Many women starting an exercise program are walking into a gym for the first time, or the first time in a very long time. How do they feel when they walk out? In many cases, they may walk out feeling defeated, incapable of keeping up, or even injured trying to keep up beyond their ability. What I love about Kaia is the commitment to making every woman feeling successful, every workout, no matter their fitness level.
Women who are new to exercise must be given exercises appropriate for just starting out. These exercises will prepare their joints for the heavier loads to come. The right exercises will provide stability and strength to the joints. The right exercises will improve awareness of the mechanics of movement and muscle activation. If given appropriate exercises, beginners will leave our classes not only injury free but feeling successful and prepped for the harder work to come. Basics before Burpees!
General rules for beginners:
- Do not load exercises with weights until movement can be executed properly. Begin with body weight.
- Beginners may start with only 1 set of an exercise. Allow them permission to rest when needed and to only complete 1 round rather than 2 or 3.
- Beginners are in the cognitive phase of learning. Movement takes a lot of thought and must be controlled consciously. Movements are slow, inconsistent, and inefficient in this cognitive stage. The goal is to practice and move to the autonomous phase where movements are accurate, consistent, efficient, and automatic.
Here are 7 Exercises that prep beginners for success:
- CHAIR SQUAT or BOX SQUAT
Using a Chair or a higher Box that is similar to chair height, stand a few inches away from the chair/box. Slowly lower hips back toward the box or chair until seated. When seated knees and hips should be 90 degrees. Posture is upright. Using the hips and not the knees, stand back up out of the chair/box to an upright posture. If the client does not have the strength to stand on their own, they may use their hands on the chair/box to assist themselves up. Gradually progress to standing without the assistance of their hands. Focus on upright posture throughout the movement. Chest faces the mirror throughout the movement.
*When movement can be executed with accuracy, graduate to a TRX Squat which will again teach the proper squat technique before progressing to a body weight squat.
- WALL PUSH-UP
Facing a wall, stand arm’s length from the wall. Place hands on the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width distance. Keeping the body in a plank position and moving as one solid unit, bend the elbows and lower entire body toward the wall. Keep feet firmly planted on the ground. Push away from the wall to return to starting position. For many beginners a push up on the floor is very challenging and is not executed well. A wall push-up, or push-up on the barre, or even on a higher box gives them the chance to practice stabilizing the body and the scapula before they have the load of their entire body weight on their upper body. Have them focus on keeping their spine and hips stable throughout the movement.
*When movement can be executed with accuracy, gradually progress to a lower surface until eventually reaching the floor.
- SEATED RESISTANCE BAND ROWS
Wrap a resistance band around a barre, pole, or have a partner hold one end of the band. While seated on a chair or box, have the client grab the handles of the band with arms extended in front of the body at shoulder height. Sitting with erect posture, begin with the movement of the scapula. Retract the scapula toward the center of the spine and then follow with the elbows bending and pull elbows beyond the spine. Slowly release the arms back to starting position, controlling the band. Focus on activation of the muscles between the scapula.
*When movement can be executed with accuracy, progress client to perform in an upright standing position with the resistance band.
- RESISTANCE BAND BICEPS CURLS
Standing with one foot on the center of the band, grasp the handles in each hand, palms up. Keeping the elbows pulled to the sides of the body, straighten arms all the way to the bottom. From the fully straightened position, bend elbows as pull up on the band to the fully shortened position. Use the full range of motion. Slowly bring the arms back down to the fully straightened position. Use the biceps to control the band back to the starting position. Using the resistance bands versus dumbbells for a beginner can teach the proper movement without having to separately balance a dumbbell in each hand.
*When movement can be executed with accuracy, progress to dumbbell biceps curls.
- MEDICINE BALL NARROW TRICEPS PRESS
Lie on back with knees bent. Hold lightweight medicine ball above chest with elbows held tight to the sides. Press the ball straight up over chest by extending the elbows. Use the triceps to extend the arms and to lower the ball back to the chest. Keep elbows pulled into sides throughout the movement.
*When movement can be executed with accuracy, progress to a standing overhead triceps extension with the medicine ball or 1 dumbbell.
Lying on back with arms extended toward feet, palms down. Bend the knees and place heels of feet at tips of fingers. Using the gluteal and hamstrings muscles, pull the hips off the floor until knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line. Contract the glutes and hamstrings as strong as you can. Use those same muscles to slowly lower your hips back to the floor.
*When movement can be executed with accuracy, progress to adding a weight on the hips or placing feet up onto a box.
7. ABDOMNAL TUCKS AND CRUNCHES
Lie on back with arms extended at your sides, palms down, and knees bent. Using the abdominal muscles, lift shoulders off the floor as hands slide forward on the ground as far as you can go. Slowly lower shoulders all the way back to the floor. Now, using the abdominal muscles, tilt the pelvis toward the rib cage with a tuck motion and release. Repeat the Crunch followed by the tuck.
*When movement can be executed with accuracy, progress to a combination of the crunch and tuck at the same time, or even a full sit up.
Beginners can perform the above 7 exercises in a circuit with 10 reps of each exercise for 1-3 circuits depending on their ability.
Good luck, and come in a try a Kaia near you for FREE today!
Coach Heather, M.S.