5 Full-Body Exercises That Save You Time

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/23/2013 12:00 PM  :  37 comments   :  113,353 Views

When you work out smarter, you don’t necessarily have to exercise longer or harder in order to get results. “Lack of time” is the most common reason why people don’t exercise, but is that really a good excuse? Truth is: You don’t really need a lot of time to get a great workout. Short bouts of exercise—when done right—can give just as much benefit as longer workouts. Don’t believe me? Try these 5 moves for just one minute each for a 5-minute workout that has full-body benefits!

Smart and time-efficient training is the premise behind my new DVD “SparkPeople: Total Body Sculpting.” In it, I show you multitasking moves that work two, three, four or more muscles in every move. That gets more toning done in less time—and also helps elevate your heart rate so that your strength workout doubles as a fat-burning cardio session, too.

Here I’m sharing five of my favorite compound exercises from the DVD that you can try at home. Scroll below the infographic pictured here for detailed exercise instructions—and a video clip of me demonstrating one of these moves (and sharing more time-saving workout tips) during my recent appearance on Cincinnati’s FOX 19 morning show.

Be sure to “pin” this page so you can access this workout later!

Workout Instructions
Perform a light warm-up (such as walking) for 3-5 minutes before exercising. Perform one set of each exercise as listed for a quick 5-minute routine. Repeat the routine for 1-2 additional sets for a longer and more challenging workout, based on time available.

Exercise 1: Squat + Press + Twist
Stand with feet hip-width apart, back straight, holding the ends of one dumbbell in each hand, arms down in front of the thighs. Bend the knees and hips to squat and, while keeping both arms straight, “swing” your arms straight up overhead. Straighten legs and lower straight arms back down, lifting right knee up and twisting waist and arms toward the right side of the body. Squat again, lifting arms, then rotating to the opposite side (lifting left leg) to complete one rep. Continue alternating sides for one full minute.

Exercise 2: Curtsey + Row + Extension
Stand with feet hip-width apart, hips/toes turned slightly outward (externally rotated), holding one weight in each hand with arms at sides. Step left leg behind right leg, bending both knees into curtsey squat and hinging forward from the hip while bending the elbows to lift the weights toward your chest, palms facing body. (Be sure to keep back straight and flat with abs engaged.) Straighten elbows, lifting weights behind you. Bend elbows again, then return to start position. Alternate sides (step right foot behind) and return to start position to complete one rep. Continue alternating sides for one full minute. (Watch the demonstration of this exercise in the video at the bottom of this post.)

Exercise 3: Lunge + Balance + Figure 8 Arms
Stand with feet hip-with apart, back straight and arms extended straight out in line with the shoulders, palms facing each other. Step left leg behind and lower into a reverse lunge, bending both knees approximately 90 degrees and keeping front knee in line with ankle. Hold lunge position and make a sweeping figure 8 motion with your arms, keeping your gaze centered between the hands as the arms move. (The larger and wider your “8” is, the more you’ll challenge your balance and engage the core.) Return hands to center then press up to standing, lifting left knee up to balance. Repeat figure 8 motion with arms. Continue for 30 seconds on this side, then switch to right leg and repeat for 30 seconds.

Exercise 4: Plié + Press + Pulldown + Side Crunch
Begin in a wide-stance plié squat with feet turned out, legs wider than hips, knees bent, back straight, right hand on a chair or wall for balance, and one weight in your left hand, elbow bent toward waist and palm facing up in line with the shoulder (not pictured). Say in squat position and press the weight in an arc motion overhead while bending the spine laterally to “crunch” the right side of the waist. Stay in squat and pull the weight down, bringing elbow toward your hip and “crunching” on the opposite side to complete one rep. Try to stay in low plié squat position the whole time. Repeat for one full minute.

Exercise 5: Leaning Abs + Chest Fly
Grab one light to medium-weight dumbbell and sit at the very edge of a chair, lifting heels off the floor and squeezing legs tightly together (not pictured). Keep spine straight and abs engaged and slowly hinge from the hips to lean your upper back into the chair back (without rounding the spine). Hold weight in front of chest with both hands, elbows soft and arms slightly rounded. Take the weight in the right hand and “fly” the arms out to the sides, keeping elbows slightly bent and arms at chest level. Return both arms to center and pass weight to left arm to repeat on opposite side. Brace with abdominals to avoid leaning to either side as you hold the weight out. Continue alternating sides for one full minute.

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5 Simple Stretches to Soothe Sore Shoulders

  — By Melissa Rudy, Staff Writer

Sometimes it feels like we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders—or, at the very least, the weight of groceries, children and barbell presses. When shoulder pain strikes, it makes those burdens even more difficult, and sometimes downright impossible, to bear.

Although not as widespread as back pain or knee pain, shoulder pain is relatively common. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, approximately 7.5 million people were treated for shoulder problems in 2006.

One of the most complex joints in the body, the shoulder is made up of three bones: The humerus (upper-arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone). The humerus connects to a socket in the shoulder blade, held in place by the muscles, tendons and ligaments that make up the rotator cuff. Anytime you move your arm, all of these components work together to perform the action, whether it’s reaching for something on a high shelf, pitching a softball or doing rows at the gym.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Because it’s less stable than other major joints, the shoulder is more susceptible to injury. “The shoulder socket is very shallow and not round,” says Dr. Hythem P. Shadid at Genesis Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in St. Charles, Illinois. “This means the shoulder depends on the soft tissue envelope, which includes the capsule, muscle, tendons and ligaments, to maintain its stability.” The shoulder also requires a much wider range of motion than other major muscle joints, making it more vulnerable.

Sometimes the cause of shoulder pain is an obvious trauma, such as a car accident or a collision during a high-impact sport. But in most cases, pain flares up seemingly out of nowhere as a result of day-to-day overuse. “The most common causes of shoulder pain are repetitive overhead activities that increase wear on the joint,” says Dr. Shadid. “This can result in a condition called arthropathy, which is the progressive decay of the mechanisms within a joint. As we age, the shoulder becomes more susceptible to injury.”

Matt Likins, an orthopedic physical therapist and partner at 1st Choice Physical Therapy, says that most of the shoulder issues he treats are caused by a lack of balance between strength and flexibility. “It’s important to remember that whenever you work a muscle on one side of a joint, you must work the opposing muscle as well,” he says. “For instance, if you spend all your time doing chest work, such as pushups and bench presses, you should also work the rhomboids, latissimus and posterior deltoids.”

5 Effective Exercises for Shoulder Pain

To soothe shoulder pain, Dr. Shadid recommends performing these exercises five or six times per week for maximum improvement.

1. Arm-Across-Chest Stretch: Hold your right hand out in front of you. Reach your left hand behind your right elbow, pulling your right arm to the left and across your chest. If you feel pain in your shoulder, lower your arm until the pain subsides. The goal is to be able to pull your right arm across your chest without feeling any pain. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then relax and repeat with your left arm. Repeat for three to five sets.


2. Neck Release: Sit or stand up straight, then slowly bring your chin toward your chest until you feel the stretch in the back of your neck. Try leaning your head to the left to stretch your right shoulder or to the right to stretch your left shoulder. Hold the stretches for up to one minute in each direction, breathing deeply as you concentrate on relaxing. For a deeper stretch, you can very gently use your hand to pull your right ear closer to your right shoulder, and vice versa.  Another option is to elevate the engaged arm to the height of your shoulder as you pull it across your chest. Repeat three to five times on each side.

3. Chest Expansion: Clasp your hands behind your back. (Optionally, you can grasp a resistance band, rope or strap behind your back with both hands.) Draw your shoulder blades toward each other and gently lift your chin toward the ceiling. Breathe deeply for 10 to 15 seconds and release. Repeat three to five times. To deepen the stretch, move your hands closer together on the strap.

Image via 42 Yogis 

4. Seated Twist: Sit straight up in a chair with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Twist your torso to the right, placing your left hand on the outside of your right thigh. Relax your shoulders as you look toward your right, gently pushing on your right thigh. Breathe deeply for 10 to 15 seconds and release. Repeat on your right side. Repeat for three to five sets.

Image via Yoga Online Tips

5. The 90-90 Shoulder Stretch: Stand in a doorway, holding your arms up so your elbows are at 90-degree angles and your arms form a 90-degree angle to your body at the shoulder. Place each hand on one of the sides of the door frame, placing one foot forward as you stand up straight aligning your neck with your spine. Lean forward with your back straight as you brace yourself against the door frame. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to three times.

Image via Dr.Notley.com

In addition to performing regular stretching exercises like the ones above, Dr. Shadid recommends avoiding any activities that may aggravate the shoulder injury. If persistent shoulder pain isn’t relieved by several days of rest, ice, massage and elevation, contact a doctor. More severe cases may require pain-relieving injections or surgery to repair structural injuries.

Original Post on SparkPeople.com