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If you’re just getting started exercising, a full-body workout for beginners that keeps it simple might just be a solid way into an exercise program. Working out can sound complicated, and can raise a ton of questions—should you have a dedicated leg day, do you need to do EMOMs, how the heck do you do a barbell deadlift—but it doesn’t need to be nearly that complex.
Enter: a full-body workout for beginners that hits all of your major muscles, includes just six exercises, and keeps the moves straight-forward and efficient. And you don’t even need any weights to get it done.
“Bodyweight exercises are very versatile, very convenient, and very important for everyday life,” ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, owner of Strong With Sivan, tells SELF. “Look at these moves as the basics, the ones that help you master foundational movement patterns, which will help you progress in more advanced exercises as you become more comfortable.”
In this workout Fagan created, you’ll be focusing on foundational movements for your upper body, lower body, and core. For your upper body, you’ll work the pushing movement with an incline push-up and a pulling movement with a Superman pull-down. You’ll also work on shoulder stability—an often-overlooked part of many workout plans that guards against injury and improves mobility—with the I-Y-T raise. You’ll use a unilateral (single-leg) squat variation with the reverse lunge and a horizontal hip extension exercise with the glute bridge to work your lower body. Then for your core, you’ll work it isometrically (without movement) with a high plank.
The exercises Fagan chose here also help you hone your mind-muscle connection, which is important as you continue to work out. This will make sure you’re engaging the muscles that should be working when you do a certain movement, rather than allowing other muscles swoop in and take over.
In this routine, you’ll be working with two trisets, which just means three exercises grouped together without rest. While the goal is to move from one to the next without resting, you should always feel free to take a breather if you need it, especially if you feel like your form is starting to falter.
Ready to get-started? Here’s what you need for a full-body workout for beginners that’s going to set you up for fitness success—both during this workout and down the line.
What you need: An exercise mat for comfort and a sturdy box or low step.
- Glute bridge
- Incline push-up
- I-Y-T raise
- Alternating reverse lunge
- Superman pull-down
- High plank
- In Triset 1, complete 12-15 reps of the first two exercises, and then 6-8 reps per letter of the I-Y-T raise. Complete 2-3 rounds total. Rest for 1-2 minutes after all rounds are completed.
- In Triset 2, complete 12-15 reps per side of the first exercise and 12-15 reps of the second. Hold the high plank for 30-60 seconds. Complete 2-3 rounds total.
Demoing the moves below are Nikki Pebbles (GIF 1), an AFAA- and NCCPT-certified personal trainer and group fitness trainer based in New York City; Amanda Wheeler (GIF 2), a certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-founder of Formation Strength; Erica Gibbons (GIF 3 and 6), a California-based personal trainer and graduate student becoming licensed as a marriage and family therapist; Delise Johnson (GIF 4), CEO and strength coach at Wellness and Weights; and Cookie Janee (GIF 4), a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Force Reserve.