Exercising at home is, hopefully, something you’ve been thinking about while sat on the sofa, pawing at your doughy middle.
Of course, you could clear away the coffee table to create space. Sure you could get up 15 minutes earlier and squeeze in some exercise at home before work. Absolutely you could stock your new home gym with some muscle building essentials. But then what? With MH’s help, taking your first steps towards fitness needn’t be daunting.
Below is our collection of the best beginner’s exercise at home, coupled with an explanation of what makes that move useful. Have a read and use the exercises to create a bespoke workout that fits your nascent training goals without leaving the house. Good luck.
How to do it: Get down into a press-up position with your hands placed shoulder-width apart and back flat, so a straight line forms from your head to heels, via your glutes. Lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground then explosively drive up by fully extending your arms. That’s on rep.
Why: This move uses multiple muscle groups for maximum growth and strengthens your shoulder joints. Easily done as an exercise at home, this prepares you for progression to the more demanding shoulder exercises you’ll face in a gym, like the incline bench press.
Dumbbell standing shoulder press
How to do it: Stand holding two dumbbells at shoulder height with an overhand grip – palms facing forwards. Ensure your elbows are in front of the bar and don’t flare out to the sides. Press the weights up above your head until your arms are fully extended. Return slowly to the start position.
Why: This is a safer shoulder-sculptor than lifting from behind your neck. As a beginner the aim should be to keep strain off your joints and protect against an injury called shoulder impingement syndrome. Missed sessions this early in your lifting career are especially costly.
How to do it: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, position your legs shoulder width apart. Keeping your head up and back straight, sit back into the squat until the dumbbells are an inch from the floor. Focus on keeping your knees over your toes and chest out – don’t arch your back or lean forward as you drop down. Exhale, straighten your legs and return to the starting position.
Why: Squats are an excellent all-round exercise and one of the best moves for building overall strength. Dumbbells let you concentrate on technique and work on your range of movement at low weight. Only advance to barbell squats in the gym once you’ve got this nailed.
How to do it: Grab a heavy dumbbell in each hand – think half your bodyweight – and hold them at your sides. Stand up tall with your shoulders back and walk forward as quickly as you can using short steps.
Why: Super simple with no need to worry about technique, this move hits your shoulder stabilisers, upper traps and front deltoids. It also supercharges your grip strength, which will transfer strength to your other lifts too.