A full-body workout can be much more challenging than working one muscle group at a time, but for maximum calorie burn and efficiency a full-body workout is the way to go. You can also save time with these workouts, as you can complete a full-body workout routine in less time than it takes to do multiple circuits in the gym. The following is a list of the top 9 total body workout exercises.
When you swim, you work your arms, chest, back, glutes and legs. You also work your cardiovascular system which is why swimming is also considered cardio. So not only is swimming a great cardio workout, it builds and tones all of your muscle groups while imposing zero impact. This means it is an excellent workout even for those folks out there with joint issues or injuries.
2. Elliptical Trainer
The elliptical training machine at the gym is one of our favorite full-body workout exercises. Working out on an elliptical machine mimics running, but maintains zero impact and works your upper body. An elliptical workout is also convenient because you can adjust the resistance settings on the machine to create a more challenging workout.
Even though yoga is considered a series of movements and poses, one yoga class will work your entire body. Not only does yoga strengthen and tone all of your muscle groups, it also makes you more flexible. Increased body flexibility encourages less stiffness and lowers your risk of injury, which is especially important the older we get. Traditional yoga is not considered a source of cardio exercise, but there are certain physical poses in yoga that when combined with deep breathing, raise your heart rate burning more calories as result.
4. In the Gym
If lifting weights is your thing, you can get a full-body workout with circuit training on the weight machines. An important tip for lifting weights: balance is key. Working a single muscle group more than others can create an imbalance, which leads to quick cases of injuries. Here is a complete list of weight lifting exercises that will work your entire body: Bench Press, Supported T-Bar Row, Seated Dumbbell Press, Standing Barbell Curl, Triceps Dip Machine, Leg Press, Lying Leg Curl and the Machine Crunch. Rest for 48 hours between these full-body workouts for crucial muscle recovery and repair.
You can learn kickboxing with a personal trainer or in a group class. Kickboxing not only works your arms, chest and shoulders; but it also works your back, glutes and leg muscles. In kickboxing you are constantly moving, with quick and explosive movements so it is also an excellent source of cardio.
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A burpee workout is no joke. To do a burpee, start standing up straight then crouch. As you crouch, place your hands to get ready and then shoot both feet out behind you so that you are in a push-up/plank position. Immediately bring your feet back up to your hands so that you are back in a crouch then with everything you’ve got, jump as high as you can, reaching extending your arms overhead, as you jump. That’s one rep! 3 sets of 10 burpees is rightfully considered cardio, and an awesome full-body workout. Rest one minute between reps. You’ll need it!
7. Burpees – Advanced
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To do an advanced burpee workout, start as you normally would. When you get into the plank position, do a full push-up. Then instead of jumping straight up at the end of the rep, jump forward as far as you can. This variation on the traditional burpee intensifies your workout, makes you stronger, and burns more calories in the same amount of time.
8. Barbell Complex
For beginners, start with the barbell only, no additional weights. A typical barbell weighs about 40 pounds by itself. While holding the bar, do 4 power cleans. This means raising the bar from chest level to overhead and back. Next, do 3 front squats which means doing 3 lunges with each leg while still holding the barbell at chest level. Be sure your bent knee never goes past the end of your toes (this will save your knees). Then do 2 push presses, which is a lunge while lifting the barbell overhead. Remember your form – don’t arch your back or over-extend your knees and never lock your joints.
Spartans are similar to burpees, only with handheld weights. Start in push-up position holding the dumbbells. Do 2 push-ups. At the top of each push-up, row the weight down to waist level and back again. Alternate sides with each push-up, then jump your feet forward and stand up straight, pressing both weights up simultaneously. Crouch, weights on the ground, and return to the push-up position. That’s one rep! For a full-body workout, do 4 reps.
Full-body workouts are challenging, but pushing yourself when you work out will only make you better, stronger, faster and leaner. Go for it!