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Video: Full body gym programme for beginners

Belfast PT and nutritionist Alan Waterman demonstrates the best work out for beginners

By Alan Waterman

In this day and age, it's hard to believe that we were designed to move.

Despite going through most of our lives seated, thanks to lifestyles which place us in front of a desk, in the car, on the sofa, our bodies are fundamentally built for movement. But not just any movement...

There are actually about half a dozen fundamental movement patterns our bodies should look to perform; squatting, hip hinging, pushing, pulling, lunging, and carrying.

Although we maybe perform a couple of these in our everyday lives, we more than likely miss out on a number of them, and that's where our training programme can help fill in those gaps.

Check out my top seven exercises for piecing together a full-body movement programme, which is perfect for newcomers to the gym.

Note that some of these exercises may not be suitable for everyone, as there may be limitations based on injury history, mobility levels, etc

Landmine deadlift

The ability to hinge through the hips is often neglected not only in everyday life, but in our training programmes too. The deadlift is a perfect hip-hinge movement, but frequently avoided, as it can be difficult to perform, especially as a beginner. The landmine deadlift variation, however, can be much more suitable for newcomers, as the bar path of motion encourages the correct movement throughout each rep.

Rack chin-up

When training a pulling movement, you'd be hard pushed to find much more of a bang-for-your-buck exercise than a Chin-Up. Often, newcomers will struggle to perform full bodyweight Chin-Ups, so the rack chin-Up is a perfect solution. By removing a large chunk of bodyweight, it enables us to train the movement and receive the benefits from doing so, without the strength requirements of a full bodyweight Chin-Up.

Bench press-up

Press-ups are pretty much the ultimate pushing exercise. When done correctly, they can challenge even experienced gym-goers. You'd be surprised how many people perform them incorrectly! As with the chin-up, full bodyweight Press-Ups can be a challenge for beginners, so by elevating them to perform a bench press-up, we can make them a little easier, whilst also increasing the liklihood of maintaining the correct positioning throughout. No sagging hips!

Goblet squat

Many people don't enjoy training a squat movement because the traditional barbell version can cause some joint and lower-back pain. Often, it's not due to the squat itself, but due to the type of squat we choose, and our own mobility limitations. The goblet squat can be a much better starting point than a barbell squat for beginners, as we can typically maintain better positioning throughout, while seeing an improvement in technique.

Alternating reverse lunge

Finding the right choice of exercise to perform your lunge movement can be tricky. Although, in theory, lunging is relatively straightforward, it can often cause knee irritation, depending on the person performing them. The reverse lunge may instead be a slightly better option for many, reducing knee pain, while also allowing us to better target the muscles across the back side of our legs (hamstrings and glutes), which are often short-changed in many training programmes.


Yes, we've already had a pulling exercise, but the rack chin-up sees us performing a vertical pull, whereas the batwings will also have us follow up with a horizontal pull. Why does this matter? Horizontal pulling will better allow us to target the muscles in the upper back which pull our shoulder blades into place- muscles which are typically a little weaker as a beginner. This can help improve posture and shoulder health, while reducing back and neck pain!

Suitcase carry

Kill two birds with one stone with your chosen carry movement by performing the offset farmer's carry. Not only will you benefit from the improvement in whole-body stability, but the offset nature will also further engage the core, as a means of keeping the body nice and level throughout the entire movement. Who needs ab work!?

Beginner's Total Movement Programme:

Landmine deadlift: 3 x 6

Rack chin-up: 3 x 10

Bench press-up: 3 x 10

Goblet squat: 3 x 10

Alternating reverse lunge: 3 x 12

Batwings: 3 x 12

Suitcase carry: 3 x 20-30 metres each

Want more daily advice and tips? Make sure to check out both my Facebook and Instagram pages for daily content.

You can also download your FREE chapter from my upcoming book Fitness BS, which will help you work closer towards your weight-loss goals, whilst avoiding the myths and untruths which plague the diet and fitness industry

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