A full-body workout is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories and fat for hours after exercising — benefits that will help you reach your fitness goals.
It also adds variety to your routine. So whether you’ve been at the gym for a while now or you’re just ready for something new, here’s a full-body workout plan from Andy Coggan, director of the Fitness Academy at Gold’s Gym.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Do the workout (30-45 minutes)
Tuesday, Thursday: Opt for active rest, such as a walk, a light run, yoga or your favorite sport
30- to 60-second rest between sets
1-minute rest when moving to a new exercise
Raise the intensity of the workout from week to week by trying to decrease your rest time between exercises. For example, try to drop by 10 seconds each week.
Week 1: 60-second rest
Week 2: 50-second rest
Week 3: 40-second rest
Week 4: 30-second rest, and push your body much harder in each session
Remember to focus on good form. And choose a weight that would allow you to do one or two more reps if you kept going. If you can do more reps than this, you need to increase the weight; if you can’t do one or two more, try a lighter weight.
Mix it up: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Alternative between this and another full-body workout, such as a previous one like this workout
Split squat: 3 sets of 10 reps
Why: The split squat is a great option to strengthen the lower body without the same mobility demands of a squat variation. This will also challenge balance and stability and place a greater emphasis on working one leg at a time.
How: Stand with your feet staggered, holding a pair of light dumbbells by your sides, palms facing behind you. Lower into a lunge, bending your knees until your back knee is almost touching the floor, and rise. Switch legs.
Pro tips: Start with very light weight and work on a full range of motion, moving both legs up and down to achieve a right angle.
Band assisted chin-ups: 3 sets of 4 reps
Why: Chin-ups not only build up the back, helping you avoid injuries to that vulnerable area, they also improve stamina, create lean muscle mass and strengthen your grip—a necessity for many competitive sports.
How: Loop a resistance band over the bar, and place one foot in the loop. Use an underhand grip with your hands shoulder-width apart. Engage your abs, and then bend your elbows to pull your body up until your chin is above the bar. Slowly lower back down.
Pro tips: There’s a difference between a pull-up and chin-up. Although both train the back and biceps, the chin-up places a bit more emphasis on the biceps.
Single leg deadlift with dumbbell: 2 sets of 10 reps
Why: You can burn a lot of calories with this exercise because deadlifts work so many muscles in your lower body (hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves) and upper body (arms, core, back, trapezius and shoulders). Plus, deadlifts improve posture and raise your heart rate.
How: Stand holding a dumbbell in your right hand. Slightly bend your left knee as you lean forward, and raise your right leg behind you in a straight line. Return to the starting position, and then switch, holding the dumbbell in your left hand and bending your right leg.
Pro tips: Try this with kettlebells. Their unorthodox design may seem intimidating, but because of their shape, they force the body to work harder to balance the weight. You can add muscle, burn fat, increase mobility, improve endurance and boost metabolism, all in the same workout.
Bicep curl to overhead press: 2 sets of 10 reps
Why: This combination movement works the biceps and shoulders together in a natural movement that we frequently experience in day-to-day activities.
How: From a seated or standing position, take dumbbells in each hand with palms facing away from your body. Curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders, keeping your elbows in line with your body. Once you’ve reached the top of the curl, rotate your hands to face away from your body again as you lift the weights overhead. Reverse the movement to return to the start and repeat for reps.
Pro tips: Keep the body still. It’s very easy to get into a bad habit of swinging during the curl movement and leaning back when pressing overhead. Squeeze your glutes and abs to maintain good posture throughout.
Static plank hold: 2 planks, hold 45 seconds each
Why: Being able to create and maintain a solid core is necessary for nearly all functional movements of the body. Without a strong center, you cannot effectively transfer force from one part of the body to another. This exercise can help you develop the ability to effectively brace your core and get more out of the rest of your workout.
How: Step your right foot back to meet your left. Hold yourself up in a high push-up stance, with your arms perpendicular to the floor, your back straight and your hips up (not sagging toward the floor).
Pro tips: Purposely squeeze the muscles of your abs, glutes, shoulders and upper and lower back to really get the most out of this movement and increase the intensity.
Swiss ball bridge/leg curls: 2 sets of 10 reps
Why: This hamstring curl uses a ball to help raise your legs and hips off the floor. It targets your hamstrings and engages your hip and back muscles.
How: Lie on the floor with your calves on the ball, arms by your sides, palms down. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. Bend your knees to roll the ball toward you until your feet are flat. Straighten your legs to roll the ball back, and then lower your body to the floor.
Pro tips: Make sure to find a properly inflated ball to get the most out of this movement. If the ball is holding less air than it should, this exercise will seem too easy because of the lack of stabilization required.