8 Basic Exercises For Beginners

If you are just starting off with a commitment to exercise regularly, welcome to a whole new world that’s about to open up for you. This can truly be one of the most beneficial decisions you make for yourself and for the health of your body.

Naturally the most difficult part of the entire process will be getting started and sticking with the routine beyond the first month. But you’ve taken the first step by reading this article which shows you’re willing to take the initiative to work on your fitness.

With that being said, since everyone is in different shape and condition, the exercises listed below may or may not be difficult for you to complete. Regardless, these exercises will help develop leg, core, shoulder, arm, and back strength. Once you increase your strength and stamina, you will find more activities and sports becoming possible options for you to take up since you will be in better physical condition.

8 Basic Exercises For Beginners

Here are some basic exercises for beginners to help you build a good foundation, however if you haven’t worked out in a long time, it’s advised to check first with your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to handle the increase in physical exertion.

Below you will find a list of 8 basic exercises along with descriptions, and lastly two different workout routines tying all of the exercises together. One routine will be easier and the other a little more intense. However, once you are comfortable doing the exercises with the proper form and decent endurance feel free to create your own routines.

*Before doing any type of exercise, always take the time to stretch and warmup properly.

Jumping Jacks 

Targets: legs, core, arms

Proper Form: Standing straight with arms at your side, slightly jump moving legs apart a bit more than shoulder width and at the same time swing both arms overhead to where they touch. Then once your hands connect, you slightly jump closing legs and bringing hands back down to your sides the way you began the exercise. That’s one complete jumping jack. These are more enjoyable to do when it’s to the rhythm of an upbeat song.

High Knees 

Targets: legs, core

Proper Form: Standing comfortably, legs slightly apart this exercise is just like running in place but your goal is to lift your knees as close to waist level as possible. You can keep your hands (palms facing down) in front of you as a target for your knees to hit. This exercise stays in place, you shouldn’t be moving forward or backward. Start slow and don’t worry if you can’t bring your knees all the way up to your palms yet. Begin where it is comfortable for you and increase as you practice.

Butt Kicks 

Targets: legs

Proper Form: Starting position is just like the High Knees exercise but this time you will be running in place with each foot going back attempting to kick your behind – just like the name says. This exercise also stays in relatively the same place since you shouldn’t be moving forward or backward. Another great warm-up exercise to get the body moving and sweat going.


Targets: back, shoulders, arms

Proper Form: Arms shoulder width apart flat on the ground, fingers comfortably spread facing forward. Legs extended out behind you and keep the back as straight as possible. Try not to arch or sag your butt. Think “straight board”. Bend at the elbows and go down until your face is hovering right above the floor. Once there, you push back up back to the starting position.

Helpful Trick: If you do not have the upper body strength to do push-ups at this time, start with your knees on the ground. Great way to begin developing the muscles you will need. After doing these for a couple of weeks, then start trying push-ups in the correct form.


Targets: core, shoulders, arms, legs

Proper Form: Similar to push-up position however with the plank you are down on your elbows the entire time. Keep your core and glutes (butt) tight and straight. It is really important to maintain proper form with this exercise. You will notice when you start to tire, either your back/butt will start sagging lower, or you will begin to arch your back more.

Mountain Climbers 

Targets: core, legs, arms, shoulders

Proper Form: Begin in push-up position and with one leg at a time bring one forward as far as possible towards your chest, then move it back to the starting position and switch to the other leg. Imagine you are climbing up a steep mountain, that’s how it should look, except this mountain right now is the floor. Be sure to maintain correct form as you do this exercise. Try not to arch your back or stick your behind (butt) way up in the air. You will notice this starting to happen when you are get tired and/or out of breath. Try to always maintain correct form and posture for any and all exercises you do.


Targets: legs, glutes (butt), core

Proper Form: It’s very important to maintain proper form with this exercise so you don’t hurt your back or knees. Standing with your legs shoulder width apart you are going to squat down into a sitting position. Keeping your back erect, body weight centered (not leaning forward) and stick your butt out behind you a bit. At first it may feel a bit odd and slightly uncomfortable until you get used to the movement. Once you squat down to a sitting position you stand up until your legs are straight. Take this exercise slow and steady focusing on the correct form.


Targets: legs, core

Proper Form: This is a great exercise targeting each leg one at a time. Stand with arms on waist or crossed at the chest, keep your upper body straight and centered. Step forward with one leg bending at the knee until it forms an L shape. Your back leg should be bent with that knee close to touching the ground. Keep your body weight centered over the leg lunging, you should not be leaning forward or backward. Once you lunge forward on one leg, step back to starting position and switch to lunge with the other leg. Take you time, the slower the better.


Putting It All Together

The following two routines tie all 8 basic exercises for beginners into one fluid activity. Be sure to stretch and warm-up before starting either of these routines. Allow yourself enough space in your home or out in the backyard to move around a bit. It also helps if you put on your favorite energetic music to help inspire you to stick with the entire routine. Take your time and don’t push yourself too hard. Remember, exercise plays an important role in living a healthy life so there is no rush. Just consistent exercise week after week.

Beginner Exercise Routine 


20 Jumping Jacks

20 High Knees

20 Butt Kicks

10 Squats

8 Lunges (each leg)

6 Push-ups

20 Mountain Climbers

20 second Plank hold

rest 1 minute

repeat 2 more times

Intermediate Exercise Routine


40 Jumping Jacks

40 High Knees

40 Butt Kicks

20 Squats

10 Push-ups

12 Lunges (each leg)

10 Push-ups

40 Mountain Climbers

45 second Plank hold

rest 1 minute

repeat 2 more times

Author: Gregory L Gomez@EzineArticles