Put it all together: Total-body drills move many muscles

I know exercises are tough when my clients tighten their shoelaces before trying them.

It’s also common for people to mentally omit the superdifficult exercises. It’s like the body finds them so difficult that the brain just represses the memory of ever having done them.

As I demonstrate them, eyes get wide as the grueling memory surfaces.

Well, here are a few exercises on the more difficult side of the spectrum. Now that they are written on paper, the brain can’t possibly bury them in the memory vaults. They are harder because they involve the entire body.

Total-body drills always zap energy and get the heart pumping. Stabilizing during the repetitions can become an inward plea from the body to get to the end of a set.

Total-body exercises are good for ramping up your boring routine. Take your upper body workout to a new level by doing the walking pushups. If your leg routing needs more than presses and curls then do the band-knee-kick-to-row.

Before getting into these exercises, be sure you can perform basic lunges, rows, pushups and planks. I know, all the hard ones that aren’t fun. Proper form with the basics will help you avoid injury while performing these compound moves.

The band-knee-kick-to-row is one of my favorite exercises. If you were to combine a high lunge with a row and add a balance factor, it would be this exercise.

It helps strengthen stability in the ankle, knee and hip. It also helps to progress your balance while moving the knee and not overloading it. (That’s kind of tricky.) The best part is that it doesn’t require heavy weights. 

I’ve used this exercise on every age group from teens to those in their 70s. As long as you have the basics down, you can do this exercise. Have a trainer or gym buddy close to watch your form and provide a stabilizing arm should you start to wobble.

The walking pushup is another favorite of mine. The pushups aren’t the hard part; the stabilization while sidestepping is. You have to remain in plank position and control your hand and feet movements without having them give out.

Once again, your form is your greatest ally. If your pushup form is solid, your body will instinctively stabilize itself. Proper hand and shoulder position will keep the arms from fatiguing. If you can hold a plank for 60 to 90 seconds, your core will last long enough to get you through a set or two, or even three. 

Try competing with your gym buddy on how many you can do. Make the loser spring for protein shakes.

Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. You can contact him at Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.

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