Fitness Friday: Beginners Fitness

Welcome to the third post in the Fitness Friday series, you can read the first two here – Fitness Friday: Inspiration & Fitness Friday: Stretching & Rolling.

A productive and effective fitness routine has a strong foundation in basic movements. Body weight exercises and moves that emphasize your core give your body overall strength and develop the building blocks that it needs to easily pick up new moves.

Another bonus of these types of movements is that they can be done anywhere – At home, on vacation, in a hotel during a business trip. Doing a few sets of some, or all, of these exercises is a great way to prevent injuries, keep your core engaged, and build overall strength.

I incorporate all of these movements into my gym routine each week. Some of them I’ve picked up from blogs or magazines over the years, while others were introduced to me by doctors, trainers, or physical therapists while I was injured.


{Capri pants, tank top & sports bra courtesy of Lorna Jane // Shoes from Brooks}


A traditional plank is great for engaging your core. Begin on your forearms, toes under, body tight & straight – Try holding this position for 15 seconds. After you can do 2-3 sets of 15 seconds, increase the duration to 30 seconds, then 45, then 60. After you’ve mastered the forearm plank you can move up to your hands and begin the progression listed above again.

I do planks & side planks 2-3 times a week (3×60) and add in toe-tapping and plank jacks once or twice a week depending on my programming & goals.

Exercises to try: {In order of difficulty}



Not only are lunges are one of the best moves that you can do to build lower body strength, but they can be done anywhere and upgraded with simple changes & the addition of weight.

Bored in a hotel room? Do a few laps of walking lunges. Want to increase leg power? Add 3 sets of 15 lunges (each leg) to your workouts three times a week.

Important Tip: Make sure that your knee does not cross in front of your toes when you’re in the lunge position. Use a mirror at the gym if needed, but save your knees and make sure your front foot is placed far enough forward.

Lunges To Try:



One of the first exercises that my trainer in college taught me and the first move that my physical therapist added to my routine when I reinjured my back is the quadruped. This exercise is extremely effective for building up strength in your core and does a great job of engaging the smaller muscles when you stabilize yourself to hold the position.

Start by lifting your right arm and left leg, keep your abdomen tight, do not arch your back, hold for a moment, and release. Repeat ten times on each side for three rounds. Then fifteen, then twenty.

Want to make up the level of difficulty even more? Try adding ankle weights!

Related Reading: Beginners Fitness: Medicine Balls & Beginners Fitness: Kettlebells

What’s YOUR go-to exercise at the gym?

{Disclaimer: Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet you should consult a physician}


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