Total Body Strength for Beginners
The total body workout below is specifically for beginners who have never lifted weights or who haven't lifted weights in a long time. Take your time with the exercises and modify them to fit your needs.
See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.
Light dumbbells, an exercise ball or chair and a mat.
- Begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up of light cardio (walking in place, etc.)
- Perform 1 set of
12 reps of each exercise. For the weighted exercise, choose a weight
that allows you to complete 12 reps. The last rep should be difficult, but
- For more challenge, try Total
Body Strength 2 or Total
Body Strength 3, which contain more difficult exercises.
- Do this workout 1 to 3 non-consecutive days a week,
taking at least one day of rest between workouts. For best weight
loss results, combine this workout with regular
cardio and a healthy, low-calorie diet. Click on pictures and links for more detailed instructions.
with feet wider than shoulders and place hands on an exercise ball. Roll
the ball out as you bend your knees, lowering the hips into a squat.
Keep the abs in, the back straight and make sure you keep the knees
behind the toes as you squat. Stand back up as you roll the ball in,
squeezing the glutes (avoid locking the knees). Repeat squats for
1 set of 12 reps.
Stand in split stance, feet about 3 feet
apart using a chair or wall for
balance. Keeping torso straight, bend knees and lower body
towards the floor without allowing front knee to bend over the toe (you should
see the tip of your shoe). Push through the heel to come back
up without locking the knees. Repeat for 1 set of 12 reps and then
repeat the series with the other leg forward. If this bothers your
alternatives to lunges.
Wall or Rail Push Up
Stand a few feet away from a wall or a high stair railing (as
shown) and place hands on wall or rail so that they're just wider than
the shoulders. Pull the abs in and,
keeping back straight, bend elbows and lower body towards the wall/rail until
elbows are at 90 degree angles. Push back to start and repeat for 1 set
of 12 reps.
Place left foot on a step or raised platform. Hold a medium weight in
the right hand and prop the left hand on the left thigh for support as
you bend over (back flat and abs in),
the weight down towards the floor. Squeeze the back to pull the elbow
up in a rowing motion until it is level with the torso. You should feel your
lats (the muscles on either side of your back) contracting. Lower
the weight and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.
Stand with feet hip-width apart holding light dumbbells in front of
thighs with the palms facing each other. Keep a slight bend in the
elbows to protect the joints and lift the arms out to the sides, just to
shoulder level. Lower the weights a repeat for 1 set of 12 reps.
Stand with feet about hip-width apart, holding medium dumbbells with the
palms facing in. Squeeze the biceps to curl the weights towards the
shoulders, keeping the elbows stationary. Slowly lower the
weights, keeping a slight bend in the elbows at the bottom. Repeat
for 1 set of 12 reps.
Sit on a ball or chair and hold a light-medium dumbbell in both
hands (hold on the top of the weight) with arms extended overhead, elbows next
to ears, arms straight. Bend elbows and slowly lower weight behind
you until elbows are at 90 degrees--keep the elbows in and right next to
ears. Contract the back of the arms to extend the arms. Repeat
for 1 set of 12 reps.
Begin on hands and knees with the back straight and the abs pulled in.
Lift the right arm up until it is level with the body and, at the same
time, lift the left leg up and straighten it until it is parallel to the
floor. Hold for several seconds, lower and repeat on the other side,
this time lifting the left arm and right leg. Continue alternating sides
for 12 reps (1 rep includes both the right and left sides).
Seated Rotation for Abs
Sit with good posture holding a medium dumbbell in front of
chest. Keeping the abs contracted, rotate the torso to the right while keeping the hips and legs facing forward. Contract
abs to bring the weight back to center and then rotate to the left. Repeat for 12 reps.