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6 Strength-Training Exercises Every Beginner Should Know, According to Trainers

21/06/2020 - 12:00 PM

Starting anything new can be both exciting and confusing, especially when it comes to fitness. If you've just gotten into strength training and have no idea where to begin, we've got you covered. Before you start doing more intense movements like box jumps and burpees, you've got to learn the basic movement patterns, like both the upper-body push and pull and the hip hinge. To help you get started, we asked certified trainers to share exercises they think every beginner should know in order to prevent injury, to move better, and to get stronger. Here's what they said:

Bodyweight Squat

"The bodyweight squat is one of the most functional exercises we as humans can perform because it promotes full hip range of motion and helps to strengthen our largest muscle group: the glutes," Jared Aguilar [1], PT, DPT, a physical therapist and fitness coach at Reach Outcomes, told POPSUGAR. He also explained that squats help strengthen the hamstrings, quadriceps, abdominals, and the lower-back muscles.

Glute Bridge

As a NASM-certified trainer, I recommend the glute bridge because it's great for learning how to utilize your glutes, it can help people become familiar with the hip hinge pattern seen in movements like deadlifts, and it's great for stabilizing the hips, which is essential to improve movement and prevent things like back pain and more severe back injuries. When performing this move, make sure to move intentionally to avoid an excessive arch of the spine.

Side Plank

"Planks are great for your core as well as your arms," Adeeb Khalfe, PT, DPT, CSCS, founder and owner of Movement Evolution [2], told POPSUGAR. No matter the variation, make sure you keep your core engaged the entire time, he said. Khalfe likes the side plank in particular because it help with lower-back pain.

Basic Push-Up

The push-up is another exercise Khalfe recommends beginners learn. "The push-up should be done without the elbow flaring out too much and can be modified by first attempting them against a wall, then on the floor with your knees on the ground, then progressing into your normal push-up position," he said. Be sure to keep your body in a straight line, avoiding any arching or rounding of the spine.

Forearm Plank

"The plank is a foundational exercise. This is a great bodyweight exercise to master prior to strengthening your back muscles with added resistance," Aguilar said. He recommends learning how to perform the forearm plank variation and said to make sure that your hips don't lift up, creating a "V" shape.

Split Lunge

Holly Rilinger [3], a NASM-certified trainer, said one of the most basic movements everyone should know is the knee-dominant bodyweight lunge. "Once you have perfected that movement pattern, start to add weights," she said.


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