If you want a workout combining strength training and cardio, look no further than these seven exercises. Each of these moves is a compound exercise that works multiple muscles simultaneously and improves overall body coordination. So, if you’re looking for an all-over body workout, try some of these out!
Squats are excellent and are your best friend when it comes to compound exercises. They’re great for your legs, hips, and core—the three areas that usually need the most attention in any workout routine. Plus, squats can be done with or without weights, (so you can modify the intensity depending on your fitness level).
Squats work several muscles at once: Your glutes will get a fantastic workout as they stabilize your pelvis during the movement; your hamstrings will fire up to keep you from falling forward, and your lower back muscles, core, and quads have to engage hard to keep you upright with proper posture throughout your squatting motion. Because of this multiple-muscle focus, squats also burn more calories over time than exercises that isolate one muscle group only (like leg extensions for example).
Lunges are one of the best total-body exercises because they work your glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings — plus, your core and shoulder muscles get in on the action. A little lunging is good for everybody, from beginners to advanced exercisers.
If you’re new to working out or injured, it may be difficult at first to go straight into a deep lunge position with proper form. That’s totally OK!
Burpees are a full-body exercise that uses the entire body to complete. They’re highly effective at increasing muscle endurance, strengthening your heart and lungs, and reducing stress levels. If you don’t know what a burpee is, it’s a squat thrust followed by a push-up (a perfect combination of strength and cardio). In short: Burpees are super awesome!
Here’s how to do them correctly, according to HealthLine:
- Start in a squat position with your knees bent, your back straight, and your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your hands to the floor in front of you, just inside your feet.
- With your weight on your hands, kick your feet back, so you’re on your hands and toes and in a push-up position.
- Keeping your body straight from head to heels, do one push-up. Remember not to let your back sag or stick your butt in the air.
- Do a frog kick by jumping your feet back to their starting position.
- Stand and reach your arms over your head.
- Jump quickly into the air, so you land back where you started.
- As soon as you land with knees bent, get into a squat position and do another repetition.
Try doing ten reps for a good workout or 20 reps for an excellent exercise! If you’re feeling extra ambitious (and want to work even harder), try adding some resistance by carrying light dumbbells or wearing ankle weights while performing them. This will build your muscle mass faster than regular burpees without any added weight!
The plank is a full-body exercise that can be modified for beginners and experts alike. The most basic form of this exercise is perfect for beginners because it uses all four limbs equally to stabilize your body weight.
Here is how to do the standard plank, according to Greatist:
- Plant hands directly under shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder-width) like you’re about to do a push-up.
- Ground toes into the floor and squeeze glutes to stabilize your body. Your legs should be working, too — be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees.
- Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds. Hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising your form or breath as you get more comfortable with the move.
The plank can be done at home or in the gym, but when you’re just starting, don’t try holding it for too long—start with just a few seconds! You can work up to holding an unmodified plank longer over time; plenty of modifications are available if you want something more challenging than what’s described here, like the side plank.
5. Spiderman Planks
The spiderman plank is a variation of the traditional plank that activates more muscles than just your abs. This exercise also works your shoulders, arms, back, and core so you can get a full-body workout quickly. You’ll want to keep both feet off the floor as you hold this position—like Spiderman!
Here is how to do it, according to Openfit:
- Start in a forearm plank position with your elbows underneath your shoulders, and feet about hip-width apart. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and make sure your neck is in line with your spine so that there is a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Keeping your hips as level as possible, bend your right leg to bring your right knee as close as possible toward your right elbow. Pause, and then step back to the plank position.
- Repeat on your left side, bringing your left knee up to your left elbow.
- Continue alternating sides until all reps are complete.
6. Battle Ropes
Using battle ropes is one of the most effective total body workout methods out there. There are many benefits to using battle ropes, including:
- Increased power and endurance in your arms, back and shoulders
- Increased core strength and stability
- Explosive power is generated from the legs, hips and core during each exercise
7.Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine ball slams are cardio exercises that strengthen and build muscles throughout your body — especially in your core and upper body. To start, you need either a medicine ball or a weighted ball (the latter being heavier). You can do them with a partner or by yourself; however, we recommend finding someone to throw the medicine ball back to you so that you’re less likely to injure yourself by dropping it on your foot.
These seven exercises can be combined into a comprehensive workout routine with easy modifications for beginners or experts!
The bottom line is this: No one exercise will give your body a total-body workout. The key to building muscle and burning fat is to mix up your activities so that you’re working all the muscles in different directions and at different intensities, as well as consuming a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein. A personal trainer can customize a workout plan that’s right for you—whether you’re looking just to get started or taking your fitness routine to another level.
What’s your all-time favourite exercise? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.