How to pick these 4 exercises and create 4 different total body workouts
In this post we’re going to take a look at 4 foundational exercises and build upon them. There’s 2 lower body exercises, and 2 upper body exercises.
I picked these exercises due their simplicity and to their short learning curve. Almost anyone should be able to do them. You’re going to need some dumbbells and kettlebells. If you don’t have access to kettlebells, dumbells will work just fine.
For some of you, these movements might seem too basic. But you’ll see that with some tweaks, these 4 movements can go a long way.
Basic Push ups are not fancy, but they can still be extremely challenging. Not only do they improve upper body strength, they also improve core strength. They go hand in hand. Even if you are really strong, if you have a weak core you will not be able to do a large volume of push ups.
So how do you get a stronger core? By doing push ups!
The goblet squat is the simplest exercise to learn in this list. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or older, fit or unfit, the goblet squat is an excellent exercise that improves lower body strength. The unique position of the kettlebell or dumbbell allows us to place more tension on our abdominals. This is an added benefit to this exercise.
It is important (or ideal) to pair a pushing movement with a pulling movement. Not only will this approach help give you a more balanced upper body strength, it is also better for shoulder health.
The dumbbell row is a classic exercise that develops the back and biceps muscle. However, I usually see people do dumbbells rows with horrific form. They look like they’re starting a lawn mower.
It should be done under control and you should also keep your form in mind. You don’t want to be hunched over while you row. And you also don’t want a over arched lower back either.
Kettlebell Split Squats
Kettlebell split squats is perhaps the most difficult exercise on this list. Especially due to how you will be carrying the kettlebells, which will be in front of you. If this variation is too tough far you then simply carry the kettlebells or dumbbells at your sides.
- Push Ups- 10x
- Goblet Squats- 10x
- Dumbbell Rows- 15x/side
- Kettlebell Split Squats- 8x/side (use only one kettlebell)
Rest duration: 40 seconds between movements and sets
This is the most basic variation in this list. You’re not going to pick heavy weights for these. If you can’t do push ups properly then do elevated push ups like this here. As stated above, only use one kettlebell for the split squats. If you don’t have kettlebells then carry two dumbells at your side.
- Push Ups- 10x (1 seconds pause at the bottom position)
- Goblet Squats- 10x (1 seconds pause at the bottom position)
- Dumbbell Rows- 15x/side (1 seconds pause at the top position)
- Kettlebell Split Squats- 8x/side (with one kettlebell, pause 1 second at the bottom position)
Rest duration: 30 seconds between movements and sets
This version is all about control. This simple tweak by itself can make this workout significantly harder. How often do you pause in your exercises? One benefit of pausing is that it requires you not to be sloppy with your movements and to be more deliberate about your muscle contractions.
- Push Ups- 20x
- Goblet Squats- 8x
- Dumbbell Rows- 10x/side (1 seconds pause at the top position)
- Kettlebell Split Squats- 10x/side (with two kettlebells, pause 1 second at the bottom position)
Rest duration: 25 seconds between movements and sets
Things are about to get tougher. In this variation you’re going to focus on heavier weights for your rows and goblet squats. You’re going to do 10 more push ups and rest 15 seconds less per movements than the first variation on this list.
- Push Ups- 40 seconds
- Goblet Squats- 30 seconds
- Dumbbell Rows- 25 seconds/side (1 seconds pause at the top position)
- Kettlebell Split Squats- 25 seconds/side (with two kettlebells, pause 1 second at the bottom position)
Rest duration: 20 seconds between movements and sets
This is the most intense variation. You will rest 20 seconds less than the first variation on this list and complete 4 sets. You’re not going to worry about actually counting reps, instead you will focus on duration. This will yield a large volume of work. Pair that with a short rest, and you have yourself a very tough total body workout.