Home workouts for beginners don't need to be daunting - 7 that boost fitness while still being enjoyable

New to working out? Bookmark these for later.

Home workouts for beginners: A woman doing a plank at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If, like some 48% of Brits who find it harder to stick to their normal exercise routine during winter, you’re currently knee-deep in your hermit era, then you may prefer to kick off your 2024 fitness goals with some home workouts for beginners.

As new stats from Sports Direct highlight, nearly half of us struggle with working out in the winter, largely because of the cold weather, darker mornings and evenings, and barriers to entry, too. That said, while gym sessions tend to be preferable when the goal is building muscle and strength (largely due to the vast array of equipment on offer to help you achieve progressive overload), it’s still possible to hit your fitness goals in the comfort of your own home. 

In fact, a study from last year, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, suggests that online home-based resistance training may be just as beneficial as working out in a gym. Researchers found that eight weeks of resistance workouts via Zoom resulted in improved mental and physical health, including muscle size. They indicated that short-term supervised virtual strength training is as efficacious as traditional, facility-based training.

In other words, simple home workouts are a solid option, whether it’s your first foray into fitness or you’re simply looking to skip chilly commutes to and from the gym until the weather improves. Here, an expert shares seven of their favourite home workouts for beginners, plus their top tips for getting started. Don't miss our guides to other beginner-friendly home workouts, the difference between home vs gym workouts, and an expert explainer on how to build physical fitness from home, while you're here.

These are the best home workouts for beginners, according to a top PT

What home workouts for beginners should I opt for?

If you’re unsure where to start, experts recommend starting small with short and simple workouts to ease yourself in. Bodyweight workouts that require no equipment are ideal while you’re finding your feet and figuring out what you enjoy. Similarly, instruction from a qualified and compassionate PT, via YouTube or another platform, will help you learn the proper form for various exercises. 

What should I look for in a beginner workout at home?

There are a number of things to bear in mind when choosing a home workout. Below, Joanna Meyer, director and personal trainer at Nordic Balance breaks them down.

1. Start slow and easy

“Don't jump straight into hardcore workouts,” she says. Instead, begin with uncomplicated workouts that suit your fitness level. “Trust me, you'll thank yourself later,” she adds.

2. Set clear goals

Meyer recommends figuring out what you actually want to achieve by working out at home. “Whether it's building muscle, developing a skill or just staying active, having clear goals keeps you motivated,” she says.

3. Create a routine

“Consistency is key, my friend,” says Meyer. “Set a workout schedule that fits your life and stick to it. Whether it's a few times a week or daily, make it a habit.”

Read MC UK Senior Health Editor Ally Head's guide to building a sustainable morning workout routine, here.

4. Utilise online resources

Platforms like YouTube can be handy when you’re exploring something new like home exercise. “You can find tons of free workout videos and apps out there,” says Meyer. “YouTube has loads of fitness channels with workouts for all levels.”

Our go-to's for home workouts are Yoga with Adriene and Joe Wicks workouts. You'll find hundreds of these for free on the platform, meaning you can stream them any time, any place.


♬ Made You Look - Meghan Trainor

5. Stay hydrated

If you want a quality workout, you’re going to need to be properly hydrated to aid both your performance during the session and your recovery after. Meyer advises prioritising hydration before, during, and after all workouts.

6. Invest wisely

You don't need a fancy home gym, but some basic gear like one of the best exercise mats, a few resistance bands, or a dumbbell weight can add variety to your workouts.

7. Listen to your body

"If something hurts or feels off, don't push it,” Meyer emphasises. “Your body knows best. Take breaks when needed and let yourself recover.”

Stretching workouts at the ready..

8. Mix it up

Part of the fun of doing home workouts is that you have the freedom and flexibility to try new things as you fancy. “Try different workouts like yoga, HIIT or dancing,” recommends Meyer. "Variety makes it more fun!”

9. Get some support

Whether you join a live virtual workout where you can mingle with others in the class or find an accountability partner who can share the journey with you, having a supportive community is invaluable. Often, PTs have private Facebook groups for their clients to connect, so look out for those.

10. Have fun

“Last but not least, remember that working out should be enjoyable,” Meyer stresses. “Find activities you love, so it doesn't feel like a chore.”

It’s also important to note, says Meyer, that progress takes time. “Don't get discouraged if you don't see instant results. Stay consistent, stay positive, and kick some butt." Hear, hear.

What are the benefits of home workouts for beginners?

“Home workouts offer a load of benefits for beginners,” says Meyer. “They're super convenient – no need to travel to the gym, and you can sweat it out in your comfy clothes at any time.” It’s easier to create a training schedule that really works with your lifestyle too, without opening times and occupied equipment to contend with.

“For those that don’t like to workout in front of everyone else, privacy is a bonus; you’ll likely feel less self-conscious while exercising,” says Meyer. “And, at a time when we’re all feeling the pinch, remember that home workouts are cost-effective too - no pricey gym memberships or equipment required.”

At home, you can create an environment you feel comfortable in – from the music to the temperature – and experiment with different types of workout to find what you most enjoy. “You can personalise your workouts, track your progress easily, and enjoy a wide variety of online resources to keep things fresh and exciting,” says Meyer.

7 PT-approved home workouts for beginners

1. Dance cardio

What? A short and sweet dance cardio workout.

Why? "Dance is a great way to include some fun into your workouts and if it’s just you at home then you’re more likely to throw yourself into this," says Meyer. It's fun, energetic, and ideal for when you only have a small window of time.

How long? 8 minutes.

2. No jumping cardio workout

What? A 10-minute no-jumping cardio workout

Why? "Holly's workouts have a particular emphasis on beginner-friendly routines, and are easy to follow along at home," says Meyer. This particular one requires no equipment and features no jumping exercises, so it's great for anyone living in a flat or needing to be gentle on the joints.

How long? 10 minutes.

3. Essential daily Pilates routine

What? A short Pilates session

Why? "Pilates is an excellent, low impact exercise which is easily done at home," says Meyer. She references its benefits, including improving mobility and core strength. "Both are key to dealing with lower back pain and helping to keep you moving freely," she adds. 

How long? 16 minutes.

4. Home HIIT workout

What? HIIT session

Why? If it's a sweat session you're after, Meyer recommends this 20-minute HIIT workout. "It's ideal for anyone looking to explore the benefits of HIIT as it's a short session that's adaptable to various fitness levels."

How long? 20 minutes.

5. Flexibility and mobility workout

What? A mobility session that'll not only boost fitness but ease tightness and tension, too.

Why? "This workout will work on your range of motion and increase your flexibility," says Meyer. "This is super important for anyone who’s just starting out, as you’re sure to be sore when you get going. Flexibility and Mobility are key to keeping you moving freely, keeping you injury-free and making the most of your training."

How long? 20 minutes.

Shop MC UK's go-to workout kit now:

What are the best workouts for beginners at home?

While of course, this will depend on your current fitness level and end goal, Joanna Meyer, director and personal trainer at Nordic Balance, maintains that the best home workout for beginners is one you'll enjoy and as a result stick to. Short and simple workouts are the best place to start to ease your mind and body in - think a ten-minute yoga stretch, Pilates workout, or strength training session, if that's what you prefer.

One thing to note: following guidance from a qualified and compassionate PT is also key here to make sure you don't injure yourself. Our experts recommend scouring sites like YouTube for qualified PTs who share their content for free. If you can afford it, there are plenty of fitness apps out there, like FIIT, which have entire home workout plans designed for beginners.

Abbi Henderson
Health Writer

Abbi Henderson is a freelance journalist and social media editor who covers health, fitness, women’s sport and lifestyle for titles including Women's Health and Stylist, among others. 

With a desire to help make healthcare, exercise and sport more accessible to women, she writes about everything from the realities of seeking medical support as a woman to those of being a female athlete fighting for equality. 

When she’s not working, she’s drinking tea, going on seaside walks, lifting weights, watching football, and probably cooking something pasta-based.