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The 10 Best Exercises for a Full Body Workout

Do you find yourself missing out on gains because you can’t make it to the gym every day of the week? Why not try a full body workout program?  One major perk of a full body work out is it can decrease your gym frequency by two to three days a week.

It’s all about the quality of your workout sessions, not the quantity.  By doing full body workouts, you only have to do one exercise per muscle group which allows you to work harder on that one exercise than you might normally.  To get the most out of your workout, make sure you give equal attention to each muscle group.  The workout program below starts from the top of your body to the bottom but feel free to change the order of the exercises to fit your needs.

Full Body Workout

10. Military Press

Let’s start from the top, or should I say the shoulders.  The military press is a shoulder exercise that focuses primarily on the deltoids and hits the upper pecs, triceps, serratus anterior, and traps to a lesser extent.  Because this exercise uses multiple muscles at once, it is a productive way to train your upper body.

Set up the military press by stacking the weight you want onto the barbell.  Begin by placing the barbell about chest high on a squat rack.  You should grip the barbell with your palms facing forward and your grip should be wider than shoulder width apart.

Bend your knees slightly and place the barbell on your collar bone.  Lift the bar over your head by locking your arms.  Hold the barbell at about shoulder height and slightly in front of your head.  This is the starting position.  From here, lower the bar down to the collarbone and lift the bar back up to the starting position.

The military press is one of the best classic shoulder exercises which has a great carry-over effect onto the bench press.  If you have avoided the military press due to lower back problems, we’d recommend the seated military press as a safer alternative.

9. Dips

When it comes to your chest, dips are the upper body equivalent to the squat.  Many consider dips to be their number one chest exercise.

To do dips, you raise yourself up on two dip bars with your arms straight.  Then, you lower your body until your shoulders are below your elbows at the bottom and repeat.  While this may seem simple, proper form is key to avoid shoulder or chest pain.  A good way to avoid injury is to make sure you don’t let your shoulders roll forward or shrug them in the process.

If you can’t complete the single dip just yet, try negatives.  Skip the way up for now and just do the way down. Once you can do ten negatives with proper form, you can do one dip.

8. Concentration Curls

Everyone knows that if you want big biceps, you do curls.  If you’re trying to concentrate strictly on the bicep, the concentration curl is your go to.

While sitting on a bench with your feet firmly on the floor, place the back of your left upper arm on the inside of your thigh. Keep your arm on your thigh throughout. Put your right hand on the right knee for stability. Do your curls on the left side, and then repeat on the right side.


7. Overhead Dumbbell Extension

The triceps are primarily built through pushing movements such as presses and extensions.  To do the overhead dumbbell extension, you will only need one dumbbell.

Sit on the edge of a bench, flip the dumbbell vertically and place both hands together so that your knuckles are facing you and you’re supporting the inner portion of the higher end of the dumbbell.

Straighten (but do not hyperextend) your arms and elbows so that the dumbbell is directly over your head and in-line with your ears and shoulders. This is your starting position. Lower your arms by bending your elbows so that your forearms move downwards while keeping your upper arm as vertical as possible. Continue lowering the dumbbell until you feel a nice stretch in the triceps.

6. Wrist Curl

Before we move on to the lower body, we can’t forget about your forearms.  Not only are your forearms one of the most viewed areas on your body but they also increase strength capacity in exercises such as the deadlift.

A great forearm workout that you can do at the gym or at home is the wrist curl.  To begin, hold a dumbbell while sitting on a bench or a chair.  Rest your forearms on your thighs and allow your wrist to bend back over your knees so your weights hang down.  Curl the dumbbells up by flexing your wrists.  This exercise will be sure to have your forearms aching tomorrow.

5. Spiderman Plank Crunch

When it comes to your abdominals, your basic sit up just isn’t enough to give you the six-pack you’ve always wanted.  If you really want to work your core you should be doing the Spiderman plank crunch.

If you are unfamiliar with this particular move, it is pretty simple to learn but packs a great punch.

Start this move by getting into a traditional plank position with your forearms on the ground.  Bring your right knee forward towards your right elbow, then return to the plank position.  Repeat on the other side and continue alternating.  After a few weeks of the Spiderman plank crunch, you’ll be asking yourself why you even did sit ups in the first place.

4. Russian Twist

If you’re trying to access your side abs (obliques), one of the best exercises to get those oblique’s burning is the Russian twist. The best part about Russian twists is you can do them anywhere as long as you have some floor space.  There are also several variations of the Russian twist if you want to take it to the next level.

If you’re new to Russian twists, it’s easiest to begin by lying on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.  Lift your torso up to a V-shape, extend your arms in front of you parallel to the ground and bring your palms together.  Contract your abs, twist your torso to your right with your arms to follow. Rotate back to the center and then twist to the left and repeat.

If seated Russian twists aren’t getting the job done for you, try incorporating a medicine ball, kettlebell or dumbbell while twisting.

3. Barbell Squat

If you’re trying to work your quadriceps, you have to be doing squats.  No better way to kick it up a notch than to add a barbell to your squat.  It is important to make sure you know how to do a standard squat with proper form before you incorporate a barbell. To ensure you’re doing a squat properly, you should be able to wiggle your toes while in the squat position. Meaning, you should have your weight on your heels as opposed to the front of your foot.

To add in the barbell to your squat, simply hold the bar across your back with an overhand grip.  Do a squat with your feet at shoulder width or slightly further out.  This exercise is a perfect warm up before you start working on those glutes.

2. Hip Thrust

There is no better way to turn on your glutes than the hip thrust.  It has been said to be the plank for your butt. There is no need for any machines or weights and it can be done anywhere at all.

Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.  Place your feet on the ground, hip-width apart. Then crunch your abs and tilt your pelvis back so that your lower back is flat against the floor.  Maintain the pelvic tilt for the entire exercise.

Push through your feet and raise your hips as high as you can without arching your lower back. Hold this position for a couple seconds, and then slowly reverse the movement.  You’ll be surprised how much your glutes will be burning after this exercise.

1. Donkey Calf Raises

Last but not least, let’s work on our calves.  Most people who work out are pretty familiar with calf raises but might not know what a donkey calf raise is.  A standing calf raise is done by placing the balls of your feet on the edge of a step with your heels hanging over the edge. From there, raise your heels a few inches above the edge so that you’re on your tiptoes. Hold that position for a moment and then lower your heels below the step and repeat.

The donkey calf raise is for those who want to take the standing calf raises to the next level.  Which makes sense because its claim to fame came from Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.  Arnold did this exercise by piling multiple men onto his back, bending his waist forward while holding on to a bench and raising his heels as high as he could.

If you’re not into the idea of having multiple men on your back, don’t worry because there is an alternative.  You can get the same effect by strapping on a loaded dipping belt, bending at the waist and doing calf raises.  If you haven’t tried this one before, get ready for some intense soreness.

Watch Arnold show you how the donkey calf raises are done in this video below:

If you found this article helpful share it, then go ahead and check out these articles too!

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One Comment

  1. Really, bro?! Best 10?
    1 Trap bar Deadlift
    2 Squat
    3 Conventional Deadlift
    4 Bench Press
    5 Dips
    6 Pullups/Chinups
    7 1 Leg Squat
    8 Pushups
    9 Pullover
    10 Back bridges

    In no particular order, this list is the list of truly productive exercises

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