The best exercises for beginners

The best exercises for beginners

A lot of people starting to exercise want to hit the ground running…

…before they realize they have no idea what to do, try a little bit of everything at random, and then burn out and quit within a week or two.

Sound familiar?

As a beginner, don’t expect to be bench-pressing hundreds of pounds your first day working out. Like all new things, you need to start small and work your way up – and these beginner exercises are a great launch point.


Squats are one of the best exercises you can do, and don’t even require any weights!


They get multiple muscle groups involved, including strengthening your core. Best of all, they can be done just about anywhere, at any time.

Squats work equally well as a warmup or cooldown, or toss some in during a commercial break for a mini workout while watching TV. Efficiency!


If you want a strong core, there are few better exercises for beginners than planking. With all sorts of different variations to keep things interesting in your workout, planking can ramp up your strength and stamina, and set the foundation for killer abs. Just in time for the summer, too!

Jump rope

Remember those whimsical, care-free days in the school yard where you’d be skipping rope (sometimes two at a time!)?

Well luckily for you, the youthful pastime is also an excellent workout! It’s not just for beginners either – plenty of pro athletes use skipping as a way to stay healthy and keep their footwork quick and nimble.

Related: 3 bodyweight exercises for any occasion


Lunges are a double whammy exercise because they work really well as both a stretch and a workout itself!

Correct-form lunges are great for improving cardio and stamina, and building muscle in your legs. You’ll also learn one of the unwritten rules of exercise from the get-go: never skip leg day.

Calf raises

Another wonderful exercise that works your legs, calf raises are as simple as they sound.

Whether you choose to hold some additional weights or not for a bit more resistance and challenge, slowly lift yourself onto your tiptoes and then lower back down slowly, until you get that feel-good burn in the back of your calf.

Photo credit: Prostock-studio/; Roman Samborskyi/

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