06-10-2015

How To Create a Full Body Workout In 6 Steps

My sister is always asking me what exercise she can do for this or that everytime she goes to the gym. Same with my parents actually, now that I think of it. I don’t mind it at all, but it made me think that perhaps there are many who head to the gym without a clue as to what workout they will do that day. 

So I created 6 steps for you to create a full body workout routine next time you need to strength train. My suggestion is to start the workout with your weakest link (of the major muscle groups). So if you’re deadlift is weak, start with that exercise.

You can follow this template to create 2-3 different workouts for the week, then change it up after 3-4 weeks in order to avoid a plateau.

How To Create a Full Body Workout in 6 Easy Steps

Step 1. Choose a glute/quad dominant exercise

We know that glute strength is key for a strong core (which can help alleviate lower back pain), and is really important for runners. I always start my workouts with a glute exercise. If you’re not sure what you can do besides squats, here are some ideas:

  • Walking lunges
  • Split squats
  • Reverse lunges
  • Front foot elevated split squats
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Sumo squats
  • Kettlebell squats
  • 1.5 squats (Lower down, come up half way, lower down again, stand up to complete the squat. Oh, you’ll feel the burn.)
  • Step-ups
  • Box squats
  • Rear foot elevated split squats (rear foot elevated less than the Bulgarians – that’s the difference between the two.)
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Single leg squats/TRX single leg squats

If you’re just starting out, I would recommend not starting with walking lunges. It can be hard on the knees until you build up that quad strength. This would be my progression with lunges: split squats > weight split squats > front foot elevated split squat > reverse lunges (step back, lower, step forward) > walking lunges > bulgarian split squats.

Step 2. Choose a back exercise

Who doesn’t want a strong back, especially in the summer when you’re tank tops, strapless dresses, etc.? After you complete your first exercise, move quickly into a back exercise.

Once you complete the back exercise, take a 1-2 minute break, then repeat the glute and back exercises again for your chosen amount of sets, before moving on to step 3 and 4.

Here are a few back exercises you can do:

  • Seated row
  • Lat pull down
  • Pull-ups/chin-ups
  • TRX rows
  • TRX assisted pull-ups
  • Dumbell row on a bench (one knee, one arm on a bench)
  • Barbell row
  • Inverted row
  • Cable row
  • T-bar row (Barbell is between your legs. Barbell usually has a piece at the end where it is attached, or you can put it in a corner.
  • Chest supported dumbell row (put your chest on an incline bench, so you’re facing down, and then row with both arms)

I think back exercises are my favorite to do. It’s one of my stronger points and it translates into stronger running (stronger back = stronger arms for that finish line kick).

Step 3. Choose a hamstring dominant exercise

Hamstrings are just as important as glutes! Having strong hamstrings and glutes means better posture, stronger core, and more strength in general. If you’re a runner and can only focus on one thing, make it your glutes and hamstrings! So many runners have weak glutes which can lead to injuries and other issues.

Here are some exercises to choose from:

  • Barbell Romanian deadlift
  • Barbell traditional deadlift
  • Trap bar deadlift
  • Dumbbell deadlifts
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Hip raises
  • Swiss ball leg curl
  • Single leg hip raises
  • T-bar row
  • Single leg deadlift
  • Walking lunges with large steps
  • Step-ups with a higher box

Step 4. Choose a chest exercise

While I personally focus less on chest exercises (for this reason), it is still important to include them in your routines. I prefer to do overhead presses and other shoulder press exercises as opposed to traditional bench presses.

My posture needs serious work, and tightening up the muscles in my pecs will only exacerbate the problem (pulling shoulders forward), which is why I like to do more back exercises (which help pull the shoulers back). Doing shoulder presses still works some of your chest muscles and also helps build strong and stable shoulder joints. Here’s a great list of exercises for improving your posture. I’ll list shoulder exercises in the next step when I get there.

Here are chest exercises:

  • Barbell bench press
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Incline bench press
  • Decline bench press
  • 1.5 dumbbell press (lower all the way down, lift halfway, lower, lift to the top)
  • Pushups
  • Feet elevated pushups
  • TRX pushups
  • Single arm dumbbell bench press (or incline press)

Step 5. Choose a bicep, tricep and shoulder exercise

If you’re cramped for time, I would say you can skip this step. If you chose challenging enough weights in the previous steps, you will already have worked these muscles anyway. For example, if you did pull-ups you worked your biceps. If you did bench presses you worked your triceps and shoulders. If you did inverted rows, you worked your shoulders.

But when you have enough time, definitely add in these exercises to help build an overall strong body. Remember runners, strong arms = stronger pump = stronger finish at the end of a race!

Here are some ideas:

Biceps

  • Dumbbell bicep curls
  • Barbell bicep curls
  • Zottman curls (instead of palms facing up as you curl, palms are facing down)
  • Single arm dumbbell curls
  • Single arm half-way curls (While one arm is curling, the other arm is holding the dumbbell halfway up, as opposed to holding it up by your shoulder in a resting position)
  • Decline bench bicep curls (sit in a slightly decline bench and do bicep curls)

Triceps

  • Standing tricep extension
  • Flat bench tricep extension (lowering dumbbells by your ears then bringing up). This is my absolute favorite tricep exercise.
  • Tricep rope pull-down
  • Dips
  • Cable overhead tricep extension

Shoulders

Step 6. Choose 2-4 core exercises

Do I even need to talk about how important core exercises are? Here are my go-to exercises:

  • Any plank variation
  • Plank with knee drops
  • Side planks with reach under (with or without dumbbell)
  • Reverse crunches
  • Standing pallof presses
  • Medicine ball twists
  • Leg lifts (same time and/or alternating)
  • Deadbugs

Obviously there are many more exercises for each bodypart, but these are what came to mind of exercises I include in my routine regularly. I’d say my top picks are barbell squats, trap bar deadlift, pull-ups, incline presses, and pallof presses.

In terms of sets, I usually do my workouts as Step 1, Step 2, break, repeat 1 & 2 3-4 times, Step 3, Step 4, break, repeat 4&5 3-4 times, etc.

Let me know if you try creating your own full body routine with this guide! I’d love feedback :)

Do you create your own workouts or follow a routine (either from a personal trainer or website like bodybuilding.com?)

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03-11-2015

Full Body 30 Minute Workout Part 2

A few weeks ago, I posted a full body 30 minute workout. It got good feedback, so I wanted to post one more as I continue working on my fitness eBook which will be a 9-12 week program with workouts similar to this. This one is a bit more complicated than the first one in terms of exercises involved, so below the image I will explain each one and put in a video tutorial if needed. Keep reading below for my full instructions:

30 Minute Full Body Workout
 AMRAP means as many rounds as possible. So in the first set of exercises, you’re going through and repeating them until your watch hits 30 minutes. Take a 1-2 minute break, then continue onto the next set of exercises. You should get in 2-3 sets in each group of exercises.

Okay so let’s explain the exercises:

Split squats + overhead press: You’ll be doing 10 split squats per leg, with the dumbbells stacked on your shoulders. As you come up, you will press up. Similar to a squat and press. Here’s my split squat tutorial:

Pushups with shoulder taps: You do a normal pushup, and when you come up you tap each shoulder with the opposite hand. Sounds easy but trust me, it makes this exercise even harder.

Side to side burpees: Usual burpees but instead of jumping straight back, you jump out to one side, jump in and up, then jump out to the other side.

Single leg deadlift + row: This is a typical single leg deadlift with a dumbbell, but when you get into the bottom part of the exercise (when your back leg is up), you will do a single arm row, then come back to standing and repeat. This is a great exercise for runners because you’re working on your hamstring and glute strength AND balance.

Tricep dips with leg raised: You will do 10 tricep dips with one leg raised straight out in front of you, then switch legs and do 10. You can do this on the floor or with your hands behind you on a bench to make it more challenging.

Donkey kicks: Another one that looks easy but is a killer cardio exercise and you’ll feel the shoulder burn! You don’t need to have your arms elevated like she does, but it’s a good modification if you need it to be a bit easier for you. If your wrists are an issue, hold dumbbells in your hands so your wrists are in a more neutral position.

Curtsy lunge + kick: Pretty self explanatory. Do a curtsy lunge then as you come up kick your leg out. Do 10 on each side then switch. You can add weight to this exercise to make it harder.

Half and half bicep curls: Start with the dumbbells up by your shoulders (elbows bent), lower half way, then bring back up. Do this 10 times. THEN, start with the dumbbells down (elbows straight), curl up half way and lower 10 times.

Commando burpees: Normal burpees but when you get down on the ground, you will go from on your hands to plank position, then back up.

Side plank with DB reach under: Get into side plank position, then with the dumbbell, reach under yourself, then bring the dumbbell up towards the ceiling. A bit hard to explain:

Dumbbell pull-over: This is a good lat workout (sides of your back) and a core workout. Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle with feet up in the air. As you drop the weight behind you, focus on engaging your core and pressing your lower back into the floor. Here she demonstrates the pull-over portion of the exercise. With your feet elevated it makes it more of a core exercise.

Reverse plank: Instead of facing the floor you’re facing the ceiling. Hold it. You’ll feel it in your hamstrings, glutes and core. Bring it down to your elbows to make it more challenging.

I know that’s a lot of YouTube videos but I wanted to make sure you knew how to do each exercise and it wasn’t confusing! This is a full body workout that will have you sweating for sure…and it’s only 30 minutes! 

If you try it out, please let me know! I loved hearing back from people about their thoughts on the previous workout I posted. Stay tuned for my eBook which will have a workout plan with workouts like these so you can get fit in just 30 minutes per day :)

Do you add in cardio to your strength routines, or do them separately?

What are your favorite cardio exercises in a circuit routine? I love to hate burpees!

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02-04-2015

No Excuses, Full Body 30 Minute Workout

I’ve been experimenting with and creating my own strength workouts lately. I wanted something my mom and I could do 3 times a week for 30 minutes. This will be perfect for when we start running more and don’t feel like spending an hour or more at the gym. I’m planning on creating an ebook of these workouts, along with video how-tos for the exercises. You do a different, full-body workout 3 times per week for 4 weeks before the plan changes. Let me tell ya…I have been feeling sore lately!

This type of workout is different for me because I’ve always focused on lifting heavier and not tracking my rest periods. On upper body days I remember feeling like I hadn’t really worked out at all.

This workout is 30 minutes…which sounds short, but you’ll be dripping in sweat like I have been. You only need a set of dumbbells. You get a 1 minute break in between each group of exercises before moving on to the next. You’ll hit every major muscle group and it includes cardio/plyo moves. 

I’ll explain more below:

30 Minute Total Body Workout
Although I say “AMRAP” I don’t mean that you should be flying through each thing trying to get as many reps as possible. Go through each exercise as you would in any normal workout…the key thing is focusing on your form.

I have been using 10 pound dumbbells for my workouts, though I’d suggest a lighter pair and a heavier pair. For example, you might need heavier weights for DB (dumbbell) squats.

Each week, you should be improving. So the first week I could only do 2 rounds of the first group, then the second week I got 2 rounds + the first exercise done. If you feel you can up your weights the next week, do so. You should be struggling for those last few reps, not blowing through each exercise.

Hmm…trying to think of what else to tell you about this workout…I know once I click publish I’m going to remember stuff!

With 1 minute breaks after each group, it’s a 28 minute workout. If you need longer than a 1 minute break, take it, and see if the following week you can cut down your rest time. 

When I wrote up my workouts, I figured, this won’t be that hard…I’ve lifted with barbells before, psh, lunges with dumbbells is a piece of cake! Nope, I was dripping with sweat and so sore the next day. Having each round be timed is what really challenged me, and has helped me lose 5 lbs in the 2 weeks I’ve been following my plan.

This is an example of what the workouts in my future ebook will be like…now I just have to sit down and write it/create videos! :)

Edited to add: I’m linking this post up to the Wild Workout Wednesday link-up. If you have a workout to share, join in!

If you try this, please leave a comment or tweet me with your feedback, I’d love to hear it as I work on creating more workouts.

What’s your favorite way to lift weights? Slow and heavy? Circuit style? Or mix it up?

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06-25-2014

10 Minute AMRAP Workout

I finally posted a new video! I haven’t posted to my YouTube account in a while…making and editing videos takes a decent chunk of time which I haven’t had. But I always do love editing them and seeing the final product.

Today, I have a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workout that you can do at the gym. All you need are some boxes and a barbell. It’s total body, and includes some plyometric work too.

If you want to do this at home, you can modify by doing dumbbell rounds instead, and doing single box jumps or squat jumps.

Do as many rounds of each exercise for 10 minutes. Or you can do 3-4 rounds…whichever works best for you! Do each exercise for 12 reps.

Here’s the workout:

And here is a printable to take with you to the gym!

amrap-workout

Let me know what you think & if you try it out! I always love hearing your feedback.

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06-23-2014

World Cup Workout Pt. 2

Who watched the USA game last night??! What a heartbreaker!!! I cannot believe it ended like that. Here’s to hoping they can win, or at least tie in their next game against Germany.

All this World Cup mania has inspired me to make some workouts. I made one with inspired by soccer drills, and today I wanted to share a workout you can do while watching the World Cup.

You know those drinking games where you take a shot when something happens in a movie or something? Well, this is like that but with exercises ;)

World Cup Workout

So you should be able to get a full body workout in throughout a 90 minute game. If I had to choose one thing I wouldn’t want to happen I guess it’d be multiple red cards. Lunge jumps kill me!

Let me know if you have any questions or try it out. And LET’S GO USA!!!

What games have you been watching/what teams are you rooting for?

Would you rather go to a World Cup or an Olympic games?

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02-20-2014

Total Body Workout (Printable)

Looking for a workout to take with you to the gym later? Look no further!

Here’s my total body workout, with cardio intervals added in as well ;) Print it out and take it with you to the gym so you can write down the weights you use for all sets.

total body workout routine

Perform each group for 3 sets before moving onto the next group. Take a 45 second break in between each group, and in between sets.

For example, complete A1, move directly to A2, take 45 second break, then move to set 2, etc. Once you complete set 3, take another 45 second break before moving onto the B exercises.

Here are some videos from YouTube for some of the exercises.

Renegade Row

Negative Push-ups (in my “Improve Your Push-ups” video)

Weighted Hip Raise (another one of my How-To videos…subscribe to my channel to get updates!)

Lunge Jumps

Curl-To-Press

Tricep Extention

Reverse Crunch (another How-To video on my channel)

Side Plank With Rotation (great video showing 3 levels in case you need to modify)

Remember to write down the weights you use for each set, so that in the future you can increase your weights. Increasing your load a little bit each week will help you avoid a plateau, and get stronger.

Let me know if you print it out and take it to the gym! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Which of these exercises do you love? Which have you never tried?

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08-15-2013

Total Body Burn!

Here’s a new workout for you…you can do it at home, or you can add weight if you want to make it tougher. Strength and cardio combined, with some abs as a finisher. Remember to always do a warm-up before starting a workout.

Let me know if you try it out!

totalbodyWK

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06-07-2013

Cardio Blast Workout!

I did this workout on Wednesday and it is killer! Yes, there are some upper body moves involved in my “strong legs” workout, but trust me, you will really feel the burn in your legs.

Usually, I do non-equipment workouts, but I figured I’d change it up and include one you can do at the gym. If you don’t have a pull-up machine, you can use the lat pull-down machine.

I threw in a few upper body moves to make sure you also hit those major muscle groups (back) and keep your heart rate up while giving your legs a short break.

Final words: burpees = killer

stronglegs

 

Let me know if you try this out and what your thoughts are!

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04-09-2013

Spring into Shape!

Here is a workout challenge for you today! You can even do it outside if the weather is as nice by you as it is by me :-)

As always, it is body weight/no equipment needed…so no excuses! Repeat 3-5x through for a great cardio and strength workout!

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