Are you looking for a beginner bodyweight workout? But you feel frustrated, right? There are so many options out there, so picking a good one can feel impossible.
If that’s the case – don’t worry because you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll go over a fantastic beginner workout. More importantly, we’ll share the training principles that make for a productive workout, which means you can build yours from scratch.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Sets and Repetitions: What You Need to Know
Repetitions are the number of completed movements that you make on a specific activity.
For instance, if you grab a dumbbell in one hand, curl it, and lower it, that is one repetition of a bicep curl.
Sets are collections of one or more repetitions. For instance, you take that same dumbbell, curl it, lower it, and repeat the movement nine more times.
That is one set. So you’ve done 1 set of 10 repetitions.
Now, let’s say that I’ve asked you to do five bodyweight squats, one after the other. This is an example of one set of five reps.
To take things a bit further, let’s say I ask you to do five squats, rest half a minute, and do another three squats. Now you have two sets:
1 set of 5 reps
1 set of 3 reps
This is all there is to it.
Now you understand the basic structure of traditional resistance workouts. (1)
Simple Beginner Bodyweight Workout
Here is a simple beginner bodyweight workout that you can do in less than 10 minutes. And despite the fact that it is simple and quick, you’ll still get a very good burn in all the primary muscle groups:
- Abdominals (Abs)
|Cardio / Full Body
|Back / Biceps
|Chest / Triceps / Shoulders
|Abs / Core
Take Your Time to Build a Foundation
When starting a beginner bodyweight workout, it’s essential to start slowly and build your endurance and strength over a couple of months. You should progress to a slightly more challenging workout each week. That way, improvements compound, and you make significant progress over the weeks.
But always start slowly and prioritize good technique. When in doubt, err on the side of caution to avoid injuries.
Example of Progressing Slowly
Week 1: One set per body part and don’t train to muscle failure. Work on good form and getting used to the motion.
Week 2: Repeat week one.
Week 3: One set per body part, but push yourself near failure.
Week 4: Repeat week three.
Week 5: Two sets per body part and make sure to fatigue your muscles enough.
Train your largest muscle groups first before moving down the list to the smaller ones. For instance:
What is Muscle Fatigue?
Muscle fatigue is a weakened state where you’ve caused significant enough muscle damage, metabolic stress, and mechanical tension. These factors play an essential role in muscle hypertrophy because they generate strong signals. (2)
With enough time to recover and good nutrition, the body deploys resources, strengthening our muscles and making them bigger.
Moderate amounts of muscle fatigue are beneficial – they stimulate the body to grow. But you should be careful not to do too much because excessive fatigue is difficult to recover from and can have the opposite effect:
Overtraining, muscle loss, and athletic decline.
Benefits of a Beginner Bodyweight Workout
Beginner bodyweight workouts offer numerous benefits. First, they are convenient because you can do them almost anywhere at any time you choose. For example, you can choose to train at home after work, in your hotel room while on vacation, or in the nearby park after your morning run.
Second, bodyweight training is excellent for building a foundation of strength, which you can use in a gym or for sports and everyday activities.
Third, such workouts are fantastic for developing your muscles, burning tons of calories, and getting lean. If you aspire for a lean and athletic look, bodyweight training is a great option.
And fourth, they are simple and effective. You can train your entire body in as little as half an hour and go about your day.
Final Considerations For Bodyweight Training
First, the workout frequency. Many people wonder how often they should train. Ideally, you should train each muscle group once to twice per week. Also, take two days to rest between workouts. This would mean around three or four weekly workouts in most cases. (3)
Second, we have warming up. Many beginners save time on warming up, and this is a mistake. Taking the time to prepare your body for training is essential for improving your performance and keeping you safe from injuries. For instance, you can do some light cardio for a couple of minutes, transition to dynamic stretching, and then start training.
A good cool down is also essential. For example, you can do a ten-minute slow walk once you’re finished with the workout.
Third, we have hydration. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. This will keep your body functioning at peak efficiency and allow you to get the most out of each workout. Plus, good hydration prevents muscle cramps from developing. (4)
And finally, if you’re new to exercise and bodyweight training, check with your physician before starting a new workout plan.
Click to return to more bodyweight exercise.
- Smparker. (2017). BMEG442: Engineering Exercise and Sports. BMEG442 Engineering Exercise and Sports. https://sites.udel.edu/coe-engex/tag/traditional-strength-training/.
- Chertoff, J. (2019). Muscular Hypertrophy: The Science and Steps for Building Muscle. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/muscular-hypertrophy.
- Waehner, P. (2020). Considering How Often You Should Workout When Starting An Exercise. Verywell Fit. https://www.verywellfit.com/exercise-frequency-recommendation-1231215.
- Lau, W. Y., Kato, H., & Nosaka, K. (2019). Water intake after dehydration makes muscles more susceptible to cramp but electrolytes reverse that effect. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6407543/.