10 Best Simple Exercises For A Full Body Workout

You’re already busting your buns as you workout, no matter whether you’re solely seeking health or attempting to also add in a side of “how you doin” when you look in the mirror. 

So, instead of only working one muscle group at a time, why not get the most bang for your body’s buck, save on time, and do two things (or many things) all at once? 

Full body exercises are a powerful tool in your workout arsenal to do just that!  

These types of exercises work more than one muscle group at a time and boast a greater calorie burn as well. 

Full body exercises are most noted for their efficiency and ability to help you achieve the best results in the least amount of time, allowing you to boost your fitness levels by gaining strength, balance, and endurance. 

So, what are we waiting for…let’s look at the ten best (and simple) full body exercises that can get you on your way to full body fitness! 


1- Push Ups

Why are push ups a great full body exercise? 

  • When doing a push up, the average person uses 60% of their body weight. 
  • They target multiple muscle groups. 
  • They can be performed anywhere. 

The traditional push up can work your chest, core, arm, butt, back, and leg muscles. 

To do a push up:

  • Begin in a plank position, with your shoulders directly above your hands. 
  • Keep your neck neutral, and tighten your core, butt, and thighs as you lower your body to the floor. 
  • Slowly push your body back up to return to the starting position, keeping your elbows close to your body as you move. 

*Modification: If you can’t perform a push up from this position, instead of beginning in a plank position on your toes, drop to your knees. (Your knees will be touching the floor instead of your toes.) 

2- Burpees

Ah, the dreaded b-word. Don’t fitness enthusiasts know that you can get your mouth washed out with soap for using the b-word? 

Burpees are an incredible full body exercise…incredibly challenging, and incredibly effective. 

Building both muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance, burpees get your heart pumping and are guaranteed to bring results! 

They incorporate plyometric movements (jumping) as well as other exercises like squats and push ups. 

To do a burpee: 

  • Begin in an upright position, feet shoulder width apart, arms at your sides. 
  • Squat down, placing your hands on the ground, and kick your feet back simultaneously. 
  • As your toes hit the floor, lower your body down, completing a push up. 
  • Jump to tuck your feet back under your body in a squat position.
  • Then jump up into the air. 
  • As your feet return to the ground, you should be back in the starting position (upright, feet shoulder width apart, arms at your sides). 

This completes one burpee, or one rep. 

3- Planks

A plank is a great core exercise, but this movement also works your shoulders, legs, back, and glutes. 

And, this one is deceiving as it doesn’t look intense, but requires great core and shoulder strength…which means that you’ll also be building strength in these areas as you challenge yourself to hold this position for longer lengths of time. 

To do a plank:

  • Begin in a position similar to the starting position for a push up, with your toes on the floor, but instead of raising up on your hands, you’ll lower to your elbows. (There are also variations of a plank where you can do this exercise in the starting position of a push up with your hands on the floor.)
  • Engage your core (this protects your back), rounding your shoulders. 
  • Hold this position for up to one minute to start, then add more time as you progress in ability (seek to challenge yourself to hold for longer times). 

4- Lunges

Lunges are known to improve both balance and posture. They, like many full body exercises, can be modified to increase in difficulty, giving you an even better workout using nothing more than your own body. 

Lunges are a functional movement that target your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

To do a lunge: 

  • Begin in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart, arms at your sides. 
  • Step forward with your right leg until it makes a 90 degree angle, being careful not to allow your knee to track out over your toes. 
  • Your left knee should be parallel to the ground.
  • Push through the heel of your right foot to push, or spring, yourself back to the starting position. 
  • Switch to repeat this movement leading with your left leg. 

5- Squats

Squats are often seen as a leg day nightmare…in a good way, of course. A nightmare simply because of how effective they are, and you know what they say “no pain, no gain.”

Squats effectively work one of the largest muscle groups in your legs, the quadricep muscles. And, as you’re working a large muscle group, this can result in a larger amount of calories burned as well. 

Squats increase strength in your lower body (quads, hamstrings, calves) and your core, but they also work your lower back, hip flexors, and glutes.

To do a squat: 

  • Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart, your arms at your sides. 
  • Your shoulders should be pulled back, and your core should be engaged. 
  • Acting as if you were slowly sitting down into a chair, push back your hips and butt, while keeping your face forward and your chest squared through the movement. 
  • Keep your weight in your heels and lower your body (squat down), making sure to not let your knees track out over your toes.
  • Stop when your thighs are parallel to the ground. 
  • If you’d like, you can bring your arms out in front of you through this movement for balance.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you stand back up, returning to the starting position. 

6- Pull Ups

While you will be using a piece of equipment for this exercise, the benefit comes from pulling up your own body weight, making this full body exercise a highly effective one. 

Though they can be challenging, pull ups work multiple muscle groups, strengthening your core, back, arms, and shoulders. 

To do a pull up: 

  • Hang from a pull up bar with your arms shoulder width apart, your palms facing forward (away from you). 
  • Pull back your shoulders, push out your chest, slightly curve your back.
  • Using your back muscles, pull yourself up towards the bar until your chin is over the bar. 
  • Lower your body slowly back to the starting position. (avoid dropping down quickly)

7- Glute Bridge

The glute bridge works your quads, abs, and your entire backside: your glutes (of course), your lower back, and hamstrings.

A huge bonus for this exercise is the fact that it doesn’t place any pressure on your lower back. 

Glute bridges support a healthy posture, strengthen your core, and tone your tooshie! 

To do the glute bridge: 

  • Begin by lying on the floor on your back. Your knees should be bent, your feet flat on the ground, your arms at your sides (palms down). 
  • Push through your heels to raise your hips off the ground, keeping your upper back and shoulders flat on the ground. Be careful not to over extend your midsection. Your core to your knees should form a straight line. 
  • As you raise your hips, you should tighten your core, glutes, and hamstrings. 
  • Pause at the top of this movement, then return to the starting position. 

8- Dips

Dips target your core, shoulders, and chest, but they are also your triceps’ best friend…or worst nightmare when referring to the morning after doing dips!

Dips use your own body weight and are often considered superior to push ups. Gasp, I know.

Dips can increase upper body strength and improve flexibility in your wrists and shoulders.

To do a dip:

  • Stand between a set of parallel bars, placing your hands on the bars, or place your hands behind you on an elevated surface. 
  • Engage your core, keep your back and shoulders straight, and straighten your arms, pushing yourself up as you straighten them.
  • Slowly lower your body until your elbows are parallel to the floor.
  • Push yourself back up to the starting position to complete one rep. 

9- Single Leg Deadlifts

Single leg deadlifts help to improve balance, stability, and strengthen your legs. 

This exercise targets your core, ankles, glutes (maximus and medius), and hamstrings. 

A light to moderate amount of weight is recommended for this exercise. 

To do single leg deadlifts:

  • Begin by standing with a dumbbell in each hand with your knees unlocked (bent slightly). 
  • Lower your upper body from your hips (in a hinge motion) while simultaneously lifting your left leg straight back behind you and lowering your arms (and the dumbbells) towards the ground. 
  • After you’ve reached a comfortable height with your leg back behind you, slowly return to the starting position, squeezing your glutes in the process and keeping your pelvis square throughout the movement. 
  • Repeat, lifting your right leg. 

10- Dumbbell Rows

You’ll only need one piece of equipment here, but you’ll be working multiple muscle groups as this exercise targets your upper and lower back, shoulders, arms, and core. 

As rows do require a weight, be sure that you pick a weight that isn’t too heavy to avoid injury. 

To do a dumbbell row: 

  • Begin with a dumbbell in each hand. 
  • Bend forward at the waist. You’ll want your back to be at a 45 degree angle, being careful not to arch it. 
  • Allow your arms to hang straight down, still holding the weights. Your core should be tight and your neck should be in line with your back. 
  • Bend your elbows, and pull the weights straight up towards your chest, but stopping just below your chest, squeezing your arms and lats at the top of the movement. 
  • Relax and lower the weights, returning to the starting position, then repeat. 

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