If you love working out, chances are you look forward to waking up sore in the morning following a grueling sweat sesh the previous day. If you’re lucky, you may even find an aching muscle that you never thought you had! This is a great indicator that you have exercised in a way that you have never before, or at least haven’t in quite some time now.
Spicing up your workout routine is a great way to activate muscles that have been stagnating in your body. These forgotten muscle fibers are just as important in protecting your joints, promoting stability, and increasing overall body strength, as the major muscles in your body.
Regardless of your level of fitness, it can be easy to focus only on the more visible or aesthetic muscles in your body (dare we say, abs) but working most muscles in your body is a surefire way to make a greater impact on your physique, left, right and center. If you have no idea how you can simultaneously work several muscles in your body, you’re in luck.
We’ve compiled some of our favorite and most effective moves that will work your muscles in completely new ways.
The following exercises will expose your muscles to a myriad of new or ignored movements, including multi-directional movements, lateral movements and rotations. Some of these movements are incredibly unique and you may have never heard of them before, therefore, we recommend starting with lighter weights to get into proper form and prevent injury.
Warm up first
Like with any other workout, it is important to start with a five to 10 minute warm up. A warm up helps prepare your muscles, increase their flexibility and can even prevent injury. Some simple and effective warm up exercises that you can do anywhere include jumping jacks, jump rope, running and cycling.
This workout can be very vigorous and efficient so warming up is imperative to prevent injuries.
Complete one set of each of the moves mentioned below and try your best not to take breaks between sets. That way you keep your heart rate up at all times.
However, be sure to listen to your body, if you really think you need a rest, take a few seconds off and then continue with the workout.
After finishing one set of all the moves, rest for 60 seconds and then repeat the same series two to four times for massive workout gains.
Move 1: Windmill with Kettlebell
Not only does this exercise work your arms, legs and shoulders, it also activates your transverse abdominus that’s responsible for keeping your belly flat and sculpted. Besides, kettlebells have become more popular because of their easy usage!
To perform a kettlebell windmill, hold a 6 to 9 pound kettlebell in your right hand, keeping your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull the weight to your right shoulder, keeping your elbow close to your side and the kettlebell hanging behind your hand.
- Press the weight overhead, keeping your posture straight
- Pretend as if you are facing your back against a wall, reach your left foot with your left hand. Make sure your right shoulder is open so that the weight is directly over your shoulder.
- Pause with your chest open and shoulders stacked. Hold for 2 seconds.
- Return to standing position with the kettlebell on your side. This completes one rep. Perform 15 reps and then switch to your left side.
Move 2: Weighted Squats
This movement not only works major muscle groups that are activated while doing squats (glutes, hamstrings and quads), but it also works your arms, shoulders and core thanks to the added weight.
To perform a weighted squat, stand with your feet hip-distance apart, holding a 8 to 10 pound dumbbell in each hand, located above your shoulders. Keep your core tight and stand tall, without arching your back. Turn your toes out slightly so that they are aligned with your knees when you lower yourself.
- Bend your knees and lower your butt and hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your core engaged and your spine straight.
- Pause here and push your heels to the ground, standing up to starting position and pressing the dumbbells overhead on both sides. Reach your arms up to the ceiling so that your dumbbells are directly above your shoulders.
- Lower both dumbbells to your shoulders. This completes one rep. Perform at least 5 to 10 more reps.
If you’ve been thinking that fancy gym equipment and weights are the key to achieving your desirable physique, then you better think again. Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and they utilize more stabilizing muscles, which support your body and keep it upright.
Most of our daily workouts don’t employ our stabilizing muscles. Therefore, performing a few bodyweight workouts is a great way to strengthen them, which can thereby support all other muscles in your body as well. Another advantage of bodyweight exercises is that you can build a substantial amount of upper body strength.
A great exercise that works one major forgotten muscle in your body, is the lateral bound that activates your inner thighs, along with your core.
To perform a lateral bound, stand with your feet hip distance apart and your knees slightly bent. Stretch your arms in front of your left side and brace your core.
- Push off from your left leg and explode to your right, landing on your right foot.
- Do not let your left leg touch the ground and hold for two seconds
- Now, push off from your right leg and land on your left, preventing your right left from touching the ground.
- Hold for 2 seconds. This completes one rep. complete 10 reps before moving on to the next exercise.
Bonus 1: Full-Body Bodyweight HIIT
As we mentioned earlier, we are huge fans of bodyweight exercises and a workout routine that will boost your endorphin levels, while making you sweat buckets is definitely making this list.
There’s nothing better than an incredibly challenging workout that will not only burn way more calories than a steady-state cardio session, but will also help you realize what your body is truly capable of.
Along with bodyweight exercises, we are suckers for high intensity interval training so we thought of creating a killer workout that incorporates bodyweight movements into a HIIT series.
The following strengthening exercises will do double duty by torching major calories and activating several muscle groups at the same time. Complete as many reps as possible for 30 seconds for each move. Rest for a few seconds between each exercise (if needed) and repeat all moves. Perform at least 3 sets, but you can try to do more, depending on your fitness level.
To perform the jump squat you need to start by placing your feet hip-distance apart and keep your hands behind your head. Lower your hips and bend your knees, going down almost into squatting position. Then jump up explosively as high as you can.
While landing, lower into a squat and return to standing position. This completes one rep. Perform as many reps as possible within 30 seconds, without breaks.
Double leg stretch
Lie on the floor and pull your knees to your chest. Tuck your chin in, engage your abs and lift your shoulders slightly above the ground, then place your hands on your shins.
Extend your legs out to 45 degrees and reach your arms overhead, aligning them with your ears. Form a wide “V” with your body and return to starting position. This is one rep. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Get into lunge position with your left leg extended behind you and your right foot under your right shoulder. Touch the floor with your fingertips on either side of your foot and jump off your right foot, driving your other leg’s knee to the air. This completes one rep. Return immediately to your left leg as you land into starting position. Repeat for 15 seconds and switch sides, repeating again for 15 more seconds.
If you’re looking for rock hard abs, chances are you’re familiar with the plank. To perform a plank, lie on your stomach with elbows on the floor and slowly rise up with your toes. Allow your body to resemble a plank. Do not arch your back or curl inwards. Keep your tummy tight and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Bonus 2: Full-Body Weighted HIIT
Call us crazy, but we love making our HIIT routines even more intense with added weights. This allows a person to burn more calories and work more muscles within a shorter time frame.
Therefore, if you’re on a tight schedule, you can’t go wrong repeating the following sequence 3 to 5 times for an intense and effective complete body-sculpting workout.
Barbell front squat to push press
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a reasonably heavy barbell in front of you using an overhand grip. Keep your hands slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart.
Rotate your elbows and pull the bar to your collarbone or until your arms are parallel to the ground. Bend your knees and lower your hips into a squat position, going down lower than your knees. Stand up pressing your heels and while doing so, press the bar overhead with your arms stretched towards the ceiling and elbows slightly bent. Lower the bar to starting position. This is one rep. Perform as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
Barbell deadlift to row
Hold a reasonably heavy barbell in front of your thighs with an overhand grip, keeping your feet and hands shoulder distance apart.
Keep your core engaged and lower your hips, allowing the bar to lower down toward your knees. As the bar passes your knees, keep lowering your hips until your shins are behind the bar. Pause, bend your elbow and pull the barbell to your ribcage, pinching your shoulder blades together. Return the barbell to your shins and stand back up in starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Barbell push up and roll out
Kneel on the floor with a barbell in front of you, keeping your hands shoulder distance apart. Lower down into a push up with the bar in place and end with your chest just 2 inches over the bar. As you do so, roll the bar forward by straightening your arms until you feel your core working. Avoid arching your lower back and keep your core engaged at all times. Keep your arms straight and roll the barbell back to its starting position. This is one rep. Complete as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
Make sure you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back (as if you are performing a squat) and place your hands on the floor (maintain your weight on your feet). Jump back with your feet, landing on your toes, resulting in a push up position (to make the exercise even heavier do a push up).
Jump back with your feet to the previous position (squat stance), placing your weight on your feet again. Raise your arms above your head and simultaneously make an explosive jump into the air.
Land back on your feet and get into squat position (hands on the floor) and repeat.
Whether you’re a fitness novice or a workout fanatic, you are probably guilty to working out a specific body part more than the others.
We won’t take you away from your guilty pleasures, but we do suggest incorporating a full body workout at least twice a week. This way you’ll activate all muscles that are otherwise left neglected. Working all muscles in the body is a great way to stabilize and support all other muscles and joints, which turns each workout into a massively fruitful one.
Let us know what your favorite full-body workout is and which body part you want to kill – we mean work – next.
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