How can I achieve a total-body workout?


Here is a favorite workout of mine when I need to get a total body routine in, using 3 exercises. Be sure to foam roll and throw in some dynamic stretches for 5-10mins before you start this routine. Repeat the foam roll and add some static stretches afterwards as your cool down. Your reps and weight will depend on your goals so let me know if you want me to personalize this to your goal by posting on my wall or in the comment box and I will be glad to help!!

1. Squat to Row: 2-Arm

[media id="DEV__4c7e3e1cbfbab8_78169270" title="Squat to Row with 2-Arms"]


  • Face cable machine, feet straight and shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold cables with arms extended at chest level.


  • Squeeze butt muscles and perform three-quarter squat.
  • Stand and row by squeezing shoulder blades and pulling thumbs to armpits.
  • Complete row by time legs are fully extended.

2. Front Lunge, Balance to Press
[media id="DEV__4c7e5efe40b609_49013624" title="Front Lunge, Balance to Press - F"]

Stand with your feet pointed straight ahead and placed shoulder-width apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells, one in each hand, at your sides. Lunge forward, landing on the heel of the front foot. Stabilize with your front foot straight and flat, bend your knee 90-degrees and keep it directly over your second and third toes. The knee of the back leg should be bent 90-degrees as well with the heel of the back foot lifted off the ground. Push off the heel of the front foot into a balanced standing position on one leg. Next, press the dumbbells overhead, fully extending your arms. Return the dumbbells to your chest and repeat the exercise.

3. Deadlift, shrug to calf raise

Stand facing a barbell on the ground with your feet pointed straight ahead, placed shoulder-width apart and keep your knees bent at a 5-degree angle. Bend at your waist and grab the barbell with your grip slightly wider than shoulder-width. Contract your glutes and lift the barbell until you are standing upright. Lower and contract your shoulder blades as you shrug your shoulders towards your ears. Hold the shrug and perform a calf raise. Return to the starting position by reversing the order of the exercises.

Watch this video to learn more from Mel Mueller about a quick and easy way to acheive a total body workout.

A total-body workout can be achieved by completing to five following movements:

  • Run/Jog/Walk – choose one of the following.  Warm-up for 5-7 minutes then continue at a moderate pace or increase the pace to a jog or run for an addition 8-10 minutes
  • Bridging – Lie on your back, bend your knees and press your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees, return to start and keep this active motion going for 8-15 repetitions.    
  • Push-up – Flip over onto your stomach, place your hands shoulder width apart, and tuck your toes under.  Push yourself up without locking out your elbows and return.  If you are unable to complete, modify by pushing while on your knees or use an elevated surface.  Complete 8-10 repetitions.
  • Pull-up/Back Rows – If you have access to a pull-up bar and are able to complete then complete 6-10 pull-ups.  If pull-ups are not in your list of exercises currently then complete a back row.  Grab a set of dumbbells, bend forward using your hips and knees, keep your back flat, and row the weights with your elbows tight to your body.  Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and row for 8-12 repetitions. 
  • Squat – Use a chair or an elevated surface.  Heels to towards the surface, bend at your hips and knees, sit back as if about to sit in a chair, and return to start.  Complete 12-15 repetitions.

The above is only an example and the repetitions can change depending on your fitness level.

A total body workout is the most efficient. You work every muscle group 3 times a week instead of breaking the groups up and working them one to two times a week.

Work the largest muscle groups first and end with the smallest. Start with lower body working glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. Then move to the back, chest and abs. finish with shoulders, biceps and triceps.

Eric Olsen

With the possible exception of activities such as rowing and Nordic skiing, no single sport will provide a total-body workout. A steady diet of walking or running is great for the legs, great for the cardiovascular system, and certainly beneficial for overall health but doesn't do much for the arms, for example. Swimming is great for the upper body but doesn't have much to offer the lower body. Put walking or running together with swimming, however, or swimming with cycling, and you're working all of the body's major muscle groups for optimal health and greatly improved overall muscular fitness. Throw in some strength training and stretching as well and your fitness routine becomes even more beneficial.

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

More About this Book

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...

Continue Learning about Types Of Exercise Programs

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.