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If you’re looking to get started strength training, a beginner workout at home without equipment is a great jumping off point. That’s because working with just your bodyweight allows you to familiarize yourself with the moves before you add external resistance like dumbbells, kettlebells, or bands to the mix.

“Bodyweight is still resistance,” ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, owner of Strong with Sivan in Baltimore, tells SELF. “The fact that you don’t have external resistance doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be intense—especially if you are doing the movement properly and under control.”

Mastering the moves first is important, she says, because if you add weight too soon, you might end up working muscles that actually aren’t supposed to be the main drivers in the exercises, which can leave you vulnerable to strain or injury. Take the glute bridge, for instance: You can load these up with dumbbells, barbells, or other kinds of weight, but if you don’t know how to stabilize your spine and pelvis first—something referred to as lumbopelvic control—you may end up overworking your lower back instead of using your hips or glutes to complete the move.

If you’re looking to get in a full-body workout, you should make sure that you’re hitting all the major parts of your body, says Fagan: quads, hamstrings, core, back, chest, and shoulders.

The beginner workout at home without equipment below does that with just four moves—you’ll be working your quads with a lunge, your hamstrings and glutes with a glute bridge, your chest (and shoulder stability) with a push-up, and your back with a Superman variation.

While this workout is great for a beginner, exercisers who are more advanced can enjoy it too, with just a couple of tweaks (see below). Here’s what you need to get started.

The Workout

What you need: An exercise mat for comfort and a box or a step

The Exercises

  • Forward lunge
  • Hands-elevated push-up
  • Glute bridge
  • Superman with pull-down

Directions

  • Complete 10–15 reps of each exercise in circuit fashion, going from one to the next without resting. After finishing all four, rest for 1–2 minutes. Complete 4 rounds total.

Forward Lunge

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands at your sides or clasped in front of your chest. This is the starting position.
  • Step forward (about 2 feet) with your left foot, and plant it firmly on the floor. If your hands were at your sides, bring them in front of your chest as you do so.
  • Bend both knees to create two 90-degree angles with your legs. Your chest should be upright and your torso should be slightly forward so that your back is flat and not arched or rounded forward. Your left quad should be parallel to the floor and your left knee should be above your left foot. Your butt and core should be engaged.
  • Push through your left foot to return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.
  • Complete 10–15 reps and then switch sides.

Hands-Elevated Push-Up

  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a low box or step and assume a high plank position with your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders in a straight line. Brace your core and keep your elbows tucked in close to the sides of your torso. This is the starting position.
  • Bend your elbows and pull shoulder blades together to lower your chest to the box.
  • Press through your palms to straighten your arms back to starting position. This is 1 rep.
  • Complete 10–15 reps.

Glute Bridge

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor hip-width apart, and arms at your sides. This is the starting position.
  • Squeeze your glutes and abs, and push through your heels to lift your hips a few inches off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Hold for a second and then slowly lower your hips to return to the starting position. This is 1 rep.
  • Complete 10–15 reps.

 

Superman With Pull-Down

  • Lie face down on the floor with your arms at shoulder height and elbows bent to 90 degrees, so your shape roughly resembles a goalpost.
  • From this position, engage your core and upper back as you lift your shoulders, arms, and chest off the floor. At the same time, squeeze your glutes and lift your feet off the floor as well. Be mindful to not crunch your lower back as you lift. This move is not about flexibility; it’s a strength move.
  • From this lifted position, gaze down toward the floor to keep your neck in a neutral position with your spine. Extend both of your hands overhead, then pull your shoulder blades back to pull your arms back to their goalpost position.
  • Exhale as you lower back to the floor. This is 1 rep.
  • Complete 10–15 reps.

 

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