuries that can come from going too hard too quickly. The basic workout for beginners will generally include the following exercises:

1. SquatsSquats - Basic exercises

It is one of the most complete exercises you can do at the gym, especially effective for working the lower body. Glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings are fully used in all the different forms of the squats. Squats also work the back and core muscles gain that help achieve greater strength and stability.

To do it, stand with your legs apart, at shoulder height, your abdomen contracted and your chest forward. Maintaining the correct posture, bend your knees and lower your buttocks as if you were going to sit down. When descending, check that your knees do not obstruct the vision of the balls of your feet. If this happens, it means you need to lean further back.

2. Pull-upsPull-ups - Basic exercises

The pull up workout is a classic gym exercise that will help you strengthen your arms and upper back muscles. The pull-up consists of “hanging” from a bar and raising the body overcoming the resistance of the body weight. It is also a global exercise, because you will have to tense your core and legs to avoid swaying when going up and going down again.

It is a good idea to learn the technique for doing pull-ups before including them in your gym starter routine. Depending on your physical condition, this exercise could be difficult to do. In fact, the usual thing is that this is the case. If that’s the case, there are ways to do small progressions of the movement in the gym to get towards doing it unassisted. You could use a machine to do it easier, but a recommendation would be to use resistance bands to do an assisted pull-up as you start to learn the motion. Just don’t rely on this long term as you want to build the strength to do it yourself for maximum results.

3. Push-upsPush-ups - Basic exercises

2- 3 sets of between 5 and 8 repetitions of this fundamental exercise will help you to increase power and resistance in the legs, arms and trunk. The push-up is a key strength building movement to a lot of basic exercises as well as other more complex exercises. To do the push-ups, you must lie on your stomach and raise your torso leaning on your forearms or the palms of your hands and toes.

If you’re starting to do push-ups, try to keep your back straight at all times. If they are too difficult for you, you can start doing the push-ups with your knees supported. The unique thing about push-ups is that there are so many variations of the exercise to keep it fresh. There is a variety of push-up progressions as you get better, and even equipment like dumbbells and resistance bands can be used to increase its effectiveness.

4. Sit-upsSit-ups - Basic exercises

Sit-ups will tone the core muscles, which leads to increased fat burning, as well as improved strength and power. They are the perfect complement to aerobic exercises that should also be part of your first workouts in the gym.

Like push-ups, there a variety of progressions to sit-ups that can be done to increase and maintain progression as you become more efficient with them. Some of these are crunches, the basic plank and dead-bugs. You have many types of exercises that can be used for your 6 pack workout, and they are all great at working out your core as you start. You can even use equipment like ab rollers and pull-up stations as you look to add more of a challenge.

In any case, focus on making the effort from your abdomen, and never pull with your neck. Don’t hold on to your head either, and you will avoid pulling it in the workout. Like all the other exercises mentioned, make sure you spend your first sessions working on the proper technique. If you rush through it doing the wrong thing, not only are you limiting your benefits from it, but you are also increasing the injury risk.

5. Bench press

The bench press is one of the first exercises you should do in the gym if you want to focus on a strength training that develops your muscles. With it you will work pectorals, shoulders and arms, especially the triceps. You can do it on a machine or on the traditional training bench, but always start with a low – moderate weight to avoid overload and injuries.

If it is your first time doing this exercise, it is recommended that you start with dumbbells before progression to a barbell. This way you can learn the basics of the movement with a lower weight to avoid injuries. As you get better you can progress to the barbell, but try to have someone around to help “spot” you as you do the exercise. This will help you stay safe if you fatigue while holding the bar, as they can help you to rack it to stop it from dropping on yourself.

As a last tip, especially to beginners, warming up before any intense exercise and stretching after the session is vital to help you perform the best you can to achieve the best results. Also, don’t forget that you can count on the supervision of a personal trainer or a room monitor in the gym. It may be helpful to run through these exercises with a personal trainer or someone experienced in the gym. This way you can learn the ropes and hit the ground running in the gym!


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