Fitness

An Exclusive 7-Day Plan For Beginners

If you know exercise is good for you but find it hard to get going, a Kayla Itsines workout is a solid place to start. The first step is always the most daunting, but Aussie super trainer and Sweat co-founder Kayla puts the basics and building confidence front and centre, so that you feel less overwhelmed and more like you actually want to work out.

Research shows that being stuck in this kind of rut is nothing new. In a recent poll on Instagram, 73% of you told us that you found weight lifting intimidating – and we get it. Dumbbells, kettlebells and other chunky gym equipment are heavy and if you’re not used to ripping them up off the floor, or cuddling them close then simple exercises like a goblet squat can feel overwhelming.

Likewise, if the most cardio you’ve done since the pandemic hit is a stroll around the block, or to the fridge then 20-minutes of jumping jacks might be your Everest.

With all that in mind, we’ve recruited Kayla to create a 7-day no-kit-required workout plan for beginners.

The concept? A simple, straightforward routine that’ll help you cement a strong fitness foundation for 2022.

‘I want you to focus on how fitness makes you feel, and a part of that is finding a workout you absolutely love,’ says Kayla.

Over the next week Kayla will coach you through bodyweight exercises you can do at home. You’ll learn what exercise should feel like rather than what you think it should look like.

The workouts are simple, short and designed to safely ease you into movement.

Consider this plan your gateway to getting stronger, fitter and feeling more empowered through exercise in 2022.

We got you…

FYI, this page will be updated with new workouts throughout the week.

Schedule

Your workout week is comprised of three workouts:

  • Full body workout
  • Arms and abs workout
  • Lower body workout

    Each workout includes a warm-up and cool-down, and lasts just 10-15 mins each.

    ‘They’re great if you’re short on time, or want a convenient workout that keeps you moving since it can be done in the space of an exercise mat,’ Kayla says.

    On rest days, you’ll keep moving by heading outside for LISS.

    LISS (low-intensity steady-state exercise – more on this to come) involves walking, cycling or swimming for 30 mins, recovery means 10 mins of stretching or 20-30 mins of yoga, and rest = total rest. You heard the woman.

    BONUS: Once you’ve nailed this plan, bag yourself 3 months of Sweat access for free. Just visit get.sweat.com/whuk22 before 3 February 2022, and sign up if you’re not already a member.

    Save or screenshot this handy infographic to help you keep track of what you should be doing and when.

    kayla itsines workout

    Don’t feel ready to keep up with Kayla? Not a problem. Here’s how to scale the plan to suit you. To make it easier:

    • Run through each circuit per workout just once or twice. Kayla repeats each circuit in each workout three times through, but listen to your body.
    • Go at your own pace. There’s no use in trying to match Kayla’s speed if your form falls short. Slow and steady wins the race, always.
    • Finish each exercise with 10 secs to spare. Kayla performs each exercise for 30 secs, but 20 (or less if that suits you) is just as impressive.

      To make it harder:

      • Miss out the rest segments by fast-forwarding the clips.
      • Pick up the pace and increase your speed (remembering to maintain form, pls!).

        Read on for more information on how to make the plan harder.

        Workout 1: Full body

        kayla itsines workoutkayla fullbody 1640108949 MBNewz

        Quick and effective is the name of the game here. ‘It hits the major muscle groups in your chest, shoulders, quads, glutes, hamstrings and core, without the need for equipment,’ Kayla explains.

        The formula: 1 min warm up, 3 rounds of circuit one, 30 secs rest, 3 rounds of circuit two, 1 min cool down.

        Warm up:

        • Rocking chair to abs: 30 secs
        • Standing X crunch: 30 secs

          Circuit one:

          • Reverse lunge: 30 secs
          • Push-up on knees: 30 secs
          • Ab bicycles: 30 secs

            Repeat 3 times.

            30 secs rest

            Circuit two:

            • Squat and high reach: 30 secs
            • Caterpillar crawl to cross plank: 30 secs
            • Glute bridge: 30 secs

              Repeat 3 times.

              Cool down:

              • Hip flexor stretch: 30 secs (15 secs each side)
              • Hamstring stretch: 1 min (30 secs each side)

                Workout 2: Arms and abs

                kayla itsines workoutkayla armabs 1640108913 MBNewz

                ‘This is an ideal express arms and abs workout to be done on its own,’ says Kayla. ‘Let’s go!’

                The formula: 1 min warm up, 3 rounds of circuit one, 30 secs rest, 3 rounds of circuit two, 1 min cool down.

                Warm up:

                • Arm swings: 30 secs
                • Cat-cow: 30 secs
                • Circuit one:

                  Repeat 3 times.

                  • Plank rotation: 30 secs
                  • Ab bicycles: 30 secs

                    30 secs rest

                    Circuit two:

                    • Commando knees: 30 secs
                    • Side plank and oblique crunch: 30 secs

                      Repeat 3 times.

                      Cool down:

                      • Abs stretch: 15 secs
                      • Pec stretch: 15 secs
                      • Tricep stretch: 15 secs
                      • Lat stretch: 15 secs

                        Workout 3: Lower body

                        kayla itsines workoutkayla lowerbody 1640108979 MBNewz

                        ‘This lower body workout targets your glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and adductors for a session that is balanced and hits all your fundamental strength needs,’ Kayla says. ‘It contains a superset – to strengthen your major lower body muscle groups, and a triset – to increase the pace and build in some lower body endurance and cardio.’ Go get ‘em.

                        The formula: 1 min 30 secs warm up, 3 rounds of circuit one, 30 secs rest, 3 rounds of circuit two with 10 secs rest after each round, 1 min 40 secs cool down.

                        Warm up:

                        • Hip flexor and hamstring stretch: 1 min (30 secs each side)
                        • Windmills: 30 secs

                          Circuit one:

                          • Sumo squats: 30 secs
                          • Kneel to knee-up: 30 secs

                            Repeat 3 times.

                            30 secs rest

                            Circuit two:

                            • Alternating lateral lunge: 30 secs
                            • Glute bridge and walkout: 30 secs

                              Repeat 3 times with 10 secs rest after each round.

                              Cool down:

                              • Glute stretch: 1 min (30 secs each side)
                              • Quad stretch: 40 secs (20 secs each side)

                                What is LISS?

                                On days two, four and five, Kayla recommends 30 mins of LISS. It stands for low-intensity steady-state exercise, and with the goal of beginners improving cardio and confidence in mind here, Kayla has chosen walking, cycling and swimming as the best kinds.

                                How hard should you be going? ‘You want to get your heart rate slightly elevated and should be able to hold a conversation comfortably (unless you’re swimming),’ she tells us. The idea is that you can maintain a good pace from the start of the 30 mins to the very end. And, like we’ve mentioned, the whole point of this plan is to help you find fitness you enjoy, so choose whichever type of LISS you prefer from Kayla’s options.

                                Check out our full LISS guide to get all your FAQs answered.

                                What is active recovery?

                                Kayla has also given ‘active recovery‘ days as options on day five and seven, but there’s a difference between this and total rest.

                                ‘Recovery looks different for everyone,’ Kayla says. ‘It could be a gentle stretching session, sauna, bath, massage, yoga session or a walk.’ She adds that 10 mins of stretching could well be enough.

                                None of these quite your bag? Bookmark our guide on more ideas for active recovery.

                                Do I need any equipment?

                                No siree. Besides a yoga mat to protect your knees and wrists, this workout plan is designed specifically using just your bodyweight.

                                How can I make the workouts harder?

                                Once you’re familiar with the moves, you might want to consider running through each workout twice. As it stands, each will take you a maximum of 15 mins, so double that will take you to 30 mins. If you do decide to give it a go, remember to leave your stretching until the end of the full session, as opposed to after the second circuit.

                                What do I do after the 7-day Kayla Itsines workout plan is over?

                                The end of the week doesn’t have to mean the end of the workout challenge. If you’re a complete newbie, chances are you’ll still benefit from following this 7-day plan every week until you feel it no longer challenges you. Or, if after a few weeks it’s not pushing you and you want something more, try the same workout plan but run through each workout twice (as above).

                                Can I do the workouts if I’m pregnant or have just had a baby?

                                This programme wasn’t designed with mums-to-be or new mums in mind, so we’d suggest finding a routine that pays particular attention to your pre and post-natal needs. You’ll also need to have a GP, midwife or healthcare professional confirm that you’re fit to exercise before you go headfirst.

                                For more advice, read about the 11 dos and don’ts of prenatal workouts.

                                Get the Sweat app for free

                                As a bonus, Kayla and Sweat are offering WH readers 3-months of free access to all of Sweat’s workouts. We know. Here’s how to nab yours.

                                1. Visit get.sweat.com/whuk22
                                2. Sign up with your email address.
                                3. Download the app, and sign in with the account you just created.
                                  1. NB: you’ll need to enter your card details – you won’t be immediately charged, but your subscription will automatically renew to the monthly membership price of £14.99 if you don’t cancel before the end of your 3-month trial.

                                    * The code can only be redeemed via the Sweat website and only between 2 January 2022 1:31pm GMT – 3 February 2022 1:29pm GMT.


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