Our generation, more so than any other in the history of the western world, has seen an exponential growth in what's know as the "metabolic syndrome".
The metabolic syndrome, in layman's terms, is a group of risk factors that have been shown to increase your risk for a variety of health problems, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
"Metabolic", of course, refers to the "biochemical processes involved in the body's normal functioning".
And these risk factors apply to anything from traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease or health issue.
So... what's with the grim intro, to what's supposed to be an awesome guide to science-based workouts for beginners?
We're getting there, stay with us.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of people choose a reactive course of action, as opposed to a pro-active one.
Meaning, it's often more likely that someone decides to make a meaningful lifestyle modification only after they've become obese, unhealthy, or become diagnosed with something terrible.
The goal of this guide is to provide a simple, but challenging workout guide for beginners, that's based on sound scientific research.
There's no secret that exercise provides more health benefits that anyone can reasonably count, including, but (certainly) not limited to:
- Better sleep (reduced tiredness and fatigue)
- Increased fat loss (releases irisin, the fat-burning hormone)
- Increased energy, endurance, strength, and stamina (alone with sexual libido)
- Decreased stress (physical and mental), anxiety, and depression (by increasing dopamine and serotonin)
- Strengthened immune system
- Improved cardiovascular health (by reducing cholesterol)
The list goes on, and on, and on...
This brings us to our next point.
Regardless of your desired end result, when it comes to "why" you choose to work out...
Whether it be to:
Simply improve your health through aerobic and anaerobic training, or enhance your athletic performance.
Or... you want to lift as much weight as possible to increase your strength and power output.
Or... you're most interested in improving your aesthetics with hypertrophic-style training
Or... you prefer to increase your endurance through interval and cardiorespiratory training.
Or... you're most interested in improving your flexibility by way of specialised stretches, yoga, or pilates.
Or... you simply exercise for the quality of life you enjoy through Mind-Body-Balance routines, like yoga and Tai Chi.
The point is...
It doesn't matter WHY you choose to exercise (to anybody but yourself).
It only matters that you DO exercise.
With that in mind, we've created a perfect list of 10 exercises, most of which can be performed at home, with nothing more than a set of dumbbells.
- Perform 12-15 reps
- Use weights that create fatigue, but not to create failure, (if you can't complete 12-15 reps, reduce your weight).
- Complete one set of each exercise, moving from the first to the second, to the third, etc.
- Transition to the next exercise without a break (no, it won't kill you and yes, it will only make you stronger).
SCIENCE-BASED WORKOUT REGIMENT
1.) Dumbell Front Squat
The Dumbbell Front Squat is one of the most simple, but effective full-body exercises you can do at home, again, with nothing more than a set of your favorite dumbbells!
Standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells down by your sides (they should start on the outside of each thigh).
Perform a "clean" motion by bending your elbows (but keeping them at your sides), and bringing the dumbbells up to just above your shoulders (dumbbell should be facing front/back, with the back side resting on each shoulder).
Balance the dumbbells and inhale as you start to begin your first squat with your elbows facing forward. Sit back, keep your chest high, and perform your squat.
Exhale, push through your heels, press your pelvis forward as you force yourself away from the floor.
2.) Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Similar to the Dumbbell Front Squat, which focuses more heavily on the hamstrings, quads, and glutes, the Dumbbell Shoulder Press is more tailored to working your shoulders and upper body!
Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with a dumbbell in each hand.
Perform a "clean" motion by bending your elbows (but keeping them at your sides), maintain a tight core without using leg drive, and extend through each elbow to raise the weights simultaneously directly above your head.
Maintaining full control, slowly bring the weights down, until your upper arm and your lower arm creates a 90 degree (L-shaped) angle. Rinse and repeat.
3.) Barbell Bentover Rows
The Barbell Bentover Row is one of the beloved back-building exercises in the bodybuilding and Olympic weightlifting world for its ability to strengthen the lower back while helping to add significant size and strength!
Begin bending down, hinging at the waist, and sending your hips back so your torso forms a 45-degree angle with your legs. Then, slightly bend your knees.
Let the barbell hang directly below you, in front of your legs, with your palms facing behind you.
Remember, don’t allow your shoulders to sag or drop forward. Inhale as you lower the bar, then exhale as you row the barbell up, pulling your shoulder blades together at the top.
Slowly lower it back to the top starting position, and repeat until your set is completed.
4.) Dumbbell Split Squats (each side)
The Dumbbell Split Squats, hated by many, but respected by all... is one of the most daunting exercises for your quads and lower body.
Why? Ask us on day two, you'll understand where we're coming from.
With dumbbells hanging by each side, start by elevating one of your feet and placing in one pace ahead of your other.
Focus on creating a slight forward lean into your front leg and make sure to inhale as you bend the front leg until it’s at (or close to) a 90-degree angle.
It's okay if you need to move your foot forward or backward to adjust until you get the hang of your perfect feet placements.
Next, exhale as you push into the front foot to straighten the leg, then repeat with the opposite leg.
5.) Dumbbell Chest Presses on Swiss Ball
Known for its ability to build out a chiseled upper body, the Dumbbell Chest Presses on the Swiss Ball also help to coordinate your efforts by making sure your balance is under tension throughout the entire set.
Sit on a Swiss ball with your tail bone on the front edge and rest your dumbbells on your thighs with one end facing the ceiling.
Slowly, walk your body forward by making small steps, until your upper back is resting on the Swiss Ball and your feet make a 90-degree angle, being directly under your knees
Next, push your dumbbells up until they’re in chest-press position, with your elbows slightly flared out to each side. Without letting your hips sag (towards the ground), inhale, then exhale and press the dumbbells up so your arms are straight above your chest.
Inhale as you lower the weights back down.
6.) Wide-Grip Pullups (assisted if needed)
As one of the most difficult exercises to master, the Wide-Grip Pull-Up is also one of the most convenient (all you need is a pull-up bar and a doorway), and most all-around effective upper body exercises for building out a chiseled back and nicely defined shoulders and rear delts.
If these aren't already a part of your workout regimen, we can't recommend adding these enough!
Wide Grip Pullups can be performed on a bar-assisted machine, or on a standard high-bar.
Start by placing your hands on the bar, in a position that provides at least 6-8 inches of space outside of each shoulders width.
Make sure your palms are facing away from you.
Exhale as your pull your body up, to where your chin is either level, or above the bar, and inhale as you descend.
Try to avoid touching the ground util you've performed your target number of pull ups.
7.) Dumbbell Step-Ups
Similar to the Dumbbell Squat, the Dumbbell Step-Up simply moves in another direction... this time, upwards, onto a bench, low table, or even a set of stairs.
Perfect for feeling that burn in your quads and hamstrings, Dumbbell Step-Ups have the convenience of being able to be performed anywhere, anytime!
Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand, and resting it at your side.
Using something to "step up" on, like a box or bench, begin to inhale, then exhale as you step up with one foot. Follow with the next foot, until you're completely standing on the object used to aid in your workout.
Carefully, step down with one foot, then again with your other foot, until both feet are planted firmly on the ground.
8.) Medicine Ball Floor Slams
Ever been in the gym, and seen somebody throwing one of those giant, heavy balls up in the air, down at the ground, or directly at the wall in front of them?
It may seem like they're just letting off some steam (and taking it out on the poor medicine ball), but actually... they're getting the workout of their life!
Medicine Ball throws are one of the best forms of cardio you can perform and doesn't involve moving (for all your non-runners out there).
With your feet at shoulder-widths apart, lift a medicine ball that feels somewhat heavy (but soft), and raise it above your head.
Inhale, then by using all of your force you can gather, slam the medicine ball down directly in front of you (don't worry, it won't bounce up and hit you).
Next, catch it on its rebound, raise it again, and slam it once more. Continue this motion without taking a breath until your set it complete.
9.) Barbell Hip Thrusters
Known to be one of the most underrated workouts in everybody's routine, Barbell Hip-Thrusters are incredibly effective at building strength in one of the places it matters absolutely most...
Your core and "trunk space". By performing this thrusting motion, you're working out more than just your hips, but actually your entire core, back, legs, and mind!
Start with your feet on the ground at shoulder-widths apart and your butt on the ground next to a bench. Have a friend or spotter place your target weight (on a barbell) across your hips once you're ready.
Next, focus on "thrusting" (now you see where the name comes from) the center of the barbell directly up, forcing your pelvis up towards the roof, while keeping your feet and legs in their starting position.
Inhale and descend while maintaining perfect control of the wait. Exhale as you lift, and repeat.
10.) Decline Pushups
As one of the more popular exercises in our Science-Based Workout Routine for Beginner, the Decline Push-Up is simply a well-known variation oof the standard push-up that you're most likely familiar with.
However, the new angle of your chest, as it pushes off the ground, helps to significantly change the target muscle group under tension when you perform this exercise!
To increase or decrease the difficulty, try changing the height of the platform you put your feet on while you perform your set of push ups - this will increase/decrease your difficulty by changing the angle that your chest is forced to work at!
Start with your feet on your platform at shoulder-widths apart, with your hands on the ground, in push-up position.
Inhale, and exhale as you push through your palms (facing down to the ground) until your arms become straight (don't lock your elbows out at the top).
While maintaining a neutral spine, neck, and head (looking straight down, while keeping your spine straight), maintain control as you descend.
As fans and readers of Transparent Labs, we understand that you, just like our Team, are huge proponents of anything "Science-Based", when it comes to your physical fitness, the supplements you consume, the exercises you perform, and the nutrition regimens you follow.
We get that!
Which is why we're so thrilled that you decided to check out our Science Based Workout Routine for Beginners!
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns... please don't hesitate to leave your comments below!