Walk into a gym, and you'll see hundreds of machines, dumbbells, cardio machines and more. A glittering array of possibilities, a thousand potential workouts and exercises that you can do if you have the expertise and knowledge to stitch together the perfect workout. But what if you don't want to deal with all that complexity, and would rather get a full body workout with the fewest moves possible? How can you stitch together the best combo that targets the greatest number of muscles with the fewest moves? These three exercises will help you target over 300 muscles, and can easily form the core of any workout, whether in the gym or on the go.
Body Weight Squat
There is no exercise so complete and awesome as the squat. You can judge how serious any gym's clientele is by how busy their power cages are. If they're packed with monsters going at, you're in a hardcore gym. If they're abandoned? Poser gym. The squat will work the greatest muscles in your body, from your quads and glutes to your calves and core. It calls into play all your stabilizer muscles, and revs up your entire metabolism. In short, it's awesome, and its why it heads this list of exercises.
When on the go, perform the squat by placing your feet shoulder width apart, and lace your fingers behind your head. Making sure to not let your knees drift over your toes, and keeping your eyes set on a spot on the ground some ten yards before you, lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. You should feel your hamstrings stretch out if you're doing it right. Your back should be straight, your chest out. Then stand back up. Do a number of these, going for depth, control and perfect form to get the maximum burn. If you can, throw on some weight with either a backpack, dumbbells or a barbell.
Dive Bomber Push-up
Having torched your lower body with the squat, it's time to work the upper body. This variation on the classic push-up will engage your shoulders in a way that the classic variation doesn't, as well as pulling in muscles from your back and a wide range from your pecs.
Begin in a classic push-up position, but put your feet wider tan hip width apart, and your hands at shoulder width on the ground. Raise your hips so that your body tents up into a triangle, an upside down V if you will, and then perform the push-up by lowering your hips as you raise your chin, so that you mimic the motion of moving under a bar. Your finished position is where your hips are down and your head is up, arms locked. Reverse back into the original position, trying to get your face as close to the ground as you go.
The key to these push-ups is to go slow, to keep your feet and hands wide, and to go as low as you can. Imagine you're escaping through a low gap under a fence.
Having worked the lower and upper body, it's time to torch the core. While there are a number of fantastic core exercises, we want one that will work not just the abs on the front, but also the obliques on the sides. Thus this sit-up move will give you that full range of flexion and burn, and get you going. Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms by your sides. Bend your arms into 90 degree angles, and then sit up and bring your knee to touch your opposite elbow. Lower back down, and repeat on the other side. That's one 1 rep.