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Where to start: our favourite beginners workouts


If you’re new to the gym and not sure where to start, don’t worry! We’ve put together a variety of beginner-friendly gym workouts you can try to help get you started. Whether it’s building your overall strength, targeting particular muscle groups or improving your cardio fitness - check out the workouts below for some inspiration.

Make sure to warm up properly before the workout and cool down once you've completed the workout and please consult your doctor before starting a new exercise programme. 

You can find out more about warming up and cooling down with our guide. 


Full body plate workout

Work your entire body with this workout designed to help you get stronger and improve your fitness. For this workout you will need two 5kg plates and a mat from the studio.

  • Goblet squat to overhead press
  • Bent over row
  • Reverse lunges
  • High plank dumbbell drag
  • Around the world
Perform 8-12 reps each exercise. Double up for reverse lunges and around the world so you perform 8-12 each side.Take a minute rest. Complete 4 sets each exercise.

Beginner ab workout

Improve your core strength with this ab routine. All you need for this exercise is a mat.

  • Plank walkouts 
  • High plank, knee to elbow 
  • Bicycle
  • Toe taps
  • Glute bridge

Perform each exercise between 30 seconds to a minute, depending on how long you can repeat the exercise whilst ensuring good technique. Rest for 30 seconds. Move on to the next exercise and repeat till you've completed all 5 exercises. Once you've completed all 5 exercises take a minute rest and perform the whole circuit 2 more times.

Discover even more ab workouts on our blog. 


Beginner upper body workout

Develop your overall upper body strength with this workout which targets your chest, shoulders, back and arms. For this exercise, you will need access to a lat pulldown machine, seated row machine, dumbbells and a mat.

  • Lat pulldown. Perform 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Complete 4 sets.
  • Floor press. Perform 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Complete 3 sets.
  • Seated row machine. Perform 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Complete 4 sets.
  • Lateral raises. Perform 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Complete 3 sets.

 Head over to our arm and shoulders or chest workout hubs for more inspiration.


Beginner lower body workout 

Strengthen your lower body with this minimal equipment workout targeting your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles. All you will need for this workout is a pair of dumbbells and a mat.

  • Goblet squats. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.
  • Stiff leg deadlift. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.
  • Bulgarian split squats. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.
  • Glute bridges. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.
  • Calf raises. Complete 8-10 reps. 4 sets. 1 minute rest in-between.

Our legs and glutes hub pages have more ideas for workouts you can try. 


Beginner cardio workout

  • Pick a cardio machine in the gym: treadmill, exercise bike, rower, ski erg, air bike. If you're not sure how to use the cardio machines in our gyms, check out our guide on How to set up machines.
  • Warm up on the machine for 3-5 minutes at a light intensity. If there is resistance on the machine, dial it down to start with.
  • Once you’ve warmed up, increase the resistance slightly, to a level you're comfortable with.
  • Work at a challenging speed/intensity for 30 seconds.
  • Rest for 20 seconds. 
  • Repeat this for a total of 10 rounds.


Top tips for beginners

When starting your gym routine, here are our top tips:

1) Focus on good technique - even if that means lowering the weight, resistance or intensity.

2) Don't be afraid to ask for help - if you're unsure how to use a machine or perform an exercise, ask a personal trainer for help. They'd be more than happy to help give you guidance.

3) Take it easy - make sure to allow your body to rest and recover in between sessions to avoid injury and over working yourself. 

Having a workout plan before you go to the gym can be really helpful so that when you arrive, you know exactly what you’re doing and making the most time in the gym.  If you'd like to know how your can out your workout plan together, check out our beginners workout plans guide, this article on How to plan a weight training programme or speak to one of the personal trainers at your gym.

We also run fitness classes which are led by qualified personal trainers - from cycle to leg, bums and tums. Booking into a class can be a great way to learn exercise technique whilst getting a workout in with the guidance of a personal trainer.

For more tips to help you get started, check out the rest of the articles in our Starting Out In The Gym section.

Our TrainSafe measures are in place to provide a safe and affordable place to get a great workout - find out more.

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