Which Workout Routine Is Best for Beginners? How Long Should a Workout Be?

Working out as a beginner. Image via Unsplash/Bruce Mars
Working out as a beginner. Image via Unsplash/Bruce Mars
Natalie P.

If you have been working out for a while, you know how intimidating it can be as a beginner and can take a while to get used to. But if you’re a beginner, you’re probably wondering, where to even begin?

Surely, you know better than to go heavy when you’re just starting out. And what about forms?! Do them wrong, and suddenly, you’re injured!

It’s important to start with the basics and build a solid foundation to work on. Let’s look at what those basics are.

Working out as a beginner

For the first two weeks, it’s a good idea to stick to light, steady-state cardio (treadmill, cycling, rowing, etc.) for about 20 mins at the start. This is useful in getting your heart rate up and your body warmed up. Following that, appropriate warm-up and cool-down protocols are a must to avoid injury and to loosen up the muscles and joints.

Start with light intensity. Image via Unsplash/Jonathan Borba
Start with light intensity. Image via Unsplash/Jonathan Borba

It is important to follow some mobility and balance drills to determine your centre of gravity and be able to stabilise yourself during strength movements. This involves a lot of stretching and core exercises. Some light strength routines can be followed with low-weight dumbbells, barbells, or cables.

Work out at least 5 days in a week when you start off. Ideally, have two days of workout followed by one day of rest, and continue the cycle.

During the next phase, you can progress to more demanding work, such as HIIT routines, or progressively increasing the weights you lift at the gym.

Stick to the low-intensity cardio at the start. Perform compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, lat pulldowns, push-ups and pull-ups. More taxing core exercises can be performed to engage the ab muscles further. Get comfortable with these movements before you increase the load. You may perform the HIIT workouts twice a week, with at least two days in between each session.

After following this pattern for 4 to 6 weeks and familiarising yourself with the movements, as well as visible improvements in energy, you can begin to branch out and find other activities you enjoy. These could be bodybuilding, marathon running, kickboxing, or simply working out to maintain yourself - find a goal and work towards it.

Progress slowly. Image via Unsplash/Geert Pieters
Progress slowly. Image via Unsplash/Geert Pieters

Seasoned exercisers aren’t wrong when they say that diet is an important part of fitness, whether you’re a beginner or have been in the game for a while. Without eating right, your efforts will probably not reap the results you want. It’s important to follow a balanced diet and allow yourself a cheat day once in a week or two. This will also help keep everyday unhealthy cravings at bay.

Of course, recovery and rest are also extremely important factors. Be sure you give your body the rest it deserves to repair your muscles and allow them to recover, to avoid burning out and to preserve more energy for the next day.

Sure, the road to your fitness goals is a tough one, but don’t make it tougher by giving up. Stay safe and practice regularly.

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Edited by Sabine Algur


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