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Try This Weight Loss Workout Plan for Beginners

Want to start working out and lose weight but don't know where to start? Between HIIT, cardio vs. strength, the cult followings of CrossFit and SoulCycle, it can be easy to get lost in trying to find the "best" workout for weight loss. 

The good news is that most advice for an effective weight loss workout plan is pretty simple: Move more, build strength, and get your heart rate elevated. Luckily, that's all combined in this weight loss workout plan for beginners.

First, here's an 11-exercise strength training workout—demonstrated by Karolina Duncan, a New York City-based certified personal trainer and health coach—that'll build lean muscle, helping you move toward a healthy body composition. "Each total-body strengthener sculpts muscle fibers you've probably never reached before," says New York City celebrity trainer Justin Gelband, who designed this weight loss workout plan. Try to do the workout twice a week. If it's getting too easy, bump up the weight, add weight to bodyweight moves, or add more sets or reps. (See: The Basics of Sets, Reps, and Weight If You're New to Strength Training)

Do cardio three times a week (your choice!) to get your heart rate elevated. Consider opting for a mix of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, which are great for weight loss, and long-intensity steady-state (LISS) workouts, which will help you build endurance. 

Of course, diet matters too: Check out our Clean-ish Eating Challenge which will help you build healthy eating habits and focus on whole foods.

How it works: Do each move for the indicated number of reps. If you're not feeling the burn after one round, do it again. To use this routine as part of a weight-loss workout plan, also add in three cardio sessions a week.

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

You will need: Free weights, Mat

1. Weighted Arabesque

A.

Holding a dumbbell in each hand by sides, lunge forward with left leg and hold for 1 count.

B.

Straighten left leg as you lift right leg behind you to come up to standing, then tilt torso forward and raise straight left arm diagonally forward. (Beginners can keep right toes on floor.)

C.

Lower arm and leg to return to lunge.

Reps:

10 reps per side

Mistakes and Tips:

Scale down: Step backward into a lunge rather than forward—this makes the move more joint-friendly.
Scale up: After each rep, quickly bring back knee toward chest, then return foot to floor.

2. Salute

A.

Holding a dumbbell in each hand by sides, lunge forward with left leg. Hold the left arm straight overhead, biceps by ear.

 

B.

Bend arm the left arm, lowering left hand behind head and bending left knees to lower into a lunge [shown]. Press through both feet to straighten legs while contracting the left triceps to raise left hand and return to start.

Reps:

10 per side

3. Static Lunge Kickback

A.

Holding a dumbbell in each hand by sides, lunge forward with the right leg and hinge torso forward slightly. Raise the left arm, keeping dumbbell close to ribs, elbow pointing straight back.

B.

Maintaining lunge and holding upper arm steady, contract triceps to extend left forearm straight back. Bend elbow to return to start.

Reps:

10 per side

4. Uneven Crunch

A.

From crunch position (with feet in the air, shins parallel to the floor), straighten left leg directly over hip while keeping right knee bent. 

B.

Using abs, lift hips to pulse legs up. Lower. 

C.

Keeping legs still, crunch shoulders off the floor, then lower to complete 1 rep.

Reps:

15 per side

Mistakes and Tips:

Scale down: Keep one foot on the floor during moves.

Scale up: Do the crunches and leg movements at the same time instead of alternating them.

5. Wiper Blade

A.

From crunch position (feet in the air, shins parallel to the floor), extend right arm to the ceiling.

B.

Crunch and lower.

C.

Next, bring the right hand between knees while crunching up. Return to start.

D.

Bring the right arm to the outside of the left knee while crunching. Return to start to complete 1 rep.

Reps:

15 per side

6. Cowboy Crunch

A.

From crunch position (feet in the air, shins parallel to the floor), spread legs slightly. Keeping legs still, crunch and lower.

B.

Maintaining knee bend, tap the right foot to the floor, then raise it again to complete 1 rep.

Reps:

15 per side

7. Sumo Twist

A.

Stand with legs wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly. Press knuckles of fists together in front of chest, elbows out to sides at shoulder height.

B.

Squat, lowering until thighs are parallel to the floor, is possible.

C.

Return to standing and immediately rotate torso to left, lifting left knee toward right elbow.

Reps:

15 per side

8. Side Hinge

A.

Stand with legs wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly. Place hands behind head, elbows out to sides.

B.

Squat, keeping chest tall and lowering until thighs are parallel to the floor, if possible.

C.

Stand and shift weight to left foot, driving the right knee out to the side, crunching right elbow towards the knee.

Reps:

15 per side

9. Double Cross

A.

Start in a high plank position with feet wide.

B.

Lift right leg and cross it over left leg to tap right toes to the floor. Step right foot back to plank. 

C.

Repeat on the other side, crossing the left leg over the right to tap toes to the floor. Step left foot back to plank to return to start.

Reps:

8

10. Plank Twist

A.

Start in a high plank position.

B.

Lift the left arm toward the ceiling, rotating over feet to face hips and torso to the left. Carefully place left palm on the floor to return to plank.

C.

Lift the right arm toward the ceiling, rotating over feet to face hips and torso to the right. Carefully place left palm on the floor to return to start.

Reps:

8

11. X Reach

A.

Start in a high plank position with feet wide. Lift the right arm up diagonally to shoulder height. Hold for 2 counts. Place palm back on the floor.

B.

Lift the right leg diagonally up to hip height. Hold for 2 counts. Place foot back on the floor.

C.

Repeat, lifting the left arm and holding for 2 counts.

D.

Then lift the left leg for 2 counts. That's 1 rep.

Reps:

8

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