25 Exercises for a Full Body Workout

Keep these 25 barbell, dumbbell and cable exercises to hand and you'll always have the fundamental ingredients for a full-body workout to build muscle and tone your physique.

Deadlift

Not called the King of exercises for nothing, the deadlift works your back, legs, and in fact your entire body. Stand behind a loaded barbell with your shins touching the bar. Lower into a squat, grasp the bar and lock your arms straight. Stand up, pulling the bar with your straight arms as you push through your legs to prevent your back from rounding.

Squat

Put a loaded barbell across your upper back, stand with feet wider than hip width, and squat back and down. Pause, and power up, keeping your chest up.

Weighed decline sit ups

Use a decline bench, lie back, and hold a light weight plate at your chest with one or both hands. Crunch at the abdomen and roll your body up into a sit up, before lowering all the way back down until your back is touching the bench fully.

Overhead press

Start with the loaded barbell at shoulder height. Stand firmly with feet hip width apart, and brace your core. Press the bar up overhead and slightly back at the top of the movement.

Bench press

Lie back on a bench with a loaded barbell set up in the rack. Grasp the bar with a wide grip, bring it down to your chest, pause and press it away from you until your arms are straight.

Static barbell lunge

Keep the bar where you had it for the squat, and send one foot back into a lunge. Lunge up and down before switching feet to work the other side.

Front squat

Place a loaded barbell across your shoulders, holding it in place with your hands. Squat back and down as usual - you'll find that the position of the front squat neatly prevents you from tipping forward.

Seated dumbbell overhead press

Sit with a dumbbell in each hand. Bring the dumbbells to your shoulders, and from here press them overhead, palms facing forwards.

Behind neck press

Only try this if your shoulder flexibility is good enough, and start with a very light weight on the bar. Perform an overhead press as above, but bring the bar behind your neck at the bottom of each movement, aiming to touch the top of your traps each time.

Lateral raises

Stand with a dumbbell in each hand and lift them out to the sides, stopping when they are shoulder height. Keep a very slight bend in the elbows and tilt your hands slightly so your little fingers lead the movement.

Stiff legged deadlift

Set up as for a deadlift, but keep your legs straight throughout the movement, keeping just a slight bend in your knees to lower the bar. Tip your bum up to the ceiling as you lower the bar and feel the work in your hamstrings and glutes.

Split squat

Stand in front of a bench and put one foot behind you on the bench. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand. Lower down into a lunge position, keeping the chest high. Repeat on the other side.

Walking lunges

Hold dumbbells one in each hand and allow your arms to hang as you take walking lunge strides up and down a clear area of space, making sure your strides are not too long. Do at least 12 in one direction before coming back the other way.

Incline dumbbell press

Sit on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand. From chest height, press the dumbbells away and in front of your eye line before lowering back to the chest.

Flat dumbbell fly

Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Take the arms out to the sides, keeping the arms straight with just a slight bend in the elbows. Feel the stretch, then pull the arms back together so the dumbbells meet above you over your chest.

Rope crunches

Kneel in front of a cable machine with a rope attachment fitted. Choose a weight between 0.5 and 1 x body weight on the stack. Hold the rope in both hands either side of your head and crunch down, curling at the abdomen.

Barbell row

Bent at the hips and row a loaded barbell from the knees into the chest, with an underhand (narrow) grip or an overhand (wider) grip. Think about sending the elbows right out behind the body.

Low cable row

Sit facing a cable with a handle or V-bar attachment. Grasp the handles, ensuring there is tension in the cable. Row the handles back towards the stomach and think about sending the elbows close to the body.

T-bar row

Load up the T-bar row machine, or add weight plates to one end of a bar and push the other end into a corner where two walls meet. If using a bar, put a V-attachment from the cable machine beneath the weights to create a handle. Straddle the bar, facing away from the wall, and row the weight up and down towards your chest.

Biceps curl

Hold a loaded barbell in both hands with an underhand grip. Let it hang down at your thighs and curl it up to the shoulders, keeping the upper arms still throughout the movement.

Incline biceps curl

Sit on an incline bench with dumbbells in each hand. Perform a biceps curl, letting the dumbbells hang down full at the end of each rep.

Close grip bench press

Lie back as if for a regular bench press, but take your hands in narrower - about shoulder width. Lower the bar to the chest, but keep the elbows in close to the body. Think about keeping the elbows in as you push the bar back up.

Dumbbell kickback

Hold a dumbbell in one hand, and brace yourself with the other hand on your thigh. Bend over so your chest is parallel to the floor. Pin your upper arm to your side and extend the arm back until it is straight. Bend at the elbow to bring the dumbbell back to the start position.

EZ bar skull crusher

Load an EZ bar and lie back on the floor. Start with it overhead with both arms straight. Bend at the elbows and bring the bar towards your forehead, keeping your upper arms still. Return the bar to the start position contracting your triceps.

Weighted pull ups

Secure a weigh disk to your waist using a dipping belt, and perform pull ups with an overhand grip to work your entire back and V-taper.


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