Welcome! Today's workout is for beginners, but it's also a great light workout if you're short on time or energy. It's also a great workout to tack a ruck onto on the front or back. Always make sure you do the warm up prior to the workout when they're listed. It's important to get your body ready to move and helps you avoid injury.

I've got A LOT of important info today - bear with me. It won't be this text-heavy often. But even if you're not "new," it never hurts to have a formal reminder.


What are the exercises I need to know today?

I'm going to give a basic outline in each workout of moves you need to know, and cues to remind you of proper form. I can't underscore this enough: proper form is everything when you're mastering basic movements. It's tempting to move ahead, but I strongly encourage you, if you're just starting out, to slow down and take the time to perform the movement correctly. Your brain learning a new exercise incorrectly can lead to poor habits down the line.

Arm Circles Standing straight, feet hip width apart. Make sure your core engaged, which means more than just tensing your abs. (Your core extends up your ribs and down into your glutes. In short, your core creates most of the power you generate while standing up.) Raising both arms up, parallel with the floor, create small circles that gradually get larger clockwise, and then counterclockwise.

Bodyweight or Ruck Squats Properly performing a squat can often be harder than it seems. I'm going to go into A LOT of detail here. Good squat form should follow these rules:

  • Feet slightly more than hip width apart, toes turned slightly outwards
  • Bracing your core to stabilize your spine, hold your chest up and out, head up, shifting your weight back into your hips
  • Hinging at the knees and hips simultaneously. Your hips will move slightly forward, but this in the important point, make sure your knees are in alignment. No knees splaying outward, no inward tilt knocking your knees together.
  • Lower until your knees are parallel with the floor, until your heels lift off the floor, or your torso begins to round. Make sure your ankles don't collapse inward or tilt outward.Your knee should align with your second toe.
  • While maintaining your back, chest and head-up position, exhale and extend the hips and knees by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso need to rise together while keeping the heels flat on the floor and knees aligned over the second toe. Continue extending until you reach your starting position.

Push-Ups Bad push-up form is another frequent sight that can lead to shoulder, neck and lower back issues, so it's important that your form on a push-up is accurate from the beginning. If you cannot yet perform a push-up on toes, knees is acceptable.

  • Starting in plank position, palms flat on the ground. Hands should be shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forwards or slightly inwards. Your shoulders should be positioned directly over hands.
  • Stiffening your core and lifting your quads, align your head with your spine.
  • Slowly lower your body to the floor WITHOUT allowing your lower back to sag or hips to hike upwards. Lower your chest to the floor. Your elbows can either flare outward in a basic push-up or stay close to your chest.
  • On the upward phase, press upwards through your hands, keeping your rigid core intact. Your head should be in line with your spine, eyes at the floor, not looking up.

Hip Bridges or "Glute Bridges" are an important part of core stability and can keep your hips in alignment and help protect your low back from injury. To perform a bridge properly, lie on your back, knees bent with feet on the floor. Contract your abs to press your low back into the floor. 

Upward Phase: Gently exhale while holding your abdominal contraction and press your hips upwards off the floor into extension by contracting your glutes. At the same time press your heels into the floor for more stability. Avoid pushing your hips too high as this generally increases the amount of hyperextension (arching) in your low back. Maintaining your abdominal contraction helps avoid excessive arching in your low back.

Lowering Phase: Inhale and slowly lower yourself back towards your starting position.

Ruck Overhead Press Hold your ruck so that the palms are facing the ceiling and the elbows bent next to your chest. Keeping your back straight and tall, press the ruck directly overhead.

Ruck Front Raise Standing tall, holding your ruck by the top handle and bottom, raise your ruck until it's parallel with the floor. Lower for one.

Russian Twists Sitting on the floor, slightly leaned back, knees bent and feet flat. Take your ruck in both hands and twist to the left, touching your ruck to the ground. Twist back to center and then to the right for one.

Lying Toe Touches Lying on the floor, legs and arms extended into the air, reach both hands up to touch both feet.

Phew! Now we're on to the work: 

The Warm Up:

  • :30 Arm Circles
  • :30 Jog in Place
  • :30 Butt Kicks
  • :30 High Knees

The Work  x 1-3 Rounds:

  • 12 x Walking Lunges
  • 12 x Ruck Overhead Press
  • 12 x Ruck Front Raise
  • 5 x Burpees
  • :30 Plank - Hands
  • 15 x Russian Twists
  • :30 Plank - Elbows
  • 15 x Lying Toe Touches

1 comment

  • My knees and weight don’t like burpees and I still don’t have goo balance for walking lunges.

    1) can I substitute step ups for lunges, until I can do the lunges?
    2) Dan John recommends the ‘humane burpee’ for older folks.
    Basically 5 rounds of 15 kettlebell swings, with drop sets of goblet squats and pushups.
    End result is 75 kB swings, 15 goblet squats and 15 push-ups.

    Steve Gabriel

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