4 essential beginner exercises that new lifters should use in their training
START A WORKOUT Programming for the first time can be equal parts excitement and confusion.
The good news is that as a beginner, you start building muscle almost automatically no matter what exercises you throw together. The bad news, however, is that with a limited understanding of training styles, any arbitrary combination of exercises done without rhyme or purpose will quickly derail most of your early gains once you get past that early honeymoon phase. You’re much more likely to hit that dreaded training plateau.
men health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS says the best plan for continuing to make progress after your first training experience is to have a plan — and learn how certain exercises improve your movement over the long term.
“If you can create a plan and have a clear idea of what you want to list, there’s so much potential here,” says Samuel. “When you start in the gym you’re going to build muscle fast, you’re going to build strength fast because you learn all the pieces you need too soon.”
Here are four effective exercises that every beginner should incorporate into their workout. These aren’t the most popular movements that other newbies will immediately repeat, but incorporating them into your workout will help lay the foundation for improving each movement as you progress on your fitness journey.
4 essential beginner exercises
To get stronger over time, you need to learn how to squeeze your shoulder blades together. One of the best ways to reinforce this movement is by rowing.
With each row repetition, you need to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Rowing encourages better posture — by squeezing your shoulder blades while retracting your shoulders and contracting your chest — which in turn pays dividends later by helping to improve your form with your bicep curls, overhead presses, or pretty much any movement at the you need to squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Why the inclined row over any other rowing variation? Samuel likes that when you rest your chest on a bench pad, you eliminate any undue lower back stress that you might get from traditional barbell or dumbbell rows. This is where we can really emphasize the focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together rep after rep.
Beginning rowers can do these up to three times a week, with three sets of eight to ten repetitions working best.
This deadlift variation helps you focus on two specific exercise elements.
First, we all need to learn how to properly pick something heavy off the ground.
The RDL also highlights another important movement pattern that you’ll use not only in the gym but in everyday life: the hip joint. Don’t think of hip hinges as simply bending the waist; Instead, focus on pushing your butt back as you bend forward. This engages the hamstrings and glutes, which will go a long way in helping you build some posterior muscle and strength. This is one of the reasons why starting with RDLs might actually be more beneficial than the traditional deadlift.
“It’s a really, really personal way to start activating those hamstrings and glutes,” says Samuel. “And once you’ve mastered that, you’ll be able to do trapeze bar deadlifts and much more powerful lifts — but you’ll always keep the Romanian deadlift in your routine.”
This move continues our list of strength-generating patterns that help us lift heavy weights – isn’t that one of the reasons you joined a gym?
You’ll pick up the largest load you can handle and just walk (or even march in place) for about 30 to 40 seconds. The benefit of this move is that Farmer’s Carrys prepare you to lift heavy weights in any environment while also teaching you how to handle heavier and uncomfortable loads.
Farmer’s carries will also help your posture – you’ll work on keeping your abs tight, work on your grip strength – all of which will translate into better pull-ups, better curls, and a pretty much better overall performance in the weight room. Another big advantage: You can do this almost anytime and with any workout.
This last exercise isn’t just about lifting weights, it’s about lifting the weight and It also creates a deeper focus on the muscle – also known as building a mind-muscle connection.
This exercise variation forces you to curl all the way up and rotate your pinky toward the ceiling (supination), which helps you get a good push before lowering until your forearms are parallel to the floor for a moment to hold before lowering (Create). more time under tension, another important muscle building principle).
Mastering these basics will carry over to virtually every other exercise you will do. And if you stick to this plan, you will make profits. “When you’re just starting out, it’s a lot better than just going to the gym and having no idea what you’re going to do,” says Samuel. “And on top of that, you look like you know what you’re doing at the gym.”
Jeff Tomko is a freelance fitness writer who has written for Muscle and Fitness, Men’s Fitness, and Men’s Health.