I used to watch girls in the gym who could lift massive weights or squat those huge barbells, and I would wonder: How did they get there? Were they ever as lazy as me? How long did it take for them to achieve such a warrior status? Close your eyes and imagine that old Disney movie , a story of a woman-disguised-as-a-man fearlessly fighting the Hun army in the stead of her injured father. She was a total badass. Often, we wish we could reach this pro status without taking the necessary journey. We want to jump right up to the barbell (or Hun army) and automatically execute it perfectly. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into reaching that level, and the best way to start is with beginner exercises.
Hey, Mulan didn’t start her military career as a trained warrior, she got there through practice and training. Remember Mushu? And even if you don’t have a tiny, opinionated dragon to train you, with these five beginner exercises, you can slowly build up the muscles that will make all future exercises a lot easier. If you needed any other motivation, listen to master instructor and founder of RKsolid Fitness Rebecca Kennedy,
Working out improves you mentally, physically and emotionally! Cardio increases serotonin and boosts your mood, keeps your heart healthy while strength training keeps your bones strong and prevents muscle loss as we get older. It is also incredibly empowering: Adding in exercise to your weekly routine creates a new relationship with your body, even the most basic.
And for those of you who haven’t legitimately moved before aside from the occasional walking, you can do these. Don’t be afraid. Don’t compare yourself to others. Here are five beginner exercises you can do now to make future exercises significantly easier.
Yes, twerking is an exercise. Nearly any form of dance is an exercise. As “Fit Chick” Selene Yeager clarifies, it’s good for your heart too, “A study in Circulation: Heart Failure found that people with cardiac conditions who danced for just 20 minutes three times a week saw their heart health improve significantly more than those who stuck to traditional cardio workouts.”
Mini twerks can be achieved by doing small squats up and down. The faster you do this, the more you’ll build those essential leg and glute muscles, and the more you’ll feel like Miley Cyrus.
Flamingo hops are super simple: These are done by simply running in place, with a little added hop. As fitness instructor and trained chef Andrea Cespedes asserts, the benefits to working out your legs are innumerable. You use your legs in nearly every exercise you do: running, dancing, yoga, spinning, etc. They are foundational to your workout routine.
This flamingo hop, in particular, is great for your quads, and will assist in future workouts like weighted lunges. Hold your hands up around your shoulders, to put some strain on the arms. Embrace the spirit of the flamingo.
Back Leg Kicks
This is one of the easiest exercises you can do, and you can do it pretty much anywhere. It’s also used in ballet. If you want to challenge your balance, do this without holding on to anything. But I’m lazier than that and held on to a chair.
As Certified Health Coach Amanda Rex makes clear, this basic movement can only do wonders to your butt, “This puts your hip into extension – the opposite of flexion, when you kick your leg out in front of you. Extension is one of the primary movements your glutes – especially the gluteus maximus – are responsible for.”
You can do these in a variety of poses as well. I chose to do it standing. One by one, lift your leg backward, as high up as it can go to burn those hamstrings.
I was especially lazy today and did these in my bed, so you know it’s not too bad. Why bicycle kick? As fitness instructor and professional chef Andrea Cespedes continues, “The move activates muscles of the abdomen better than 12 other exercises, including the traditional crunch, a crunch with your legs up in the air and several ab workout ‘machines.’ While no one abdominal exercise comprehensively addresses all the muscles of the abdomen, the bicycle crunch comes close.”
Lie down on your back, and kick your legs in a circular motion, just like riding a bike in midair. Absolutely great for building your abs, not to mention really getting your blood flowing.
If you don’t know who the Russian mystic Rasputin is, or haven’t played Just Dance 2, allow me to explain. This is a simple exercise but it’s good for strength-building. It can also be a dance move if you’re feeling risky at a party.
Start by extending your leg forward, toe pointed toward the sky. At the same time, lower down until you’re sitting on your opposite heel. Quickly switch legs, in a kicking motion.
If you find half an hour each day to do these exercises, your body will slowly become accustomed to the exertion of target muscle groups. Because of the ease of these, it might not seem like it at first, but each movement contributes to building the strength of the core. Just listen to Confucius who said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
There are also other simple ways to make all future exercises easier. Many people don’t notice that their daily intake of water is surprisingly low. According to the Mayo Clinic, men are advised to have an intake of 3.7 liters of fluids a day, and women are advised to have an intake 2.7 liters a day. Ladies, can you say you drink six water bottles full every day? So get on it!
Getting adequate amounts of sleep is also crucial to improving your body to make future exercises easier. WebMD states that “an average adult needs between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep per night.”
If you combine all these tactics and master said exercises, you’ll make exercise a lot easier for yourself in the future.