Looking for a set of total body exercises to get you in shape? Big, compound movements have long been known in the fitness industry as the secret to true strength and stamina, so you’re looking in the right direction—these exercises will give you the absolute best bang for your buck. So let’s talk specifics: five total body exercises to really wring you out.
Clean and jerk. The clean and jerk is one of the gold standards of total body exercises, but it’s not always easy for an amateur to pick up and do right. If you have trouble doing the entire movement as a flawless flow, don’t be ashamed to do it in sections; ‘clean’, then ‘jerk’. As you get stronger and more confident, you can up the explosiveness and reduce the pause in the middle.
Running. Running isn’t just for your legs, or your heart. When you run, everything gets involved, from top to bottom—and on top of that, because you’re activating such a large muscle group, your legs, everything else gets a nice chemical bath courtesy of your brain. It’s sometime to keep in mind: exercises which work your lower body a lot actually benefit your entire body to a degree.
TRX. The hot new resistance machine on the market has a lot to offer. Unlike many machines, the TRX really works your stabilizers and lets you make big, compound movements that activate as much of your body as you like. Try all your favorite gym movements with the help of a TRX; if you regret it, it won’t be because it didn’t work you hard.
Burpees. The gold standard of total body exercises you can do in a small space, with no extra weight, burpees combine all the best traits of body weight squats and pushups, and add in a bit of extra explosiveness. There are people who have achieved total body fitness through burpees alone (although it’s not really the most efficient way to go about the task).
Deadlift. The deadlift, considered by many lifters the ultimate test of strength. For all its apparent simplicity, getting the deadlift right gives an intense workout to every part of your body—and getting it wrong has a serious risk of messing up your back. So don’t get cocky and tackle the deadlift without learning how to perform it correctly. Just remember to keep your core tight, your back properly arched, and bail if anything doesn’t feel right.
These aren’t the only total body exercises you can take advantage of, but they’re a strong core to start building a regimen on. You can achieve a total body workout in plenty of ways; you could do it all on a TRX, hit up the free weights with deadlifts, squats, and bench presses, burpee until you puke, etc. Just work everything, and don’t waste time on overly precise exercises until you have a strong base.