Essential Exercises for Starting at the Gym

When we start out at the gym, it can be daunting to see very athletic people everywhere, huge machines and people with a lot of experience. However, with just a little information and advice beforehand, it's just a matter of getting started with your workout. Here are some essential exercises for starting at the gym!
Essential Exercises for Starting at the Gym

Last update: 24 November, 2018

If you’re thinking of starting at the gym or if you’ve already started, keep these exercises in mind. They will help guide you in your first weeks of training. If you know about these essential exercises for starting at the gym, you will have an idea about what’s to come.

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In the beginning, you should stay calm. First and foremost: remember that everyone, even the most muscular people you see, had their first day at some point. It’s hardly something that should embarrass you and it’s totally normal to look to them and challenge yourself to reach their level if you so desire.

The first step in this process will be to adapt to training in the gym. With this purpose in mind, we will introduce to you some essential exercises for starting at the gym. Take a look and be sure to include them in your first workout.

Five essential exercises for starting at the gym

Of course, all of these exercises should be done under the supervision of a trainer or gym manager. You’ll avoid using bad form or taking on too much weight, which will only waste your time or cause serious injury.

If you have never worked out or haven’t done so for many years, we recommend starting with other types of exercisesThis way, your muscles can adapt to the movements. If this is your case, you should talk to a trainer before doing anything.

On the other hand, if you’re in shape from working out or performing sports, these exercises can help get you off to a good start.

1. Squats

This is a fundamental exercise for working your legs. You can use a bar–with no weight at first–or dumbbells. There are also specialized machines you can use; you should use whichever one is most comfortable for you, at least until you can perfect the technique.

Woman doing squats outside on grass essential exercises for starting

Squats consist of lowering the torso while bending both knees. If possible, your thighs should be parallel to the ground or surpassing this line. You need to keep your back straight and look straight ahead. If you arch your back, you could soon have back or neck injuries.

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2. Bench press

When it’s time to work your chest, this is a popular exercise. Surely you know how it works? Lay down, face up, on a bench and, starting from your chest, lift the bar up until your arms are straight.

Man doing bench press essential exercises for starting at the gym

Just as with the squats, we recommend that beginners start with just a bar, and no weights. Due to this being a movement that’s not entirely natural for your body, it could take a couple of days before you achieve the proper stability for working with weights.

3. Bicep curl

This is one of the most essential exercises for starting at the gym. It works your biceps, one of the main interests of any individual concerned about their appearance.

One advantage is that it’s relatively easy to learn how to do. Additionally, there are several ways of doing it: standing, sitting on a bench–with or without a backrest to support your back and arms–with a bar or dumbbells, alternating or simultaneous.

Again, it’s best to start with low weight dumbbells. As you progress, increase the difficulty with more weight and by varying the number of repetitions and sets. All, of course, under the supervision of a trainer.

4. Chest or behind the neck pulldowns

This is a phenomenal workout for your back and shoulders. In addition to having many uses, a high pulley is a machine that allows you to easily regulate the weight. At the same time, the technique you need to use is quite simple.

How do you use it? You simply sit down on the bench and lock your feet in the foot cradles in the front. Then, stretch out a little in order to take hold of the bar and sit down again, bringing the bar to the nape of your neck.

Finally, let the bar lift up until your arms are straight, then pull it back down again. 

5. Bicycle, stair climber or elliptical

Apart from strength training, trainers usually dedicate between 15 to 20 minutes at the end of a session to complete a cardio exercise. So, get used to the idea of pedaling a little before you leave the gym.

The stair climber and the elliptical are other alternatives. You can have a different type of cardio exercise for each day of the week so you don’t get bored.

Girl on elliptical at gym

Lastly, it’s necessary to point out that when starting any type of exercise program, it’s crucial to maintain related habits. This includes a good diet, adequate rest, knowing how to complete a proper warm-up, stretching sessions and, obviously, wearing proper attire.

This way, these essential exercises for starting at the gym will get you more results. Additionally, this will motivate you to work harder in pursuit of the results you’re dreaming of.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.