If the thought of strength training makes you squeamish but you’re ready to build some muscle, we have a plan for you. This beginner circuit workout will teach you basic exercises while toning you all over. Grab a set of dumbbells (we recommend 2 to 5 kilos) and get at it. If you don’t have weights, you can use soup cans or full water bottles — seriously.
Directions: warm up with light cardio for five minutes (see our suggestions on the next slide), then repeat each three-exercise circuit two to three times, resting for 60 seconds between circuits as needed.
Warmup: 5 Minutes
Take five full minutes to prep your body to work out. Get your blood flowing, pump your heart rate up a bit, and prep your muscles by mixing and matching these suggested moves. Do what feels good to your body — just keep moving. A solid warmup can prevent injury and decrease that annoying soreness that comes a day or two after working out.
Marching, running, skipping in place or around your house
Jumping jacks or cross jacks
Arm circles, big and small
Walking or running stairs
A little free-style dancing — crank the music and groove
Circuit One: Squat
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders, feet parallel or toes pointed out slightly. Hold your hands out in front of you for balance, as shown. Shift your pelvis back, bend your knees, and lower your hips as if you were sitting into a chair. You’re aiming to bring your thighs parallel to the floor, but don’t let your knees go beyond your toes. Your weight should be in your heels.
Press your heels into the floor to straighten your legs and return to standing. Squeeze your glutes when you’re standing to complete the exercise.
This counts as one rep.
This move works the thighs, butt, and core. Many exercises build on the basic squat, so it pays to master your form before adding weights and variations to your workouts.
Circuit One: Bent-Over Row
Holding a dumbbell in each hand and standing with your feet hip-distance apart, bend at the waist. Keep your back parallel to the floor with a neutral spine — not rounded.
Extend your arms out in front of you, keeping a slight bend in your knees.
Engage your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows back bringing the weights to your torso. Keep your arms close to your torso.
Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep.
This exercise works the upper back, specifically the muscles between your shoulder blades, which tend to be weak from slouching at computers or hunched reading a smartphone. Read More