Your Beginner Guide To Indoor Workouts
When it comes to getting fit, it’s critical that you enjoy the place you choose to do your workout sessions. If you aren’t comfortable where you are trying to workout, you’ll never stay the course as you’ll simply think up every excuse in the books not to go.
You want this to be your home away from home – the place you wait to visit each session you have planned because you feel comfortable, at ease, and it allows you to get the work done you need to do.
For most people, this place happens to be indoors. While there are a few who like the adventure of the great outdoors and will choose to hike up a mountain or row a canoe as their means of exercise, most people like the fact that when you workout indoors, there is no weather barrier standing in your way. That area will be ready when you need it.
So if you’ve decided that indoor workouts are your style, it’s important to note all the different types of indoor workouts that can be done so that you can see the benefits of each and determine which style will be best for you.
Let’s walk you through the top beginner workouts indoor workouts that will help you get a kick-start on your fitness program, allowing you to see maximized success.
Basic Cardio Training
The first type of training you’ll want to try out is basic cardiovascular training. This one is pretty self-explanatory, hop on the cardio machines and begin.
There are four – possibly five types of indoor cardio machines you will find in your gym (or available for purchase for to go beside your home gym), so selecting the right one will be the biggest step to getting these workouts in order.
The first machine option is the treadmill. Most people, at some point in their lives or another, have stepped foot on a treadmill. This machine offers great versatility as you can walk, jog, run, sprint, or go uphill (on most machines that offer an incline function).
Going uphill will dramatically help increase the total strength gains you experience from this cardio method as you’ll be hitting your glutes, hamstrings, and quads with every step that you take.
Using the treadmill is a good option as it’s quite easy – almost everyone knows how to walk or jog, and when done at the right intensity level for you, can really increase your total cardiovascular fitness.
The second machine is the exercise bike. Here you have three choices: the upright (or stationary) bike, the recumbent bike, and the spin bike (aka indoor cycle). Each one offers its own set of benefits. The upright bike will challenge your quads to a larger degree, so if that’s where you hope to see strength gains, it’s the one you’ll want to be selecting.
The recumbent bike will hit the hamstrings to a larger degree, so for those wanting to train this muscle group, it can be very beneficial. It’ll also tend to place less strain on the knee joint, so those with knee injuries may want to consider it carefully.
Finally, you have the spinning bike. This bike is great for those who are looking at maintaining a high rep per minute pace during their workout and who like changing positions as they ride (moving from seated to standing). Often it’s used in group fitness classes, so that may be another consideration for you.
Moving on from the bike, you next come to the elliptical trainer. This one is great for those who are hoping to increase their cardiovascular fitness level while taking pain away from their joints. Since it works in that fluid motion, those who suffer from knee or back pain will tend to find it works very well to lessen their discomfort while still getting in a terrific workout session.
The elliptical trainer is also unique in that it works both the upper as well as the lower body, so is a great full body cardio technique.
The stepmill is the next cardio machine you may find located in the gym. This one is great for hitting your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and just all around building a great looking lower body. It mimics stair climbing, which we’ve all done at some time or another, so you likely know what it’s all about. Note that this one can aggravate those with knee pain, so should be done with caution.
The last cardio machine you might find in your gym is the rowing machine. This one is less common than the others listed above, but if you do happen to have it at your location, it’s a good one for boosting your cardiovascular fitness level while also increasing your upper and lower body strength and power development. Because you’ll be pulling against that resistance every step of the way, it works well for helping build up a strong upper back.
Finally, before moving on, one last piece of cardio equipment that must be mentioned for those who are planning indoor home workouts is the Max Fit Trainer. This machine basically combines the low-impact nature of the elliptical trainer with the muscle building and fat burning benefits of the stepmill into one machine designed to get you as lean as possible. It’s great for beginners all the way up to more advanced individuals, so is one that you can use for years to come, making it a great investment.
So there you have a closer look at the indoor cardio workout options. If you want to use a machine, these are the ones you’ll find yourself gravitating to. I’d recommend that you choose at least two machines you want to use and alternate between the two.
This will not only help make those workouts more interesting, reducing the chances of drop-off boredom, but also help keep your body guessing and making progress. Those who alternate are also less likely to suffer from overuse injuries, which could take them out of the game entirely.
The key points to remember when getting started with your beginner indoor cardio workout sessions include:
• Never lean on the machine as this will decrease the intensity of the workout
• Start out with steady state cardio until you can do 20-30 minutes straight, upon which you can begin introducing interval training
• Always perform a warm-up and cool-down
• Aim to perform your workouts 3-4 times per week for 20-45 minutes
Now it’s time to look at beginner resistance training. If there is one type of workout that you want be doing with your indoor sessions, this would be it. Resistance training has the capability to completely transform your body, while giving you functional strength that will make every day life that much easier.
Plus, it’s also great for helping to improve cardiovascular fitness as well, despite the fact it’s not traditional ‘cardio training’. When you perform it, if you use shorter rest periods, you’ll find that your heart rate increases quickly and stays there the entire workout.
The first route you can take is to utilize standard strength training machines at the gym. This includes your leg press, leg extension, chest press, shoulder press, horizontal row, and so forth. These machines are very much ‘done-for-you’ machines in that you simply sit in them and move the weight. For beginners, this can be quite comforting as there isn’t too much thought involved.
If you want to step it up a notch, you can instead move into free weights. This includes dumbbells and barbells. You’ll perform all the similar types of exercises that you would in machines with these, only now you are no longer relying on the machine to guide you through the movement pattern. Instead, you are simply moving through the exercise all on your own – and using your core for stabilization purposes.
Free weight exercises do tend to work the core to a much larger degree and will help ensure maximize strength gains are met.
If you prefer not to use free weights, you can also use resistance bands and get a similar effect. Just note that resistance bands only offer so much resistance and after a certain point, you’ll come to find that they no longer challenge you enough to make good progress.
Another option is to simply use your own body weight. For those working out at home who don’t want to invest in equipment, bodyweight training can help you gain strength and burn fat. You will be far more limited in how many different types of exercises you can do when performing body weight training, so there are drawbacks, however if you put together an intense bodyweight workout program, you should see good results.
When structuring your indoor resistance training workouts, the key tips for beginners to remember are:
• Focus on compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, chest/bench press, bent over rows/horizontal rows, pull-ups, push-ups, and walking lunges to build up a great strength base
• Keep your reps in the 8-12 rep range using a weight that has you fatiguing by the last rep
• Use rest periods of around 30-90 seconds between sets – as needed until you feel recovered enough to carry on
• Always perform a proper warm-up and cool-down
• Consult with a personal trainer if you aren’t quite sure how to use perfect form
• Perform 2-3 workouts per week, preferably using a full body workout approach
Beginner Indoor Recreational Team Sports
The next option for indoor workouts for beginners is to join an indoor recreational team sport. Whether it’s basketball, soccer, floor hockey, volleyball or otherwise, team sports can be great for those who prefer a more social environment when they are working out and want to get fit at the same time.
While team sports won’t provide you with the same benefits that resistance training would (as they don’t have you acting against much resistance), this does not mean they won’t provide great benefits.
Team sports can help boost your cardiovascular fitness level, increase your hand-eye coordination, improve your balance and agility, and help work on your speed and power.
This means they are best used in conjunction with a strength training program of sorts.
If you find that you have typically fallen off the bandwagon before when doing your workout sessions alone, sports might just be the thing that you need to get you on track and keep you there.
Think back to the team sport that you used to enjoy as a younger child or teenager and try and find a group playing in your area. When most people think of ‘workouts’ they completely discount team sports, but at times, these can be some of the best workouts around.
When participating in sports, beginners should remember:
• To fuel up properly before these sessions just like you would a normal workout session
• To perform a warm-up on your own time as you typically won’t do one before the game/practice begins
• To balance sport training with resistance training for optimal results
Beginner Group Fitness Classes
Speaking of group activities, that brings us to the final way that you can get fit indoors – group fitness classes. This one too brings that social element to the picture and while you may not be working together like you would be in team sports, you are still working out beside others, enjoying their company.
When it comes to group fitness classes, here again, you have many options.
You could take part in classic step aerobics, which serves to boost your aerobic capacity, burning calories and helping you lose weight.
Or, boot camp group fitness classes are quite hot right now and are where an instructor will take you through a series of strength related and cardio based exercises throughout your time in the session. These are often performed outdoors, however you can find them indoors as well.
Dance classes, be in zumba or another form are also another great way to get fit together as group. These classes will work your cardiovascular fitness level while helping you burn calories and improve your balance and agility.
If you are someone who prefers more intense exercise, you might check out a kickboxing or boxing style group fitness class where you will perform a series of kicks, jabs, and other moves related to boxing. This can be a great way to get fit as it’ll work both the upper as well as the lower body at the same time, while also calling your core into play with each and every move you make.
Finally, you may also find yoga based group fitness classes. These are a great option for those who want something that is low impact in nature and gives a number of benefits including increased flexibility, lower stress levels, improved mind-body connection and awareness, decreased muscular tension, and improved strength gains.
While you typically won’t get as strong with yoga as you would with conventional weight lifting, if you are doing a class that does focus on strength development, you might just find yourself quite surprised with how strong you can get after regular yoga classes.
Group fitness classes are nice because they do tend to change from day to day, so one thing that you can be sure of is that you won’t be doing the same workout more than twice. For those who like variety, this can be very beneficial.
When getting started with group fitness classes, beginners should remember to:
• Always check with the instructor first to ensure the class is applicable to the beginner trainee
• Find a class that you find interesting, not just beneficial – if you don’t enjoy it you won’t stick with it and you won’t be seeing any benefits at all
• Balance group fitness classes with strength or cardiovascular conditioning
• Perform group fitness classes 2-4 days per week depending on your other exercise commitments
So there you have the main points to know and remember regarding indoor beginner training. As you can see, there are many different options available here to get started with indoor training. This is good because no matter what your current interest happens to be, you should be able to find some type of training that will get you excited and working hard towards your fitness.
Remember that you should always try and include a few different styles of exercise within your program plan. This will help give you the best well-rounded benefits, while also decreasing your overall level of boredom as you go about the workouts at hand.
Take some time to plan out a monthly schedule for indoor exercise and then every 3-4 months, re-evaluate and make some changes to ensure you keep your body responding and your mind involved.