Full body exercises are a great way to get toned and fit.
Whether you’re training at home or in the gym, combining full body exercises to your fitness routine is extremely efficient.
A full body workout is also a great way for you to get a killer workout in less time.
However, if you’re exercising the wrong way or not keeping the right position, you might hurt yourself in the long and short term.
That is why; I’ve decided to collect for you in this article the 3 MUST do full body exercises.
Squats, Push Ups and Planks are combine different muscles groups into one workout.
Here are the Dos and Don’ts for your next full body workout:
What muscles are used in Squats?
Gluteus Medius/Minimus (Abductors)
Erectors and Multifidus
Transverse abdominus, Obliques
Why you shouldn’t do squats?
People with knee injuries or knee pain should avoid squats, since it could, in the long run, put to much pressure on the knee and cause complications.
We start from a standing position.
With an exhale we send our hips back and bend the knees, as we want to sit down. While sending the buttocks down, we shift most our body weight on our heels and not our toes.
We can squat to varying depths, but the standard is when the bottom of our hamstring is parallel to the ground.
Once reaching that point we can inhale and then again return to the standing position.
If you want to squat and go deeper, go for it! However, always remember the ground rules:
- Knees stay in one line with the toes (don’t let them come to far forward).
- Body weight stays on the heels and not toes (the heels should always maintain contact with the floor).
- Upper body and chest are staying straight as much as possible (not when it causes back pain).
Using weights is great as well and can increase the intensity of the squat. Squats with weights can include dumbbells / kettle-bells / bars with or without weights/ TRX combined / combined with jump etc.
- Shifting weight from the heels forward on to the toes, can create unnecessary stress on the knee joint. This may lead to inflammation or other overuse injuries.
- Flexing the torso too far forward increases the forces exerted on the lower back, and risking a spinal disc herniation.
- Knee is to far forward over the toes. This puts to much pressure on the knee joint and results in twisting of the joint, which can soon result in injury. The knee should always follow the toe.
What muscles are used in push ups?
Pectoral muscles (chest)
Triceps (back of the arm)
Biceps (front of the arm)
Front and rear heads of the deltoids (shoulder)
Rhomboids and trapezius (upper back)
Latissimus dorsi (back)
Why you shouldn’t do push ups?
If you are suffering from wrist pain or injuries, the push up position might stimulate that pain. The same as, if you have back injuries that prevents you from holding your back in this position.
The standard form of “full push up” is when the back and legs are straight and off the floor.
Then with an exhale, we press the hands to the floor and the entire body in one unit sends down and up again.
Another version is the one when our knees are on the floor and we push only our upper body up and down. Here as well, it’s important to have the whole upper body with buttocks engage and as one unit.
There are a lot of versions of how you can do push ups, here are some of the popular ones; one arm push up, single-leg push up, narrow grip pushup, clap push up, Spiderman push up, planche push ups, knuckle push ups, maltese push up, backhanded push up, Hindu push up, guillotine push up.
Always keep in mind:
- The entire body is in a straight line from head to toes, do not arch your back or drop your belly down.
- Push with the hands, engaging your core and abs muscles throughout the exercise.
- Elbows facing outwards. Make sure your elbows are facing backwards (about 45° with your back). Spreading the elbows too wide, can results in too much stress on the elbow joint as well as losing the tension you need in your upper body to perform push up correctly.
- Arching your back and not maintaining a straight line from head to toes. The correct form is to move the whole body up and down together. Make sure you have enough body tension, as you would have in a plank position (core tight, buttocks clenched).
- The head/nose touches the ground first. This means you don’t have enough tension in your body. The chest should be the first thing to touch the ground. Try to move to the easier version, with keeping your knees on the floor. And continue to progress from there.
What muscles are used in plank?
Erector spinae (back muscles)
Rectus abdominus and transverse abdominus (abs)
The anterior, medial, and posterior deltoid muscles (delts)
Serratus anterior, gluteus maximus (glutes)
Why you shouldn’t do a plank?
The plank is not recommended when suffering from back pain or injuries. This would be the same case with shoulder injuries, since the holding the plank position could be exhausting for your shoulders.
The most common plank is the front plank with the body’s weight leans on the forearms, elbows, and toes.
There are many plank variations you can do, such as the side plank, reverse plank, extended plank, modified side plank, medicine ball / fitball plank, caterpillar plank, twisting knee plank, plank with elbow lift, plank/pelvis tuck, straight-arm plank.
No matter which version you choose to do, always remember to engage your core muscles and make sure your body stays stable and as high as your heels are (see in the picture).
Same as with push-ups – make sure your not arching your back,
and keep your body in a straight line from the head to your toes. This also means, you should pay attention that your buttocks is not too high or your head is dropping too low.
***Most importantly, do not force your body into doing something it us not ready to do!
Whether it’s a really long plank or squats when they hurt your back.
Always listen to your body needs and remember that nothing great was accomplished in one day! It’s a process so take it one step at a time.