Body Weighted Basics
If you’re a beginner at the gym, getting started can be quite daunting. However, many of the exercises you’ll do at the gym revolve around a small group of movements. Working on these basic movements improves your form, gives you a better workout, and lowers your risk of injury.
To help you master the moves, we asked personal trainer Alex Rahme from our Chatswood gym to demonstrate!
Push ups are one of the best exercises, and you can do them anywhere!
If performed correctly, they can build tone in all the rights places and strengthen your core muscles.
How to do a push up
Step 1: Set yourself into position.
- Place your hands flat on the ground, have them shoulder-width apart.
- Now with your feet, place them shoulder-width apart as well and position them in way that is comfortable for you.
- Your body should be aligned in a straight line from the top of your head all the way down to the bottoms of your feet
- Squeeze your glutes, have your arms straight and tighten your abs.
Step 2: Lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle
Step 3: Keep your elbows close to your body - don’t let them fly out!
Step 4: Touch the floor with your chest or go as far down as you can then pause and hold the position for at least a full second (3 seconds if you want an extra challenge) and then push back up to your original position.
Just like a push up, doing chin ups can target number of important muscles. Notably you will increase your muscle strength through your back, arms, shoulders and chest. It’s an amazing upper body exercise!
How to do a chin up
To be able to perform a chin up you will need to locate a chin-up bar.
Step 1: Place your hands on the bar and have your palms facing your body.
Step 2: Here’s the awesome part! Raise your body until your chin is above the bar. Use all your upper body strength to lift your body ! #youcandoit
Pro tip: You can bend your knees and/or cross your feet to help distribute the weight to help pull yourself up.
Step 3: Now you can lower yourself down in a slow controlled motion. Don’t rush this.
Step 4: Pat yourself on the back, you did well friend!
Chin Ups aren’t easy. Work on nailing your form, even if you can only do one or two. Then every week, try and best last week's record!
Squats are a fantastic full body exercise. Like a push-up, these can be performed without any equipment. It’s a full body workout that every beginner should ace!
This type of exercise can help improve your balance and coordination. Muscles that get targeted include the hips, quads, glutes , your hamstrings and most importantly your core.
How to do a squat
Step 1: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Maintain a neutral spine and roll your shoulders back and down behind the ears.
Step 3: Place your arms out in front of you parallel to the ground. Or if you like, have your elbows close to your body.
Step 4: Inhale, unlock your hips and send your hips backward as your knees start to bend.
Step 5: Make sure your chest and shoulder stay upright, your back is straight and your butt starts to stick out just a little, but not too much. Stare forward.
Step 6: See how far down you can squat and remember to not push yourself by overextending (putting your butt far lower than your knees).
Pro tip: Engage your core by tighten your abs and let your body weight rest on your heels when you squat.
Lunges are great for toning the legs and the backside. You can incorporate lunges into any exercise routine.
The important thing is to get the form right, just like any exercise, to reap the full benefits. If you don’t perfect your form, you can strain your joints and risk injury.
How to do a lunge
Step 1: Start by standing up with your body straight. Keep your shoulders relaxed and looking straight forward. Engage your core.
Step 2: Step forward with either your left or right leg, lower your hips and bend the knees to a 90 degree angle.
Pro tip: Your front knee should be directly above your ankle. Your other knee shouldn’t touch the floor.
Step 3: Keep your weight on your toes and step back to your starting position.
This is the exercise that can potentially give you that six-pack. With a little bit of practice and great form, if getting a six-pack or simply toning your abs is a goal then doing sit-ups is your best friend!
Crunches tighten and improve your core strength muscles. If you perform crunches incorrectly, the results can end up being problems within the spine.
How to perform a Crunch
Step 1: Get your mat out and lay it flat on the floor. Lay yourself flat on the mat.
Step 2: Place hands near the head to steady it when performing the exercise. Keep your head and neck muscles relaxed. Neck should be kept straight.
Step 3: Your back should be relaxed and flat on the floor, not arched or pressed into the floor.
Step 4: Feet are to be flat on the floor, your knees will be bent and will be shoulder width apart.
Step 5: Exhale now, then using your stomach muscles bring your body up to a 30 degree angle. Inhale when you bring your body back down to the starting position.
It’s not necessary to lift your chest all the way to your knees. A crunch engages your core and provides ample benefit.
This is one of the most simple but effective bodyweight exercises that all beginners will eventually be introduced too.
The plank motion is literally as it sounds, holding your body stiff like a plank board. Planking enhances the core strength.
In addition, you are allowing your lower back to connect with the upper body. You will be
increasing the strength of your shoulders, glutes and arms.
How to do a plank
In our guide we show you how to perform the plank:
Step 1: Rest your elbows on the mat, shoulder width apart. Allow your forearms to rest on the mat and clasp your hands underneath your chin. Place your knees on the ground until youre ready to start planking.
Step 2: When you’re ready to start the plank, push your legs out into the push-up position (feet shoulder-width apart). Squeeze your glutes to stabilise your body, keep your back level, not arched.
Step 3: Keep your spine and neck in a neutral position and look forward just beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
Step 4: Hold the position for as long as you can. If it’s your first plank, try holding for a minimum of 20 seconds! In time you will get more comfortable and be able to hold it for much longer! The world record is currently 8 hours and 1 minute!!!
We’re Here to Help
Remember, form and technique is the most important focus when learning these movements. Getting the form right will allow you to later add weights to the exercises if you wish to do so, get the most benefit from your workouts, and prevent injury. As Alex says, "The small wins are the ones that count. Strive for progress, not perfection".
If you need any assistance give us a shout out to one of our friendly Crunch trainers, just like our personal trainer Alex at our Chatswood centre and we can work together to help with your fitness journey!