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18 Feb 2019 - News

Beginners Full Body Weights Routine

New to resistance training and don’t know where to start? Try out this easy to follow full body beginner level programme that covers all the key strength building movements.

Resistance machines are a great place to start out for a beginner when starting the journey into strength training however at some stage you will want to progress on to doing free weight exercises and increase the challenge on your body.

Done correctly, consistently and with the right adaptations and progressions you should expect to see improvements in strength, mobility, co-ordination, muscle tone, body composition, joint function, bone density, flexibility and general fitness.

This routine centres around 8 key movements – Squat, Lift, Press, Pull, Push, Lunge, Rotate and Carry.

Progressions or regressions can be achieved through manipulating one or more of the following variables – volume, frequency, intensity and recovery.

Volume = Number of sets and reps/time performed per exercise

Frequency = Number of times the session is performed per week

Intensity = Weight used and/or progression of exercise

Recovery = Time spent resting

For example to make easier you could introduce longer recoveries or reduce the work time (volume) per exercise.  To make harder you could do the opposite introduce a heavier weight or a harder variation (intensity) on the exercises.

Below is a guide on progression from week to week.

Week 1 – 2 set of 40secs per exercise with 60secs rest between.  2 x Per Week

Week 2 – 3 sets of 40secs per exercise with 40secs rest between. 2 x Per Week

Week 3 – 3 sets of 40secs per exercise with 20secs rest between. 3 x Per Week

Week 4 – 4 Sets of 40secs per exercises with 20secs rest between. 3 x Per Week


Goblet Squat (Option to do Heels Elevated)

  • Key Muscles – Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, Core
  • The squat is a fundamental strength building exercise that will challenge not only the legs but also the trunk musculature as well.  A great bang for buck exercise that gets the heart and lungs working as well as the muscles.
  • Position feet roughly hip width apart with feet slightly turned out.
  • Focus on keeping a tall and long spine, lengthen.
  • Weight should be mid/rear foot where you feel most balanced
  • Keep an even weight on both feet
  • As you squat down focus on moving through the hip, feet must remain flat and in contact with the floor
  • Elbows must point downwards, look to squat full range, knees tracking mid toes
  • As you squat up press down through the heels evenly on both sides, maintaining correct spinal posture and without the body popping forwards or to the sides
  • Regression would be to do BW only, progression via load or variation of exercise.


  • Key Muscles: Mid to Upper Back, Core, Biceps
  • This is a great entry-level exercise that focuses on the retraction of the shoulder blades under tension.  Great for helping to address postural issues at the shoulder and neck.
  • Set up roughly 45 degrees with a straight line from shoulder through to ankle.
  • Do not over extend hips
  • As you row look to pull from the back of the shoulder initially and retract the shoulder blades as you pull.
  • At the top of the rep you should feel tension in your mid to upper back muscles.
  • Lower under control maintaining a neutral spine and with no bouncing.
  • To regress step away from the wall so the load is less, to progress step closer so you’re set up position is lower and resistance greater.

Hip Hinge

  • Key Muscles – Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower Back, Core, Hip Flexors
  • Also known as the Romanian Deadlift the hip hinge drill is a must exercise to learn as teaches core/spinal control and improves hip mobility
  • Feet should be shoulder width, toes pointing forward, take a slight bend at the knee to start and focus on moving/flexing slowly from the hip without any further bending from the knee
  • Keep the stick very close to your body/legs and stop once you have achieved your full range (usually between knee cap and mid shin depending on flexibility), tension should be on the hamstring muscles throughout and not the lower back.
  • As you pull the bar back to the top focus on using your hips (hip extension), pull the hips forward and keep arms straight while maintaining correct spinal alignment.
  • Avoid hyperextending at the top, we don’t want to pull the weight up with the lumbar and extend through the back we want to pull with the hip extensor muscles only (glutes and hamstrings)
  • Progression through load and/or variation of exercise.  Regression to a stick or bodyweight.

Push Up

  • Key Muscles – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Core
  • An often underrated and badly performed exercise that is great for building core strength.  The Press-up is effectively a moving plank.
  • Hands should be set shoulder width apart, your head and hands should represent a triangle with the head being the tip of that triangle
  • Hips in line with shoulders with pelvis tucked under to engage the core and glutes.
  • Go full range, Nose to floor, try to maintain the same spinal alignment from top to bottom and back to the top again
  • Keep tension on the core muscles throughout the lift.
  • This video shows 3 options – Full Press Up, Intermediate Press Up where you perform the eccentric phase from the toes and the concentric from the knees and a off the knees press up.  Further progressions would be to a full press with the toes raised, a further regression would be to raise hands on to a low step while staying on the knees.

Prisoner Lunges 

  • Key Muscles – Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, Core
  • An exercise that will train both sides of the body, great for co-ordination, balance and mobility.
  • Keep upright, front knee should be tracking toes, toes pointing forward, head in neutral, hands behind head
  • Keep feet hip width apart, try not to cross the midline
  • Go full range aiming to take the knee to the floor.
  • Progression would be to add load or to vary the exercise (ie multi-plane lunges).  Only when full range is comfortably achieved for all reps should load be added.  To regress bring hands by your side and or do a reverse lunge instead.

Split Stance DB Shoulder Press

  • Key Muscles – Deltoids, Core
  • Pressing overhead builds functional strength in the shoulder joint, a common everyday movement is lifting or reaching for something overhead.  This exercise will challenge your stabilisers such as your core and rotator cuff muscles
  • Feet shoulder width apart, palms facing away in a overhand grip
  • Slight bend at hips and knees, on the back leg really try to engage your glute, try to maintain this posture throughout the lift, do not lean back (alternatively you can try a neutral foot position)
  • Press from the shoulder to a straight arm (full range), elbow should be under the wrist at all times
  • Progression and regression via load (if restrictions are noticeable overhead regress to an incline db chest press instead).

Cable Core Rotations

  • Key Muscles – Core
  • This exercise improves core stability, rotational strength and co-ordination
  • Feet in a neutral stance
  • Chin tucked, neutral pelvis
  • Draw a semi circle around the front of your body keeping the arms long with a slight bend in the elbow – do not allow the elbows to change angle as you rotate
  • Rotation will occur at the spine and hips, try to keep your head still and in the centre of your body throughout the lift – no leaning to the side
  • On the way back (eccentric phase) keep your balance, core tight and return the weight under control with no sudden movements

Weight Carry

  • Key Muscles – everything
  • Otherwise known as a farmers walk this is a great exercise for improving both cardiovascular fitness and strength.  Very functional in the sense that most of us will encounter periods in our week where we are required to carry things, sometimes very heavy things short or in other cases longer distances.   Also great for grip strength, cardiovascular fitness and co-ordination of movement.
  • Using a similar posture to that shown in the squat pick up two weights (fairly light to start) and carry them forward keeping a long and tall posture throughout.
  • Do not lean back, you want to drive your body forward
  • Arms stay straight at all times
  • Grip the floor with your feet as you move with a good heel toe action for optimal use of the glutes and to create more powerful strides as you walk.

For more info on the exercises and to book a 1-2-1 personal training session please contact us via email at personaltraining@barrystephen.com

Always get clearance from your doctor first before participating in a new training programme.