In the episodes How To Lose Fat Quickly and How To Build Muscle, we learn that there is one distinct similarity between both fat-burning and muscle-building goals: They each require the use of full body, multiple-joint exercises that activate many muscles at the same time.
When it comes to full body exercises, some are more effective than others, so in this article, you’ll learn the 5 full body exercises that get you the most results in the shortest period of time. (Each exercise below links to a video demonstration of the movement.).
The 5 Best Full Body Exercises
Full Body Exercise #1: Turkish Get-Up
I may be a fitness buff, but my history and geography skills aren’t quite up-to-par, so I’m not quite sure how or why this exercise is “Turkish.” But the “Get-Up” part is easy to understand once you’ve tried this move.
To complete a Turkish Get-Up, you lie on your side, with a dumbbell in one hand. The dumbbell should be held out at arm’s length. From this position, you simply stand, while keeping the dumbbell overhead at an arm’s length. This means you only have one arm and two legs to help you both stand and push the weight of that dumbbell up as you stand.
This exercise can be difficult to learn, but if you can do 3-4 sets of 5-10 Turkish Get-Ups per side, then you are probably in pretty good shape!
Full Body Exercise #2: Swing Squats
For this exercise, hold a dumbbell or an kettlebell down by your feet with one outstretched arm, then drop into a squat position with your butt pushed behind you, your back straight, and your heels firmly planted. Now, stand about halfway up as you begin to swing the dumbbell up, quickly reverse direction and drop down into a full squat position again, then powerfully stand as you swing the dumbbell overhead.
If you do this exercise as explosively as possible, which I highly recommend, you will find that your heart rate will get very high with just a few repetitions, making the swing squat both a cardiovascular and strength building exercise.
Full Body Exercise #3: Medicine Ball Slams
This is a great stress-relieving exercise, and also helps to build power and athleticism in the upper body, core, and legs. It is also a very easy full-body exercise to learn.
To do a medicine ball slam, you simply get a medicine ball (those big heavy balls you can often find in the corner of the gym), raise it overhead, then swing your arms down as you release the ball and slam it into the ground as hard as possible.
As you can imagine, this can be a loud exercise, so you may want to find a private area of the gym (like an empty group exercise room) and you will also need to be careful not to let the ball bounce back up and hit you in the face!
For an extra challenge, I sometimes finish a workout to complete exhaustion with 50-100 medicine ball slams.
Full Body Exercise #4: Burpees (also known as Squat-Thrust Jumps)
As an infamous exercise used by fitness boot camp instructors, the burpee is one of those movements that you can love to hate. It will give you a full body workout in a matter of mere minutes, but also requires a great deal of focus and intensity.
Here’s how to do a burpee: from a standing position, squat down, put your hands on the ground, kick your legs out behind you, do a push-up (optional), then kick the legs back up into a squat position, stand and jump as you swing your arms overhead. If you’re an advanced exerciser or want to add even more “oomph” to this exercise, you can wear a weighted vest as you do your burpees.
Most burpee workouts involve doing a series of 10, 15, or 20 burpees as part of a full body weight training or body weight circuit, but you can do just 1-2 minutes of burpees in the morning as a fantastic metabolic booster to jumpstart your day!
Full Body Exercise #5: Deadlift-to-Overhead Press
The premise of the deadlift-to-overhead press is fairly simple: you pick a heavy object off the ground and lift it overhead. The object can be a dumbbell, barbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, sandbag, or, if you’re working out with a partner, even another person!
When you pick the object off the ground, which is called a deadlift, you’ll need to have good form: looking forward with your knees bent, butt out, and back straight.
You then stand, and as you stand or after you are in a standing position, hoist the weight overhead – using your hip and leg muscles to assist your upper body with driving the weight up.
A Full Body Exercises Workout
Want a fast and effective workout that gets you fit fast and burns lots of calories in a short period of time? Those last two exercises (the Burpees and the Deadlift-to-Overhead Press) are the key exercises for a tough but highly effective workout called The Burner.