Free 4-Week Beginner Workout Plan


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Free 4-Week Beginner Workout Plan
A young woman lying on a yoga mat, stretching her left hamstring

Embarking on a new workout plan can be daunting, especially for a beginner. You may not know which exercises to do or how frequently you should work out. Don’t worry, we got you. 

Fortunately, losing weight, toning up your muscles, and looking great in the mirror doesn’t have to be overly complicated or time-consuming. You only need 15 to 30 minutes daily and some simple workout equipment to trim down and build your fitness.

Having a regular exercise routine is important for living a healthy life. Beyond helping you lose or maintain weight, regular exercise has several incredible benefits, including reducing:

  • High blood pressure

  • Risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart attack, and stroke

  • Risk for osteoporosis and falls

  • Symptoms of anxiety and depression  

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two days of muscle-strengthening workouts a week to reap these benefits. 

With this beginner-friendly workout plan, you can go from out-of-shape novice to fit and feeling great in four weeks. And it doesn’t require a gym membership or fancy workout equipment. 

Why Is This Workout Plan so Effective? 

If you want to lose weight and get fit, cardio alone isn’t the answer. What’s more, doing cardio every day can get boring quickly. 

Although cardio is undoubtedly important for the health of your heart, lungs, and vascular system, it’s not the best way to achieve weight loss or well-rounded fitness. Here’s why: It doesn’t increase your metabolism. This means it doesn’t help you burn more calories when resting; it only burns calories during the workout. It also doesn’t build muscle, which you’ll find out in a second can be very effective for fat loss.  

The magic happens when you combine cardio with resistance training, which helps your muscles get stronger.  

Resistance training is one of the best ways to burn fat. It helps you put on muscle, which increases your metabolism. This means you’ll burn more calories at rest, which makes weight loss easier. So don’t be afraid to add some muscle. 

Our workout plan will help you add muscle to increase your strength without making you look bulky. It’ll also help you get shapely thighs and glutes, a leaner and stronger core, and toned arms.

4-Week Beginner Workout Plan Highlights 

Our month-long beginner-focused exercise plan:

  • Is ideal for those new to working out or those resuming exercise after a long break

  • Can be performed at home

  • Helps burn fat, build strength, and tone muscles

  • Helps you lose weight and keep it off 

Before You Start

It’s vital that you don’t push yourself to the point where you injure yourself or can’t recover properly. You may feel tired and sore after your workouts. That’s normal. It’s not normal to be sore for weeks or experience pain during exercise. 

If you feel like something’s off, it’s OK to back off and take a day or two to allow your body to recover fully. The important thing is that you listen to your body.

It’s also important to warm up and cool down. Spend the first five minutes getting your muscles warmed up and your blood flowing. For example, if you choose to run on cardio days, you can warm up for five minutes with a brisk walk or light jog. The point is to ease into the workout to help avoid any injuries. Apply similar thinking to the cool down; jog or walk for three to five minutes, or jog for two minutes and spend three minutes doing gentle stretches.

Equipment Needed

A pair of dumbbells. You will need a pair of dumbbells to perform many of the resistance training workouts. You don’t need anything too heavy, just5- to 15-pound weights. 

Optional:

Yoga or workout mat. This will help prevent slipping and provide a soft surface for planks and other floor exercises. 

Foam roller. This helps soothe sore muscles, boost blood flow, and speed up recovery.

Key Terms You Should Know

Rep, or repetition: performing a specific exercise one time.

Set: a group of any number of reps performed without a break.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT): a type of workout that involves short bursts of high-intensity exercises combined with brief recovery periods.

Circuit training: a type of workout that involves performing a series of exercises back-to-back in a “circuit.” You typically rest at the end of one circuit before repeating the sequence. It’s similar to HIIT, but the rest intervals are different.

Week 1

The program starts with basic resistance training and cardio days to ease you in and prepare your body. Then, each week will progress slowly in volume, intensity, and difficulty. 

Day 1: 20-minute Legs, Glutes, and Core Workout

Perform3 sets for each exercise, taking a 1-minute break between sets, then move on to the next exercise.

Form Tips: 

Pay particular attention to your form when performing squats. Ashley Dannelly, a certified personal trainer with clearsurance.com, recommends ensuring your feet are hip-width apart and your toes and knees pointed out.

“Don’t allow your knees to buckle. Focus on keeping your chest up rather than bending forward as you hinge at the hips and lower your butt to the ground,” says Dannelly. 

For glute bridges, Dannelly says, "Engage your core to protect your lower back, and press up through your heels to properly engage your glutes throughout the movement.” 

Keep your core engaged, arms shoulder-width apart, and your back straight for planks. Try not to sink your torso toward the ground. 

Day 2: 20-minute Cardio Workout 

This can include running, biking, walking, dancing, hiking, or swimming. Basically, this is any exercise that gets your heart rate up but doesn’t leave you completely gasping for breath.

Day 3: Rest Day With 15-minute Yoga or Stretching

Instead of just taking the day off, opt for a yoga or stretching session. Yoga and stretching can burn some extra calories while it helps you recover and improve your flexibility. 

Perform your favorite yoga routine or do some light stretching

Day 4: 15-minute HIIT Workout

Perform each exercise one after the other without resting in between exercises. Rest for 1–2 minutes after completing all the exercises, then start again from the beginning. Repeat for 3 rounds.

Form Tips:

The key to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is keeping an intense activity level throughout the round. This will help you burn the most calories.   

Chelsea Young, an NASM-certified personal trainer and youth exercise specialist, has some tips:“When performing push-ups, use a measurable approach such as starting against a wall. Use this until you can perform 10 in a row. Then move down to a bench until performing 10, then continue to work your way down until you can get on the floor.”

Day 5: 20-minute Arms, Shoulders, and Core Workout

For these exercises (except the leg raises), you’ll need a light dumbbell (5–10 lbs). Perform3 sets for exercise, taking a 1-minute break between sets.

Form Tips:

Young advises against performing shoulder presses at a 90-degree angle due to the risk of injury. Instead, she recommends keeping your arms at a 45-degree angle. 

Day 6: Rest Day With 10-minute Yoga or Stretching 

This gentle 9-minute chair yoga routine from certified personal trainer and Kickoff coach Cameron is a relaxing option.

Day 7: 20-minute Cardio

Choose your favorite cardio activity.

Week 2 

Day 1: 25-minute Chest and Core Workout

Perform3–4 sets of each exercise, taking a 1-minute break between sets.

  • Push-ups: 10 reps

  • Floor press: 10 reps

  • Planks: 1 minute, 30 seconds   

  • Mountain climbers: 45 seconds

Day 2: Rest Day With 20-minute Yoga or Stretching

Try this 20-minute yoga routine for beginners.

Day 3: 20-minute Full Body Circuit 

For this circuit workout, perform each exercise back-to-back and rest for 2 minutes. Complete this for 3 rounds.

  • Bodyweight squats: 10 reps

  • Russian twists with 5 lb. dumbbell: 5 reps on each side

  • Push-ups: 10 reps

  • Stationary lunges: 5 reps on each side 

Day 4: 25-minute Cardio

This 25-minute low-impact cardio workout will get your heart rate up without any high-impact strain.

Day 5: 20-minute Legs, Glutes, and Core Workout

Perform 3 sets of each exercise with 20 seconds of rest between each set and each exercise.

Form Tips:

For instructions on dumbbell deadlifts, we consulted Dani Singer, a certified personal trainer (CPT), fitness nutrition specialist (FNS), and corrective exercise specialist (CES). 

Here’s how to perform a dumbbell deadlift, according to Singer:

Starting Position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells against the front of your thighs. 

Step 1: With a slight bend in your knees, tilt your butt behind you and hinge forward at your hips until your torso is parallel with the floor. Your abs should be held in tight with no arching or rounding of your lower back.

Step 2: Exhale and squeeze your glutes as you push your hips forward again, returning to the starting position.

Day 6: Rest Day With 15-minute Yoga or Foam Roller

This 15-minute foam roller routine from a Pilates trainer and physiotherapist will make you feel like you’ve just had a massage. 

Day 7: 25-minute Cardio

Try this no-jumping cardio routine

Week 3

Day 1: 25-minute Back and Core

Perform 3–4 sets for each exercise. Rest for 1–2 minutes between sets.  

Day 2: Rest Day With Yoga or Stretching or Foam Rolling

This 17-minute yoga flow from ACSM-certified personal trainer and Kickoff coach Cameron loosens tight hips and releases tension from the back. 

Day 3: 25-minute Cardio

If you haven’t found a version of cardio that you like yet, try this 25-minute cardio routine with low-impact modifications and high-impact options in case you want to push yourself. 

Day 4: 20-minute Upper Body Strength

Tone and sculpt the major muscle groups of your upper body with this 20-minute workout. A set of 5 lb. and 10 lb. dumbbells are likely enough weight for you to push to finish the last few reps of each exercise with proper form. 

Day 5: 20-minute Tabata  

For each exercise, do 8 rounds of 20 seconds of each exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

Day 6: Rest Day With Stretching or Foam Rolling

Try these seven beginner-friendly stretches to loosen up any tight muscles.

Day 7: 20-minute Legs, Glutes, and Core Workout

Perform 3–4 sets for each exercise. Rest for 1–2 minutes between sets.

Week 4

Day 1: 25-minute HIIT Workout

Perform each exercise one after the other without resting in between exercises. Rest for 1-2 minutes after completing all the exercises, and start from the beginning. Repeat for 3 rounds.

  • Jumping jacks: 12 reps

  • Push-ups: 12 reps

  • Mountain climbers: 1 minute

  • Bodyweight squats: 12 reps

  • High knees: 1 minute

Day 2: 30-minute Arms and Core Workout

You’ll need light-to-moderate dumbbells (likely 5–15 lbs.) for these exercises. Perform3–4 sets for exercise, taking a 2-minute break between sets. 

Day 3: Rest Day With Foam Rolling or Yoga

Improve your mobility with this quick six-move routine. It will help you move better and increase your flexibility. 

Day 4: 30-minute Cardio Workout

Try this Tabata routine from certified personal trainer and Kickoff coach Rebecca. 

Day 5:  30-minute Full Body Workout

For this circuit workout, perform each exercise back-to-back and then rest for 2 minutes. Complete this for 4 rounds.

  • Goblet squats: 15 reps

  • Wall sits: 2 minute  

  • Russian twist with 10 lb. dumbbell: 7 reps on each side

  • Push-ups: 15 reps

  • Stationary lunges: 7 reps on each side 

Day 6: Rest Day With Yoga or Stretching

This 20-minute deep stretch flow will help you work out any tightness and make you feel more centered. 

Day 7: 30-minute Cardio

Let’s end this month with a bang! This 30-minute cardio session will leave you sweaty, breathless, and feeling a rush of endorphins (a hormone that’ll make you feel good when you’re done!). Make sure to modify any high-impact moves as needed.

When you’re done, pat yourself on the back. You made it through the 4-week beginner workout plan. We’re so proud of you (virtual high-five)! Keep the momentum going by completing this plan again, or if you’d like to receive daily workouts customized to help you meet your wellness goals, consider signing up for Kickoff to get access to our expert certified personal trainers and nutritionists. You’ve got this!