Bodyweight intro workout
Why do this workout?
If you’re new to exercise, or are looking for a good workout to complement your walking or running program, a full-body workout is a great place to start. You can do these exercises in the comfort of your own home, or in the park if you prefer to get outdoors. There’s no need for hand weights or kettlebells – you can improve your strength using your bodyweight and a few props.
What you need
Nothing much! Just a dining chair, a wall – or tree trunk if you’re outdoors – and a towel or yoga mat for the floor work.
Aim to do 10 repetitions of each exercise, two to four times a week. As you gain strength and your fitness improves, increase the reps and number of days you do the workout.
1. Calf raises
How-to: Stand up straight with your feet facing forward. Rise up onto your toes, keeping your knees straight and heels off the floor. To help you hold the position, engage your core – that means tightening your stomach muscles, imagining you’re bringing your belly button towards your spine. Count to two, then lower your heels back down. Repeat 10 times.
2. Wall push-ups
Works: Biceps, shoulders and chest
How-to: Place your hands on the wall, shoulder-width apart, and step back a little, away from the wall. Rise onto the balls of your feet then bend your elbows while leaning your body in towards the wall. Push back until your elbows are straight. Repeat 10 times. For a challenge, step back even further.
Works: Arms, legs and back
How-to: Start on your hands and knees – knees under your hips, hands under your shoulders. Raise your right arm and left leg at the same time, keeping your hips square to the ground, your back straight and your core engaged. Switch sides. Do 10 reps on each side. If you’re a beginner, lie down on your stomach to make this exercise easier.
4. Chair dips
How-to: Sit on the edge of a chair, hands facing forward on either side of your body and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Move your hips forward, off the chair, until your arms support your weight. Slowly lower down, keeping your back close to the chair, bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Push back up and repeat 10 times.
5. Half lunges
Works: Quads and hamstrings
How-to: Start standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your left leg, keeping your knee in line with your ankle and keep your weight evenly split between your left heel and right toes. Bend your right leg, lifting the heel off the ground and lower your right knee to just above the ground. Hold for a second, then come back up to the starting position. Repeat on the other side and do five half lunges on each side.
Works: Core and glutes
How-to: Lie on your back and bend your knees, making sure your feet are hip-width apart and flat on the floor. Keeping your core engaged, slowly lift your hips off the floor, making sure your body stays straight. Hold for a count of two, then lower down. Repeat 10 times.