Full Strength

Appears in the February 2019 issue.

By Danica Osborn

In addition to being a trainer at the Naperville Park District’s Fort Hill Fitness facility, I’m a busy mom of four—so I need my workouts to be effective and efficient. Because of this, I’m a sucker for compound multipurpose/multijoint exercises that give you more bang for your buck. Try out these moves for some great full-body conditioning with minimum time commitment.

GOAL Incorporate compound exercises that are time-efficient muscle builders

PLAN 8–12 reps of each exercise

EQUIPMENT Dumbbells, exercise mat

Start in a plank position, holding two medium-heavy weights about shoulder-width apart. Keep the left arm tight against the body, row the right weight upwards, and hold for a moment while balancing on the other hand and feet, keeping hips square to the floor. Repeat with right arm, then spring up to feet and jump once, then return to start position.

Modify Lower onto knees instead of a full plank, and step into standing and plank position, rather than jumping.
Start with two heavy weights hovering just above your shoulders. Lift arms up into a shoulder press (avoiding locking out elbows), lower arms, then set the weights down on the floor just outside feet while performing a squat (feet aligned with hips). Jump back into a standing position and squat again to retrieve the weights. Return to starting position.

Modify Use lighter weights and/or take the jump out of the move. Standing and squeezing the glutes at the top can activate a lot of the same muscles.
With abs engaged, start in a tabletop position with a medium-to-heavy weight in the right hand. Extend the left leg out parallel to the floor, engaging glutes. Keeping the left arm aligned to bear the body’s weight (stack the wrist, elbow, and shoulder), extend the right arm back parallel to the floor, then hinge at the elbow and bring the weight forward again. Repeat on the same side for 10 reps, then switch arms and legs.

Modify Kneel with both knees.
Start in a tabletop position on a mat—aligning wrists, elbows, and shoulders—with a light-to-medium weight in the right hand. Engage the core and lift knees off the floor so that they hover just above the mat. Perform 10 flies with the right arm, keeping hips square to the floor and a small bend in the elbow, while raising weight to shoulder height.

Modify Keep knees on the floor and perform flies in tabletop position.
Hold one heavy weight at chest height, with both hands in front of you. Keeping the weight stationary, step back into a reverse lunge so legs form two 90-degree angles, with your back knee hovering just above the floor. Alternate legs.

Modify For a progression, add some plyometrics by jumping into the reverse lunge position as you alternate.
Standing tall, holding two heavy weights down in front of you, with palms facing one another. Keeping your chest up and hips back, step right foot out wide to the side into a deep side lunge with toes and knees pointing in the same direction (one leg will be bent at the knee and one leg will be long and extended to the side). Perform one set of bicep curls, then push back into the starting position, driving through the whole foot. Repeat with left foot.

Modify Use lighter weights, and/or modify depth of side lunge.
Begin by shuffling feet in place holding two light weights. Alternate shoulder presses (upwards) and then pushing weights (forward) at chest height at a relatively quick pace.

Modify Skip the weights and just punch upward and forward.

Illustrations by Ievgenii Volyk