If your exercise routine needs a kick-start or you’re a beginner unsure of what to do first, having a plan is key.

We’re here to help. Our two-week exercise routine can provide structure to your workouts with a goal to increase strength, balance, and mobility.

Do this workout four days per week with a one-day break in between, if possible.

Here’s your workout routine:

  • The warmup: Before each workout, spend 10 minutes doing a brisk walk, jog, or bike ride to get your heart rate up. Then for 5–6 minutes do some dynamic stretching.
  • Workout 1–3: Full-body approach with a mix of upper- and lower-body strength exercises maximizes your time and eases you in. Complete 3 sets of each exercise, 10–15 reps each (as noted below). Rest 30–60 second between sets and 1–2 minutes between each exercise.
  • Workout 4: Combination of cardio-based exercises and core-specific moves challenges your endurance. Treat this routine as a circuit: Complete 1 set of each exercise back to back, rest for 1 minute, then repeat 2 more times.

At the end of the two weeks you should feel strong, powerful, and accomplished –– you’ve definitely put in the sweat equity. Ready, set, go!

Complete 3 sets of each exercise before moving on to the next.

Squats

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3 sets, 15 reps

There’s nothing much more foundational than a squat, so kicking things off with this bodyweight version is a great place to start. During the movement, ensure your shoulders are back, your gaze is ahead, and your knees fall out, not in.

Incline dumbbell press

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3 sets, 10 reps

You’ll need a bench and some dumbbells to perform this exercise. If you’re a beginner, start with 10- or 12-pound dumbbells until you’re comfortable with the movement. Position the bench at a 30-degree angle. Use your chest muscles to lead the arm extension.

Lunges with dumbbell

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3 sets, 12 reps each leg

Adding a bicep curl to a lunge adds a layer of difficulty, challenging your muscles, and balance, in an additional way. Again, if you’re a beginner, start with lighter-weight dumbbells, like 8 or 10 pounds, until you feel stable in the movement.

Face pulls

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3 sets, 10 reps

Targeting your shoulders and upper back, face pulls may seem awkward at first, but you’ll feel the burn in no time. Use a resistance band anchored to a point above your head to complete.

Plank reach-under

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3 sets, 12 taps

Ending the workout with a core-specific exercise is a great way to go. Spice up a regular plank by adding this reach-under tap. Pay special attention to your lower back, making sure it doesn’t sag, and that your hips stay square to the ground.

Complete 3 sets of each exercise before moving on to the next.

Modified thruster

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3 sets, 12 reps

Combining a squat with an overhead dumbbell press creates a compound movement, which works multiple muscles and joints for extra calorie burn. Five- or 8-pound dumbbells should work well for a beginner.

Step-up

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3 sets, 12 reps each leg

Challenge your balance and stability while strengthening your leg muscles with step-ups. Hold a dumbbell in each hand for an added challenge. Push through your heels to focus on your glutes throughout the movement.

Cable crossover

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3 sets, 10 reps

Target your chest with a cable crossover. Use a cable machine at the gym or two resistance bands. Make sure you’re pulling with your pectorals, not your arms.

Lateral lunge

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3 sets, 10 reps each leg

Side-plane movement is important in a well-rounded exercise routine. Focus on sitting back into your glutes at the bottom of the movement to get the most out of it, from a strength and mobility standpoint.

Superman

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3 sets, 10 reps

Deceivingly simple, the superman exercise is core-specific, working both the abs and lower back muscles. Go as slowly and as controlled as you can during this movement. Aim for a slight pause at the top.

Complete 3 sets of each exercise before moving on to the next.

Side-step

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3 sets, 10 steps each way

A banded side-step is great for warming up your hips before a workout, but it also serves to strengthen those muscles as well. The lower you squat down, the harder this exercise will be.

Row

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3 sets, 12 reps

Strengthening your back muscles is vital to maintain good posture and ease of daily life. Use a resistance band as shown here. Dumbbells can also work.

Lunge

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3 sets, 12 reps each leg

Lunge your way to stronger legs. Only body weight is required. Step forward so your legs form a triangle with the ground and lower down into a stationary lunge.

Leg kickbacks

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3 sets, 12 reps each leg

Strengthen your hips and glutes with kickbacks. Go slowly, raising your leg as far off the ground as it will go while keeping your pelvis square to the ground.

Plank

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3 sets until failure

The plank recruits many muscles in your body, not just your abs, which makes it a truly effective exercise to include in your routine. Your core needs to be strong and stable in this stance. Take care that your shoulders are also down and back and your neck is neutral.

Complete this workout as a circuit: Complete 1 set of jumping jacks, then move to the bicycle crunch, etc., until you’ve completed all 5 exercises. Then rest and repeat the circuit twice more.

Jumping jacks

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1 minute

Classic but effective, jumping jacks will get you moving. If the jump is too much, just tap your feet out one by one instead.

Bicycle crunch

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20 reps

By keeping your head, neck, and upper back lifted off the ground throughout this movement, your abs stay engaged the whole time. Make sure your chin stays untucked. Focus on the torso twist to target your obliques.

Squat jumps

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10–12 reps

Squat jumps are high intensity, but they have a high payout. Focus on exploding upward through the balls of your feet, jumping as high as you can go, and then landing softly on the balls of your feet. Use caution with this exercise if you have any lower-body injuries or joint problems.

Glute bridge with band

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15 reps

Completing a glute bridge with a band right above your knees adds another layer of tension, requiring more muscle activation from your glutes and hips. Squeeze your glutes and engage your pelvic floor at the top.

Mountain climber

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20 reps

Core and cardio in one, mountain climbers require strength and endurance. Pick up speed once your form is stable.

For a beginner, one day of complete rest will be ideal for recovery. The other two days you could take a stroll or do an easy hike.

Give it two weeks and come out stronger with this routine. For people on vacation or away from a gym for a while, this routine can be easily done with equipment you can pack in your bag. (For dumbbell replacements, consider water bottles with sand.)

Focus on making each movement count, establishing the muscle-mind connection. Your body will surely thank you for choosing to move!


Nicole Davis is a Boston-based writer, ACE-certified personal trainer, and health enthusiast who works to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Her philosophy is to embrace your curves and create your fit — whatever that may be! She was featured in Oxygen magazine’s “Future of Fitness” in the June 2016 issue. Follow her on Instagram.