The Best Full-Body Exercise for Men

For time-strapped dads who only have a few moments to get after it, a great full body workout for men is a god-send. More than spending days on legs, or upper body, or core, a great, effective, time-saving workout is one filled with the best full body exercises. Total body exercises are a great way to save time for exercise for men. That’s where we step in.

Sure, your child just went down and Netflix is calling. But skim down the list, pick your favorite, and get moving. If you want to have the strength to play, chase, and protect your child as he or she gets older (along with modeling a healthy lifestyle), your first step is below.

Push-Up/Plank

Recommended by: David Kirsch, a celebrity trainer who works with the likes of Kate Upton, Kerry Washington, and chef Danny Meyer. He’s the founder-owner of the Madison Square Club in NYC.

Why? “I start every day with at least five sets of as many push-ups as I can do, ending each set with a one-minute plank.” Kirsch recommends the quick exercise for guys because it gets the heart going while also engaging the core, arms, back, chest, and arms.

How to do it: Perform a set of push-ups, then return to the “up” position and hold a plank. You should be pushing through your heels so your calves are lengthened and rolling your shoulders down your back so you’re not over engaging your trap muscles. Your navel should also be drawn, and you should be bracing with your abdomen while also squeezing with your butt. Hold for one minute and repeat.

Squats With Weight

Recommended by: Robert Herbst, powerlifting champion and Strength Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

Why? “Squats work most muscles including your posterior chain as well as the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, abductors, adductors, spinal erectors, and lats. It works the core and — with a barbell in place on your back — works the shoulders, biceps, forearms, and even a little triceps. And they will make your legs look great in shorts or a bathing suit.”

Advice: When you perform a weighted squat, make sure to breathe correctly. You should inhale before you begin the movement, hold your breath for the duration of the exercise squat, and release your breath only once you’ve returned to standing.

Deadlift

Recommended by: Devan Kline, founder of Burn Boot Camp.

Why? “This is a compound movement so you utilize multiple muscle groups at once — your core, quads, hamstrings, glutes, triceps, and more are all working — as well as getting your heart rate up. You can also do different variations depending on your goals. To gain maximum strength, use heavy weights, and do fewer repetitions. For endurance, use less weight and do more repetitions.”

Advice: Be sure not to round your lower back when performing a deadlift. This is a common mistake that overloads the muscle group, increasing the risk of injury.

Knee Bounces

Recommended by: Joel Harper a celebrity trainer who works with Dr. Oz and several Olympic medalists, and author of Mind Your Body. 

Why? “This strengthens your entire body, with emphasis on the quads. It’s also great for your joints because there is no pounding.”

How to do it: Get on all fours, keeping your elbows slightly bent and your back straight. Raise your knees one inch off the ground, then bounce them one inch up and down for two minutes, aiming for 120 bounces. Variations: Hop your toes up by an inch when your knees come up; come onto your forearms with hands in prayer for entire set.

Burpee With Push-Up

Recommended by: Chris Jordan, director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute Division of Wellness & Prevention, Inc. and creator of the 7 Minute Workout.

Why? “This exercise incorporates a squat jump and push-up in one exercise, challenging all the major muscle groups either dynamically or as stabilizers, in a functional or integrated whole-body movement. It can help you develop muscular power and strength as well as muscular endurance. It can also challenge the cardiovascular system when performed in multiple repetitions.”

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down, and kick your legs back until you’re in a push-up position. Perform a push-up. Now, kick your legs forward into the squat position and then explode upward, raising your hands above your head. Land and repeat.

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