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4 Exercises for a Full-Body Blast

Get 4x4 Fit!

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An effective total-body workout doesn't need to include a slew of different exercises. In fact, many of the most valuable training sessions are also the simplest. It makes sense if you think about it: Instead of learning new moves or collecting equipment, you can focus on the stuff that matters most, like proper form and intensity. This four-round circuit uses only four signature moves (squats, lunges, pushups, and rows) that get progressively more challenging with each round. Complete the workout with little to no rest between moves (hello cardio!) to kick your booty into high gear at home or at the gym.

How it works: Do 1 set of every exercise in order, with little to no rest between moves. If needed, rest 30 to 60 seconds between circuits.

You'll need: A set of 5- to 25-pound dumbbells (Choose a weight heavy enough to make it difficult to complete the last rep with proper form).

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 1: Basic Squat

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Reps: 15
Sets: 1

Stand with feet hip width, holding dumbbells by sides. Lower into a squat position, pushing hips back, keeping knees behind toes, and reach dumbbells to floor. Return to start and repeat.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 1: Reverse Lunge

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Reps: 15 alternating
Sets: 1

Stand with feet together, holding dumbbells by sides. Step one leg back, lowering into a lunge by bending both knees about 90 degrees, keeping good posture and abs tight. Return to start, and immediately repeat on opposite leg to comeplete one rep.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 1: Kneeling Pushup

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Reps: 15
Sets: 1

Begin in a modified plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulders, knees bent, and ankles crossed. Lower into a pushup, keeping abs tight to avoid letting hips sag. Return to start; repeat. 

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 1: Wide Rows

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Reps: 15
Sets: 1

Stand with feet hip width, holding dumbbells with palms facing thighs. Hinge forward from hips about 45-degrees, keeping spine naturally straight and abs tight. Bend elbows, pulling arms back in line shoulders, squeezing shoulder blades back and together. Lower arms and repeat, maintaining forward bend the entire time.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 2: Lateral Squat

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Reps: 15 alternating
Sets: 1

Stand with feet together, holding dumbbells by sides. Take a wide step out to the right and lower into squat position as arms reach to floor, pressing weights together. Return to start and immediately repeat on opposite side to complete one rep.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 2: Forward Lunge

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Reps: 15 alternating
Sets: 1

Stand with feet together, holding dumbbells by sides. Step one leg forward and lower into a lunge, bending both knees about 90 degrees, keeping good posture and abs tight. Return to start and immediately repeat on opposite side to complete one rep.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 2: Reaching Pushup

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Reps: 15 alternating
Sets: 1

From a full plank position, lower into a pushup, keeping abs tight so hips don't sag. Press back up into full plank and immediately reach one arm up by ear, palm facing in. Lower arm to return to starting position. That's one rep. Repeat, alternating arms with each rep. Make this easier by placing feet wider apart, harder by bringing them closer together.

RELATED: 13 Ways to Amp Up Your Pushup

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 2: Narrow Row

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Reps: 15
Sets: 1

Stand with feet hip width, holding dumbbells with palms facing away from thighs. Hinge forward from hips about 45 degrees, keeping spine naturally straight and abs tight. Bend elbows toward cieling, pulling arms in tight by sides, squeezing shoulder blades back and together. Slowly lower arms and repeat.

 

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 3: Goblet Squat

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Reps: 15
Sets: 1

Stand with feet slightly wider than hip width, holding the end of one dumbbell with both hands in front of chest with elbows bent. Lower into a deep squat position, tracking knees over toes. Return to start and repeat.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 3: Side Lunge

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Reps: 15 alternating
Sets: 1

Stand with feet together, holding dumbbells by sides. Take a wide step to the side, lowering into a lunge by bending outside leg only and pushing hips back, reaching dumbbells on either side of foot. Return to start and immediately repeat on opposite side to complete one rep.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 3: Lateral Stepping Pushup

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Reps: 15 alternating
Sets: 1

Begin in full plank position with feet together and hands shoulder width, abs drawn in tight. Step left foot and left hand out to side (about hip and shoulder width) and lower into a pushup. Press back up and return left foot and hand to starting position. That's one rep. Repeat, this time stepping right foot and hand out to side.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 3: Oblique Row

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Reps: 15 per side
Sets: 1

Begin in a split stance with right leg forward, holding a dumbbell in left hand only. Lower into a lunge and hinge forward from hips about 45 degrees, keeping spine naturally straight and abs tight, reaching both arms towards right foot. Bend left elbow and pull arm back behind body. Quickly switch sides, allowing torso to rotate as arms change. That's one rep. Complete all reps on right, then repeat with left leg forward, holding weight in right hand.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 4: Split Squat

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Reps: 15 per side
Sets: 1

From a split stance, holding dumbbells by sides, shift weight into front leg and tap back toes lightly on floor (make this harder by placing back foot on a bench or high step). Perform a squat with front leg, reaching dumbbells to floor. Return to start. Do all reps on right lef, then repeat on left.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 4: Diagonal Lunge

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Reps: 15 alternating
Sets: 1

Stand with feet together, holding dumbbells by sides. Take a wide step out to the corner of the room (at a 45-degree diagonal angle), bending front knee and reaching arms and upper body forward over front thigh (back leg should be straight, with heel lifted off the floor). Reach dumbbells all the way down to the floor on either side of front foot. Push off front foot and return to start. Immediately repeat on opposite leg to complete one rep.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 4: Spider Pushup

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Reps: 15 alternating
Sets: 1

Begin in a full plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, feet together. Lower into a pushup, lifting one knee into outside of arm (try to tap knee to elbow if possible). Return to start to complete one rep. Repeat, this time lifting opposite knee into shoulder.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers

Circuit 4: Renegade Row

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Reps: 15 per side
Sets: 1

Begin in a full plank position with left hand holding onto a dumbbell. Brace abs in tight and raise left elbow straight toward ceiling, pulling dumbbell up by side of torso. Slowly lower (avoid slamming the weight down on the ground) to start. Repeat on opposite side to complete one rep.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers