The Best Total Body Exercises

Total-body exercises are fantastic for blasting calories and training large groups of muscle to work in unison. This is something a lot of bodybuilders miss out on and athletic careers are built upon. Typically involving multiple movements and more than two joints, these are certainly more technically difficult than other exercises. This should not deter you from attempting these exercises. Even as a beginner, with a little practice, you can master these movements. The key is to pay attention to your form and take your time. As always, it’s a great idea to seek the guidance of a trained professional when first beginning exercise. Your form is crucial to preventing injury.

These exercises are fantastic for building explosive power, strength, and even muscular endurance. Depending on your fitness goals you simply have to modify the number of reps, weight, and speed of the movement. To get more information on these variables check out the fitprofree.com’s Beginner’s Guide. Additionally, to get the most benefit incorporate these exercises early in your workout routine. You’ll need to be fresh to do these exercises and doing them early in your routine will ensure you can maintain proper form.

Total Body Exercises:

Front Squat to Push Press

Straight-Leg Deadlift Row

Thrusters

Barbell High Pull

Single-Arm Kettlebell Snatch


Front Squat to Push Press

Target muscles: Primary muscles are the quads and deltoids. You will also engage the core, glutes, hamstrings, triceps, and calves.

How to perform the Front Squat Push Press:

With a racked barbell just below shoulder height grab the bar a little wider than shoulder width.

While holding the bar swing your elbows under the bar to where the are pointing out in front of you. Do your best to get your upper arms parallel to the floor. This will create a shelf with which you can safely rest the bar. It may create strain in your wrists but it will get easier over time. Remove the bar from the rack and step back.

Your feet should be shoulder width or a little wider and your toes pointed out slightly. Stand as tall as you can with good posture. Push your hips back and bend your knees as you lower to the floor. Drop till your thighs are at least parallel with the floor.

At the bottom of the movement, pause briefly and then drive you hips forward as you extend your knees. Once at the top of the movement keep the bar moving by pressing it up overhead. Pause briefly and then lower it back down to the starting position.

Pro Tip:

Try to keep the bar moving in one fluid motion. From the bottom of the movement all the way to the overhead position. Practice proper form with the front squat and the shoulder press before attempting this exercise.

Do it at home:

To do this exercise at home you will need a Barbell, Weight Plates, and a Power Rack (optional)

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Straight-Leg Deadlift Row

Target muscles: Glutes, hamstrings, traps, and rhomboids. To some extent, you will also target the biceps and core.

How to perform the Straight-Leg Deadlift Row:

Grab a barbell with an overhand grip with hands shoulder-width or a little wider. Stand tall with shoulders pressed down and back and feet shoulder-width apart.

Keeping your back straight and your core tight drive your hips back and lower the bar. Once your torso is nearly parallel with the floor stop.

Hold this position and perform a row by driving the elbows back and squeezing the shoulder blades together. Slowly straighten your arms until they are all the way extended.

Drive your hips forward and squeeze your glutes to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat to complete the prescribed number of reps.

Pro Tip:

When doing this exercise keep the bar as close to your body as possible. Do not hold your breath at any point. Try to exhale on exertion. That means you will take two breaths for each rep.

Modifications:

  • Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift to Row: Perform the same movement while holding a pair of dumbbells.

Do it at home:

To do this exercise and all of it’s modifications at home you will need:

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Thrusters


Target muscles: Primary muscles are the quads and deltoids. You will also engage the core, glutes, hamstrings, triceps, and calves.

How to perform Thrusters

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells up even with your ears and with palms facing in. Feet should be shoulder-width apart.

With your weight on your heels drive your hips back while keeping your core tight and you chest up and out. Lower all the way down till your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.

Once at the bottom pause briefly and then drive your hips forward and squeeze your glutes to stand back up. In one fluid motion continue the movement by pressing the dumbbells up overhead. Do not rotate the dumbbells. Keep your palms facing in the whole time.

Once your arms are fully extended lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Pro Tip:

Brace your core throughout the whole movement and focus on sitting back on your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes at any point during the exercise. Focus on keeping the movement fluid and your torso upright. If you find you can’t go all the way down you more than likely have tight hamstrings. Slowly work into going lower and lower as you practice the exercise.

Do it at home:

To do this one at home, you will need a set of Dumbbells or Adjustable Dumbbells.

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Barbell High Pull

Target muscles: Primary movers include quadriceps, deltoids, core, and biceps. You will also be hitting your glutes, hamstrings, traps, and calves. This movement is performed explosively. That means you will be moving the bar as fast as possible. Use a lighter weight starting out. This exercise is great for improving athletic and sports performance.

How to perform the Barbell High Pull

From the floor squat down and grab a barbell at arms length with an overhand grip just outside shoulder width. Your back should maintain its natural arch while in the down position and your thighs should be almost parallel to the floor.

Drive your hips forward as explosively as possible and pull the bar as high up as you can manage. It should reach just below your chin. Keep your elbows high as you pull the barbell. The momentum should cause you to come up on to your toes at the top of the movement.

Once you’ve pulled the bar as high as you can go reverse the movement to lower the bar back to the starting position.

Pro Tip:

At the top of the movement pull your torso backwards, stick your chest out and drive your hips forward forcefully. Focus on being explosive!

Modifications:

  • Barbell Hang Pull: Same as above but start with the bar just below your knees.
  • Dumbbell Hang Pull: Same as above but hold a pair of dumbbell just below your knees instead.

Do it at home:

To do this exercise and all of its modifications at home you will need:

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Single-Arm Kettlebell Snatch

Target muscles: Primary movers include quadriceps, deltoids, core, and biceps. You will also be hitting your glutes, hamstrings, traps, and calves. This movement is performed explosively. That means you will be moving the bar as fast as possible. Use a lighter weight starting out. This exercise is great for improving athletic and sports performance.

How to perform the Single-Arm Kettlebell Snatch:

Holding a kettlebell with an overhand grip bend at your knees to squat down until the weight is centered between your feet.

Explosively drive you hips forward while raising your elbow to raise the kettlebell. Once you are upright and your elbow is as high as it can go continue raising the kettlebell by rotating your forearm out until the kettlebell is overhead.

Bring your body under the weight and pause briefly before bring the weight back down.

Pro Tip:

At the start of the movement your back should be slightly arched. You should rise up on your toes from the momentum of pulling the dumbbell explosively. Imagine throwing the kettlebell up to the ceiling and it should rotate to the backside of your forearm from the momentum.

Modifications:

  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch: Same as above but with a dumbbell.
  • Single-Arm Hang Snatch: Same as above but starting from just below your knee with a dumbbell.

Do it at home:

To do this exercise and all of it’s modifications at home you will need:

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This is one part of the fitprofree.com’s The Best Exercise Series. To check out the other exercises in the series check out The Best Exercises main page.


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