This full program can also be found at The Human Fit Project.
If you haven’t worked out in a while or never picked up a dumbbell before in your life, this is a great place to begin. It’s a slow start, but you’ll progress quickly. You can add more sets to strength exercises or more duration to your cardio workouts whenever you feel comfortable.
How the Very Beginner workout plan works
The primary focus of the Very Beginner workout plan is to slowly build your body up to be able to take on more challenging programs in the future. To do that, you’ll want to do the following:
- Improve or increase joint range of motion.
- Improve the stability of those joints.
- Strengthen your core muscles.
- Develop a baseline level of cardio.
Following a basic structure will set you up for success. Then, once you feel ready for more, you can progress within this plan or move on to one of our other free plans.
Complete three (3) bodyweight strength workouts per week and two (2) cardio workouts per week, including a minimum of three (3) mobility/range of motion routines per week. This might seem like a lot, but they can be done in one session. (Example: You could warm up with a mobility routine, do a bodyweight strength workout next, and finish with a cardio burst.)
Alternatively, the mobility/range of motion routines are gentle stretches that you can easily use before you go to sleep.
After you finish your four weeks, you can cycle through the plan again, but try and add extra sets per exercise and 10-15 minutes more onto your cardio sessions.
The Very Beginner workouts
Bodyweight strength: Perform three days per week with a day of rest in between.
Warm-up: shoulder circles (10-20 seconds in each direction), lateral hip swings (5-10 / side), jumping jacks (30 seconds)
- Plank x as long as possible
- Superman x 10
- Bodyweight squat x 10
- Bodyweight forward or reverse lunge x 10 / side
- Push-up x as many as possible
Perform three sets of each exercise with 30-60s rest in between before moving on to the next exercise. Then, in week 3 or 4, increase to 4 or 5 sets with 30s rest.
Baseline cardio: Perform this workout two days per week with a day of rest in between. You can also do this after your bodyweight strength workout twice a week (avoid doing it beforehand and doing strength in a fatigued state)
For 30 minutes, hop on a bike or the treadmill and move at a comfortable pace (think 5-6 out of 10 in terms of intensity). Then, bump up your duration in week 3 or 4 to 40 minutes.
Mobility/range of motion: Perform this workout as many times per week as you’d like in addition to your other workouts. Pro tip: It’s a great ritual to start or end your day as there’s no equipment required, and you can do it right in your bedroom.
Walk-out to push-up x 5
Cossack squat/lateral lunge x 5 side
Scorpion x 2-3 side
Single-leg deadlift & stretch x 6-8 side
Spidermans x 8 side
Inchworms x 8 side
Pinwheel shinbox x 8 side
Thread the needle x 8 side
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