The 7 Best Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

Clean and Jerk

The clean and jerk is an explosive lift that targets a lot of useful muscles and can test your endurance. No wonder it's considered the ultimate test of strength in the Olympic Games.

Olympic lifters do the clean and the jerk as one complex lift. Amateur lifters can do them separately.

Begin by snapping the weight to the torso until your arms are under the bar. In an explosive movement, push the bar over your head.

The hang clean is another version, where the lift starts with the bar already hanging in the individual's hands, not on the ground.

There's a reason this single exercise has been labeled the total-body workout. The list is long—hamstrings, biceps, triceps, the back, core, quadriceps and calves are all engaged during this straightforward exercise. No matter what you're hoping to build, the clean and jerk will probably be a great addition to your training.

Burpees

It's complicated—and maybe even a little silly—but burpees are one of the best exercises for a reason: They work.

Start in a standing position, squat down and put your hands on the ground, kick your feet out and do a push-up. Tuck your feet back under you, and spring up out of your crouch with a leap. That's a burpee. If you're really feeling wild, put a dumbbell in each hand.

Burpees bring in two other exercises on this list (push-ups and squats) while adding some leg work and a leap for good measure.

Deadlift

The deadlift is an old-school lift that builds total-body strength. It's a gimmie for the best-exercise title, but it does come with risks. The wrong technique can injure your back, so it's important to keep it flat throughout the lift. When the deadlift is executed correctly it will strengthen your back as well as your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, core and forearms.

The lift is simple and with the proper focus and attention to technique it can be completed without injury. The goal is to pick up a weighted bar off the ground and bring it up to your thighs using your whole body. The completion of the lift will have you standing up, your arms straight with the weight hanging.

The deadlift is effective at building strength because the inert weight starts on the ground and must be lifted up in a controlled movement. The lifter doesn't have a chance to use any momentum, hence the "dead" name.

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About the Author

Ryan Wood

Ryan Wood is a former editor for ACTIVE.com. He enjoys a good ride and loves participating in endurance events throughout the year. Follow him on Google+.

Ryan Wood is a former editor for ACTIVE.com. He enjoys a good ride and loves participating in endurance events throughout the year. Follow him on Google+.

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