Beginners Guide to Gym Exercises

4 min read

We don’t know about you but September feels as much of a fresh start as January does. That whole ‘back to school’ feeling is infectious and frankly, we are here for it. We may not have had the most indulgent summer  in terms of travel, festivals or parties (or maybe you have), but one thing is for sure, now is a great opportunity to learn and try new things.

If that thing for you is the gym, We've asked one of our experts, Dottie, to share all the tips on which exercises you should be doing and why, to help you on your quest. Read on for more!

6 Movement Patterns

A common and very logical way to approach exercise is to start with the six foundations of movement patterns that our body can create. These are: Hinge, Twist,  Squat, Lunge, Push and Pull.

If you want to do a simple full body workout with machines or weights, then combining these movements is a brilliant way to start. There are a huge variety of each of these to choose from, so I have picked out what I believe are the easiest and most effective ones to help you  plan your workout.

1. Hinge  

Probably the most complicated in regards to technique and setup so I’ll start here. Similar to a door frame, I want you to place that on your hips: Hinging forwards with your torso and returning to upright again. That in itself is it!

A ‘Romanian Deadlift’ is the perfect demonstration of this and using a barbell means you can add resistance to get stronger in this movement pattern.

A few top tekkers tips: Make sure to keep your shoulders back and down for good posture. Knees should be straight but not locked.

The barbell wants to stay as close to your legs as possible (imagine you’re shaving your legs with it!) And finally, only take the bar down low enough to where your hamstrings will allow.

2. Twist  

Twist/Rotate is an especially functional movement pattern that is great to include your exercise routine. Think about when you need to get something that’s out of reach,  or you’re in a narrow space and need to turn around.

The easiest and most accessible exercise for this would be the ‘Russian Twist’; an excellent core strengthening exercise that targets your obliques (waistline muscles).

Starting sat down on the floor with your feet out in front at hip width, knees stay bent as you lean away slightly. Holding a medicine ball, dumbbell or kettlebell, rotate your torso, turning your shoulders to look right and left.  

3. Squat  

Need I say more?! An incredibly valuable movement that hosts many variations, so I thought I’d take you over to the machines to replicate this on the ‘Leg Press’.

Essentially we want to look at bending from the hips and knees, ensuring it’s safe and effective. Foot position is key here so as you sit down make sure you place them on the  push plate hip width apart.

If you have tight hips or knee issues you may wish to create  a larger than 90’ angle at your knees here. Driving the plate away with your heels, once  you reach full extension of your legs, do not ‘lock’ your knees.

4. Lunge  

A squats best friend! Again, it’s all about creating those angles. 90/90 to be specific.

A great variation to try is an alternating reverse lunge and load up on resistance by  using two kettlebells or dumbbells! By holding your weights on your shoulders in a ‘front rack’ position, this will work your core that little bit harder as you transition your weight backwards and forwards in the lunge.

Top tip: Imagine your feet are on two train  tracks, as you step back into your lunge, make sure your feet stay ‘on the tracks’, i.e.  hip width apart in order to not create a too narrow or too wide stance.

5. Push  

Push it real good with a dumbbell bench press! Focussing more towards the upper body on this exercise, a bench press targets your chest, triceps and shoulders.

Find  a bench to lay back on, using a pair of dumbbells you essentially push these away from you, joining them together at the top and return to starting position.

Again, with the angles, think about the elbow going out at a 45’ angle and not laterally at 90’. The dumbbells ideally want to go from the outside of your chest (right near your armpit), joining each other at the top as you extend your elbows.

6. Pull  

Last, but certainly not least is pull. Working coherently with push, this exercise  will focus on your lats, biceps and traps.

A seated ‘Lat Pull Down’ machine is the perfect entry to all pull movements and not one to miss! Using a wide, long bar, the idea is to use your lats (the sides of your back) to pull downwards.

Ensure you do this properly by dropping your shoulders down away from your ears first before you start to bend the  elbows. A couple of things to make sure you’re not doing are; keep your feet flat on the floor and knees bent and keep your torso stable and in control aka, no swinging!

So there you have it! Six wonderful, compound and effective exercises for you to have a go at in your next workout. Full Body - Tick!

Still want a little extra advice? Head over to our Goal Getters Instagram page and Dottie has done videos to show every exercise. Save as your gym saviours!