Bodyweight strength training for beginners

The term strength training often conjures up images of the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger lifting the weight of a house.

But you don’t have to go to the gym and lift very heavy weight to do strength training.

Take me for example. I don’t want to be huge, just strong and healthy.

But many people don’t have the time for the gym. Many people are intimidated by the gym.

Therefore, I will look at how bodyweight strength exercise can be made simple and effective.

Strength training or Cardio?

A recent study showed that resistance training was as if not more important than aerobic exercise.

People who did strength-based exercise had a 23% reduction in risk of premature death and 31% reduction in cancer related death.

It also helps to build bone and improve joint health staving off osteoporosis and helping with a range of health conditions such as arthritis.

Moreover, strength training helps with many peoples goals. It helps burn fat, build muscle, improve nervous system function as well as balance and mobility.

However, cardio is so beneficial because it keeps your heart healthy. Therefore I recommend doing both cardio and strength training.

Beginner bodyweight strength workout

We need to build our foundations and start with becoming proficient with the most fundamental human movements.

Bodyweight strength

Four of the best beginner bodyweight strength exercises that will work the whole body are;

Squats – 3 x 10

  • Keep the feet shoulder width apart and push the hips back
  • Keeping a straight back, squat down as far as able engaging your core
  • Drive back up by pushing feet into the ground
  • If this is too difficult you can do a partial squat or lean up against a wall for added support

Reverse lunges – 3 x 10 (5 on each leg)

  • Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back
  • Engage your core and take a controlled back step and lower the knees to about a 90 degree angle
  • Keep the weight on your heels as you push back to that starting position

Press ups 3 x 10

  • Keep arms slightly wider than shoulder width apart and in line with your chest
  • Keeping your core engaged and with a straight back, gently lean body towards the floor
  • Push back out to original position and repeat, making sure not to lock elbows
  • If this is too difficult place your knees on the floor

Front plank 3 x 30 second holds

  • Get in the pushup position, only put your forearms on the ground instead of your hands with toes on the ground
  • Keep your hips up (but not too high) to ensure you have a straight back
  • Engage your core and glutes and hold the position, remembering to breathe
  • If this is too difficult place your knees on the floor

Don’t worry too much about counting out the recommended number of reps. Focus on good form and technique. This should only take around 10-15 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a week.

Strength training is medicine

Strength training is medicine. Science has shown it is as important as aerobic exercise.

While lifting weights is great, many people don’t have time for the gym or don’t want to go.

If you have no access to quality gym equipment, if you live close to a park, if you hate weight training, if you are intimidated by the gym, then it is still possible to incorporate strength training into your routine with bodyweight training.

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