Beginner’s Workout #13: featuring Courtney Townley

Posted on December 15, 2010 by


I am a huge fan of compound movements when it comes to beginner workouts for two reasons:  you can workout every major muscle in your body with just a few exercises, and it keeps the workout short and sweet….leaving less excuses NOT to do it.  The exercises below are challenging beginner exercises, but remember, our bodies don’t make a lot of progress when they are in the “comfort zone”.  So, if you feel a little awkward, uncoordinated or unbalanced doing these exercises, those are exactly the reasons you should be doing them.  Take a moment to focus on your posture before, during and after performing each exercise.  Assume that your core should be engaged in ALL of them.  Do 3 sets of each exercise for a challenging full body workout.

Squat with Bicep Curl and Overhead Press
Muscles involved:  glutes, hamstrings, biceps and shoulders

Start standing hip width apart, with a free weight in 1 hand (you can do a weight in both hands, but just using a weight in one will be more challenging for your stabilizing muscles) and your arms hanging by your sides.  Bend your knees as deeply as you can without rounding your spine or allowing your heels to leave the floor, as you stand back up curl the weight up to your shoulder and then press it straight over your shoulder.  Lower the weight back to the floor as you bend your knees again and repeat  12-15 reps on each side.

Push-up with Rotation
Muscles involved:  pectorals, biceps, triceps and shoulders.

Starting in a push-up position on your knees, 1 hand elevated either on a yoga block or a medicine ball (more challenging).  Bend your elbows for a push-up and rotate  your head and chest away from the arm that is elevated.   Repeat 8-12 reps on each side.  Having the arm elevated and rotating both allow the chest muscles on the elevated side to stretch more, which also means more contraction on the way back up.  This is a great way to take a regular push-up a step further.

Deadlift with Row
Muscles involved:  hamstrings, glutes, biceps, back

Start standing hip width apart, holding a straight bar in front of your thighs (palms facing out).  Hinge at the hips to bring your torso parallel to the floor, row the bar up to the base of your ribcage once, and then stand back up.  Repeat 12-15 reps.  If you get to 15 easily, it is time for more weight on that bar!

Russian Twist
Muscles involved:  CORE, CORE, CORE, inner thighs and hip flexors

Starting on your back, arms straight out at shoulder height (palms up), legs 90 degrees or straight (more challenging).  Keeping  your legs pressed together, slowly take your legs as far as you can to one side without resting them on the floor, and keeping your opposite shoulder pressed to  the floor.  Lift your legs back to center,  pressing your lower back to the floor, and repeat to the other side.  Try looking in the opposite direction that your legs are reaching.  Repeat 20 times (10 on each side).