Shaping Up: Try five of the best weight-loss exercises

Graham Low doing his full body workout.
Graham Low doing his full body workout.

One of the most effective ways to lose weight is to include full body, multiple joint exercises into your workouts.

Multiple joint exercises use lots of muscles at the same time, specifically the larger muscles.

Performing full body exercises burn more calories that isolation exercises, like crunches or bicep curls, resulting in burning more bod fat.

If you included these five full body exercises into your workouts you will increase your metabolic rate, burn more fat and develop lean, strong muscles.

Full Body Exercise #1: Turkish Get-Up

I’m not quite sure why this exercise is called a ‘Turkish’ get up, but it’s a brilliant exercise! It builds strength, stability, balance, and coordination of your entire body all in one movement.

To complete a Turkish Get-Up, you lie on your back, with a dumbbell in one hand. The dumbbell should be held out at arm’s length above your shoulder. It should stay directly above your shoulder at every point of the movement.

From this position, you simply sit up and turn to the side and put one knee and one foot on the floor. Then stand up, while keeping the dumbbell overhead at an arm’s length. This means you only have one arm and two legs to help you both stand and push the weight of that dumbbell up as you stand. Once you’re standing, return to a lying position by repeating that sequence in reverse.

This exercise can be difficult to learn, but take the time to perfect it and you will start to see a lot of benefits from this exercise. Start with a light weight until you perfect the technique.

Full Body Exercise #2: Squat Swings

For this exercise, hold a dumbbell or a kettlebell in one hand down by your feet, then drop into a squat position with your bum pushed behind you, your back straight, your core muscles tight and your heels firmly planted. From there, stand up explosively swinging the weight up to head height. Once the weight has reached head height, let it swing back down while you drop back into the squat position. Remember to keep your core muscles tight, back straight and stay in control of the weight.

If you do this exercise as explosively as possible, which I highly recommend, you will find that your heart rate will get very high with just a few repetitions, making the swing squat both a cardiovascular and strength building exercise.

Full Body Exercise #3: Medicine Ball Slams

This is a great stress-relieving exercise, and also helps to build power in your upper body, core, and legs. It is also a very easy full-body exercise to learn.

To do a medicine ball slam, you simply get a medicine ball (those big heavy balls you can often find in the corner of the gym), raise it overhead, then swing your arms down as you release the ball and slam it into the ground as hard as possible.

As you can imagine, this can be a loud exercise, so you may want to find a private area of the gym (like an empty group exercise room) and you will also need to be careful not to let the ball bounce back up and hit you in the face! If you have access to a slam ball, that’s even better, as they don’t bounce.

For an extra challenge, I sometimes finish a workout to complete exhaustion with 50-100 medicine ball slams.

Full Body Exercise #4: Burpees

This infamous exercise is one of those movements that you can love to hate. It will give you a full body workout in a matter of minutes, but also requires a great deal of focus and intensity.

Here’s how to do a burpee: from a standing position, squat down, put your hands on the ground, kick your legs out behind you, do a push-up (optional), then kick the legs back up into a squat position, stand and jump as you swing your arms overhead.

Most burpee workouts involve doing a series of 10, 15, or 20 burpees as part of a full body weight training or body weight circuit, but you can do just one to two minutes of burpees in the morning as a fantastic metabolic booster to jump start your day!

Full Body Exercise #5: Deadlift-to-Overhead Press

The premise of the deadlift-to-overhead press is fairly simple: you pick a heavy object off the ground and lift it overhead. The object can be a dumbbell, barbell, kettlebell, medicine ball or sandbag.

When you pick the object off the ground, which is called a deadlift, you’ll need to have good form: looking forward with your knees bent and back straight.

You then stand, and as you stand or after you are in a standing position, hoist the weight overhead – using your hip and leg muscles to assist your upper body with driving the weight up.

Your Trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award winning personal trainer based in Seaham.

The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year.

Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012.

For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email graham@eastcoast-fitness.com.