The Best Exercise For Complete Beginners
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The Best Exercise For Complete Beginners

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You’ve probably heard advice like:

“As a coach, there are three exercises you must teach to newbies: the squat, bench press, and deadlift.”

At first glance, that sounds like decent advice. But if you’ve ever tried teaching the deadlift to someone brand new to exercise, you probably realized how challenging it is.

To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the best exercises for beginners.

Let’s discuss.

The Best Exercise For Beginners: 5 Fundamental Movement Patterns

Push Up

The push-up is one of the best bodyweight exercises for upper body strength, midsection stability, and shoulder health.

Push-ups are relatively simple to teach, and beginners can start learning an easy variation if they lack strength. For example, having them do push-ups against an elevated surface, such as a Smith machine bar at stomach height.

Bodyweight Squat

The squat is one of the most natural movement patterns we can do. But due to years of physical inactivity and mobility loss, people lose the ability to squat.

Your job as a fitness client is to teach the basics, which includes the bodyweight squat. While it may sound simple enough, you’d be surprised how many people struggle with the movement pattern.

Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is another fundamental movement pattern you must teach every beginner.

Teaching clients how to hip hinge correctly will allow them to perform various exercises, including the deadlift, and learn how to pick up heavy things while protecting their spine.


The fourth exercise to teach newbies is the pull. Fortunately, it can come in many forms: dumbbell row, lat pulldown, seated cable row, or even the bent-over barbell row.

Pulling movements are necessary for strengthening the back complex, but many beginners struggle with the setup, body position, and pulling mechanics to take full advantage.

Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is another simple and effective exercise beginners can do to strengthen their posterior chain. It is also excellent for improving glute activation, which is crucial for safe and effective training in the long run.

As a fitness coach, you should start with the classic version: having your client lying on the floor and performing the movement with both feet down.

What Is The Best Workout Plan For Beginners

There isn’t a single best beginner workout, but there are some guidelines you can follow:Three to four weekly workouts

  1. No more than ten exercises for the entire body
  2. Emphasis on proper form and the mind-muscle connection
  3. Adequate recovery between sets to encourage muscle hypertrophy and strength
  4. Relatively aggressive but intelligent progression
  5. Clearly defined recovery days
  6. Emphasis on compound lifts (e.g., squat) over isolation exercises (e.g., bicep curl)

So long as you follow these rules, you can create decent training plans that challenge newcomers and help them develop a fitness foundation.

Final Words

The best training for beginners varies from person to person. There isn’t a single best way to train everyone because people are in unique situations.

With that said, there are rough guidelines every fitness coach can follow to provide a good starting point and make tweaks as necessary.


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Michaud, F., Pérez Soto, M., Lugrís, U. and Cuadrado, J. (2021). Lower Back Injury Prevention and Sensitization of Hip Hinge with Neutral Spine Using Wearable Sensors during Lifting Exercises. Sensors, 21(16), p.5487. doi:10.3390/s21165487.

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