Whole Body Exercises

Photo Credit: LocalFitness.com.au

Many exercises focus on one or two muscle groups, such as curls for biceps and triceps or crunches for abdominal strength. Focused training is important, but a well-rounded exercise program should include some whole body exercises. A well-rounded exercise program will include stretching for flexibility, aerobic exercise, and strength conditioning. Stretching exercises are important to warming up before more intense exercise and help improve flexibility. Walking, jogging and dance-style exercises are excellent aerobic workouts that help increase muscle strength and improve cardiovascular health. Exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and pull-ups, and weight lifting strengthen the arms, back, stomach, legs, hips and abdominal muscles. Before you begin any exercise program, see your doctor for a complete check-up. Some simple whole-body exercises that you can add to your daily exercise routine are the crawl, a push-up and a step-up style exercise. These exercises require no equipment and can be performed at home or in the gym.

The crawl exercise works all the major muscle groups in your body. Begin a simulated crawl on your stomach on the floor. Put your hands in front of your shoulders and bend your elbows. Extend your legs behind your body. Place your forearms on the floor under your shoulders and pull your shoulder blades down. Push your right knee forward by bending your knee and pushing it out to the right side of the body until your knee is even with your hip. Slide your right arm back toward your right knee. Keep your left leg extended and your left forearm on the floor in front of your body. Hold this position for 2 or 3 seconds and then return to the start position. Repeat on your other side. 
Begin the step-up exercise by kneeling on your left knee. Keep your upper body straight. Bend your elbows slightly and keep your eyes forward. Push your right elbow back, your left arm forward, while simultaneously pushing your left knee upward toward the ceiling. Push off hard from your left toes in an explosive upward movement. Return to the start position and repeat this exercise for 5 repetitions. Repeat the exercise on the other side.
This push-up exercise adds an extra step to improve the effectiveness of your whole-body workout. Start this exercise in a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders and your legs stretched out behind your body. Bear the weight of your legs on your toes and make sure your fingers are pointed forward. Make a straight line with your body from head to toe and then raise your body up by pushing upward with your arms. Raise your right leg up toward the ceiling and hold the position for 3 to 4 seconds or longer. Lower your body and repeat on the other side. 

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