Introduction

They say variety is the spice of life; if this is the case, then the vast majority of individuals who I’ve seen recently at the gym need to add a little spice to their daily and weekly workout routines. Before moving on, firstly consider the last time you altered or manipulated your workout – is this something you make a conscious effort to do every 6-8 weeks, or have you been doing the same old monotonous sessions since you care to remember?

Workout routines can easily be varied in order to keep you and your body guessing. Not only will this provide you with a new hurdle to overcome but it keeps the sessions interesting and consequently can aid motivation and adherence levels. Creating yourself a new workout routine doesn’t have to be rocket science, it can be as simple as manipulating the resistance and repetitions, changing the exercise order or integrating a few new exercises into your current regime.

It is the latter that will be considered within this article. As the title aptly suggests, this article is concerned with providing you, the reader, with three exercises which FashionBeans considers optimal for targeting the full body in a single movement…

Top 3 Full Body Exercises

Generally speaking, full body exercises are vastly underused and under appreciated. Without trying to over generalise and stereotype an entire sporting population, you will often find that many individuals train their muscles in isolation. Ultimately, this means that only a single joint and single muscle group are targeted at any one time, for example: the dumbbell bicep curl.

Full body exercises, on the other hand, can be considered compound movements. These involve multi joint movements that work numerous muscle groups simultaneously. As with everything in health and fitness, there are advantages and disadvantages for both exercise prescriptions – as this article is specifically related to compound movements, a list of benefits for full body exercises will now be provided:

The Benefits Of Full Body Exercises
  • Utilise more muscle groups allowing more to be achieved in a shorter space of time.
  • Full body exercises simulate real world sporting movements and activity.
  • Significant enhancements in coordination, reaction time and balance can be achieved.
  • Compound movements allow for greater resistance, therefore enhancing strength levels.
  • Enhanced calorie expenditure during any given exercise movement.

Our top three full body exercises will now be considered in further detail. For each exercise a full description will be provided alongside a demonstration video, so that should you want to incorporate it into your current workout routine, it can be done with relative ease.

In no particular order, let us now consider each of the following exercises:

The Farmers Walk
Execution
  1. To complete this exercise you will require two dumbbells offering suitable resistance.
  2. These should be positioned next to each other on the floor.
  3. Prior to the exercise, ensure that you have adequate room to walk safely.
  4. To commence deadlift the two dumbbells off of the floor, one in each hand.
  5. Stand holding the dumbbells with your arms straight and to the side.
  6. To execute this exercise, simply walk forwards for a set distance or period of time.
Video Demonstration

Benefits & Alterations

Due to the nature of this exercise and the movement required, everything from the lower body to the upper body is recruited. The core section is also highlighted and activated throughout, whilst even your grip strength is put to the test during this exercise.

The difficulty of this exercise can be manipulated in number of ways: altering the resistance, enhancing the distance walked or increasing the time in which the resistance is carried for.

The Overhead Squat
Execution
  1. To complete this exercise you will require a suitably loaded barbell.
  2. Grasp the barbell utilising a wide overhand grip and snatch the barbell overhead.
  3. Throughout the movement maintain the barbell behind your head with arms extended.
  4. You should also select a wide foot stance with your feet facing outwards.
  5. Bend at your knees and hips. Continue until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  6. At this part of the movement reverse your actions until your legs are straight.
Video Demonstration

Benefits & Alterations

The squatting exercise is primarily utilised to target the lower body, however, through the addition of the overhead element, this also places increasing demands throughout your upper body.

Once again, your core section will be activated in order to efficiently drive through your legs and maintain suitable positioning throughout.

The difficulty of this exercise can be enhanced through the barbell resistance or simply through the repetitions achieved.

The Medicine Ball Slam
Execution
  • To commence, stand with your feet hip width apart and holding a medicine ball at your chest.
  • Complete the downward phase by hinging at your hips, allowing the ball in between your legs.
  • Extend your body through the upward phase, bringing the ball above and behind your head.
  • Explosively bring the ball back over your head and drop your weight back into your hips.
  • Release the ball, throwing it directly down onto the floor in front of you.
  • Recollect the medicine ball and repeat for the required repetitions.
Video Demonstration

Benefits & Alterations

Conversely to the previous overhead squatting exercise, many individuals believe that this exercise primarily targets the upper body. Although this is true with regards to the throwing action, your ability to rapidly move between downward and upward phases relies strongly on both the lower body and your core section.

The difficulty of this exercise can be heightened through the use of an unstable surface, adding a jumping element or simply through enhanced repetitions.

Final Word

The purpose of this article was to introduce three exercises that we consider optimal for targeting the full body in a single movement. Although each exercise offered their own unique requirements, they all have one thing in common: their ability to successfully target the upper body, lower body and core section within a single movement.

Furthermore, each of the selected exercises can all easily be performed within a gym setting, without specialist equipment. Just be careful where you choose to complete your medicine ball slams – otherwise you might just be receiving a banning notice from your gym manager!

If you’re already experienced the exercises outlined above or simply disagree with the chosen exercises, then hopefully this article will serve for you another purpose: to get those creative juices flowing with regards to your chosen exercises within your current workout routine.

Ultimately, your training regimes are confined only by your imagination and creativity levels. With this in mind, I will sign off with the same sentence that commenced this very article: variety is the spice of life.