I like to get the biggest bang for my buck when I strength train. So, I’ll often do compound exercises, which involve more than one muscle group to get a full body workout faster. I typically take a similar strategy in my Group X classes. Since weights in group fitness studios are usually lighter, they work well for endurance strength exercises engaging upper and lower body at the same time. As you know, there are so many ways to work the same muscle, and now here’s a look at how to work more than one muscle at once.
Introducing Compound Exercises for a Full Body Workout
What’s great about most compound exercises is that you can add in options to support many different fitness levels. My favorite compound exercises involve two doing two exercises simultaneously. So, when teaching these to your class, let participants know the simplest way to ease into it is just to do one of the two movements.
Plie Squat with Bicep Curls
To do a plie squat, point your toes towards the corners of the room, making sure that your knees are comfortable the whole time. Then, you’ll bend at the knee to lower your hips. Your goal is to get your hips in line with your knees, so that your legs look more like a box than a house. Keep the shoulders over the hips the whole time. The shoulders DO NOT come forward like they do in a traditional squat.
Adding on, participants can start to do a bicep curl as they come down. Other options include bringing the feet together while doing just bicep curls, doing the compound exercises without holding dumbbells or just doing the plie squat.
Plie Hold and Bicep Pulse
On your last one, hold the plie squat at the bottom and pulse the bicep curls up towards the ceiling. You can also pulse the curls toward the wall in front of you. Or, hold the curls and pulse the legs.
Plie Squat and Bicep Hold
Then, you can transition to doing plie squats with an isometric bicep hold. You can also do this vice versa with an isometric plie hold and bicep curls.
Side Lateral Raise Lunge
After the plie lunge sequence, plant one foot forward and one back, ready to do lunges. Start lunges, keeping both knees between your toes and feet wide apart. Also think about bending that back knee. Both knees should be in 90 degree angles. And, shoulders are still right over the hips, NOT leaning forward.
From there, add a side lateral raise with a dumbbell in hand. Keep your elbow slightly bent and raise your arm to the side. Your arm should come roughly to shoulder or ear height. Make sure that you’re not bending your elbow too much.
Lunge hold and tricep extensions
Hold your weight(s) so that your hands are right next to each other at your belly button. Sink into an isometric lunge, holding the lunge when your legs are in 90 degree angles. From there, bring your weights up overhead to do tricep extensions. Bending at the elbow, bring your weights behind you, pointing your elbows towards the wall in front of you. Then, extend your arms overhead, keeping your elbows in the same spot the whole time.
Your options here are just to do the isometric hold for the lunge, or just tricep extensions. You can also play around with using one weight or two.
Since this full body workout focuses on compound exercises, it’s a quick one to complete. This is a great opportunity to work a ton of muscles at the same time in your Group X class, so that participants get a lot out of it. For more exercise ideas, check out the workout routines and playlists page.