How’s everyone doing in lockdown/quarantine? It’s a real test of your mental strength, isn’t it? Situation in Croatia is getting better, places are gradually opening and life is returning to a somewhat normal. Anyhow, I have a real treat for you today! I’ll be taking you through some of my favourite full body exercises!
Some are hybrid exercises (combination of two basic exercises) to help you build aerobic conditioning, endurance and strength all at the same time. And some are good old classics with a little twist to make you burn more calories and help you build muscle. Keep in mind that all of these exercises can be done at home with little to no equipment and adjusted to your fitness level.
Full Body Exercises You Should Be Doing
BURPEE PUSH-UP SQUAT JUMP
If you need a good old fashioned exercise to get your heart rate up, ooooh baby, this is the one! I don’t know about you but I hate doing burpees, however, I love the way they make me feel. Such a strange relationship haha! They’re a staple full body exercise for any HIIT routine but adding in a push-up and a squat jump makes it that much spicier. This exercise will work your arms, chest, back, core, glutes and legs. Basically all major muscle groups. Aside from that, burpees help you burn more calories and are great for developing conditioning and endurance.
How to perform:
Begin by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Stick your butt out and go down into a squat then place your hands on the floor. Kick your feet behind you to get yourself into a plank position. Keep your hands in line with the shoulders whilst maintaining your body in a straight line from your head to your feet.
From here do a push-up by lowering your chest to the floor then exploding back up to a plank position. Jump with your legs in towards your hands then bring your hands up as you come into a squat position. Use the momentum of swinging your arms back to lift your feet off the floor as you jump upward. Land softly and come back to starting position.
REVERSE LUNGE TO STEP UP JUMP
Another on the full body exercises list is the reverse lunge to step up jump. This exercise primarily focuses on your lower body. Your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves do the most work. On the other hand, this exercise is great for improving your core and hip stabilization as well. The second part of the exercise (step up jump) is what will get your heart rate up fast. This exercise is dynamic and fast paced and will help you build stamina. Furthermore, it will help you improve your balance and co-ordination. All the equipment you need for this exercise is a chair (or a step box).
How to perform:
Place a chair or a step box in front of you. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart or close together. Step your right leg back behind you and lower down as far as possible (try to touch the floor with your knee). Your left knee should be bent at 90 degrees (your left thigh is parallel to the floor).
Drive through your left foot and bring your right foot to the chair in one swift movement. Now push through your right foot and use the movement of your arms to help you jump up. Land softly, lower your right foot down and come back to the starting position. Keep repeating for desired amount of repetitions then move onto the other side.
RENEGADE ROW PUSH-UP
Here’s a hybrid exercise that doesn’t require jumping but still makes you work hard and gets your heart rate up. Renegade row push-up is a challenging exercise that primarily works your abdominals and tests your control and stability. Essentially this is a unilateral exercise which helps even out imbalances between sides. By working your arms, shoulders, chest, core, lats, back and quads it makes for a perfect full body exercise with the focus on the upper body.
How to perform:
Grab a pair of light dumbbells and place them on the floor. Keep in mind if you’re inexperienced with this exercise to either find weights with a flat side (like kettlebells) or place the dumbbells on a non-slip surface. Something like a yoga mat would do. Now you’re ready to get into a high plank position with a dumbbell in each hand.
Your arms should follow a straight line from your shoulders to your hands. Engage your core by tucking the pelvis in and drawing the belly button towards your spine. Keep the body in one straight line and gaze slightly ahead. This is your starting position. From here, engage your right lat and pull the weight in your right hand up until your upper arm is slightly above your torso. Pause here for a second then lower the weight down in line with your shoulder.
Make sure to keep your core tight so your upper body doesn’t rotate too much. Keep in mind that it should be facing the floor throughout this whole exercise. Now repeat the same thing with your left hand. Once you do a row with each hand sneak in one push-up and come back to starting position. You’ve completed 1 rep. Repeat for desired amount of reps.
I’ve only recently started practicing sit thrus and I LO-VE them! They’re such a fun addition to my workouts as they require agility, balance and make you look cool. (This last part is super important.) Sit thru targets primarily your core, although your arms, shoulders, hips and inner thighs will get a hell of a workout as well! If you never tried this exercise I strongly recommend you do. Begin slowly, until you learn the moves and transitions. Once your transitions are smooth, feel free to speed it up!
How to perform:
To begin start on your hands and knees. Hands in line with your shoulders and knees in line with your hips. Tuck your pelvis in and draw your belly button towards your spine to ensure a nice, straight line all throughout your back. Press through your toes and hands and lift your knees off the floor. This is the so called Bear Crawl position which will also be your starting position.
From here lift your left arm and your right leg as you rotate toward the left. Kick your right leg under your body and through to the left side. Your right leg and glute should be touching the floor now. Reverse the movement to come back to starting position and repeat the same thing on the other side. Lifting your right hand and left leg and pivoting on your right foot as you rotate toward the right side. Continue alternating sides for desired amount of repetitions.
If you want to make this exercise harder don’t rest your leg and glute as you “sit through”. Instead “kick through” keeping your butt and leg elevated off the floor. As you get more comfortable with this exercise perform faster reps to make it more challenging.
OVERHEAD SPLIT SQUAT
If you love split squats, guess what. You’ll love this version of them even more. As you can tell this exercise works mainly your legs. Nonetheless, holding dumbbells over your head challenges your shoulders, arms, upper back and core so do not underestimate this exercise. The overhead split squat is great to torch calories and build muscle.
Whenever I write these exercises I always keep home workouts in mind. This exercise would traditionally be done with a barebell, but chances are not a lot of people have them at home. However, dumbbells are the next best substitute. On the other hand, if you don’t have dumbbells use a gallon of water or a backpack filled with things.
How to perform:
Begin in a staggered stance with one foot in front of the other. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bring them above your head. Engage your core and keep a slight bend in the elbows. Lower down to the floor by bending both knees to 90 degrees. Keep your chest upright, core tight, and don’t allow your upper back to round. Maintain balance by keeping the weight in your heels. Push through your front foot and bring yourself up to standing position.
If you want to amp up the challenge, hold a dumbbell in one hand only. It should be the opposite arm from your leg. Meaning, if your right leg is forward then hold the dumbbell in your left hand and vice versa. It’ll test your balance and work your core more.
TURKISH GET UP
The last on the ‘Must Do Full Body Exercises’ list might be my favourite one. The one and only, the ultimate Turkish Get Up. This exercise will test your strength, balance, stability, mobility and co-ordination. If you’ve never done this exercise, the concept of it might be a little hard to grasp at first. However, you know what they say – practice makes perfect. The Turkish Get Up helps with unilateral development and rotator cuff stabilization. It works your core, arms, glutes and legs and helps you build strength and flexibility overall.
How to perform:
Traditionally, this exercise is done with a kettlebell, but if you don’t have one (like me), use a dumbbell. Lie on your back and extended one arm (the one holding the weight) up above you, in line with your shoulder. Pull the heel of the foot of the weighted arm in toward your butt. So if you’re holding the weight in your right hand, pull the right heel to the right glute and place the foot flat on the floor. Knee is pointing toward the ceiling.
Push through the foot on the weighted side and through your free hand to bring yourself up in sort of a seated position. With your elbow resting on the floor. Keep your weighted arm straight and gaze up at the dumbbell/kettlebell. Push through the palm of your free hand to help you lift the hips up and move your extended leg back into a lunge. (Your extended leg is opposite of the weighted side.)
Eyes are still on the dumbbell/kettlebell. From here lift the hand of the floor and straighten torso to come into a kneeling lunge position. Push through the front heel to bring yourself up to standing position. Feel free to rest your eyes from the weight now and gaze forward in front of you. Your free hand can be placed at your side or extended out to the side for added balance. All you need to do now is reverse steps to come back to starting (lying) position. Don’t forget to gaze back at the weight as you move throughout each transition.
Hope you enjoyed today’s post but now it’s your turn! Tell me what is (or what are) your favourite full body exercise(s)?