I have a few beginner workouts on the blog (you can find all beginner resources here), but haven’t yet made one in video form. This post is long overdue! And let me know in the comments if you want more beginner workouts. The hard ones tend to get a lot of positive feedback so I sorta get stuck on this track of trying to make each workout more challenging than the next, but I want this site to be a fitness resource for everyone. What sense does it make to cater fitness to only those who are already relatively fit?!
This week’s workout uses pretty much the same structure as last week’s, but is toned down a notch.
Beginner Tabata Workout
No equipment is needed for this workout (just have an exercise mat or some padding for the knees handy). If, however, you’re a true beginner or are working with mobility issues that will make it difficult to get down and up again from the floor, I’d recommend using a chair or bench throughout the workout. I’ll show you how to modify the exercises throughout the video.
This workout is made up of three tabatas. A tabata is 8 rounds of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. I’ll give you two exercises for each tabata and you’ll alternate between the two during the 4 minutes. Rest 30 seconds after each completed tabata before moving onto the next.
- Squat with Pulse | Feet about hips-width apart, squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down (not the knees forward!). Keep your chest open, shoulders back—it’s natural to lean forward slightly as you lower down, but we don’t want to hunch forward. Bring your hands in front of you as you sink down to your lowest point, bodyweight staying in your heels. Pulse up an inch and down an inch. From there, powerfully stand back up, straightening your legs and thrusting your hips forward (squeeze your bum at the top!) and driving your arms behind you. Make sure you’re actively engaging the outer thighs to prevent the knees from caving inward (knock-knees) as you lower down into your squat. To modify, forget about the pulse and practice your squats using a chair (sit down on the seat and then stand back up).
- Back Lunge with Pulse | Start standing with feet hip width apart. Step your left foot back behind you as you bend the right knee, sinking into a lunge. Get as low as you can, trying to bring the right knee as close to a 90-degree bend as mobility allows. From this low lunge position, pulse up an inch and down an inch. Stand as you bring the left foot forward in line with the right to your starting position. For balance assistance, you can place a hand on a chair. Alternate legs each round of work.
- Modified Push Ups | You can do these either on the floor from your knees or on your feet with your hands on a chair/bench/elevated surface (even a wall works!). Think “plank” with your core alignment as you bend and straighten your elbows. You want to maintain neutral spine and lower your torso as one unit, rather than just dipping your chest and sticking your butt up into the air.
- Forearm Plank | Most of us are familiar with a plank, so just a couple form queues: think of stacking your joints, elbows directly below shoulders. Think of gently knitting the ribs together and pulling the low belly up and in. Squeeze the glutes and quads—notice how engaging these muscles helps straighten out your body even more. Fire up the entire abdomen by pulling the forearms and balls of feet in towards each other (you won’t actually move, you’ll just contract the muscles). If this is too much, modify by dropping to your knees or by brining your hands to a chair/bench/elevated surface.
- Twisting High Knees | Start standing with arms overhead. From here, march your right knee up towards your chest as you twist your torso to the right and bring your elbows to the outside of the knee. Return to starting position and repeat to the left. Make these as quick as you can. For assistance with balance, keep a hand on a chair as you do this. Just make sure to switch hands each 20-second round.
- Modified Burpees | From a standing position, squat down and bring your hands to the floor (or a chair to modify). Step one foot back at a time to a plank position. Step one foot at a time back up to the outsides of your hands and stand back upright to standing position.