What is a good fitness routine for a full-body workout?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
For a full-body workout, review this routine:

  • 20-Minute Morning Melt: The best time to do cardio is first thing in the morning, before you have eaten. This taps into stored body fat instead of food you have recently eaten. If you can’t walk outside or on a treadmill, you can melt pounds in place. Turn on some upbeat music and walk in place pumping your arms and bringing your knees as high as you comfortably can. Advanced: To advance the move and tone the body further, hold a soup can in each hand and “punch” one can alternately up and forward on each 4 count of steps. Example: Right can up, 1, 2, right can down, 3, 4, left can up, 1, 2, left can down, 3, 4, right can forward, 1, 2, right can back, 3, 4, left can forward, 1, 2, left can back, 3, 4. The entire sequence should be fluid, not choppy.

This content originally appeared on
What is a good fitness routine for a full body workout? Balance! What i mean by balance is to incorporate cardiorespiratory and strength endurance. One great full body exercise that will incorporate these is the triple crush. I usual do this with a kettlebell while crushing the ball of the bell with your two palms lower into a squat position elbows against your inner thighs when at the bottom of the squat always keeping the back straight. Lower the kettlebell down and do a bicep curl, now stand up while holding the weight right under your chin make sure stomachs drawn in and glutes are engaged. Then shoulder press weight up, while on top lower the weight behind your head while keeping elbows close to your head as possible engaging the triceps and extend up then repeat the exercise twelve to twenty repetitions. by crushing the kettlebell you will engage the chest muscles also. If you do not have a kettlebell you can you 2 dumbells.Great exercise now go have fun with it.

Here is a great full-body workout: push-ups, squats, planks, rows, lateral lunges, tricep dips, bridges, and ball curls for hamstrings will target all of your major muscles. Three sets of 10-12 repetitions circuit style is a great workout!

The most efficient and effective way to do a full-body workout is to focus on multi-joint exercises that give you the 'most bang for your buck'. This means the more muscle groups you can work at once (within reason), the better. For example, instead of just doing a set of biceps curls, perform lunges with a curl at the bottom of each lunge. Focusing on multi-joint exercises will allow you to train all of the major muscle groups without spending your whole day in the gym.

Some great equipment for full-body workouts are TRX Suspension Trainers and kettlebells. These fitness tools allow for compound movements and incredible variety. Training with kettlebells and TRX will also improve your conditioning.

Here is an example of a good full-body workout using TRX and kettlebells. Keep in mind that this is just one example and that your options for full-body workouts are limitless. Perform the workout at a circuit with minimal rest in between exercises. Depending on your level of fitness, perform the circuit 2 to 4 times.

Two-arm kettlebell swings > TRX push-ups > kettlebell windmills > TRX body rows > kettlebell upright rows > TRX single leg squats > TRX tricep extensions > kettlebell figure 8's. Depending on your abilities and the weight of your kettlebell, perform anywhere from 8 - 15 repetitions of each exercise.

What if you don't have TRX or kettlebells? Here is an example of a full-body workout that you can do with little to no equipment at all. Again perform this workout as a circuit with minimal rest in between exercises, performing 8 to 15 reps of each.

single leg hip bridges > push-ups (aligator style if you can) > squat jumps > prone or side plank holds > bird dog’s with static hold at the top > body weight rows or pull-ups > single leg shoulder scaption.

As you can see, full-body routines are almost infinite in their variety. Adjust your routine to match your fitness needs and goals. If you are training for a sport, be sure to add in power, speed and agility work. The key here is to get creative with your workouts but not to the point where the exercises lose their effectiveness. Trying to create the perfect 'functional' exercise by combining as many exercises and variables as you can will only result in a loss of effectiveness and possibly an increased chance of injury.

A good overall strength fitness routine for a full body workout should include as many of the major movement patterns (squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling and rotating) and muscle groups as possible.  And doing a workout that incorporates compound or multi-joint exercises is a great way to accomplish that. 

Here's an example of a great little circuit that hits it and requires nothing more than your body weight.  Can be done anytime...anywhere... Video links are listed below each exercise.

Full Body 100

Complete 2 rounds and perform 10 reps of each exercise in a circuit fashion without rest.  Rest 1 minute between rounds.

  1. Alternate Backward Lunge 10 right/left -
  2. Push-ups (Regular or from knees) -
  3. Mountain Climbers 10 right/left -
  4. Body Weight Squat -
  5. Stick-ups -

A full body workout should target all major muscle groups including the legs, arms, shoulders, chest and back. There are literally thousands of exercises to choose from.

Here is an example of a total-body workout:

1. Push-ups (kneeling or regular)

2. Pull-ups (assisted or regular)

3. Standing shoulder press

4. Standing biceps curls

5. Triceps kickbacks

6. Bodyweight squats

Perform 1-2 sets and between 8-20 repetitions with a slow and controlled tempo.

Ball Squat, Curl to Press
Step-Up Balance to Over Head Press
Lunge Two-Arms Dumbbell Press
Squat Two-Arms Press
Two-Arm Press Push
Barbell Clean

The first two exercises are "Stabilization Exercise" and should be done first to give you better stability. The second is a "Strength Exercise", after your start with stabilization then move on to strength with the next two exercises. The last two should be performed after you have the stabilization and strength to perform your last two exercises. Remember to warm-up, form roll, then static stretch.

Continue Learning about Types Of Exercise

Americans Urged to Move More, Sit Less
Americans Urged to Move More, Sit Less
Americans need to move more and sit less. That’s been the clear-cut message from government health officials since they issued physical activity guide...
Read More
How do I perform a bent knee wall stretch?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
Facing a wall, stand with your feet pointed straight ahead, placed in a staggered stance.  Lean agai...
More Answers
What is the best time to exercise during the summer?
National Athletic Trainers' AssociationNational Athletic Trainers' Association
When the weather starts to warm up during the day, consider scheduling outdoor exercise activities, ...
More Answers
When During My Workout Would I Use a Foam Roller?
When During My Workout Would I Use a Foam Roller?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.