For a large number of people – busy in the office for most of the working day – postural problems, muscle imbalances and nagging pain are quite common events. To avoid this, the way in which training is structured is of fundamental importance.
Physical activity should help counteract the negative consequences of your lifestyle by promoting mobility, function, strength and cardiovascular activity. Consequently, there will be other benefits: loss of body fat, increased muscle tone, a feeling of agility and the disappearance of all aches and pains. Total body workouts can allow you to get great benefits for your body. The key is to focus on fundamental movements and stimulate the muscles all over the body, this will boost your metabolism and allow you to burn a large amount of calories during training. Here is an overview of the best exercises to include in a total body workout.
Lifting, or deadlifting, is one of the best exercises to stimulate the whole body – it will activate more muscles on its own than any other movement. The key stage of lifting is picking something heavy off the ground. In addition to bringing improvements in function, strength and fat loss, this exercise adds many benefits to everyday life. Learning the right mechanics of how to bend or “hinge” the waist without flexing the spine is an integral part of this movement. For this it is of utmost importance to dedicate the time necessary to learn the correct technique. Doing this movement incorrectly can be extremely harmful, so in the initial phase it may be useful to get help from a personal trainer. The main muscles used for deadlifts are the hamstrings, the buttocks and all the back muscles: this is why it is a very useful exercise for posture. It will basically strengthen every muscle on the back of your body and help you “straighten up”.
The squat is regarded as “the king of exercises” by many fitness experts. To be performed correctly it requires a good combination of mobility, stability and functional strength and, when done correctly, is a fantastic exercise for the whole body. Everyone should be able to perform a controlled, deep squat for a basic level of fitness. This is a very “metabolic” exercise, which means it will stimulate a huge amount of muscle on your body. It’s not just a leg exercise – it’s a full body movement, especially if you add weight. Squats primarily work the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles.
Lunges are another great exercise that offers many benefits. Compared to squats, they require two more requirements: stability and coordination, while the weight is shifted on one leg only. Lunges can avoid the onset of another very common problem among those who lead a sedentary lifestyle: those who spend a lot of time in front of the PC or sitting tend to “deactivate” the hip stabilizers, so especially for those who work in the office this exercise is very important.
4. Push-ups and pushes
As the name implies, pushing exercises are literally all those that involve a pushing movement. Among these the best known are pushups. Any pushing exercise will use a combination of the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Depending on the angle of the thrust these muscles will be stimulated and used in a slightly different way. Many training programs include a large number of pushing exercises, but if they are not balanced with pull exercises they can create muscle imbalances, shoulder problems and promote postural problems. So it is advisable not to overdo this type of movement at the expense of other exercises.
Pulling movements are literally all exercises that involve a pulling movement. As with thrust, traction can be further divided into horizontal traction and vertical traction. Horizontal pull movements are indispensable for anyone doing desk work, as they strengthen all postural muscles in the back and help balance the shoulder position. For this, a good rule of thumb is to perform two pulling exercises for each pushing exercise.
6. The weights
Weights, or load exercises, are nothing more than movements performed with objects, be they dumbbells, barbells, or sandbags. It is good to use different types of weights and always make sure you are doing the exercise safely.
7. In plank position
The plank is a very effective exercise to train not only the abdominals, but also many other muscles and helps stabilize the lower back and hips. Leaning the elbows on the ground, straightening the legs and squeezing the buttocks creates a situation of tension on various muscles of the body. If you go to the gym, you can’t fail to challenge your coach at least once: how many seconds can you stay in the plank position?