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Basic Position Where Most Exercises Begin

Woman doing basic position where most exercises begin.

In the world of physical fitness and exercise, there is a basic position that serves as the starting point for a lot of exercises. This basic position, which is often called “neutral” or “starting,” is the foundation of good alignment and posture.

It involves maintaining a balanced and stable stance, with the feet planted firmly on the ground, the knees slightly bent, and the core engaged. This position allows for optimal stability and control throughout various movements, enabling individuals to perform exercises with greater efficiency and reduced risk of injury. 

Whether you’re doing strength training, yoga, or sports-specific drills, you need to master this basic position to build a strong fitness base. By starting from this stable, neutral position, people can become more aware of their bodies, engage their muscles better, and get the most out of the exercises that follow.

In this article, we will explore the different types of basic positions where most exercises begin. So, let’s take a look at the most important poses that set the stage for a successful fitness journey.

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What Constitutes Proper Exercise Form?

Proper form means you are doing the same thing the same way every time. Mixing it up is great in many places but not with things like bicep curls. Your form must be consistent for continued strengthening, toning and performance. Ideally, you will work with a trainer.

When it comes to working out, quality is more important than quantity. How you lift and how you run, jump or stroke may mean the difference between going harder and getting sidelined. 

Beginners should expect to devote time to learning proper form. Even the more experienced can benefit from some occasional form feedback. Perfecting form will boost performance, conserve energy and reduce injuries over time.

  • Proper form reduces the likelihood of injury: Poor form places undue emphasis on muscles, tendons and ligaments leading to strains and sprains. Good mechanics reduces overcompensation and the likelihood of injury.
  • Better efficiency: Why work harder when you can work smarter? Proper form helps you work out more efficiently so you can use your energy for the extra push rather than wasted movements.
  • Hones your focus: Improper form may mean you are targeting unintended muscles or muscle groups. The better your form the better your results – run faster, lift more and jump higher when you do it right.
  • Supports oxygen flow: Good form helps you breathe more fully and supports better oxygen intake. That means extra wind beneath your workout wings. You’ll fly higher.
  • Stay safe: While it is true that poor form increases the risk of bodily injuries there is another danger. Incorrect form may cause equipment related injuries. Kettle bells, weights, plyometric boxes and jump ropes are all prime sources of injury. Remember to focus on quality (low weights, low reps) over quantity while you master form.
  • Helps you perform consistently: Proper form means you are doing the same thing the same way every time. Mixing it up is great in many places but not with  things like bicep curls. Your form must be consistent for continued strengthening, toning and performance.  
  • How to learn proper form: Ideally, you will work with a trainer. He or she can monitor your movements and reposition your body as needed until the correct form becomes second nature. When a trainer is not available consider using a mirror to observe your form. Go slowly and make corrections as needed. Alternatively, you can view recordings of your performance and ask someone familiar with correct form for your sport to offer critique and feedback.

Even after you have mastered proper form for your sport, check in with a trainer periodically for feedback. Things like injuries and exhaustion can erode form. It is better to get back on track as soon as possible and a certified fitness specialist can help.

Proper Exercise Form: Why Is It Important?

Proper exercise form means you are doing the same thing the same way every time. Mixing it up is great in many places, but not with things like bicep curls. Your form must be consistent for continued strengthening, toning, and performance. Ideally, you will work with a trainer to ensure your form is correct.

Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to working out. How you lift and how you run, jump or stroke may mean the difference between going harder and getting sidelined. Beginners should expect to devote time to learning proper form, and even experienced individuals can benefit from occasional feedback.

Proper form reduces the likelihood of injury by placing emphasis on the correct muscles, tendons, and ligaments, reducing overcompensation and the likelihood of injury. It also helps you work out more efficiently, hone your focus, supports oxygen flow, and helps you perform consistently.

Types of Basic Positions

Whether you’re engaging in exercise, practicing yoga, or simply going about your daily activities, understanding and maintaining basic positions is essential. In this article, we will explore various types of basic positions, their importance, and how to properly align your body in each position. By mastering these foundational positions, you can improve your posture, enhance body awareness, and perform movements with greater efficiency.

1. Standing Positions

Standing positions are the most common starting points for many exercises. They provide a stable base and allow for full-body engagement. Some of the key standing positions include:

  • Neutral Standing Position: In the neutral standing position, your back is straight and your feet are hip-width apart. It helps keep the spine in the right place and works the core muscles.
  • Forward Lunge Position: In a forwards lunge, you put one foot in front of the other, bend your knee to a 90-degree angle, and keep your back leg straight. This position works the muscles in the lower body, like the quadriceps and the glutes.

2. Plank Positions

The plank exercise is an isometric core exercise that involves maintaining a position similar to a push-up  for the maximum possible time.  The plank (also called a front hold, hover, or abdominal bridge) is an isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a position similar to a push-up for the maximum possible time while the body is supported enough.

3. Supine Positions/ Lying Positions

When you’re supine or in lying positions , you’re lying on your back with your face up. Exercises that work the core, upper body, and lower body often use these positions. Here are just a few:

  • Supine Abdominal Crunch: In the supine abdominal crunch, the person lies on their back with their knees bent and their feet flat on the floor. With their hands behind their heads, leg extended and they lift their upper bodies off the ground by using their abdominal muscles. This works the core muscles.
  • Supine Leg Raise: In the supine leg raise position, you lie on your back with your legs straight out in front of you. In this position, the lower abdominal muscles are used because the legs are lifted off the ground and kept straight.

4. Prone Positions

When you lie on your stomach and face down and flat on the floor, you are in a prone position. These positions are often used in exercises that work the back, glutes, and the chain of muscles behind the hips. Let’s explore a couple of prone positions:

  • Prone Cobra Position: In the prone cobra position, a person lies on their stomach with their legs straight out in front of them and their arms bent and resting near their shoulders. In this position, the back muscles are strengthened because the upper body is lifted off the ground while the lower body stays on the ground.
  • Prone Glute Bridge: For the prone glute bridge position, you lie on your stomach with your legs straight out in front of you. In this position, the glutes and hamstrings are worked out because the legs are lifted off the ground and the glutes are used.

5. Seated Positions or Sitting Rest Position

Seated Positions are often utilized in exercises that focus on stability, balance, and core strength. Here are a couple of sit positions commonly used in workouts:

  • Keep the joints such as hips, knees, and ankles at an angle of 90° or slightly higher.
  • Keep knee joints at or below the hip joint and hand on hips
  • Keep ankle joints in front of the knees.
  • Keep a gap the width of three fingers between the back of the knee joint and the front edge of the seat.

6. Kneeling Position

In this position the body is supported on the knees which can be together or slightly apart. The feet are plantar flexed if kneeling on ground or in mid position if on plinth, this is often used in praying. Kneeling positions is a basic human position where one or both knees touch the ground. It is used as a resting position, during childbirth and as an expression of reverence and submission. While kneeling, the angle between the legs can vary from zero to widely splayed out, flexibility permitting.

7. Stride position

A stride is a long step which you take when you are walking or running. With every stride, runners hit the ground with up to five times their body-weight. Stand on both legs, with one foot in front as if it has taken a step. Keep weight on both feet and maintain good trunk/knee/arch positions and hand on hips. Stride position is usually done to strengthen/train leg muscles in weight bearing position.

How to Learn Proper Form

Ideally, you will work with a trainer who can monitor your movements and reposition your body as needed until the correct form becomes second nature. When a trainer is not available, consider using a mirror to observe your form. Alternatively, you can view recordings of your performance and ask someone familiar with correct form for your sport to offer critique and feedback.

Benefits of Mastering Basic Exercise Positions

Mastering basic exercise positions offers numerous benefits for overall health, including skin health. Regular exercise promotes blood circulation, which allows for better delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells. This improved blood flow can give the skin a healthy, radiant appearance. Exercise also helps reduce stress levels, which can positively impact skin health by minimizing acne breakouts and other skin conditions triggered by stress.

Adopting a balanced diet and paying attention to nutrition are essential for achieving a healthy glow and maintaining optimal skin health. Incorporating foods rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, and skin-supporting nutrients can promote a radiant complexion.

Regular exercise and mastering basic exercise positions can enhance blood circulation and reduce stress, contributing to healthier-looking skin. By prioritizing both diet and exercise, individuals can nourish their skin from the inside out, leading to long-term benefits for their overall well-being.

Common Exercises That Begin with Basic Position

One surefire way to attack your fitness regimen effectively? Keep the fuss to a minimum and stick with the basics.

1. Squats

Squats increase lower body and core strength, as well as flexibility in your lower back and hips. Because they engage some of the largest muscles in the body, they also pack a major punch in terms of calories burned.

  • Start by standing straight, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your arms at your sides.
  • Brace your core and, keeping your chest and chin up, push your hips back and bend your knees as if you’re going to sit in a chair.
  • Ensuring your knees don’t bow inward or outward, drop down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, bringing your arms out in front of you in a comfortable position. Pause for 1 second, then extend your legs and return to the starting position.
  • Complete 3 sets of 20 reps.

2. Lunges

Challenging your balance is an essential part of a well-rounded exercise routine. Lunges do just that, promoting functional movement while also increasing strength in your legs and glutes.

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms down at your sides.
  • Take a step forward with your right leg and bend your right knee as you do so, stopping when your thigh is parallel to the ground. Ensure that your right knee doesn’t extend past your right foot.
  • Push up off your right foot and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. This is one rep.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.

3. Pushups

Drop and give me 20! Pushups are one of the most basic yet effective bodyweight moves you can perform because of the number of muscles that are recruited to perform them.

  • Start in a plank position. Your core should be tight, shoulders pulled down and back, and your neck neutral.
  • Bend your elbows and begin to lower your body down to the floor and palms facing the floor. When your chest grazes it, extend your elbows and return to the start. Focus on keeping your elbows close to your body during the movement.
  • Complete 3 sets of as many reps as possible.

If you can’t quite perform a standard pushup with good form, drop down to a modified stance on your knees — you’ll still reap many of the benefits from this exercise while building strength.

4. Planks

Planks are an effective way to target both your abdominal muscles and your whole body. Planking stabilizes your core without straining your back the way sit-ups or crunches might.

  • Begin in a pushup position with your hand and toes firmly planted on the ground, your back straight, and your core tight.
  • Keep your chin slightly tucked and your gaze just in front of your hands.
  • Take deep, controlled breaths while maintaining tension throughout your entire body, so your abs, shoulders, triceps, glutes, and quads are all engaged.
  • Complete 2-3 sets of 30-second holds to start.

5. Glute bridge

The glute bridge effectively works your entire posterior chain, which isn’t only good for you, but it’ll make your booty look perkier, too.

  • Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, and arms straight at your sides with your palms facing down.
  • Pushing through your heels, raise your hips off the ground by squeezing your core, glutes, and hamstrings. Your upper back and shoulders should still be in contact with the ground, and your core down to your knees should form a straight line.
  • Pause 1–2 seconds at the top and return to the starting position.
  • Complete 10–12 reps for 3 sets.

6. Side planks

A healthy body requires a strong core at its foundation, so don’t neglect core-specific moves like the side plank.

Focus on the mind-muscle connection and controlled movements to ensure you’re completing this move effectively.

  • Lie on your right side with your left leg and foot stacked on top of your right leg and foot. Prop your upper body up by placing your right forearm on the ground and elbow directly under your shoulder.
  • Contract your core to stiffen your spine and lift your hips and knees off the ground, forming a straight line with your body.
  • Return to start in a controlled manner. Repeat 3 sets of 10–15 reps on one side, then switch.

7. Burpees

An exercise we love to hate, burpees are a super-effective, whole-body move that provides great bang for your buck for cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength.

  • Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides.
  • With your hands out in front of you, start to squat down. When your hands reach the ground, pop your legs straight back into a pushup position.
  • Jump your feet up to your palms by hinging at the waist. Get your feet as close to your hands as you can get, landing them outside your hands if necessary.
  • Stand up straight, bringing your arms above your head, and jump.
  • This is one rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps as a beginner.

8. Single-leg deadlifts

This is another exercise that challenges your balance. Single-leg deadlifts require stability and leg strength. Grab a light to moderate dumbbell to complete this move.

  • Begin standing with a dumbbell in your right hand, and your knees slightly bent.
  • Hinging at the hips, begin to kick your left leg straight back behind you, lowering the dumbbell down toward the ground.
  • When you reach a comfortable height with your left leg, slowly return to the starting position in a controlled motion, squeezing your right glute. Ensure that your pelvis stays square to the ground during the movement.
  • Repeat 10 to 12 reps before moving the weight to your left hand and repeating the same steps on the left leg. It’s suggested to do 3 sets of 10-12 reps per side.

9. Standing overhead dumbbell presses

Compound exercises, which utilize multiple joints and muscles, are perfect for busy bees as they work several parts of your body at once. A standing overhead press isn’t only one of the best exercises you can do for your shoulders, but it also engages your upper back and core.

  • Pick a light set of dumbbells — we recommend 10 pounds to start — and start by standing, either with your feet shoulder-width apart or staggered. Move the weights overhead so your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Bracing your core, begin to push up until your arms are fully extended above your head. Keep your head and neck stationary.
  • After a brief pause, bend your elbows and lower the weight back down until your triceps muscle is parallel to the floor again.
  • Complete 3 sets of 12 reps.

10. Dumbbell rows

Not only will these make your back look killer in that dress, but dumbbell rows are also another compound exercise that strengthens multiple muscles in your upper body. Choose a moderate-weight dumbbell and ensure that you’re squeezing at the top of the movement.

  • Start with a dumbbell in each hand. We recommend no more than 10 pounds for beginners.
  • Bend forward at the waist, so your back is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Be certain not to arch your back. Let your arms hang straight down. Ensure your neck is in line with your back and your core is engaged.
  • Starting with your right arm, bend your elbow and pull the weight straight up toward your chest, making sure to engage your lat and stopping just below your chest.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the left arm. This is one rep. Repeat 10 times for 3 sets.

How to Perform Basic Position Correctly

To perform basic positions correctly, proper alignment and posture are crucial. First and foremost, it is essential to maintain a straight and neutral spine throughout the movements. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down, avoiding any tension or hunching. Engage your core muscles by gently drawing your navel towards your spine. Align your hips with your shoulders and distribute your weight evenly between both feet.

Common mistakes to avoid include rounding the back, slouching, or arching the spine excessively. It is important to keep the spine in a neutral position to prevent strain or injury. Additionally, avoid locking your joints, such as hyperextending the knees or elbows. Maintaining a slight bend in these joints helps protect them and engage the muscles properly.

For beginners or individuals with injuries, modifications can be made to accommodate their needs. It is advisable to start with shorter durations and gradually increase the intensity and duration of the positions. Beginners can use props, such as blocks or straps, to assist with proper alignment and make the positions more accessible. If an injury is present, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified instructor for guidance on suitable modifications or alternative positions that won’t exacerbate the injury.

Remember, proper alignment and posture are fundamental to performing basic positions correctly. By paying attention to these aspects, avoiding common mistakes, and making appropriate modifications, individuals can experience the full benefits of the positions while reducing the risk of injury.

Incorporating Basic Position into Your Exercise Routine

Incorporating basic positions into your exercise routine can provide numerous benefits for your overall fitness and flexibility. Basic positions refer to fundamental poses and movements that form the foundation of various exercise disciplines, such as yoga, Pilates, and bodyweight training. By integrating these positions into your workout plan, you can enhance your strength, balance, and body awareness.

To incorporate basic positions into your exercise routine effectively, it is important to consider the frequency and duration of these exercises. Aim to perform basic positions at least two to three times per week to allow for regular practice and improvement. Each session can range from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your fitness level and time availability. By allocating a dedicated time slot for basic positions, you ensure consistent practice and maximize their benefits.

When creating a workout plan that includes basic positions, it is essential to include a variety of poses that target different muscle groups and movement patterns. For instance, you can start with foundational poses like the plank, bridge, and squat, which engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. As you progress, you can incorporate more challenging positions, such as lunges, side planks, and warrior poses, to further challenge your body and improve your flexibility.

Consider incorporating basic positions in a structured manner within your workout plan. You can dedicate specific days or sessions solely for basic positions, or you can intersperse them with other exercises for a well-rounded routine. For example, you can begin your workout with a series of basic positions as a warm-up, followed by cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and finally, ending with a cool-down that includes static stretches.

Remember to listen to your body and modify the positions as needed to suit your individual fitness level and any existing injuries or limitations. Gradually progress by increasing the duration of holds or adding variations to challenge yourself further. Additionally, it can be beneficial to seek guidance from a qualified instructor or use online resources to learn proper form and technique to maximize the effectiveness and safety of your basic position exercises.

By incorporating basic positions into your exercise routine with the appropriate frequency, duration, and a well-designed workout plan, you can improve your overall fitness, enhance flexibility, and experience the many physical and mental benefits of these foundational movements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Good posture helps the body to function effectively and will minimize muscle strain and injury. During exercise, whether you are sitting or standing, your body will potentially be in several different positions.

The basic position, also known as the neutral or anatomical position, plays a crucial role in preventing injury during exercise. It serves as the foundation for proper body alignment and mechanics, allowing for optimal movement and reducing the risk of strain or injury.

To improve your form in the basic position, such as standing or sitting, you can follow these tips:

  • Posture Awareness
  • Engage Your Core
  • Shoulders Back and Down
  • Head Alignment
  • Relaxed Jaw and Neck
  • Balanced Weight Distribution
  • Regular Stretching
  • Ergonomic Support
  • Movement Breaks
  • Seeking Professional Help

Remember, developing good posture takes time and consistency. By implementing these tips and practicing them consistently, you can gradually improve your form in the basic position and enjoy the benefits of better posture in your daily life.

When in the basic position, several key muscles are engaged to maintain stability and support the body. The specific muscles that are involved can vary depending on the activity or exercise being performed. It’s important to note that the specific muscles engaged in the basic position can vary depending on the individual’s posture, movement patterns, and the activity being performed. Additionally, engaging these muscles correctly and effectively often requires proper form and technique.

As you become stronger and more proficient in your basic position, you can introduce various techniques and modifications to make it more challenging.  Remember to progress gradually and listen to your body. Increase the difficulty at a pace that allows you to maintain proper form and technique to minimize the risk of injury.


Understanding the basic position where most exercises begin is essential for achieving optimal physical fitness. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting on your fitness journey, knowing how to properly execute the foundational movements is crucial for avoiding injury, building strength and endurance, and reaching your fitness goals. By focusing on proper form and technique, you can develop a solid foundation for more advanced exercises and improve your overall fitness level.

Remember, everyone starts somewhere, and it’s okay to take things slow and focus on mastering the basics before moving on to more complex movements. By working with a qualified fitness professional and committing to a regular exercise routine, you can gradually build your strength and stamina, and achieve your fitness goals. So, whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, or simply improve your overall health and well-being, start with the basics and work your way up to more advanced exercises. With time and dedication, you can achieve the level of fitness you desire and enjoy a happier, healthier life.


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