“I don’t like going to the gym.”

I hear that ALL the time. Fortunately, you don’t need a gym to workout. The following routine is a good starting point for beginners interested in strength training. It’s easy and straight forward. There are only five exercises (so lazy people have no excuse!) but together they still hit all your major muscle groups. I do a variation of this workout when I’m going a little lighter with my resistance training.

Also, there’s minimal equipment. All you need is a chair and a dumbbells (and a little motivation.) If you’d like to make it more challenging, do 20 seconds of mountain climbers between reps.

1. One-legged squats.
Since this workout is intended for beginners, you’ll need a chair or some kind of bench for this one. I’d suggest picking something that leaves your thighs parallel to the floor when you sit down.

Stand about two to three feet in front of the chair/bench. Lift your left leg in the air. Sit back until your butt touches the edge of the chair, then stand back up while still keeping your left leg in the air. Try to avoid completely sitting. Instead, just let your butt lightly touch the chair. Complete 10-15 reps and switch legs. When you’ve done both legs, that counts as one set. Aim for 3 sets. To make this exercise more challenging, sit back onto something lower or add weight.

2. Push-ups.

Get into the plank position with your hands shoulder width apart. Try to keep your body as straight as possible from your shoulders to your hips. Lower yourself by bending you elbows until you are about an inch above the floor. Pay attention to your form with this one. Don’t let your lower back sag! If you can’t do a regular push-up, get on your knees for an easier variation. For more of a challenge, elevate your feet onto something. Aim for 3 sets of 10-15.

3. Lunge and press

Pick up some dumbbells and stand with feet shoulder width apart. Take a big step forward with your right foot and lower your body until your front leg forms a 90 degree angle with the floor and your back knee is almost touching the floor. As you step, simultaneously press the dumbbells up over your head. Remember to keep your knee aligned with your ankle. If your knee is passing your toes, you need to take a wider step.

4. Bent over dumbbell row

Stand with feet shoulder width apart while holding a dumbbell in one hand. Bend forward at your hips, keeping your back straight and your legs slightly bent. I cannot emphasize how important it is to keep your back straight! Put your free hand on your lower back. Let the hand holding the dumbbell hang down below you, then lift it up to your armpit. Do 12-15 reps, then switch arms and repeat. That’s one set. Do this exercise for 3 sets.

5. Planks
Not pictured. Go here for instructions.
Do these 3 times and hold for 30 seconds, or a minute if you can.

Do three sets of 10-15 reps of curls and tricep kickbacks.

So there you have it! A quick, easy, yet effective home workout for beginners. If you tried it out, let me know what you think. Soon I will be posting an advanced at-home workout, so keep your eyes peeled!

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