There are many forms of exercise that have been designed to target specific parts of the body. A few great exercises, however, actually target both the upper body and lower body. Don’t get us wrong, no form of exercise exists that targets every single muscle group, but in this roundup, we’ve gathered the ones that, to a huge degree, target one’s core and the major muscle groups in the body—in fact, you don’t need to be an expert to do them!
So if you’re short on time and want to have a full-body exercise with as little preparation as possible, then you might want to consider adding these moves to your daily exercise repertoire.
As far as cardiovascular exercises go, this is an excellent one. It’s a really simple movement, too, but it requires a lot of muscle groups to work in conjunction with each other, which makes it very effective in targeting the core. It’s also a real calorie-buster. It looks easy and is for all practical purposes easy to do—but trust us, a few of these and you’ll be out of gas in no time.
So, to do a burpee: stand up, put your feet together, and align your head with your heels. Then come down at a degree to a squat. Next, hop up, as high as you can with your hand reaching for the ceiling. Then land into the squatting position to repeat the whole process.
The Medicine Ball Slam
You’ll need to get your credit card out and purchase a medicine ball. This movement will not just burn calories, it will also help develop strength and speed. It’s mainly an upper body form of exercise that improves cardiovascular conditioning and core strength.
To do a medicine ball slam, first, stand with your legs apart and the ball in front of you. Then squat while having your body in the upright position, facing forward. Pick the ball up with power, then stand up while curling the ball to your chest. Finally, get the ball over your head, stretching your arms upward, then slam the ball to the flooring as hard as you can.
The Crab Walk
It will to some degree look like a very inelegant thing to do, but a crab walk is an effective form of exercise that targets multiple muscle groups. From your shoulders to your quads, to your triceps and hamstrings, the crab walk will quickly send a burn to those areas.
It’s easy to do, too: just sit down with your feet in front of you, then put your hands below your glutes, effectively raising your body from the ground. Next, move on all fours for around 60 seconds. Rest for a few seconds then repeat.
The Chest-to-floor Burpee
To some degree, this is just like a normal burpee but with the added touch of a press-up, which takes the whole burpee-ing to another level.
Just follow the previous steps to do a burpee, except that as you land into a squat position, pull your legs back to do a press-up. Do a press-up, making sure to touch your chest to the floor, and then transition to the squat position to perform another hop. Repeat process.
The Wall Ball
This move is fantastic for your upper body and is an absolute calorie-buster. It is a high-intensity workout that demands effort from a wide range of muscle groups, which makes it so effective as a form of full-body exercise.
With your credit card-bought medicine ball, stand facing a wall and make sure there’s a good amount—maybe a meter—of space between you and the wall. Keep the medicine ball to your chest as you go down to a squat. The push up with your legs, using the momentum to hurl the medicine ball against the wall, a good few feet above your head. Catch the ball with both hands and repeat the process.
The deadlift is, to a huge degree, one of the best exercises for gaining mass. It will build mass and at the same time strengthen a multitude of muscle groups. In fact, if you want to build upper and lower body strength in as little time as possible, the deadlift is a move that’s hard to beat.
Stand in front of a barbell. Then bend, grabbing the bar with both hands parallel to your shoulders. Touch your shins to the bar, and lift your chest while straightening your back. Hold it in position for a few seconds (take a breath) then return the weight to the floor.
The Kettlebell Snatch
A kettlebell is a great investment, and this particular move is one of the most advanced full-body workouts you can do. Your entire posterior chain will be feeling a burn with this one. And it’s one of the best ways to build strength, power, and cardiovascular fitness all at the same time, with one simple, albeit advanced, movement.
Stand, legs slightly separated, with the kettlebell at your feet. Hinge at the hips and reach down to grab the kettlebell with one hand. Swing the kettlebell backward between your legs, and use the momentum to swing the kettlebell upward. Your back needs to be straightened while the kettlebell is swinging upward. And when the kettlebell reaches chest level, flip your wrist so that it rests behind your wrist and push it above your head with your arms stretched out. Then swing it forward again, bringing it back to the ground.
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