The Lean Body Workout for Beginners

This collection of my favorite exercises will burn fat and build muscle.

After 20 years of working out and having a variety of fitness goals, my only current goal is to stay lean. Lean body workouts allow me to stay light, agile, and quick. Overall, I just enjoy the look compared to being muscular and feeling bulky. In college, I used to watch a group of students lift heavy weights every day, and sure enough they all got stronger. Halfway into the school year, I went to a talent show and saw them all breakdancing, doing single- and double-armed handstands, and a long list of other movements I could never do. They were incredibly strong but slim — I wanted that.

From that day on, I changed my workout approach. It’s all about lifting heavy, fast, and keeping your body moving. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts weren’t that popular in 2005, but once I learned about them, it was an easy transition for me. These workouts are the standard for building lean muscle because they require fast-paced movement, medium to heavy resistance, and minimal rest. This keeps your heart racing to give you a cardio boost while also building muscle mass, which is essential for burning more fat.

This lean body workout for beginners is a collection of my favorite beginner exercises and sequence for burning fat, building muscle, and keeping my heart rate up. I hit each muscle group back to back before moving onto another group. The only rest I take is switching between workouts. When I’m in the gym, my focus is working out — I can rest at home.

Since it’s a workout for beginners, the only difference will be the weights: you’ll need 5 to 10 pound dumbbells.

The Lean Body Workout for Beginners

Beginners Lean Body Workout

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds before moving onto the next move. Once you finish a round, rest for one minute and jump back in. Complete three rounds and enjoy the well-deserved rest.

  • Bicep Curls: The standard for bicep exercises. Be sure to squeeze at the top.
  • Hammer Curls: The next standard for biceps. Keep your palms facing in.
  • Arnold Press: This is one of my favorites exercises. It targets your shoulders and triceps. Sitting on a chair or bench with back support is ideal to help you isolate the muscle groups. Keep your back flat against the back of the chair or bench.
  • Tricep Extensions: Another fun triceps exercise. The only body part that should be moving is everything from your forearms to your hands.
  • Leg Lifts:  These are the premier lower ab exercises. Once you strengthen your lower abs, you’ll open up the door to more lower ab workouts.
  • Toe Touch: Toe touches help you develop a stronger core as well as lower and upper abs, all in one smooth movement.
  • Dumbbell Squats: Squats are important to master. Since your thighs house big muscles, weighted resistance is a must to get the most out of each movement.
  • Walking Lunge w/ Dumbbell: Lunges require balance and concentration. Keep your back straight and your core tight to avoid having lower back pain.


Bicep Curls

Hammer Curls

Arnold Press

Tricep Extensions

Leg Lifts

Toe Touches

Dumbbell Squats

Walking Lunge W/ Dumbbell

This lean body workout for beginners is the first step in building a stronger, toned, and amazing body. Once you get comfortable with these moves, try this 7-Day Weight Loss Workout Challenge for Beginners that will help you take your routine to the next level.

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Trainer Clifford

Clifford is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a lover of all things health, fitness, personal development, and community. When he's not cycling, hiking, or exploring new food recipes, he works to help others achieve personal growth.

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    1. Hi there! The American Heart Association recommends 75 minutes of high-intensity activity per week. This routine takes 15 minutes to complete, so you can perform it up to 5 times per week if you feel up to it! Of course, you can switch things up with other high-intensity workouts too, if you wish! Hope that helps! 🙂

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