Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint and creator of marksdailyapple.com has a free 92 page e-book on fitness which he gives away if you subscribe to his newsletter. Early in my fitness journey I found this to be very helpful, as he takes five basic bodyweight exercises and shows you progressions of each to increase the difficulty as you grow stronger. This is a great program to follow if you are pressed for time, don’t want to spend the money for a gym membership, or don’t feel comfortable going to a gym (see Gym-timidation). I did have to spend a little money to buy a pull-up bar I could mount on a door frame (http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Gym-Total-Upper-Workout/dp/B001EJMS6K/ref=sr_1_2?s=sports-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1449310882&sr=1-2&keywords=pullup+bar) but outside of that, I was able to do this full routine in around 15 to 20 minutes with chairs and benches I had around the house. If you prefer to save money on the pullup bar, Scooby Werkstaat of scoobysworkshop.com has a video on one hundred places you can do them at this link:
Hint on the door frame pullup bar – I cut small pieces of towel to place under the bar where it contacts the door frame, this helps protect the door frame from being damaged or the paint from being marred.
The routine Mark recommends for beginners consists of various versions of pushups, pullups, squats, planks and a jack knife press for shoulders. Mark recommends one set of each in order and then a second set of each in order for a total of ten sets. I am showing his video lessons on four of them below, followed by one on the Jack Knife shoulder press.
This version of the jack knife press will likely be too difficult for beginners, Mark’s first progression version has the hands on two chairs and the feet on the floor.
So, that hopefully wiped away a lot of the standard excuses for not starting your exercise program. No money required, twenty minutes twice a week, just add a little motivation to get started!
Of course, you should also include some interval type exercises such as sprinting in place and some low level movement exercises such as walking, bicycling, etc. for a well rounded program.
I recommend subscribing to Mark’s newsletter and getting the e-book – Mark is a very good researcher and posts very thoughtful blogs which do have a background in published scientific research.