The 10 Best Whole-Body Workouts

Identity Magazine for Mompreneurs
Written by TeamIdentity

Ready to try something new for your workouts? Check out these 10 best options for a whole-body workout.

The majority of exercises are used to target specific muscle groups. However, some exercises can target multiple muscle groups around the body. These are sometimes referred to as ‘whole body’ exercises. 

Such exercises are great for when you want to work out your entire body in one session in a short period. Below are just a few of the exercises that can provide a whole-body workout. 

Push-ups

Many of us think of push-ups as solely an arm workout. But when done correctly, a push-up can work out muscles all along the body. This includes the pecs, deltoids, triceps, abs, and even the quads (albeit with certain types of push-up).

This video explains how to achieve a whole body workout using push-ups. Some exercises can be done anywhere with no equipment.

Burpees

The unusually named ‘burpee’ can often be dreaded during circuit classes, but it really is one of the best simple exercises out there. It targets the shoulders, chest, abs, glutes, and legs. You can even combine a push-up with a burpee to target more arm and back muscles.

Just what is a burpee? In its most simple form: a squat thrust followed by a jump in the air. Check out this simple guide on how to do a burpee

Dumbbell lunges

Lunges primarily target the leg muscles, abs and glutes. By adding some dumbbells into the mix, however, you can also exercise your upper body while doing lunges. 

You can lift dumbbells over your head while doing a lunge, extend your arms out to either side or add in hammer curls. There are so many different dumbbell exercises that you can experiment with while doing a lunge.  Practise one leg at a time, or alternate legs each time. 

Deadlifts

The deadlift is one of the most famous barbell exercises – and it targets a lot of muscles at once. The squatting motion helps primarily target the glutes and quads. Incorporating a barbell meanwhile helps to put added pressure on the core and various back muscles, as well as the shoulders.

In order to get the best workout from a deadlift, it’s important to get the right form. You’ll find countless guides online on how to correctly perform a deadlift. It’s worth noting that there are many variations of the deadlift that can target additional muscles such as the sumo deadlift and Romanian deadlift. 

Swimming

Swimming is another full-body workout that many people overlook. Different strokes target different muscle groups. However, almost all of these strokes target the abs, glutes, quads, lats, triceps, and deltoids. 

Learn how to do various strokes correctly and practice some lengths at your local pool. Swimming is as good a cardio exercise as it is a strength-building exercise, which can make it very appealing to many people. Unfortunately, unless you’ve got a pool, it’s not an exercise you can easily do at home. 

Kettlebell swings

Some people assume that kettlebells exercise many of the same muscles as dumbbells. But unlike dumbbells, kettlebells spread the weight away from the arm. This encourages various swinging exercises which can activate multiple muscles throughout the body from the shoulders to the hamstrings. Check out this guide for more information on kettlebell swing muscle groups.

How do you do a kettlebell swing? There are a few different variations, but the most popular kettlebell swing involves holding it with both hands and swinging it from between your legs directly out in front of you at shoulder height. You can buy kettlebells online and they can be incorporated into all kinds of other exercises.

Rowing machine exercises

Got a rowing machine at your local gym? Rowing machines may provide one of the ‘wholest’ body workouts. They target 85% of our body’s muscles from our deltoids down to our calves, and they provide a fairly even workout across all of them. 

Rowing machines are fairly simple to get the hang of – you push yourself back using your legs while pulling the string back as you do. However, there are a few common posture mistakes that can stop you getting the best workout. Make sure you’re not making these mistakes next time you use the rowing machine. 

Jump rope

Kids know it as ‘skipping’, but to exercise enthusiasts it’s referred to as ‘jump rope’. This exercise involves repeatedly jumping over a rope. It’s predominantly a cardio exercise, but it can also work various muscles in the process from the forearms down to the calves.

Using a heavier rope can provide an even greater workout by engaging your chest and back muscles. Skipping is as much of a test of reaction as it is an exercise, and can take some practice to master at speed. Just make sure that you’re maintaining the right posture by keeping your body straight.

Climbing wall

Rock climbing is an often overlooked form of whole-body exercise. It engages almost all muscles in the arms and legs, while also engaging the core. 

Most people don’t have a climbing wall at home, and they’re not very common in gyms either. But if you do have a local climbing wall, it could be worth trying it regularly to get a workout (and an adrenaline rush). Moving rotating climbing walls are particularly fun forms of exercise. 

Punch bag training

Punching a heavy bag can be a great form of stress relief. But it can also be an effective whole-body workout – depending on how you punch. In order to train for power, you need to put your whole-body into each punch.

In the process, you can end up exercising arm muscles, back muscles, your core, and even your hamstrings. And of course, you don’t have to just stick to punches – kicks are a great way to further engage the leg muscles, glutes, and core. 

The likes of boxing and martial arts can teach you how to punch and kick correctly. This can allow you to generate power and work out muscles without injuring yourself in the process. 

Which workout will you give a try so that you can start building your top 10 workout moves?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

About the author

Identity Magazine for Mompreneurs

TeamIdentity

Our mission is to empower women to "Get All A’s in their Game of Life" by discovering their powers and transforming through Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement—through all of our content and collaborations.

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