Total body strength is the usually goal when you don’t have a lot of patience to dedicate one day of working out to each major body part.
For those times when you want to get a good strength training session in without a lot of complexity or a lot of time invested, I’ve got you covered!
Here’s four of the best moves for building total body strength. They’re super easy to scale up or down depending on your ability. You can easily modify if you need less intensity, and add weight to make them more challenging.
(BTW, I snagged screenshots of these moves inside PB Resolution in case you’re wondering!)
So, how do you do these?
If you’re a complete beginner, I’d recommend starting with one set of 8-10 repetitions. As you feel more confident and comfortable, you can make it 2-4 sets of 10 repetitions. Start with little or no added weight, and as you advance, you can increase the weight.
In no particular order, here they are:
It’s a classic for a reason! We often do plank to target our core, and it does a great job of doing that. But it’s also fantastic for toning the shoulders, back, and quads, too! Even if you keep the knees down, you’re still using the same muscle groups, you’re just asking less of them while you work up the strength to be more demanding.
The details: make sure your butt isn’t elevated higher than the shoulders. The upper ribs should be gently drawn in and the belly button should too. Not so hard that you can’t breathe, but enough to feel “braced” through your core. Find one point to focus on between the hands or elbows (if you’re on your forearms). Hold for as little as 10 seconds or as long as 2 minutes.
If you decide to add ANYTHING into your exercise rotation, let it be the deadlift! It strengthens every major muscle group– it works the upper and lower body and REALLY works the core stabilizers, too. So not only are you building strength in all those “vanity” areas (booty! legs!), but it’s fantastic for improving your posture as well.
The details: standing with the feet hip width and your knees slightly bent, hinge at your hips, & lower your torso until it’s parallel to the floor. As you lower, keep the weights as close to your body as possible. Pause, then raise your torso back to the starting position.
The obvious benefits of squats are building strength in the lower body, but it’s more than that. When you add some weight, they also strengthen the upper body, too. They’re an incredibly functional exercise so when you improve your squat, you also improve your ability to do everyday movements with more ease. And if you want to improve the strength of your core stabilizers and pelvis floor? SQUAT!
The details: The feet should be about hip width apart, but they may be a bit wider depending on what feels comfortable for your individual anatomy. Keep your weight in your heels, knees over your toes, & chest lifted. The depth of your squat will depend on your range of motion, but don’t focus on getting low; focus on using the glutes to power up.
What can’t pushups do?! I know they’re tough, but you can definitely do these with your knees down, or even standing while pushing up against a wall. They’re super easy to modify! Of course pushups strengthen the chest, biceps, and shoulders, but when you refine your form, you also strengthen the core and lower back.
The details: the hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Move your shoulders and your pelvis as if they were one piece. Don’t let your pelvis droop towards the floor OR pop the hips way up high. As the chest & shoulders lower, so should the pelvis/hips.
Over to you! Do you already have these exercises incorporated into your strength routine? Any others you think should be included in this list? Would love to hear your faves!