A total body workout is ideal for everyone. Whether you are a single mom, hold down three jobs, travel frequently or just want a time-effective, calorie-torching, muscle-building workout for your whole body, everyone should know how to perform complete body workouts. They are efficient, high-intensity and a must for everybody looking to get fit, stay fit, or get fitter. 

 

FAQ


1. What Is A Total Body Workout?

A total body workout is an exercise that hits several major muscle groups at the same time. Major muscle groups include the trunk (back, abdomen, and obliques), arms (deltoids, biceps, triceps, inner and outer forearms) and legs (quads, hamstrings, calves).

exercise on the pad

 

2. What Special Equipment Is Required?

Many total body workouts do not require any special equipment. Some may call for a BOSU ball, but this can be replaced with a large pillow. If you do not have weights such as barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or weighted balls, you can join a gym, pick some up at your local sporting goods store, or purchase them used on the website, letgo. 


3. What Are The Benefits Of Total Body Workouts? 

Total body workouts allow you to maximize the efficiency of your workout session. Rather than having leg day, back day, shoulder day, and absday, stress multiple muscle groups at once. It also allows you to build muscle faster. Because your muscles work together in real life, it makes completing daily activities easier. The best total body exercises improve flexibility, bone, joint, soft tissue density, and resilience, and they enhance your balance to make you less likely to fall and sustain an injury.

 

4. How Many Reps Should I Complete?

There are a couple ways to look at this. Make each set one minute long with a 30 second resting period between sets to get your heart racing in no time. Record how many reps you complete during each set and make it a goal to improve those numbers over time. If an exercise calls for you to perform a workout on each side of your body, complete three to five sets with 15 reps on each side for a total of 30 reps per set. If you cannot complete three sets of 30 reps at the weight you are using, reduce the weight you use next time.

 

How We Reviewed Total Body Workout Exercises

We reviewed the best total body workouts by considering the best exercises for everyone to complete. Some of these require equipment, but this equipment is easily accessible. Furthermore, some exercises may take a little time to perfect the form, but the results are well worth taking the time to master them. We spoke to personal trainers and workout enthusiasts while making this list. 

 

What We Reviewed

  • Jump Lunges
  • BOSU Burpees
  • Clean and Jerk
  • The Chop
  • Crunch Squat
  • Dips
  • Single-Arm Kettle Bell Snatch
  • Deadlifts
  • Box jumps
  • Plank Reach and Rotate Lift

Jump Lunges

How To

Jump Lunges

To perform jump lunges, start with your knees touching or nearly touching the floor in the lunge position. Jump as explosively as you can while switching legs. Land with your rear leg in front and front leg in the back. Complete as many reps as you can in 45 seconds. Avoid over-extending during this total body workout. Over-reaching may cause pain in the thighs, hips, groin, and glutes. Take care to keep your balance. If you fall, you could hurt yourself.

                              Pros

  • Improves functional range of motion of quads
  • Improves flexibility at the knees and ankles
  • Great for balance

 Cons

  • May cause painful soft tissues 
  • Not ideal if you have damaged or scarred tissue

BOSU Burpees

How To

BOSU Burpees

Burpees have always been one of the best total body workouts. However, this classic has been taken up a notch by adding the beloved BOSU to the mix. Start the BOSU burpee by squatting deeply while holding the BOSU level with your chest. Placing the ball side of the BOSU on the ground, enter the plank position by jumping or walking your legs back with your hands on the outside of the BOSU. Complete a push-up. To get more out of this exercise, lift your left leg, bringing the left knee towards the right elbow and repeat on the other side. Come into a deep squat by jumping or walking your feet forward. Stand and lift the BOSU above your head. Prevent arching your back by keeping your core strong.

                              Pros

  • Great metabolic exercise
  • Superior core workout
  • Good for upper body strength
  • Incorporates two squats per rep

 Cons

  • Requires a BOSU ball
  • Puts massive stress on anterior shoulder

Clean And Jerk

How To

Clean and Jerk

The clean and jerk is an explosive Olympic lift that professionally is a single lift, but it can be performed in two separate lifts by total body workout novices. Snap the weight to your torso until your arms are under the bar. Explosively push the bar above your head. A variation of this exercise is the hang clean where you start with the bar hanging in your hands. Either way, this exercise hits the back, abdomen, quads, calves, hamstrings, biceps and triceps. It does not get any better than this.

                              Pros

  • Builds resilient soft tissue and joints
  • Increases bone density
  • Challenging
  • Trains explosiveness
  • Great for athletes

 Cons

  • Difficult to learn
  • Harder to master
  • Improper form may injure back
  • Rewards may not be worth the risk

The Chop

How To

The Chop

Stand sideways with your feet beyond shoulder-width apart. Hold a weighted ball at around forehead height with your knees bent slightly and arms bent at 90 degrees. As if you were going to throw the ball down and behind you to the right, rotate your body into a lunge-style stance while tightening your abs. Bend both knees until your back shin is parallel to the floor. With your hands traveling to the outside of your front knee, straighten your arms. Tighten your abs again and explode up through your legs to return to the starting position and complete your rep. Complete 15 reps on each side per set.

                              Pros

  • Negligible risk of injury
  • Works your obliques 
  • Improves your explosiveness
  • Enhances flexibility
  • May be completed with a kettlebell

 Cons

  • Requires medicine ball
  • Ball may be difficult to hold

Crunch Squat

How To

Crunch Squat

To perform a crunch squat, lie face-up with your lower back on a large pillow or BOSU ball. For harder workouts, place this on the ground. For easier workouts, place it on an elevated step. Crunch up and stand in one fluid motion, activating your lower abs for the crunch and driving with your legs to stand. This two-in-one move is great for the abs, glutes, and quads.

                              Pros

  • Easily modified
  • Does not require a BOSU ball 
  • Improves posture and balance 
  • Enhances the functional range of motion
  • Strengthens the knees
  • Improves circulation
  • Enhances digestion

 Cons

  • May strain your lower back
  • Hard to add weights to this workout

Dips

How To

To perform this total body workout exercise, stand between a set of parallel bars. Grab the bars and extend your arms, slightly cross your legs as you lift yourself off the ground. Lower yourself down while keeping your chest up and pulling your shoulders back until your elbows are parallel to the floor. Complete your rep by straightening your arms out until you are once more in the starting position. If you find this exercise too difficult, place your feet on an elevated surface to make it easier. Otherwise, you can sit on a bench or other sturdy surface with your hands behind you and feet on the floor. With your elbows bent behind you, extend your arms until they are straight. Keeping your core engaged and shoulders back, lower yourself until your elbows form a 90-degree angle and raise yourself back up to the starting position. Once you excel at this exercise, you can use a weighted dip belt or hold a dumbbell between your feet to maximize hypertrophy

                              Pros

  • May be weighted 
  • Great for chest, core, and triceps
  • Good for lower pecs and anterior deltoids
  • Can be modified for beginners

 Cons

  • Poor shoulder mobility may cause injury
  • Few variations available to target a certain muscle group

Single-Arm Kettlebell Snatch

How To

Single-Arm Kettlebell Snatch

With your right hand, hold a kettlebell using an overhand grip on the handle's left side. With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with the bell in front of your thighs and point your left arm directly in front of you. Swing the kettlebell between your legs and bend your knees slightly. Your hips hanging will be the main driver of the range of motion. Your chest should face the ground at the bottom of your swing with the kettlebell high in your groin like you were hiking a pass to a quarterback. Extend your hips forcefully to swing the kettlebell up and forward. As the bell rises above your head, push your hand to smoothly rotate the kettlebell around your wrist. It should now be on the outside of your forearm. Stand tall, stabilize the bell overhead, and contract your glutes fully. Lower the bell in front of your body by bending your arm, then rotate the bell back around your forearm while extending your elbow. Continue into the swing and repeat. Perform three to five sets of 15 reps per arm.

                              Pros

  • Easier to fit one bell between your legs
  • Challenges your core
  • Great high-intensity exercise 

 Cons

  • Difficult to master form
  • Hips not as taxed due to weak grip strength

Deadlifts

How To

Deadlifts

Mastering the deadlift is essential for getting better at Olympic lifts. To complete, use your entire body to bring a weighted bar from the ground to your thighs. Keep your back flat throughout the entire lift to prevent injury. This exercise is so named because of the lack of momentum to take advantage of. This lift exercises your back, abdomen, calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes and forearms.  

                              Pros

  • Improves grip strength
  • Ideal for building hamstring and back strength
  • Can customize stance if you have back problems
  • Requires brute strength and grit due to the absence of momentum

 Cons

  • Not ideal if you have hip, knee, or ankle problems
  • Not much negative movement
  • Long recovery time
  • May slip a disc if you have a narrow stance

Box Jumps

How To

Box Jumps

To complete this total body workout, stand before a sturdy raised surface such as a box or step. Jump onto the surface landing with both feet atop it, then straighten your legs. Jump back to the ground and repeat immediately. Box jumps are an awesome way to improve your endurance and maximum jump height, torch calories, and burn unwanted fat. Do not second-guess yourself immediately before jumping. You could hit your shin on the box and hurt yourself.

                              Pros

  • Looks awesome
  • Great high-intensity workout
  • Incredible for conditioning
  • Great training for sports involving jumping
  • Good for building lower body strength
  • Risk is worth the reward
  • Reduces landing impact on your joints
  • Reduces eccentric stress on the muscles
  • Leads to shorter recovery time
  • Allows for more reps
  • Improves rate of force development
  • Improves explosive concentric strength

 Cons

  • May hit your shin if the box is too tall
  • May fall due to catching your foot upon landing
  • May rebound and rupture your Achilles tendon
  • May sustain injury from landing on the ground improperly
  • Explosiveness of exercise may lead to partial hip extension

Plank Reach And Rotate Lift

How To

Plank Reach and Rotate Lift

To complete the plank reach and rotate lift, start in the plank position. Stretch forward your left hand and hold for one count. Lower your left hand and rotate into the side plank position. For a more challenging exercise, lift your top leg to highly engage your core. Keep your movements slow and controlled to get the most out of this total body workout. Switch sides and try to complete 18 to 22 reps in a minute.

                              Pros

  • Works your core
  • Easily customizable
  • May work your hip flexors

 Cons

  • Cannot add weights
  • Does not do much for your legs


The Verdict

The best total body workout depends on what you are looking for. If you are a basketball player or track and field athlete, the box jump is ideal for you because it seamlessly translates into a transferable, applicable skill you can use directly in your sport. If you are interested in competitive weightlifting, the dead-lift is probably the best total body workout for you. It is the base of all Olympic lifts and many other lifts. To get the most of your workout routine, incorporate many of these regularly.