Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Full Body Strength Training in Under 30 Minutes

When I was in high school, I enrolled in a strength training class for Physical Education.  At that time, fitness instructors urged their trainees to work on the upper body on a different day than the lower body.  If you wanted to work out the upper and lower body at least twice a week each, you had to practice strength training at least four days a week.  Nowadays, many fitness experts question this and suggest doing a full-body training.  This makes it easier to focus on strength training two or three times a week and practice cardiovascular exercise on off days.

However, working out the entire body in one day can be very time-consuming.  Sometimes, we don't have the time to spend working out for over an hour at the gym.  There is a way to get in a full body workout at home without weights.  The method here centers on major muscle groups.  By doing a few exercises that work the major muscles in the body, we can give all our muscles a conditioning.  This will not isolate small muscles like your biceps or calves, but they will still get worked.

Just four exercises can work your chest, arms, back, abs, and legs.  Depending on your skill and strength level, you can increase the time and intensity to get a better workout.

Push ups: This classic exercise will build your chest, arms and shoulders.  If you can't do at least two push ups, start with your knees on the floor until you build enough strength.

Pull ups: This will build your back and arm muscles.  If you can't do at least two pull ups, use momentum or have someone assist you.  Once you build up enough strength to do them on your own, even doing three or four makes a huge difference.

Squats: Doing these fully and deeply will work out the legs, hips and buttocks.  To increase the intensity, try jumping off the floor from the low squat position, landing on your feet upright.  This burst engages the muscles in your legs, giving them an intense training.

Sit ups: Try different varieties of ab work, like crunches, leg lifts, and planks.  Make sure to work your obliques (the side muscles) as well.

Depending on the time you have, you should go through at least two sets of each exercise, doing as many as you can before moving onto the next.  If you don't do any other form of strength training, fitting these four exercises into your lifestyle at least twice a week can make a huge difference.  Many people experience relief of joint pain, better bone and muscle mass, boosts in energy and mood and weight loss.  Our bodies are designed to move and resist gravity.  You'll feel better if you listen to your body's desire to work.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman


  1. My personal trainer in Colorado worked me out for 30 minutes, whole body with free weights and core stabilization- I never thought I could work my whole body in half an hour- but boy did he work it. I was getting ripped and dropping weight with that one workout a week!! Miss him. :D But I know what to do on my own- just have to crank up the intensity.

  2. That's awesome! It's great to have quick, intense workouts when you really don't want to spend hours at the gym.