We have been talking on here lately about the importance of strength training and what that can mean to a beginner. If you are someone who is just starting an exercise routine for the first time, you’re probably feeling a mix of emotions. I know I did when I actually got the nerve to walk into the weights section of the gym for the first time. I remember feeling excited, confused and intimidated all at the same time. The thing is, when it comes to working out, the best place to start is at the beginning with simple and effective exercises. Starting here will help you to build a sturdy base to help you learn proper form, technique and start to get you stronger to use as a great foundation to build from.
Trust me when I say, that I know you have probably pined and saved a ton of workouts that you have seen pop up over social media and you can’t wait to give one of them a try, however, I strongly recommend that you pump the breaks and transfer that enthusiasm to mastering the basics first. These basics allow you to practice the foundational movements upon which those workouts you saved plus millions more were created. The best thing about basic movement movements is that they are what is called functional movements, meaning they’re movements you do in everyday life, not just get a sweat on from.
This is one of my ultimate favorite exercises and one that still leaves any elite athlete’s thighs burning during the exercise. An air squat is actually just a squat but you are using your bodyweight only. It is a classic exercise that shows up in tons of workouts with a ton of modifications and advanced variations to it as well. Learning a squat will help you master the hip-hinge movement that is seen in a lot of movements. It is also ideal to master the concept of your knees not going in front of your toes. You will hear this a lot with lower body exercises and it is critical to know and understand the importance of being able to look down and see your toes with a bent knee. Plus, an air squat packs a lot in its punch, it works more than one muscle group at once classifying itself as a compound movement. In an air squat, you work the glutes, quads, and core all at the same time.
Push-ups are the best way to work on the pressing or pushing movement. Even though they are considered a basic exercise they are one of the toughest exercises out there. Push-ups are designed to targets your chest and arms with just your bodyweight. For real though, I really mean it when I say these are hard. Don’t be afraid or feel you are weak by needing to modify your push-up. Even strong and conditioned athletes perform push-ups from their knees. Some other modifications are doing them at an incline or where your arms are on an elevated surface compared to your feet. If you are trying to do a regular push-up when you should be you can really start doing things that can cause injury like arching your back or allow your hips to sag to name a couple no-nos.
Two of the most basic lunges are lunges and reverse lunges. By making yourself practice lungies you are training and challenging your body’s ability to do single appendage type movements. Since you are moving from being on leg to then transitioning to the other leg pretty quickly you are training your body’s balance and stability which aren’t targeted as much like in a squat. In the basic air squat above you are staying supported on two feet all of the time. A type of lunge you may want to try first, as I find that it is easiest of the bunch is a reverse lunge. In all lunges though you are working your glutes, quads, and core.