Gym Guide for beginners: From planks to burpees, 5 exercises for newbies

Hindustan Times | ByKabir Bhandari, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
May 21, 2018 03:27 PM IST

Gym Guide for Beginners: Whether you are trying to lose weight or want to stay fit, it is essential for every gym beginner to know the best exercises they need to start with to get maximum fitness benefit. Here’s your guide on how to get the most out the time you spend in the gym.

Whether you are trying to lose weight or want to stay fit, referring to a gym guide for beginners is the best place to start with. Exercising in the gym and following a strict, healthy diet will help you a great deal. However, if you have never exercised in a gym, you need to know where to start from. That is where a gym guide for beginners will come in handy.

Gym Guide for Beginners: Want to lose weight? Or simply stay fit? Before you start going to a gym, let your fitness expert guide you through the best exercises you need to start with.(Shutterstock)
Gym Guide for Beginners: Want to lose weight? Or simply stay fit? Before you start going to a gym, let your fitness expert guide you through the best exercises you need to start with.(Shutterstock)

When you go to a gym for the first time, or even after a really long gap, your fellow gym-goers can give you the feeling that they’re on a highway to muscle mass and fitness while you are the newbie who’s just ‘struggling to get going’.

“You will notice people who seem to be torturing themselves and making alien noises, shuffling between so many machines that they could give Flash a run for his money. And there will be others just hanging out by the coffee bar. And that gets you thinking, they know it all, which is why they are here. Wrong! Most people don’t know what they are doing in the gym. Most of us are self conscious and pretending to hold it together,” opines Sanaa Vidyalankar, founder of Soul to Sole Fitness and Dance Hub, Delhi.

So that you don’t end up getting confused about what exercises to start off with, we lay out five basic routines for a gym newbie.

Warm Up

Warm up is absolutely essential, since you want your body and joints to be ready to tackle the exercises for the rest of your session.

Sanaa gives us an easy-to-follow warm up routine to start off with. Roll your head in half circles slowly, from shoulder to shoulder.

Slowly roll your shoulders forwards and backwards.

Keep your legs stationary, and twist your torso, left and right.

Benefits: Warm up helps increase the body temperature, which helps the muscles to contract more forcefully and also relax smoothly. Muscle elasticity also improves, due to which there is less risk of pulling or straining your muscles.

Quad and Hamstring Stretch

Now that you’re warmed up, move on to exercises that work out your entire body and make your time at the gym totally worth it.

Push ups are essential for upper body strength. (Shutterstock)
Push ups are essential for upper body strength. (Shutterstock)

Sanaa believes in the ‘rule of 10’, that is, do 10 push-ups and 10 bodyweight squats, and do this circuit 4 times. If you find it difficult to finish the entire routine, do not stress. It’s your first day, do it regularly and your strength and stamina shall build up.

Benefits: Push-ups work out your arms, abs and your lower body, all in one go.

Squatting helps in releasing testosterone and the human growth hormone, both of which aid in increasing muscle mass.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are an excellent exercise for the overall fitness, and can be a suitable replacement for skipping, in case you don’t have your skipping rope.

This is how you do jumping jacks:

Stand straight with your feet together and keep your hands at your sides.

Raise your arms over your head while jumping, and place your feet at the sides.

Get back to the first position.

Benefits: “Jumping jacks boost your heart rate. An increased heart rate causes the body to burn more calories and burn fat, which results in weight loss. By breathing deeply while performing jumping jacks, blood circulation is improved and oxygenates your blood and muscles,” says Arushi Verma, co-founder, Fitpass, Delhi.


The burpee is a full body workout that involves a lot of strength and is the ultimate of functional fitness. For beginners, this is how a burpee is done:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Push your hips back, and with bended knees, lower your body into squat position.

Put your hands on the floor right in front of your feet.

Jump lightly and land on the balls of your feet in the plank position. Jump back such that they land just out of your hands.

Put your arms over your head and jump.

Once you land back, get into the squat position for your next rep.

Benefits: With every rep, you’ll work your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs.


The plank is fast becoming an excellent exercise to test one’s strength and stamina. And if Milind Soman’s 78-year-old mother can do it for 80 seconds, so can you!

Get into the push-up position.

You need to bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest the weight on your forearms. Your elbows need to be directly underneath your shoulders, and you should form a straight line from your head to toe.

Hold on this position as long as you can. (One minute is pretty good for beginners).

Benefits: “The plank is one of the best exercises for core conditioning, but it also works your glutes and hamstrings, supports proper posture, and improves balance,” says Verma.

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