This 5-Minute Workout For Beginners Kicks Off A Free 30-Day Training Plan

Lunge leg exercise
(Image credit: Dean Mitchell / Getty Images)

Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make at the start of a fitness kick is overdoing it. If your first workouts are too difficult, you run the risk of injury or even burnout. You may also find it hard to maintain motivation simply because the sessions you do are too challenging.

A training plan that starts with short, simple workouts is the way to go, and that’s exactly what the Climb The Ladder 30-Day training plan on fitness app WithU (App Store and Google Play) offers. The collection of 16 workouts starts with a five-minute strength session, which you can see below to try, and eventually builds up to a 20-minute workout. 

The idea is to do the 16 workouts in order over a 30-day period, with each session being one minute longer than the previous one. The workouts aren’t all strength sessions—HIIT and stretching are also on the plan.

And while WithU requires you to subscribe to access its entire library of workouts, the Climb The Ladder plan is free to all.

Tim Benjamin, ex-Olympian and co-founder of WithU, pulled the collection together to help people ease into strength training in the same way you would into running with a couch to 5K plan. It follows a similar format of gradually building your capacity.

“We designed Climb the Ladder based on the principle of progressive overload, whereby you increase the intensity of your workouts over time,” says Benjamin. “The concept can be applied to most forms of exercise, but you’ll mostly see it in strength and cardio training plans. This could be increasing your number of reps, your weights, or as with the Climb the Ladder plan, the duration of your workouts. 

“By gradually but continuously increasing the overload with each workout, you provide your body with the recovery time it needs to adapt to the new stimulus you’re introducing while also ensuring that you’re maintaining positive progression.

“It’s a simple but highly effective approach that allows you to continuously take steps towards your goals, such as building strength and endurance, or feeling fitter, in a sustainable way. By allowing your body to get used to the new stimulus by starting small, you avoid risk of injury, plus the continuous progression is fantastic for your mindset and confidence.”

Here’s the first workout from the plan to try.


Word to the wise: always warm up before beginning a workout. Here’s why warm-up exercises are so important.

1 Standing waist twist

Time 20sec Rest 10sec

Standing tall with your arms crossed in front of your chest, twist your torso to the right and left to mobilize the spine.

2 Squat adductor

Time 20sec Rest 20sec

Lower into a squat position, pushing your bum back and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then pulse your knees outwards to warm up your glutes.


Perform two rounds of the below.

1 Squat lunge lunge

Time 35sec Rest 15sec

From standing lower into a squat, then drive back up to standing, then step forward into a lunge on your right foot, lowering until both knees are bent at a 90° angle. Come back up to standing then step into a lunge on your left foot. Then repeat, doing a squat and a lunge on each side.

2 Blast off push-up

Time 35sec Rest 15sec

Start in a high plank position with your body supported on your hands and feet. Push up and back so your glutes move towards your feet, then move forward back into a plank as you lower your chest down between your hands until it’s hovering just above the floor. You can put your knees on the floor to make the movement easier.

If you enjoyed this five-minute workout, access the full 30-day plan by downloading WithU from the App Store and Google Play.

For more workout inspiration for beginners from Coach, check out how to start exercising safely, and this equipment-free beginner home workout. If you own dumbbells, or are a member of a gym, this beginner dumbbell workout is another great place to start. 

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.