Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Beginner's Strength Workout

Hey there friends!

Today I'm bringing you a beginner's strength workout. A workout for those of you who may not be doing any type of weight or weight-free strength workouts currently but are getting in some cardio (walking, cardio DVDs, etc). The best part is, you can do at home with no special equipment at all-plus, it's only 10 minutes!

I'm bringing you this with the hopes that at least a few people who aren't doing strength training will start! I whole-heartedly believe that this is the best type of workout for ANY BODY! I feel strong, energized, excited and bad-ass after I work my muscles! I hope you get the same sense of "I'm a rock star!" as I do:)

I would do this at least twice a week, but optimally three times a week. Start with this short workout (10 minutes) before you do your usual cardio. Why? You need to do any type of strength exercises before cardio for the shear fact that cardio wears you out and you can't give your muscles your all after they are tired.

Here are the exercises and how to do them:
Arm Circles
-Stand shoulder width apart, abs in and tight
-Outstretch your arms with a slight bend in the elbow, fingers pointing up. Start circling (medium sized) 10 reps forward, 10 reps back

Push Ups
(Shoulders, biceps, abs)
-Hands directly below shoulders, knees on the mat, butt and abs tucked in
(from the head to the knees should be a straight line)
Bend elbows and flair them out while your body goes down. Make sure to keep that butt down!

Squat and Toe Lift
(Butt, thighs, hamstrings and calves)
-Start with feet shoulder width apart.
-Drop your booty back like you are sitting in a chair (pictured above)
-Thighs should almost be parallel with the floor. Knees should not be over toes, but directly above the ankle. -Keep your core tight!
Stand up and lift your feet off the floor onto your toes.

Tricep Dip
(Triceps, butt, abs, thighs)
Start in a crab-like position: butt up, fingers facing the wall in front of you, core tight, up on your heels.
Drop your booty slightly forward (don't touch the ground), elbows bend straight back (no chicken wings!) and then power up to the starting position.

(Full body exercise)
Lie down on your stomach, feet shoulder width apart. Come up with your elbows directly below your shoulders (shown above). Your whole body should be a straight line
(don't bring your butt up or have it sink down)
If this is too hard for you, start with a beginner's plank. Do instructions above, but drop one knee, still keeping the body in a straight line.

Beginner's Strength Workout
Remember to consult a physician before doing this or any other workout. I am not a certified personal trainer.
Equipment needed: yoga mat, stop watch or watch

Arm Circles: 10 circles forward, 10 circles back
Take a 10 second break and do this again
Push Ups: I find that everyone is on a different playing field with these, so the easiest way to push yourself is to look at a watch or get a stop watch and time yourself for 30 seconds. Do as many as you can for 30 seconds-take as many breaks as you'd like, but keep going until that time is up!
Squat and Toe Lift: Do 10 good squat and lifts (thighs almost parallel to the ground). Take a 10 second rest and do 10 more.
Tricep Dip: Do 10 reps
Plank: Again, watch a clock or get a stop watch and hold a plank for 15 seconds, small 10 second break, and hold for another 15 seconds.

Repeat this series three times for a quick ten minute strength workout! For more of an intermediate workout, add 1 to 3 pound weights (or hold two soup cans!) for the arm circles and add 10 seconds or 5 reps for all of the other workous.

-Write down all of your reps. If after a couple of weeks this starts to feel too easy, push yourself to go past your best. You won't know what your best is unless you write it down!
-Start and end with a good stretch. Focus on the body parts that we are working here. Even a quick walk around the block would be a great warm up!
-Add some music or watch your favorite TV show. This will make the time fly by and will make it more enjoyable!

I hope this is a doable task for those of you not doing any type of strength training right now. I really believe that you'll be able to tell a difference in at least your attitude and if not your body just after a few weeks! I truly believe it is one of the most beneficial types of workouts you can do for your body! And ten minutes is all you need:)

For those of you that do strength training on a regular basis: What tips or exercises would you suggest for a beginner? Would you add anything to this beginner's workout?

Please let me know if you like this! If so, I will start doing this more often. I'll even do some for you expert exercisers out there! Leave a comment below!

Desserted Tip of the Day: Is your cardio workout routine getting a little too easy? Try adding some resistance to your workouts by holding small weights (1 or 2 pounds), ankle/wrist weights or just holding soup cans or water bottles. I think you'll really be able to tell a difference! Challenge yourself to be the best you can be!


  1. This is really a great beginner workout!

  2. Very good tips and a quick good full body workout!