Walmart speaks with an expert who shares helpful full body workout tips and advice. We’re here to help get you started on your journey to a healthier, and fitter, you with Walmart’s Master Guide to a full body workout.
Fitness coach Tommy Europe offers his best full body workout tips and advice to help you tighten and tone your upper body, lower body and core. Whether you’re a newbie to workouts or you workout regularly, we’ve got expert tips and advice to help you reach your workout goals this year.
Voted twice as one of Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers by IMPACT Magazine, Tommy Europe earned his fitness credentials in the school of hard knocks: as a professional football player. An 11-year veteran of the game, he is a two-time all-star defensive back in the Canadian Football League. Following Europe’s career with the CFL, he founded Tommy Europe Fitness, and developed the SHRED® training and performance tool—which stands for Strength, Heart, Resilience, Efficiency, Discipline. Europe applied this SHRED® philosophy to build his own successful business including making the leap into the entertainment industry as a stunt actor. He is also a television personality and fitness trainer to the stars.
Table of Contents:
- What are full body exercises?
- Can I do a full body workout every day?
- How many times a week should you do full body workouts?
- Are full body workouts good for fat loss?
What are full body exercises?
“Full body exercises are compound movements that require you to use more than one muscle group; they force you to use your core at all times,” explains Europe. “A burpee is a perfect example. Burpees are a full body exercise—your legs get heavy, your arms get heavy as well, especially if you’re incorporating a push-up movement, and it uses your core. There’s even cardio if you’re going for speed.”
Those who are new to full body workouts should consider starting with a compound exercise like the squat or deadlift, suggests Europe. “When people think of squats, they often think of only using the lower body, but everything has to work to make that exercise efficient,” he says. “Getting proper squat technique takes a while. Beginners should work with a trainer or take a class when they start, to make sure they get perfect form [to help avoid injury],” advises Europe. “You should be sitting into your heels, so the hamstrings and glutes do the majority of the work, and you should be engaging your core.”
Once you’ve perfected your form, you can amp up the exercise by adding weight, such as a barbell, says Europe. “Really focus on speed and control. You want to be controlled the entire way through the movement, so you’re getting the most out of the exercise,” he explains. “Focus on proper alignment. You should feel a stretch between your hamstrings and glutes—press into your heels, and squeeze your butt as you rise back up,” says Europe.
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Can I do a full body workout every day?
“No,” says Europe. He strongly advises against doing a full body workout every day. “Generally if you’re doing a full body workout, you’re using every muscle group; by the end of the workout, you’ve worked the whole body,” he explains. “You should leave a day for the body to recover.”
On off days, Europe recommends active recovery or active rest. “It could be going for a walk, a bike ride or skipping,” he says.
When it comes to working the upper body, arms and shoulders, Europe recommends a dumbbell shoulder press. “You can do these seated on a bench or stability ball or standing,” he explains. “Just don’t arch your back when pressing anything overhead.”
According to Europe, the key to this exercise is technique. “Don’t worry about how much you’re lifting; focus on perfect form,” he advises. “There should be no arching in the back. Smooth, controlled movements work best.”
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How many times a week should you do full body workouts?
According to Europe, you should aim for three full body workouts a week. “A full body workout typically includes six to 10 exercises for general conditioning,” he says. “Try for three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions if you’re trying to put on lean muscle mass, or 15 to 20 reps if you’re looking for more endurance.”
As for timing, Europe says: “It’s different for everybody, but a workout should take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, including a warm-up as well. If you have an hour, that’s great, but you can also do it in as little as 20 minutes.”
When it comes to warming up, Europe likes rowing machines and skipping. “I find [these types of warm-up exercises] give you the biggest bang for your buck,” he says. “Warming up gets the muscles loose and gets the body primed and ready for the work you’re going to put your body through and helps avoid injuries.”
According to Europe, the plank exercise is a full body workout staple for working your core. “Core, glutes and hamstrings—everything is working in the active plank position,” he explains.
As for proper positioning, your back should be flat, advises Europe. “Forearms and hands should be flat on the ground, as this disperses weight over a bigger plane,” he says.
For a more advanced workout, you can try a variation on the plank like mountain climbers, in push up position, bringing knees to chest, one side at a time, or use a stability ball. “With the stability ball, your forearms are on the ball, hands flat,” he explains. “Your body is in a straight line, the back is flat, and the core is engaged.”
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Are full body workouts good for fat loss?
“Definitely! Full body workouts can help with fat loss,” says Europe. “You’re using more muscle groups and burning more calories.”
To work the lower body and legs, Europe recommends lunges. “Lunges, step back lunges, walking lunges—by doing things in movement, you’re working the body more efficiently and effectively,” he explains.
“Focus attention on the hamstrings, glutes and quads,” says Europe. “With whichever leg is in front, weight should be on the heel, not the toe. You also want to get the rear knee within an inch of the ground for [a] full range of motion,” he continues. “By keeping the upper body straight, you’re using your core.”
According to Europe, power lunges, lunge jumps and split lunge jumps can all make the lunge exercise more dynamic once you’ve perfected your form. He suggests adding dumbbells or a medicine ball to this exercise routine, depending on your fitness level and experience.
“Using a medicine ball adds more core and coordination,” explains Europe. “Hold the medicine ball in front of you, raise it overhead and go from side to side as you move forward in a lunge motion.”
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According to Europe, lower body exercises that use more muscle groups force the body to use more core and are tougher to do. “The more experienced you are, the more things you can do,” he says.
Final thoughts on building a better you? “Always have a goal,” says Europe. “It could be a goal for your workout, for the week or for the month—having a goal gives you something to look forward to, and everyone works better when they’re working toward something,” he continues. “Whether it’s doing a certain amount of workouts a week, or trying a new exercise to keep your workout challenging, pick a goal and stay with it.”
We asked Europe for his advice on the best abs workout to help build a stronger core. Be sure to check out our article Best Abs Workout for a Strong Core to get the scoop!
Be sure to check out our article Best Arms Workout – Do You Even Lift? to get Europe’s advice on how you can achieve that just-perfect t-shirt look.
Looking to tone and sculpt your shoulders? Be sure to check out our article Best Shoulders Workout – Raise the Roof! to get Europe’s tips and ideas on shoulder exercises to help you look and feel your best.
Be sure to check out our article Best Legs Workout – Don’t Skip It! Europe shares his expert advice on the best leg exercises to help you build strong legs.
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