How you define “Best workout” is important here

Some people would say that the best program would be the one that could get you results fastest, and I won’t disagree with that point. Others would say that it’s the workout that is ‘safest’, or ‘easiest’, maybe it’s a workout that can be done by any body regardless of experience or maybe one that is completely tailored to one person.

But this article is aimed at finding the best workout for beginners, so I will discuss what I feel is best for them.


Everyone knows the cliché regarding Gyms in January versus Gyms in March. January gyms remind us of WWE’s royal rumble whilst March Gyms are a ghost town.

So what is happening here?

Clearly a lot of brand new gym goers are turning up in January but have left before February has even finished.

I put this down to the fact that the gym workouts these new members are performing are not getting them results fast enough, and are not FUN.

If your workout is dull, and your results are minimal, and you are spending time in a packed gym rather than on your nice comfy couch then it is little wonder that you are going to get frustrated and leave.

I believe a good gym workout for beginners should contain a variety of different exercises. It should have foundation exercises, bodyweight exercises, resistance exercises, and some form of cardio.

gym workouts for beginners_2Foundation exercises

These are exercises that are quite simple to perform, but can be progressed into more difficult exercises.

For example: Box Squat – leads into – Bodyweight Squat – leads into – DB Goblet Squat – leads into – Barbell Box Squat – leads into – Barbell Squat

So a complete beginner might struggle to squat properly at first, for a number of reasons. One of the most common reason is that performing a bodyweight squat can be a bit scary!

You feel like you’re about to fall backwards and as a result you try to adjust. That’s how people end up squatting with their heels off the floor.

Adjust to suit yourself

If this is the case I will get a client to use a box, all they have to do is sit down, like they would on a chair, and then push off again keeping their heels on the floor.

After a while they will be ready to try a bodyweight squat, and then progress from there.

Obviously, not everyone will start off at the same spot. So whilst a box squat might be necessary for some, it might be way too easy for others. It’s all about finding what is right for you.

Bodyweight exercises

The funny thing about bodyweight exercises is that many gym-goers underestimate their effectiveness whilst others overestimate them.

My opinion is that they are fantastic, especially at first but if you truly want to progress there will be a point where their effectiveness runs out.

gym workouts for beginners_3You shouldn’t be ignoring the benefits of weights and resistance machines, but nor should you look down on bodyweight exercises.

Again, as this is an article aimed at beginners I will base my workouts around that. As a result bodyweight exercises will feature heavily in my workouts.

Resistance exercises

This includes free weights and resistance machines. A lot of gym-goers look down on resistance machines saying they are too easy and aren’t functional but I disagree.

I mean, they aren’t functional but so what?

And they are easier to perform than free weight exercises, but this is a beginners workout and as such they are ideal!


I’ve written an article before on cardio vs weights for fat loss, in which I stated that I had a preference for weights but that a combination of both was ideal.

I still stick by that but am willing to admit that for absolute beginners a cardio-based workout with some weights and bodyweight exercises is best.

This is because lifting heavy weights is very difficult and you need a certain level of cardio fitness to perform.

Ab exercises

Again, if I am designing a program for regular gym goers I tend to stay away from too many exercises that directly work the abdominal muscles, as I feel that a lot of exercises that people do work them indirectly and that this is enough.

But for complete beginners, strengthening the abs is a little bit more important. So I have no problem with a few extra ab exercises thrown in every now and then.

Now the basics are covered, it’s time to start working those muscles. I will be sharing my 3 most effect workouts throughout the week. Keep an eye out for the 1st of the series tomorrow – Circuit based workouts (with videos to guide you through each exercise). 

Connect with Expert Matthew Smith.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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