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4 Best Beginner Exercises To Do At Home

4 Best Beginner Exercises To Do At Home

You can start getting fit today! Here are four easy beginner exercises you can do at home and continue to do as your fitness level advances. While this is directed toward beginners, these exercises are good for anyone — especially busy people. When you can’t make it to the gym or you are traveling, all you need is a little space to expend maximum effort. You don’t need to let a lack of time be an excuse for neglecting your fitness.

Taking that first step toward a strong body needn’t be hard. Here are some simple beginner exercises that can begin to strengthen and build your body.

Take this challenge. Do each of these exercises three to four days a week for a month. You will be amazed at how much stronger your entire body feels, and you will be ready to take on new fitness challenges. I won a few fitness awards as a US Marine, and I always found that consistency and simplicity won the day. Overdoing it, complicated routines, etc. always seemed to get in my way. But when I was consistent and simple, I stuck with it and continually improved. You can experience the same results.

Whether you have 10 minutes or an hour, use the time you have three to four days a week and you will see results. These results will motivate you to increase your effort and expand your knowledge, breadth, and level of fitness.

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Pushups

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    Health Benefits: Chest, biceps, and core strength. Beginner to advanced.

    Simple Steps: Start with your hands facing forward on the ground, shoulder-width apart, and chest a few inches above the ground. Keep your body straight, resting on your toes and hands. Push up to a full arm extension then release back down to a few inches above the ground. Repeat. Keep your head looking down or slightly forward. Do at least 3 sets. If necessary, you can rest your weight on your knees instead of your toes to make it easier. Start with 5 to 10 repetitions for each set and build up from there.

    Planks

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    Sports woman doing plank exercise in fitness gym

      Health Benefits: Core strength. Beginner to advanced.

      Simple steps: Place your elbows under your shoulders with your hands directly out. Keep your head looking down or slightly forward and your body straight. Hold for as long as you can, until you can’t keep your body straight, then stop. Do this 3 times. You might start with only 15 to 30 seconds. Work your way up to 2 minutes or longer.

      Burpees

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        Health Benefits: Total body exercise, strength, and cardiovascular. Beginner to advanced.

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        Simple steps: Start from a standing position with arms at your sides. Bend your knees and lower to the ground until your hands are touching. Kick your legs back and move into a pushup position, then kick your legs forward and jump up. Repeat. Start slowly and do for a minute. Increase your speed and the amount of time as you advance. Shoot for 5 to 10 minutes of burpees.

        Jumping Rope

        fitness, sport, people, exercising and lifestyle concept - man and woman skipping with jump rope outdoors

          Health benefits: Cardiovascular, core strength, arm strength, leg strength, overall body fitness.

          Simple steps: Buy a jump rope, go to back to your childhood skills and jump! Keep your head looking forward and your hands about waste height. Start with small goals, say a minute without stopping, then build up to 10 minutes or more.

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          Fitness starts today!

          Exercise is addictive once you make it a habit. Building the habit is more important than what you do or how long you do it. Most habits take three months to establish, so if you are beginner, start your habit by committing yourself to three to four days a week. The amount of time doesn’t matter — do whatever you can fit in, even if it is only five minutes of the above exercises. Once you build this routine into a habit and you begin to feel the results, increasing the amount and type of exercises you do will be easy. And if even these simple exercises seem overwhelming, remember the simplest thing that is guaranteed to get your fitness moving forward: go outside for a walk!

          For more simple exercises that you can even do at your office, check out this link!

          Featured photo credit: vadymvdrobot via stock.adobe.com

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          Published on March 8, 2019

          How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

          How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

          When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

          Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

          Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

          How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

          How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

          Think about your current workouts:

          If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

          In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

          A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

            A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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            Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

            Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

            Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

            Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

            This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

            Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

            Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

            The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

            Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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            Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

            Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

            The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

            The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

            Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

            Meet Strong Stan

            Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

            While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

            While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

            Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

            Meet Flexible Fiona

            Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

            Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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            To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

            Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

            It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

            Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

            Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

            What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

            In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

            In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

            So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

            You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

            If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

            If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

            Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

              Final Thoughts

              If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

              Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

              Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

              With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

              More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

              Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

              Reference

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