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BEGINNER WORKOUT

Before beginning any strenuous exercise program, you must consult with your physician. The Fitness Connection disclaims any liability, personal or professional, resulting from the misapplication of any of the exercises described in the following workout. If at any time you feel shortness of breath, chest pain or significant discomfort, stop and consult your doctor. Start slowly and use common sense when exercising.

Always warm up your body before doing any workout. The purpose of a warm up is to get the blood flowing to your muscles and also a warm up is a neurological warning to your muscles that you are getting ready to put some stress on them. You can do 5 minutes of brisk walking, marching, swinging your arms and/or using very light weights to mirror your upcoming weight workout.

You should also get into the habit of stretching each muscle group upon completion of the exercise. I've included a stretch for each muscle group in a stretching routine.

The following program is designed to get you started on incorporating weight workouts into your weekly exercise routine. Use smooth and controlled movements during the exercise. Avoid jerking the weight or using momentum to lift the weight.

Sessions per week: 2 or 3; allow at least 1 day of rest between workouts.

Repetitions: 8 to 15 lifts are considered a set. Start with 1 set and increase to 3 sets over a period of 4-6 weeks. Allow 30 to 60 seconds of rest between sets.

Weight: If you can't do 8 repetitions, the weight is too heavy. When you can easily do 12 repetitions, the weight is too light.

Speed: 3 to 5 seconds to lift, 1-second pause, 3 to 5 seconds to lower.

LET'S GET STARTED!

ARMS

Biceps Curl
This exercise strengthens the arms.

A. Let your hands fall naturally to your sides with your palms forward, a weight in each hand.
B. Keeping your elbows planted close to your body, bring the weights up to your chest, squeezing your biceps muscle. Then lower weight back to your sides. Repeat 8-15 times. (You can alternate arms instead of doing both arms at once.)

Triceps
Triceps Kickback
This exercise tones the backs of the arms.

A. Place your right knee on a chair and then lean over and rest your right hand on the chair for balance. Keep your left leg slightly bent. Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, place your left elbow close to your side with the dumbbell pointed toward the floor.
B. Keeping your elbow in place, extend your arm backward until it is almost straight. Be careful not to lock your elbow. Lower your forearm down but keep your elbow at your hip. Repeat 8-15 times, then switch sides.

SHOULDERS

Shoulder Forward Raises
This exercise strengthens and shapes the shoulders.

A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a slight bend in both knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing the fronts of your thighs.
B. Lift one or both arms straight in front of you until your arms are level with your shoulders. Hold for a second or two, and then return to your side. Repeat 8-15 on each arm. (If this is too difficult at first, do one arm at a time.)


Shoulder Press
This exercise shapes and firms the shoulders and the backs of the arms.

Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Lift dumbbells to shoulders. Press the left one overhead and lower slowly to shoulder. Repeat, alternating sides. Keep back straight and movements steady. Repeat 8-15 times on each side



CHEST

Fly
This exercise firms the chest muscles.

A. Lie on your back with knees bent and a pillow under your back and shoulders. Extend both arms straight up with palms facing in.
B. Slowly lower your arms out to the side, keeping your elbows slightly bent, until your elbows are just below your shoulders. Then, bring your arms back up to the starting position. Do this exercise 8-15 times. Once you improve, you can add more weight.


BACK

Bent Row
This exercise tones the backs of the arms and the back.

A. Place your right knee on a chair, then lean over and place your right hand on the chair for balance. Keeping your left leg slightly bent and your back flat, let your left hand hang parallel to your knee.
B. Bring your left hand to your hip, squeezing the shoulder blade (leading with the elbow so it's close to your body). Slowly return to the starting position. Imagine that you are trying to get a mower started. After 8-15 repetitions, switch sides and repeat.


LOWER BODY

Butt & Thighs
Squats
This exercise strengthens and shapes thighs and glutes.
Caution: Go down only until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Beginners and individuals with knee problems should first do this exercise without any weights.

A. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Let your arms fall naturally to your sides with a dumbbell in each hand.
B. Keeping your back flat, lower your back end as if you were going to sit on an imaginary chair, and then return to the start position. Make sure your knees are not blocking the view of your toes -- if they are, you need to shift your weight back some. Repeat 15-20 times.


Lunges
This exercise strengthens thighs and glutes.

A. From a standing position, step about 30 inches with your left foot. Keep your left foot flat. Only the toes should support your right foot.
B. Bend your left knee until it is about parallel to the floor, keeping your knee above your ankle, not out in front of it. Push up and back with your left leg until your feet are in the starting position. Repeat 8-12 times on each leg.

 


Calf Muscles

Toe raise
This exercise works your calf muscles.

Starting position: Stand with your feet slightly spread. Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing your body. Rise up on the balls of your feet, hold for a few seconds and slowly return to the starting position.
Looking straight ahead, keep your abdominal muscles tight and your back straight. Repeat 8-15 times.

ABS (Abdominals)

Trunk Curl
This exercise strengthens and firms the stomach muscles.

Lie on a mat with your knees bent. Pull in your stomach, imagining your belly button glued to your spine. As you slowly curl your head and shoulders off the mat, exhale. Inhale as you lower. Don't strain your neck or raise hips. Repeat 20-25 times, or as many repetitions as you manage, while maintaining good form.


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