Where to start: our favourite beginners workouts
Page last updated: 24th February 2023
If you’re new to the gym and not sure where to start, then you're in the right place. We’ve put together a variety of beginner-friendly gym workouts you can try to help get you started. Whether it’s building your overall strength, targeting particular muscle groups or improving your cardio fitness, these workouts will help with your goals. Check out the workouts below for some inspiration.
Make sure to warm up properly you start the workout and cool down once you've finished - this will help to prevent injuries and soreness! If you have any health or injury concerns then please consult your doctor before starting a new exercise programme.
You can find out more about warming up and cooling down with our guide.
Full Body Plate Workout For Beginners
Train your entire body with this exercise routine, which is designed to improve your fitness and help you get stronger. For this workout, all you need is two weight plates and a mat from the studio. 5kg can be a good starting point for plates, but you may want to test a few to find the size that feels right for each exercise.
Perform four sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise (double up on the lunges by doing 8-12 each side), with a minute rest between sets.
You could also perform this as a circuit, by doing 8-12 reps of each exercise straight after another with a minute rest before repeating 3-4 times.
Beginner's Ab Workout
Improve your core strength with this beginner-friendly, no equipment ab workout - all you need is a mat!
You can read more about this workout and how to do each of the exercises over on our ab workout for beginners page.
There are a few ways you can do this workout. The first is by performing each exercise for 10 reps with a 20 second rest in between, and completing the circuit twice. The second is an AMRAP workout (as many reps as you can do): do as many repetitions as you can in 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then move onto the next exercise. Once you've completed all 6 exercises, take a full minute rest and perform the circuit twice more.
- Bicycle crunches
- Sit ups
- Alternative toe touches
- Side plank
- High plank knee tap
- High plank shoulder tap
Discover even more ab workouts on our blog.
Beginner's Upper Body Workout
Develop your overall upper body strength with this workout which targets your chest, shoulders, back and arms. For this exercise, you will need access to a lat pulldown machine, cable machine, dumbbells, and a mat.
- Lat pulldown. Perform 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Complete 4 sets.
- Dumbbell floor press. Perform 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Complete 3 sets.
- Seated cable rows. Perform 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Complete 4 sets.
- Lateral raises. Perform 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Complete 3 sets.
Beginner's Lower Body Workout
Strengthen your lower body with this minimal equipment workout targeting your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles. All you will need for this workout is a pair of dumbbells and a mat.
- Goblet squats. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.
- Stiff leg deadlift. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.
- Bulgarian split squats. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.
- Glute bridges. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.
- Calf raises. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.
Our legs and glutes hub pages have more ideas for workouts you can try.
Beginner HIIT Cardio Workout
HIIT cardio is a great way to burn calories, improve endurance and boost fitness in a short, efficient workout. You can learn more about HIIT here and give the workout below a try to get started.
You can take your pick from any of the cardio machines in the gym: treadmill, exercise bike, rower, ski erg, air bike. If you're not sure how to use the cardio machines in our gyms, check out our guide: How to set up machines.
- Warm up on the machine for 3-5 minutes at a light intensity. If there is resistance on the machine, dial it down to start with.
- Once you’ve warmed up, increase the resistance slightly, to a level you're comfortable with.
- Work at a challenging speed/intensity for 30 seconds.
- Rest for 20 seconds.
- Repeat this for a total of 10 rounds.
How To Start Exercising
Starting to exercise can feel like a challenge, especially when you’re a complete beginner. But by taking some simple steps, you’ll be able to get started on building your confidence in no time. Here are some steps you can take to get started:
- Set a goal: Determine why you want to exercise and what you hope to achieve. This could be anything from improving your overall health to losing weight or building strength.
- Choose an activity you enjoy: Find an exercise that you enjoy doing. This could be anything from walking to swimming to weightlifting. When you enjoy an activity, you're more likely to stick with it.
- Start slowly: If you're not used to exercising, start slowly and gradually increase your activity level over time. This will help you avoid injury and reduce the risk of burnout.
- Focus on good technique: Even if it means keeping or dropping to a lower weight, resistance or intensity, it’s incredibly important that you make sure your form is correct - that way you’ll be getting the maximum benefit from your workouts with a lower risk of injury.
- Take it easy: Make sure to allow your body to rest and recover in between sessions to avoid over-working yourself.
- Create a routine: Set aside a regular time each day to exercise. This will help you establish a routine and make it easier to stick with your new habit.
- Get support: Enlist the help of a friend or family member to exercise with you or join a class or group. Having someone to exercise with can make it more fun and help keep you accountable.
Track your progress: Keep track of your progress by writing down your exercise routine and any changes you notice in your body or how you feel.
Having a workout plan before you go to the gym can be really helpful so that when you arrive, you know exactly what you’re doing and how to make the most of your time in the gym. If you'd like to know how you can put a workout plan together, check out our beginners workout plans guide, this article on How to plan a weight training programme or speak to one of the personal trainers at your gym.
We also run fitness classes which are led by qualified personal trainers - from cycle to leg, bums and tums. Booking into a class can be a great way to learn exercise technique whilst getting a workout in with the guidance of a personal trainer.
For more tips to help you get started, check out the rest of the articles in our Starting Out In The Gym section.
Our TrainSafe measures are in place to provide a safe and affordable place to get a great workout - find out more.