Navigating the gym can be not only confusing, but also intimidating — especially if you don’t know what to do when you get there. Instead of exclusively exercising on the cardio machines, venture further into the gym and diversify your workouts with strength-training exercises. To get started, follow Pipe Dream’s beginner-friendly full-body workout plan.
Spend 10 to 15 minutes on your favorite cardio machine.
Exercise: Lat pull-down
Muscle targeted: latissimus dorsi
To begin, adjust the leg pad on the pull-down machine so it rests snugly on your thighs. Pick a weight that’s comfortable for you and make sure the pin is secure. Next, (a) reach up and grab the bar, with your fingernails facing forward and your grip wider than your shoulders. (b) Pull your arms down, drawing your elbows down and in toward your sides, before slowly extending your arms back to the top. Repeat eight to 12 times to complete one set, rest and do two to four more sets.
Exercise: Weighted hip thrusts
Muscles targeted: gluteus maximus, hamstrings
Select a barbell that’s a comfortable weight for you. Begin resting your shoulders on a flat bench with your shoulders, hips and knees in a straight line and your feet in front of you. Keep your feet hip width apart and your knees over your ankles. Engage your core and tuck your pelvis under to maintain a flat back. (a) Place the barbell across your hips. (b) Without arching your spine, drop your hips toward the floor and then squeeze your glutes to bring your hips back to the top. Repeat eight to 12 times to complete one set, rest and do two to four more sets. This exercise can also be done without the weight if you feel the weight is too much.
Exercise: Overhead tricep extension
Muscle targeted: triceps
Grab one dumbbell that’s a comfortable weight for you. Begin standing with your feet under your hips, your core engaged and your pelvis tucked under to maintain a flat back. Holding on to one end of the dumbbell, (a) bring your arms overhead with your wrists in line with your forearms and your elbows pointing forward and squeezing toward your head. (b) Bend at your elbows until your forearms become parallel with the floor and extend back to the top. Repeat eight to 12 times to complete one set, rest and do two to four more sets.
Exercise: Elevated lunges
Muscles targeted: gluteus maximus, quadriceps
Stand in front of, but facing away from, an elevated platform. Bring one foot behind you and place your toes on the platform. (a) Step your other foot forward, so your knee is over your ankle. Keeping your weight in your back toe, (b) drop your back knee down into a lunge, and squeeze your glutes to return to a standing position. Repeat five to eight times to complete one set, rest and do two to four more sets.
Exercise: Outer thigh squeeze
Muscle targeted: abductors
(a) Take a seat on the outer thigh machine and adjust the footrests so your thighs are together. Pick a weight that’s comfortable for you and make sure the pin is secure. Keeping your core engaged, (b) push your knees out as wide as they can comfortably go, before slowly returning them to the middle. Repeat eight to 12 times to complete one set, rest and do two to four more sets.