Does this sound familiar? You decide to start exercising, only to find “beginner” workouts too intense, too hard on your joints, or too difficult to follow. Good news! Even if you are new to exercise or returning to exercise after recovering from an injury, the following 9 exercises could be just what your body needs to get started.
This beginner bodyweight workout is designed to target your core and improve both your balance and mobility. The following exercises will leave you feeling stronger and more confident as you move through your day to day activities. Don’t be surprised if over time you find yourself feeling more energetic, more limber, and walking with a newfound swagger!
Why are core, mobility, and balance training important?
The core includes all the muscles that make up the trunk of the body. These muscles work together to stabilize and move the entire body.
This group of muscles allow you to get up from the ground after playing with your kids, tend to your garden, swing a golf club, or put on your shoes. According to Harvard Health Publishing, these “everyday acts…rely on your core…and the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it.”
Basically the stronger your core, the happier both your upper and lower body will feel!
It’s a common misconception that core exercises only target the abs. This simply isn’t true. Exercises such as squats, push ups, glute bridges, and plank hold are all considered core exercises.
While core training is about strengthening, mobility training is about moving or, more specifically, being able to move joints through their full range of motion. Greater mobility leads to more efficient movement and a lowered risk of injury.
Balance training may not seem as exciting as strengthening your core or becoming more mobile, but it’ll actually help lower your risk of falling and improve both your posture and coordination.
Ready to get started? If you’re not a beginner to exercise, no problem. Meet your new favorite warm up! It’s all about being dynamic. Moving. Creating energy. You can save those static stretches for after the workout.
Ankle rolls and flex point. From a seated or standing position, rotate ankles one at a time both to the right and then the left.
Then alternate between pointing the toes and flexing the foot.
Start with 5 to 10 on each foot.
Seated cat cows. Stretch arms out in front and round back. Pause for a moment, clasp your hands behind your lower back.
Gently arch the back. Use a strap or towel here if you are unable to clasp your hands together. Repeat as needed.
I,Y,T shoulder raise. From a standing position, hinge forward from the hips, soften the knees, and pop your chest out.
With thumbs toward the ceiling, extend your arms up by squeezing your shoulder blades together, forming the letter “I”. Return arms down.
Next, form the letter “Y”, with your thumbs still up toward the ceiling, raise your arms up. Return arms down.
Next, form a “T” with your thumbs pointing up towards the ceiling. Again, lift your arms by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Repeat 15 times, 5 of each.
Standing side leg lift. Using a chair for support, stand on your right foot with your left foot slightly raised to the side.
Keep hips facing forward and engage your glutes as you lift your left leg to the side. Pause, lower back down, and repeat.
Perform 15, then switch legs.
Glute bridges. From your back, bend your knees, keeping them hip width apart, feet flat on the floor, arms by your sides.
Squeeze your glutes as you drive your hips up. Pause at the top then slowly lower down.
Repeat 15 times.
Dead bug. From your back, extend your arms straight up from the shoulders.
Lift feet off the floor, keeping knees bent at 90 degrees and straight over the hips.
Engage your core, extend your right arm back towards the ground as you extend your left leg straight out.
Pause here, then return to your starting position.
Now extend the left arm back while extending the right leg straight. Continue to alternate opposite arms and legs. Repeat twelve times.
Balance hold. From a standing position, find a point to focus on.
Stand on one leg as you lift the other leg (experiment with lifting to front, side, and back) and hold for a minimum of 5 to 10 seconds to start.
Repeat 3 to 5 times on each leg.
Modified push ups. Using a wall or an elevated surface like a kitchen counter, extend arms in front, slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
Bend elbows, lower chest down (making sure to keep that body in a strong plank position with elbows about 45 degrees).
Pause and push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
Bodyweight squats. Criss cross arms in front with hands on opposite shoulders, elbows up.
Feet hip width apart. Lower into a squat, as though sitting in a chair.
Pause and return to standing. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
As with any workout, move at your own pace. It’s all about you and your body! If 10 to 15 reps feel like too much to start with, scale back to 5 to 10 reps. Once you feel you’ve mastered these exercises, experiment with increasing the reps, holding 5 to 10 seconds longer, or adding light weights.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.