To get the best workout at the gym, don’t feel like you have to rush to use the machines. Sometimes it is best to get familiar with basic exercises first.
In your first gym sessions, try combining cardio with strength training. It will be good for you to practice some of the fundamental basic gym workout exercises to get started.
Plus, it gives your body a chance to adapt and go through the muscle soreness from working out in new ways.
The Best Basic Exercises You Can Do
We can start by saying that one of the most basic exercises you do is walking.
So, it makes sense that cardio exercise is an easy place to start. Indeed, it will help you to improve your lung capacity and heart rate.
You can walk around the block, up and down stairs or take your dog to the park. Of course, every little bit helps as you increase your activity level.
But there is a series of basic exercises that go further. The goal is to get your body moving and your muscles working. Plus, as you continue to exercise, your body will take less time to recover.
You can dedicate the first sessions to learning how to do the exercises the right way. Then, as you master them, begin to increase the number of repetitions.
The basic workout for beginners can include the following exercises:
1. Activate The Big Muscles
Squats are one of the most complete exercises you can do. You’ll discover they are very effective for the lower body.
You use glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings in all the different forms of squats. Additionally, these exercises work the back and core muscles to help with strength and stability.
To do a squat in the correct way:
- stand with your legs apart, at shoulder height
- contract your abdomen and push 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
- go as low as you can
- raise slowly to the starting posture
2. Develop With a Goal Beyond Basic Exercises
The pull-up workout is a classic gym exercise that will help you strengthen your arms and upper back muscles. Although it is a difficult exercise, you can start to build yourself up to prepare for it.
The pull-up consists of ‘hanging’ from a bar and raising the body to the bar so you have to overcome the resistance of your body weight.
Also, you’ll 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 starter routine.
Depending on your physical condition, this exercise could be difficult to do. If that’s the case, there are ways to do small progressions of the movement to get towards doing it unassisted.
Resistance bands are great to start learning to develop the pull-up motion. But, don’t rely on this long-term as you want to build the strength to do it yourself for maximum results.
3. Use Your Body Weight
2- 3 sets of between 5 and 8 repetitions of the basic push-up is a great goal. Push-ups will help you to increase power and resistance in the legs, arms and trunk. You’ll find it is a great strength-building exercise.
To do push-ups:
- get onto your hands and knees with your hands just wider than your shoulders
- straighten your legs and arms with elbows slightly bent (also called a plank)
- an alternative for the beginner is to stay on your knees
- slowly bend your elbows as you lower yourself til your chest almost touches the floor
- hold briefly, then raise yourself up to straight arms again
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 develop.
4. Engage the Core
Sit-ups are a popular exercise because they help tone the core muscles. This exercise, when done the right way, can lead to increased fat burning and strength. Hence, they are the perfect complement to aerobic exercises.
Like push-ups, there are a variety of progressions to sit-ups. For instance, some of these are crunches, the basic plank and dead bugs.
You can even use equipment like ab rollers and pull-up stations as you look to add more of a challenge.
To prevent injury make sure you focus on making the effort from your abdomen, and never pull with your neck.
Don’t hold on to your head either, you need to avoid pulling it in the workout.
Make sure you spend your first sessions working on the proper technique. If you rush through it by doing the wrong thing, not only are you limiting the benefits from it, but you are also increasing the injury risk.
5. Unlock Your Strength
The bench press is one of the first exercises you should do in the gym if you want to focus on strength training. With it, you will work the pectorals, shoulders and arms, especially the triceps.
You can do it on a machine or 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, start with dumbbells before progressing 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 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 not drop it on yourself.
Start Basic Exercises The Right Way
As a last tip, especially for beginners, warming up before any intense exercise and stretching after the session is vital to help. Preparing your body will help you 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. And don’t forget, you can check out our other exercises and workouts to see what is right for you.