I don't know about you, but one of my top goals at the gym is efficiency.
Between the dinner tables, homework and chores waiting for us at home, most of us don't have the luxury to spend more than 30 minutes to an hour working out.
This can be discouraging if you're under the impression that it takes hours at the gym to look toned. But the truth is, all you need is 30 minutes and the right full body workout for women.
Anyone who tells you that in order to fatigue your muscles, you need to dedicate yourself to leg days, arm days and so on are just wrong… And probably don't have kids!
When you engage all your muscle groups in one gym trip, you're able to leave with the confidence that you've completed a thorough workout.
With full body workouts, you're able to work out your muscle groups more frequently throughout the week. Much more than if you were segmenting your workouts.
Let us show you how a full body workout for women is the most efficient way to tone yourself from head to toe.
Style of Exercises in a Full Body Workout for Women
The exercises that make up full body workouts for women actually look a bit different than other workouts.
The secret to full body workouts is compound movements, which are exercises that work multiple muscle groups at one time.
Compound movements are the darling of the fitness world
Compound movements tend to be more natural movements that have use in your daily life. Some easy examples are squats and deadlifts. How many times do you squat or bend down to pick up toys? Point made.
Aside from being natural movements, compound exercises have the added benefit of getting your heart rate up and allowing you to lift heavier weights.
Additional benefits of compound exercises include:
- Better coordination and sense of balance
- Burns more calories
- Strengthens you for real-world activities
- Decreased time to completing a full-body workout
- Increased joint health
- Reduces the chances of sports-related injuries
- Provides cardiovascular benefits
- Builds strength faster
Isolation exercises are the opposite of compound movements.
These intentionally work one muscle or muscle group at a time. The majority of gym machines are meant for isolation exercises.
Examples of isolation exercises would be the leg extension machine or the fly machine.
While isolation exercises would not be our choice when building a time-efficient full body workout for women, they do have their benefits!
Isolation exercises allow you to focus and burn out specific muscle groups. They allow you to really hone in on perfect form, use incremental weights, and perform reps to muscle fatigue.
In fact, isolation exercises are used often in physical therapy so that the user can rebuild strength in specific areas.
Favorite Exercises for a Full Body Workout for Women
Now that you know the benefits of a full body workout for women that includes compound movements, we'll take you through some of our favorites.
You'll notice many of the classics in here. When it comes to working out, it can be tempting to try the latest crazes and contortionist-like movements.
But in reality, the staples really do the best job.
Squats help to strengthen hamstrings, quads, glutes and your lower back.
- Stand with your feet a shoulder-width apart
- Lower your body as if you were sitting into a chair, butt first. Do this by thrusting your hips back with bent knees
- With weight in your heels, push yourself back up to standing and squeeze your glutes at the top
Add on: Once you've mastered a basic squat, hold dumbbells in both your hands. When you come up from a squat, push both palms to the ceiling to complete a shoulder press.
Deadlifts strengthen your hamstrings, quads, abs and back.
Bench presses work your chest muscles, triceps and shoulder muscles.
- Lie on a bench with your feet flat on the floor for balance. Your back can have a slight arch to it as long as you feel comfortable
- Grab either a barbell or two dumbbells in your hands with your knuckles facing the ceiling and your upper arms at a 45 degree angle from the body
- When ready, push the weights to the ceiling so your arms are extended. Lower the weights back down above your chest and repeat
Add on: If you're feeling well balanced, you can raise a single leg so that it's parallel with the floor during bench presses. This introduces a bit of core to your chest workout.
Bridges allow you to tone your upper back, glutes and hamstrings with a low-impact movement.
- Begin by lying on your back on a mat. Bend your knees so that your feet are less than a foot in front of your glutes
- Hold a dumbbell in each hands
- Press into your feet so taht your glute comes up into the air and your weight is distributed evenly between your heels and your upper shoulders
- When you lift and squeeze your butt in a bridge, extend your arms and push the dumbbells towards the ceiling. Bring the dumbbells back towards your ears and lower your glutes
Add on: Once you've mastered the bridges, extend one leg straight while you come up into your bridge. This will focus your weight into one leg.
Lunges tone your glutes, hamstrings, calves and inner and outer thighs.
- Step your right leg back and towards the left, landing with your right knee bent and your weight in the ball of your right foot
- Bend into your right knee and straighten, bringing your right foot back into a regular standing position
- Repeat on the other side
Add on: Once you've mastered the curtsy lunge, repeat the movements but with dumbbells in both hands. When you come back into the standing position, curl the dumbbells in front of you for a bicep curl.
Maxing Out Your Workout
The compound exercises that we listed are all great introductions into a full body workout.
In order to make sure you max yourself out, pay attention to the weights that you're using.
It's important to be able to do the exercises with proper form, but it is good to become fatigued by the end of your sets. This means that you're at a challenging weight, and gives your body something to work toward.
Knowing that our intention is to provide you a time-efficient and challenging workout, try to time yourself on how long it takes you to get through these workouts.
If you are spending over an hour at the gym, you may be doing your reps too slowly or resting for too long in between sets.
Pay attention to your how you feel at and after the gym to make sure that you're working at a pace that is both challenging but also safe.
Your friend in health, Dr. Anthony Balduzzi Founder, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project Brotherhood Nickname: “Mr. Results” Bragging Rights: Has helped over 10,000 Mom & Dads lose over 75,000lbs