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Marek Struszczyk

Co-Founder ManagerUp

Last modified: June 7th, 2023

Hello desk potato! Did you read the title carefully? This post is about a full body workout for beginners that can be a matter of life and death for you.

Sounds exaggerated? Maybe. But it is true!

If you have started reading, you are very likely a non-exerciser. So please memorize this: out of those who die over the age of 35, for 20% it is due to physical inactivity. Do you want to become a part of these statistics?

Of course not! The solution is very simple: you have to get moving!

Do you need specific and SIMPLE reasons to start? If so, you are in the right place. Here we will describe a full body workout for beginners. 

But first, let’s take a look at what being a desk potato can do to you.


But Who is a Desk Potato?

You must be familiar with the term “couch potato.” However, “desk potato” isn’t all that familiar, because this new “vegetable” is a product of recent times.

Desk potatoes are typically busy executives, managers or entrepreneurs who are stuck to their desks for hours on end. They only leave their desk perhaps to visit the restroom or go home.

Can you find yourself in this description?

Being a desk potato has given rise to a new word – “sedentarism.” According to well-known statistics, on average while at work, most Americans sit for about 11 hours a day. $24 billion is the amount estimated that gets spent annually on medical treatment related to a sedentary lifestyle.


What Health Problems Arise From Being a Desk Potato?

Leading a sedentary lifestyle as a busy executive stuck to a desk day in and day out can lead to:


– Joint disorders

Low back pain

– Cardiovascular health issues

– Type 2 diabetes stress

– Eventually obesity


All these issues are interrelated. Importantly, our full body workout for beginners can help you prevent them.


Why Strength Training for a Sedentary Lifestyle?

Although it is very difficult to avoid long hours at your desk, there are some things you can do to counteract its adverse effects. Among several measures you can take, exercise is one of the most powerful.

There are three basic types of exercising: aerobic training (like jogging), strength training (like exercising with weights or your body weight) and stretching (for example yoga).

We recommend strength training for a sedentary lifestyle. In our opinion, it alleviates the health problems you are likely to experience from being a desk potato better than other forms of exercise.

There’s no point in telling yourself that you don’t have time to exercise. A relevant quote comes to mind by Earl Edward Stanley, a British nobleman of the late 19th century who served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for his country. He said, “Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” This simple but astute statement says it all.


What Is A Strength Training?

Strength training is a specialized form of exercise that uses resistance to promote muscular contraction.

Some people work with weights or use special machines, but the type of strength training we will focus on in this article is simply using your body weight. This is why our full body workout for beginners does not require any equipment. You can do it at home, outdoor and, of course, in the gym.


Before Beginning Our Full Body Workout

Since you are likely doing this for the first time or after a long break, you are probably not aware of what you need to get started. Here are a few useful tips:


1. Get Clearance From Your Doctor

Even if you aren’t aware of any underlying health issues, you need to ensure you are fit enough to undertake a full body workout for beginners. If you have problems like knee pain, a weak back or perhaps a frozen shoulder, all the more reason to consult your doctor.


2. Warm Up and Cool Down

It is crucial to increase the general mobility of your neck, shoulders, arms, torso, neck, hips and legs. Therefore, please make sure to do simple warming up exercises for at least 5 minutes before starting. Even better if you can invest 10 minutes in your warmup.

Importantly, warming up will help prevent injuries.

To cool down, go for a short walk or stretch your body.  Cooling down brings your body to the resting state, preventing dizziness or even fainting. 


3. Maintain a Diary

A good thing is to maintain a journal in which you record details of each training session and the progress you make.

Please write the dates, times, number of sets and repetitions.

You can use a paper notepad or record the information on your phone or computer. Many apps help you record data in an organized way.


4. If There Is Pain During Exercising, STOP

Don’t be too ambitious with your exercising initially. You may experience some pain or discomfort when you first start, which is normal.

However, if you feel pain in a particular area, stop that particular exercise.

You can try the exercise during the next training session. If the pain continues, please visit a health care professional.


5. Be Prepared for Muscle Stiffness Over the Next Day (s)

It is bad to experience pain during exercise, but it is normal 24-36 hours after.

The reason you experience pain in the days following a full body workout for beginners is that during strength training, tiny tears occur in the muscles. Your muscles grow when these tears form a knot.

Thus, take time between sessions is to give your muscles time to repair themselves.


6. Test Your Initial Strength

Our full body workout for beginners has seven different exercises. Six are typical strength exercises and one involves yoga.

The first week should be a test week for you.

Every day, test your strength performing only ONE strength exercise in order to find out how strong you are.

For example, on the first day, do as many pushups as you can and then note the number of push-ups in your diary.

Testing yourself will help you to monitor your progress and will motivate you as well.

Importantly, even if this is just testing, warming up is crucial!  The last thing you want is to injure yourself.


7. Give Your Body Time To Rest

It is not reasonable to work out every day. You need to give your body a resting period of at least 36 hours between workouts. I recommend pausing for two full days. A good idea is to exercise, for example, on

– Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or

– Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays

The gap between workouts gives your muscles time to grow and helps your body recover.


8. Be Patient and Start Small

Our full body workout for beginners is simple and easy. Still, it may be a challenge for those who have had a long break in exercising or suffer from significant obesity.

It took months or maybe even years to bring you to the current poor fitness and health level. The times when you were fit are long gone.

Do not expect to achieve a huge improvement over night.  It will take time. Be prepared for that and start small.

The first training session can be short. Even 5 minutes is better than nothing. Then slowly increase the duration.

It is best to exercise 3 times a week, but at the very beginning, even once a week will do.

The training must be challenging and should make you sweat; but it should not be too hard and demotivating.


9. Important Vocabulary: Sets, Repetitions and Rest Intervals:

In the exercise descriptions, we use notations that need clarification:

– Repetition (rep): This is when you complete a single exercise, such as one lunge or one push-up. In other words, one rep is the complete motion of one exercise.

– Set: This is a series of reps performed without pausing. For example, ten squats done without break counts as one set of that specific exercise.

– Rest interval: A rest interval is the time you take to rest your muscles to allow them to recover before you take up the next set or another exercise.


The rule of thumb is to do three-five sets of each exercise and, in every set, do 80% of the maximum number of repetitions you are able do.

You should rest one minute between sets and three minutes between two different exercises.


10. Do Not Make It Too Light

When undergoing the full body workout for beginners, it is essential to create enough resistance through your exercises to provide the right stimulus to your muscles.

There is an “overload principle” that applies to strength training exercise programs. For the creation of physiological changes, you need to employ an exercise stimulus with an intensity that is more than your body is used to. Thus, your muscles receive added stress.

If you exercise using the same number of sets and repetitions during each training session, you will not see fitness gains over time.

Therefore, try to increase the number of repetitions during the next training session.

In order to increase the resistance after 2-3 months, you may introduce weights to your full body workout for beginners.


11. Control Your Heart Rate

 Although it is not an aerobic exercise, your heart rate will increase during each exercise. Please make sure that you know your maximum heart rate and you should work-out at the 60% level of your maximum heart rate. 80% is the absolute maximum. Never go beyond.


Strength Training Exercises

The exercises we have chosen as part of our full body workout for beginners are simple and challenging at the same time.

They are simple because you probably know all of them. You don’t need any equipment. Most simulate standard, daily body moves.

They may be challenging because you are not used to exercising, and the first training sessions may be difficult for you. Be prepared for that!

Here is a description of the main strength training exercises:


1. Pushups


Although several variations exist, here are the steps to follow for the classic form:


– Bend on the ground, placing your palms shoulder-wide and flat on the floor.

– Kneel on your knees with your calves extended behind you, parallel to the floor.

– Ensure that your feet are perpendicular to the floor.



– Lower your upper body so that your chest is parallel to the floor.

– Do not rest your body on the floor.

– Ensure that your shoulders are in line with your arms.

– Keep your face parallel to the floor as well.

– Raise your body back into the original position.



Do three sets during your first training session. Pause 60 seconds between them.

– In the first set, do the number of repetitions equal to 80% of the maximum number of pushups you can perform.

– In the second and third sets, do as many as you can. Warning! It will be damn difficult!



– In the first set, try to do more pushups than you did in the first set of the previous training session.

– In the second and the third set, do as many as you can


2. Squat



The squat is a simple exercise you can do practically everywhere, and you don’t need much space.


– Stand with your feet about two feet apart.

– Extend your arms in front of you.



– Sit back as if you are in a chair.

– Straighten your legs back into the original position.



The same instructions as in the case of the pushups apply.


3. Crunch



This is an excellent exercise for strengthening the abs. However, incorrect crunches could damage the spine. so, follow the steps described here carefully to avoid a painful outcome:


– Lie flat on the ground, raise your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground.

– Press your back firmly against the ground.

– Place your hands behind your head as in the image below.



– Now, keeping the rest of your body firmly on the ground, raise your upper torso as much as it will go comfortably towards your knees. See the image below:

– Lower your upper torso, neck and head gradually back to rest on the ground.



The same instructions as in the case of the pushups.


4. Cobra Pose



This pose is based on the stance that a cobra makes when threatened. The cobra raises its body, facing the source of the threat. You can perform this exercise on a yoga mat or a rug.

This exercise is good for strengthening the abs. Although the cobra position is more of a yoga exercise, it is quite effective in preventing slouching and low back pain.


– Lie on your stomach, keeping your forehead flat on the ground.

– Press your feet flat on the ground with the balls of your heels facing upwards.

– Place your palms face-down on either side of your chest with your elbows bent and pressed against your sides.

– Ensure that your fingertips are in line with the tops of your shoulders.



– Gradually raise your chest above the ground, eyes looking forward.

– Raise your head further until your eyes are looking upwards, simultaneously raising your upper torso.

– Stick out your tongue and inhale at least five times.

– Now lower your upper torso until your body rests on the ground again.



– Repeat this exercise at least five times, which will be one set.

– Do three sets.

– You may increase the number of reps per set every time (10 being the maximum)


5. Plank


The plank comes under the category of “isometric exercise.” An isometric exercise is where you cause a static contraction of a muscle without moving, and the angle of the joint remains the same.

Planks are good for strengthening the muscles of the abdomen as well as those of the buttocks. The plank strengthens the “core” of your body, which includes the abs, back, hips, shoulders and chest:

– Get onto the ground as if you are doing a pushup.

– Rest your body on your elbows, keeping the line of your elbows. Keep your hands parallel to the ground and in the direction of your body.

– Ensure that your shoulders are perpendicular to your forearms.

– Your legs should be straight, and your stomach lifted.

– Your body should form a straight line from your head to your toes.

– Inhale and hold your breath for ten seconds.

– To come out of it, just lower down to your knees.

– Repeat this exercise at least five times, increasing the number daily.

– Increase the time that you hold your breath until you can do it for a minute at a time.


6. Lunge



The lunge is good for strengthening the knee muscles. Here is how to do a lunge if you are a beginner:


– Stand straight with your feet placed slightly apart, hands on the hips.



– Put one foot in front of the other and place the other one behind you.

– Let your arms hang down freely, but perpendicular to the floor, keeping your shoulders straight.

– Now drop your body straight down bending both your knees, until your back knee touches the ground.

– Raise your body back into the position where you started

– Ensure that your head and chest are straight and that you look forward.



The same instructions as in the case of the pushups.


7. Calf Raises



Calf raises are very beneficial to the muscles of the lower leg, specifically for the ankles.

There are different variations of calf raises. You can perform a calf raise standing up or while seated (see the above image). Here’s how to do a simple, standing calf raise:


– Stand with your feet flat on the surface of the ground.



– Raise your heels so you are standing on your tiptoes.

– Hold the position for ten seconds and then release your feet to the original position.

You can also do calf raises while sitting down. The steps are more or less similar. The only difference is that you sit while you perform the exercise. This version is excellent to do at your desk.



The same instructions as in the case of the pushups. 


Let Your Journey Towards Health and Fitness Start Today!

If you follow these simple strength training exercises, you will gain more stamina, get rid of excess fat, develop muscle tissue and become a healthier, more productive and successful person.

We hope you derived great benefit from reading this article and are able to begin your strength training program and the full body workout for beginners with effective simple exercises.

If you do, we would love to hear about your experience. And we would also like to know about any other exercises you include in your personal workout program. Start your strength training program today: there is no better time than now!


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