Full-body workouts? You might cringe at the mere thought, believing they are too complex or lengthy, involving dozens of exercises and sets to engage several muscles with lots of equipment. Perhaps that’s why conventional split-routine programs—e.g., chest/back one day, legs/arms next day—seem more convenient muscle-building exercises.
But maybe it’s time to rethink. The two full-body combo exercises below contradict the idea that you need tons of exercises, sets and equipment. Both of these simple and challenging exercises require minimal equipment and can be completed in much less time than you might imagine, making them perfect for fitting in around practices and games. And they’re also suitable for off-season workouts a few times a week on non-consecutive days, instead of the usual four or five (or more) weekly split routine sessions.
- One 25-, 35- or 45-pound plate (depending on your strength level) or a 10-, 15- or 20-pound med ball.
- Timer (optional)
- Water bottle
- Start the workout with an upper- and lower-body dynamic warm-up—e.g., Arm Circles and High Kicks or Arm Circles with Forward and Side Lunges. End with upper- and lower-body cooldown static stretches for greater flexibility and range of motion.
- Hydrate before, during and after your workout.
- Sets/Reps: 3×4 (Four pushing/pulling reps performed at various angles).
- Rest: 30 seconds between sets; 60 seconds between both combo exercises. Shortened rest periods between sets and exercises enhance endurance, which is needed between the brief rest periods in sports, while also intensifying and condensing the workout duration.
- Complete the workout within 15-30 minutes, including warm-up and cooldown.
- Do workouts on non-consecutive days for sufficient recovery.
Squats and Presses
The four reps done at differing angles simulate blocking in football, pushing away a wrestling opponent, or passing a basketball across court. They also build lower- and upper-body size and power, and rotations during the Overhead Presses engage the core muscles.
Rep 1: Assume squat position, holding plate or ball close to chest. Rise while simultaneously explosively pressing plate/ball away from chest. Slowly return to start position.
Rep 2: Press weight up to eye level. Lower slowly to start position.
Rep 3: Press weight overhead and twist to the right.
Rep 4: Lower to start position and press overhead while rotating to the left.
Advanced version: Perform this combo exercise with one foot off the ground using less resistance to boost core stability and improve balance. Rest 30 seconds and do two more sets.
Squats and Pulls
Just as you use pushing (pressing) movements in various sports, you also need to strengthen and build up the lower- and upper-body muscles used in pulling motions—e.g., tackling in football, grasping and pulling down wrestling opponents, pulling down a rebound in basketball.
Rep 1: From a squat position, hold the weight with arms extended below the waist. Rise up and explosively pull it toward your waist.
Rep 2: Slowly return to start position, hold the weight with arms extended at chest level and pull it toward your chest while rising from a squat.
Rep 3: From a squat position, hold the weight above eye level with arms extended, rise and pull it toward your chest while rotating your body to the right.
Rep 4: Repeat but finish by rotating left.
Advanced version: Perform on one leg.
RELATED: 5 Essential Full Body Exercises for Athletes