Full body exercises focus on functional fitness. They mimic many of our real-world, everyday movements while also extending and building upon them. Most of us lead busy lives these days, and having a quick and effective, go-to exercise routine is the preferred type of workout situation. If you work long hours, are trying to raise children, devote time to other activities and hobbies, or all of these, you need short and easy exercise routines that include some good full body exercises.

Some of the most efficient, productive exercise routines ever put together incorporate several full body exercises to target many muscle groups at one time. Not only will you save time by incorporating full body exercises into your daily schedule, but you can also build endurance and strength, improve your balance and coordination, and enhance your agility.

Comparison Table

Name

Photos

Modification

Burpees

Burpees

Burpees are a popular warm-up exercise and one that doesn't require any equipment. They are great at strengthening your core and improving your conditioning in a short amount of time.

Squats

Squats

The squat is a classic exercise that targets your lower body primarily but also works your back, shoulders, and core. 

Step-ups

Step-ups

Step-ups are full body exercises that require an elevated surface or a step to perform. 

Pull-ups

Pull-ups

Pull-ups are as familiar to most people from physical education classes and fitness tests for youth.

Push-ups

Push-ups

Push-ups do not require any fancy equipment, and they can be performed just about anywhere. 

Dips

Dips

Dips are good full body exercises for people who are looking to tone and strengthen their abs, chests, and shoulders.

Jump Lunges

Jump Lunges

Jump lunges will definitely get your heart rate going. This is a quick conditioning exercise you can incorporate into your daily schedule almost anywhere and anytime.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are great full body exercises to help build power and endurance. This movement only requires a suitably sized kettlebell to get started. 

Handstand

Handstand

Everyone probably did a handstand or two as a child, and most adults probably think they can't do them anymore. 

Box Jump

Box Jump

If you play a sport that requires jumping, such as basketball or tennis, you may already routinely perform box jumps to improve your conditioning. 

Full Body Exercises: FAQ

1. What Are Full Body Exercises?

Full body exercises are exercises that help you burn more calories and achieve better overall results in a short amount of time by working multiple muscle groups. They are prime examples of functional fitness training when integrated into compact workouts.

 

2. What Do Full Body Exercises Do?

Full body exercises help you build strength and also improve endurance, agility, coordination, balance, and posture. Many of these exercises are simple and easy to perform for people with busy schedules. 

 

3. How Do Full Body Exercises Work?

There are many examples of full body exercises that may work for you. Performing these types of exercises can even help perform better, with more endurance and less pain, at work and in other everyday activities. Persistence pays off here: the more full body exercise you get, the better your overall physical condition will be.

 

4. How Can I Get Started With Full Body Exercise?

Almost anyone can get started doing full body exercises at any time. Most of these movements can be done at home with limited equipment and space. To get you started, we'll describe numerous examples of full body exercises. Remember that you don't have to be an exceptional athlete or in great shape to get started. Just start slowly and don't overexert yourself at first.

 

How We Reviewed

We reviewed a range of full body exercises to examine the movements required and the benefits of each. After researching how to perform different workouts and how to use different equipment, we identified ten full body exercises that helped us achieve optimal conditioning results. This is our list of the best and quickest functional total-body exercises. Several are suitable for all fitness levels.

Featured Exercises

  • Burpees
  • Squats
  • Step-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Jump Lunges
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Handstands
  • Box Jumps

Burpees

Burpees


Description

Burpees are a popular warm-up exercise and one that doesn't require any equipment. They are great at strengthening your core and improving your conditioning in a short amount of time.

To perform a burpee, start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, squat down with your hands in front of you on the floor. Kick your feet back and perform a push-up, touching your chest to the floor. Quickly return to a squatting position and then jump as high as you can in the air. Repeat this several times, and we guarantee you will know you are getting a workout. To change things up, you can mix in claps and other movements.

                              Pros

  • Doesn't require any equipment  
  • Can be performed anywhere
  • Quick workout

 Cons

  • Can be quickly exhausting, especially for beginners
  • Burpees might become mundane 

Squats

Squats

Description

The squat is a classic exercise that targets your lower body primarily but also works your back, shoulders, and core. This body-wide muscle-building exercise does not require any equipment. To begin, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders back. Act as if you are about to sit in a chair and tighten your abs while lowering your butt until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push your knees outward and straighten back up slowly to complete the movement.

                              Pros

  • Can be performed anywhere
  • Can be done quickly in a short amount of time
  • No equipment required

 Cons

  • Squats can become boring and too easy, so adding hand weights is usually necessary 
  • Poor squatting technique can cause muscle soreness or injury

Step-ups

Step-ups

Description

Step-ups are full body exercises that require an elevated surface or a step to perform. This movement will help tone your glutes and legs and improve your cardiovascular health over time as well. Keeping your abs tight and back straight, simply step up onto the elevated surface with one leg at a time. Make sure your feet are flat before stepping down with the same leg, one at a time. Repeat with the opposite leg. The idea is to do step ups quickly, and you can add weights to work upper-body muscles at the same time.

                              Pros

  • Easy to perform because it is a real-life movement
  • Step-ups can be done quickly and efficiently
  • Can remain challenging if you increase step height or add weights as you progress

 Cons

  • Requires a step or elevated surface
  • Requires a step or elevated surface

Pull-ups

Pull-ups

Description

Pull-ups are as familiar to most people from physical education classes and fitness tests for youth. One of the most effective upper body exercises of all, pull-ups require a pull-up bar and plenty of strength and determination. Not everybody has the strength to do pull-ups when they first start exercising, but practicing this exercise over time will effectively work your arms, shoulders, back, and core simultaneously.

Using a well-secured pull-up bar, hang from it with your palms facing away from you. Cross your feet and squeeze your glutes as you keep your chest up and shoulders back. Pull yourself up high enough so that your chin rests above the bar before lowering your body slowly back down. Modified versions of the pull-up can be performed, such as negatives. Negatives allow beginners to start at the top of the pull-up movement, with assistance if needed, and lower their bodies slowly while maintaining tension in the muscles.

                              Pros

  • Great exercise for building upper body strength       
  • Can be performed anywhere there is a pull-up bar
  • Quick exercise works multiple muscle groups

 Cons

  • May not be very difficult at first for people who need to build upper body strength
  • Requires a pull-up bar 

Push-ups

Push-ups

Description

Push-ups do not require any fancy equipment, and they can be performed just about anywhere. These floor-based exercises work leg muscles, back muscles, triceps, chest, and core muscles. Facing downward on the floor, place your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms flat on the ground. Lower yourself down so that your chest touches the ground. You should tighten your glutes and abdominal muscles at the same time. With elbows close to your body, lift yourself back up and repeat. To vary your routine, you can add hip extensions, incline tension, or other push-up modifications.

                              Pros

  • Push-ups can be done almost anywhere 
  • Great exercise for triceps
  • Alternative versions add variety

 Cons

  • Incorrect technique can cause soreness or injury
  • May not be challenging for those at advanced fitness levels

Dips

Dips

Description

Dips are good full body exercises for people who are looking to tone and strengthen their abs, chests, and shoulders. Dips are a great core exercise as well because they require bending and balancing between two bars or similar supports.

To get started, stand in between two parallel bars, with a hand on each, and hoist yourself up using only your arm strength. Make sure to keep your legs crossed or straight when elevating yourself. Keep your chest up and shoulders back. Next, lower yourself and keep your elbows straight and parallel with the floor. Raise yourself back up and repeat from the starting position.

Many people, especially beginners, like to use fitness benches to perform dips. You can get creative and find various areas with supports that are safe, the right height, and work just fine for performing a set or two of dips.

                              Pros

  • Quick workout for improving core strength
  • Excellent chest and arm exercise   

 Cons

  • Requires parallel bars or a comparable support structure
  • Dips require significant upper body strength to get started

Jump Lunges

Jump Lunges

Description

Jump lunges will definitely get your heart rate going. This is a quick conditioning exercise you can incorporate into your daily schedule almost anywhere and anytime. Jump lunges help tone your legs and improve hip flexibility. We found these full body exercises fun to perform and felt the burn after doing lunges repetitively.

Start by getting into a lunge position. This means that one knee should be close to touching the floor and extended back with your toes touching the floor. The other knee should be bent directly above your ankle. Raise up in a decisive yet controlled movement, and then switch leg positions and repeat the movement.

                              Pros

  • Great exercise for improving flexibility and balance    
  • Easy to learn
  • Can be performed almost anywhere
  • Gets your heart rate up
  • Great for endurance training

 Cons

  • Not a good exercise for people with damaged knees
  • Performing many of these at a time is exhausting

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings

Description

Kettlebell swings are great full body exercises to help build power and endurance. This movement only requires a suitably sized kettlebell to get started. First, stand with your feet hip-width apart and grip a kettlebell placed between them. Swing the kettlebell behind your legs and lift it over your head. Use your hips to propel the kettlebell. Make sure to keep the kettlebell straight with your eyes on it. Lower the kettlebell and repeat.

                              Pros

  • Increases endurance and aerobic capacity   
  • Builds power and strengthens core muscles

 Cons

  • Requires a kettlebell
  • Improper motion or technique could result in injuries

Handstands

Handstands

Description

Everyone probably did a handstand or two as a child, and most adults probably think they can't do them anymore. Handstands do require some flexibility, but once you start performing them regularly, they are practical, beneficial full body exercises. Handstands help strengthen your core and improve upper body strength. They can even aid in bone health and reduce everyday stress.

This fun exercise begins with your hands on the floor, palms down. Tuck up and balance on your hands with your feet in the air. Hold the handstand as long as you can before lowering down, with control, and repeating. Modified versions of the handstand include performing these movements using a wall to support the feet and provide stability.

                              Pros

  • Simple to learn and repeat      
  • Handstands can be performed anywhere if you have enough space
  • Great way to build upper body and core strength

 Cons

  • Developing confidence requires some practice
  • Requires a fair amount of flexibility and upper body control, even at first

Box Jumps

Box Jumps

Description

If you play a sport that requires jumping, such as basketball or tennis, you may already routinely perform box jumps to improve your conditioning. Even if you don't play sports, however, these full body exercises will help you improve lower-body strength and burn calories quickly. Box jumps are performed by standing in front of a solid box or any other suitable, raised surface. Jump up onto the box, making sure both feet land flat on top, and then straighten your legs before leaping back down. Quickly jump up and back down to get your heart rate going.

                              Pros

  • Gets your heart rate going quickly
  • Burns calories quickly and is fun to do
  • Helps improve conditioning for sports that require jumping

 Cons

  • Requires a box or other solid, raised surface
  • Risk of injury or stress on joints


The Verdict

Almost everybody can learn to incorporate full body exercises into their daily workout. Benefits of full body exercises include improved core strength, endurance, and balance. All the movements we've researched and listed here can be performed almost anywhere with only a minimal, if any, investment in equipment required.

The single greatest benefit of full body exercise is that you can target multiple muscle groups in a short amount of time. The results of performing these exercises range from improved posture to reducing stress. Please give serious consideration to the health benefits of adding these outstanding exercises to your workouts, especially if you have a busy schedule. They don't require a lot of time, and many of them are fun to do.