Exercise is a very important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The trouble is that it can be extremely difficult in busy lives. It’s already pretty difficult to maintain a healthy diet when eating out is really bad for you but your busy schedule doesn’t allow much time for cooking. Adding daily hour-long sessions at the gym can seem like a daunting and impossible task.
Happily, there s a solution for today’s busy lifestyle. There are several different workout moves that you can do that work your entire body at once, which will save you time because you won’t need to do separate sets and reps for every different muscle group in your body. You can get a total-body workout using just a few different exercises.
For those of you without the time, money, or knowledge required to go to the gym and use their equipment, the good news is that nearly all of the full-body workouts available don't require any equipment. They use your own body weight for resistance and training. This means that you can get a total body workout by carving out just 15 to 30 minutes each day from the comfort of your own home.
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Things to Consider
One of the most important things to keep in mind when doing these exercises is that you absolutely must take the time to use good technique. Bad form on any of these exercises will put inordinate amounts of pressure on weak and vulnerable joints and tendons in your body. If you don’t want to cause more harm than good, you need to check your form.
This is especially important to consider during rep workouts or high-intensity interval training sessions that ask you to quickly move from form to form. (I'm looking at you burpees!!) One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is sacrificing their proper form for added speed. Most of the time, slow and steady actually builds better muscle tone than racing through exercises, anyway. Don't let your form suffer if you want to stay safe.
Gym memberships and sessions can get really expensive, but it may be worth the investment to book a single session. Explain your timing and financial reasons for skipping regular sessions or a gym membership to the trainer and let them know you intend to start at-home equipment-free full body workouts but want to make sure that you are observing the proper form.
Bring your exercise regimen to them, and ask them for recommendations on modifications to make it easier or harder based on your skill level. Use the session to your advantage to make sure that you know exactly how to properly perform those exercises and modify them. Some trainers may even allow you to record the session so you have a video showing you proper form if you need guidance.
You also need to remember that stretching is a very important part of any workout. Stretching your muscles warms them up and loosens them, which makes it less likely that your workout will produce any rips or tears that can’t be repaired with a little bit of rest. Cooling down prevents them from getting sore.
In terms of reps and difficulty, listen to your body. Push through discomfort, but stop at pain. Discomfort is a natural part of trying to get ripped muscles or tone your body. It lets you know that you’re working. Pain is your body’s indication that something is wrong. It warms you to stop what you’re doing. Pay attention to your workout so that you’re pushing yourself outside of your comfort level but not so far that you get injured.
A lot of people work out every day of the week. This can be detrimental to your body. When you're building muscle, you will create micro-tears in your muscles that will reform into stronger ones. This means that you need to give your body some time off to rest and heal the micro-rips so they don't become full muscle tears.
Usually, the people who work out every day will alternate. One day, they'll work their upper body, the next will focus on the lower body, and the next core and cardio. If you are maximizing your workouts by performing full-body exercises, then you will need to rest instead of working out every day.
You can get away with as few as 3 workouts each week. You spend 1 day working out followed by 1 day of rest, for a total of 3 workout days and 4 rest days one week and 4 workout days and 3 rest the following week. If you want to make sure all your exercise days re the same day from week to week, you can do a day of cardio workout after one of your full-body workout days to keep exercise and rest consistent without 2 days in a row of the intense workout or too many rest days.
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Although planks target the core more than other areas of your body, they are a great total body workout move. These work upper and lower body, and front and back, as well as core. These are safe to do daily because your core has smaller muscles that can rest overnight rather than needing a full day.
This is also an exercise with easy to master form. It's critical to maintain the form because otherwise, you'll end up causing neck ad back strain and potentially tearing your shoulder muscles.
You want to lay on your stomach. Lift yourself so that you are on your toes with your heels pointing to the bac. Your elbows should be tucked in under your torso and your head’s crown should be forward. When you lift up for the plank, your back should remain flat, with your butt down flat as well and not poking up in the air. Think of your back as a table. If this posture is too difficult for you to maintain, you can modify the exercise by dropping your knees to the ground while leaving the rest of your body in that perfect form.
This variation works specific sides of your body. You will lie on one side of your body, with your legs stacked and fully extended. Prop yourself up on your lower elbow and forearm, and remember to engage your core. Lift your hips off the ground and keep your body in a straight diagonal line from shoulders to ankles.
Plank Reach and Rotate Lifts
To up the ante, you can perform this modification. This one will tone your shoulders as well as your abs. Start in a plank position. From there, reach your right hand forward and hold for 1 count. Then, lower your right hand and rotate into a side plank. To add even more of a challenge when you’ve built up the strength, you can lift your top leg off the ground. For this exercise, slow and controlled movements are more important than quick repetitions.
Another variant of the plank that has gained popularity in Pilates is the twisted plank. It works your entire body, and although the form is simple it takes major strength and coordination to maintain.
Enter the side plank position with your legs and feet stacked. Your bottom hand should be under your shoulder and the top hand should reach towards the ceiling. Squeeze your inner thighs together and engage your core. You will then move the bottom side of your waist up and away from the floor as you raise your hips higher and move your top hand underneath your torso. Rotate your body through the waist then return to the starting position.
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Burpees are extremely intense maneuvers that beginners may need to work up to or modify. They are extremely difficult, and even trainers have a love-hate relationship with this least fun exercise ever invented, but they are seriously effective if you can handle them.
These target every single one of your muscle groups, and also help your flexibility because of how quickly you’ll need to change positions from one movement to the next. This makes form extremely important, and once again you need to use caution so you don’t sacrifice form for speed.
This is also a very high impact exercise, so it won’t be a fantastic option for anyone with joint issues, especially in the knees or hips. If you push too hard or too fast, you can do more damage than good. If you haven’t already been active, then save these for when you’ve built up some strength already.
Another option for active people with joint issues is to modify the burpees. Remove the jumps involved in this exercise. When you're jumping into a plank, just step your feet back instead. When you're jumping out of your top squat, you can either switch to a heel raise or do high knee steps instead of jumping. This will drastically reduce the high impact on your joints when you do these.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. You want to have your weight in your heels. Push your hips back and bend your knees, lowering your body into a squat position. Remember to keep the proper squat form as well, sitting back like you're in a chair rather than hanging too far or not enough.
Place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet and jut inside of them. Move your weight into your hands. Jump your feet back (or step and walk them back) so you land on the balls of your feet in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels, without your back sagging or your butt sticking into the air.
Jump your feet back up so they land just outside of your hands (or walk them back up) in the same position. Reach your arms over your head and do an explosive jump into the air (or a heel raise). Land and immediately lower back into a squat.
If you’re a glutton for punishment or fitness buff who wants even more of a challenge, once you’ve built up to burpees on a regular basis you can add a pushup while you’re in the planking position. You can also add a knee tuck to your explosive jump. It’s also possible (though not recommended unless you’re extremely fit and practicing perfect form ad technique) to perform this entire exercise on just one leg.
A lot of people know that pushups are a great way to work out your arms, but did you know that they are actually good for your entire body. You engage your core for balance and strength, and even your leg muscles help keep you stable.
You can also perform a ton of different modifications when you do pushups for even more workouts. For example, doing pushups with 1 leg raised in the air instead of both on the ground will make it even more difficult and allow you to work that leg muscle while adding more resistance to the other muscles. If you form your hands into a diamond, it will increase the intensity of the arm workout. Pushing all the way off the ground and clapping your hands together in the air before placing them back down on the ground and taking the weight will engage your legs, glutes, and core to keep you up and stabilized.
A great yoga pose that works your entire body is the boat pose. For this pose, you will need to sit with your legs crossed. Then, lean back and lift your toes off the floor so that you engage your abs and core. Pump your arms if you want to engage your arms and increase the challenge. This also creates some cardio exercise and burns more calories.
It is important to keep your neck relaxed and face relaxed. If you tense, you'll start taking the weight meant for your core in your neck and this could cause major injury. Try to hold this pose for 30-second intervals in each side of crossed legs.