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Full-Body Workouts: A Complete Fitness Plan for You!

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

full body workout

Full-body workouts are a great way to improve your fitness even with a hectic schedule. With a full-body workout, you can build muscle, improve your metabolism, and lose weight without spending hours in the gym!

Just because you’re a busy mom doesn’t mean that you can’t look and feel great about your body and be in the best shape of your life.

The trick is adding full-body workouts into your weekly exercise regimen.

Keep reading to get a full-body workout for whatever level of fitness you're at!


Target Major Muscles Groups More Frequently

Performing a full-body workout gives you the ability to target all of your major muscle groups instead of focusing on one muscle group at a time.

Some workout plans have you split up your days by muscle groups, for example, “leg day” or “back and bicep day.”

With a full-body workout, you can hit all of your major muscle groups in one session.

By utilizing full-body workouts, you can hit all of your major muscle groups more frequently during the week.

This is important as studies have shown that increasing the frequency of exercising each muscle group can lead to bigger strength gains as compared to isolating muscle groups and only targeting them once a week.

In fact, a review of available studies found that training twice a week promotes superior muscle hypertrophy compared to training once a week.

This means that major muscle groups should be trained at least twice a week to maximize muscle growth.

Improved Recovery and Protein Synthesis

Not only will full-body workouts build muscle, but they will also give you more recovery time.

Since you aren’t doing numerous reps on one muscle group, this will allow for better recovery and will decrease your risk for injury.

Full-body workouts also give you the most bang for your buck in regards to muscle synthesis after each workout.

By doing a workout every other day or every two days, you are giving your body enough time to recover before the next full-body workout.

In addition, by not allowing too much time before targeting each muscle group, you are able to hit the best window for when muscle growth is at its highest potential.

This, in turn, will increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage.


Improved Health

Full-body workouts will not only have you looking great, but they will also improve your overall health.

Resistance training has been shown to decrease the risk for development of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Plus, strength training and full-body workouts can also help decrease body fat percentage.

One study found that women who engaged in twice-weekly strength training programs were able to improve their body composition and decrease their obesity risk.

By just decreasing your potential for obesity you can avoid the development of numerous chronic diseases, ranging from cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and even certain cancers.

Enhance Your Quality of Life

Full-body strength training will reduce your risk for injury as well, not just while you’re working out, but also in day to day activities.

This will allow you to live independently as you age.

Strong women are healthy women!

Avoid Overtraining

By splitting up your workouts into full-body exercises, you can avoid overtraining specific muscle groups.

For example, if you specifically focus on legs one day, there is a higher risk of injury as you try to cram all of your leg work into one day.

However, by doing two to three workouts a week that incorporate full-body exercises, you can switch between muscle groups during each workout.

By incorporating full-body workouts two to three times weekly, you will still reach your fitness goals without causing excessive muscle damage and stress on the body.


A Full Body Workout For Any Fitness Level

So now that you know all of the amazing benefits of full-body workouts, it’s time to get started.

No matter where you are at in your fitness journey, there is a full-body workout that can be tailored to your fitness level and your schedule.

Check out these full-body workouts for women. If you are crunched for time or a beginner try the 25-minute workout first.

If you have more time or are more advanced in your fitness level, the 45-minute workout may be where you want to begin.

25 Minute Full Body Workout

For each of these exercises, perform three sets of 10-12 reps. Take 1-2 minutes of rest between each set.

You can do all of these exercises with just your body weight. However, if you have a set of dumbbells or resistance bands these can be added to challenge yourself with these workouts.

Jump Squats

  • Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Make sure you drive through your heels and don’t allow your knees to track over your toes.
  • You can clasp your hands in front of you or hold them out parallel to the ground.
  • As you come up, jump up about six inches off the ground, then land softly with your knees slightly bent.

This is a great exercise to work your glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

Also, in order to maintain good form, you will be engaging your abdominal and core muscles as well.


  • Start on your hands and knees, with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend the legs straight, resting on your toes.
  • Make sure your hands are directly under the shoulders.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest is near the floor.
  • Make sure that your hips do not sag.
  • Push into the floor to push yourself back to the top.

If you need to start on your knees at first, that’s fine! Gradually you will gain strength and progress to a full push-up.

If you find your hips sagging or are unable to maintain form, drop to your knees!

Shoulder Press

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells (or even soup cans or a similar object!) at shoulder-level.
  • Press overhead until your arms are fully extended.
  • Then bring your arms back to shoulder-height.

You can use resistance bands to do this exercise as well.

  • Stand on top of the resistance band with feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold the handles with an overhand grip with your arms at shoulder-level.
  • Press the handles overhead until your arms are fully extended.
  • Then bring your arms back to shoulder-height.

Standing Lunges

  • Step your right foot forward and keep your left foot back behind you.
  • Bend your right knee to lower the body towards the floor.
  • Keep your right knee behind your toes and be sure to lower straight down rather than forward.
  • Engage your abs as you push through the front heel and back to starting position.
  • Then alternate with the left leg.
  • That is one rep.

Tricep Dips

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet in front of you.
  • Place your palms on the floor behind you.
  • Your hands should be underneath your shoulders, with your fingers facing toward your body.
  • Extend your arms to lift your butt, then bend your elbows to lower yourself back down without bringing your butt completely to the ground.
  • That's one rep.

This is a great full-body workout that will build strength in your upper body, legs, and core.

Once you have mastered this workout, you can try the 45-minute full-body workout.


45 Minute Full Body Workout

Workout plans for women should also incorporate cardio.

Luckily you can get a full-body workout with high-intensity intervals that will also build muscle.

This full-body resistance workout will improve your strength and stamina.

Plus you will burn some serious calories with the HIIT intervals, which will also increase your cardiovascular fitness.

This workout is set up a little bit differently than a conventional strength training workout.

Between each strength training set, you will perform a high-intensity, 30-second interval, making this the ultimate full-body workout!


Start with a five minute light warm-up. This could include some jumping jacks, jogging in place, or stair runs.

Main Set

Romanian Deadlifts with Dumbbells

The deadlift is a great exercise that works a number of muscles at once, making it ideal to include in a full-body workout.

The deadlift will target the hamstrings, glutes, quads, core, upper back, and deltoids. Romanian deadlifts with dumbbells are a great way to start with deadlifts.

  • Start by standing with  your feet hip-width apart and knees soft, holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your hips with your palms facing your thighs.
  • While keeping your spine in a neutral position, squeeze your shoulder blades and begin pushing your hips back.
  • Lower the dumbbells in front of your shins, keeping them close to the body.
  • Once they pass the knees, do not allow the hips to sink further.
  • Maintain a neutral spine and drive through your heels to fully extend your hips and knees.

Focus on form, not weight, when you first start doing this movement to avoid injury.

If this exercise is new to you, you can start with just your body weight.

Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

*HIIT Interval: In between each set, do 30 seconds of mountain climbers.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Like the deadlift, the bench press is included in so many workout regimens for a reason — it works!

It will target the pectoral muscles along with the triceps and shoulders.

Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

If you don’t have exercise equipment, you can substitute push-ups instead of chest presses to get similar muscle gains.

*HIIT interval: In between each set, do 30 seconds of jump rope.

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

By standing during the shoulder press instead of sitting, you will be forced to engage your core to steady your body and maintain balance.

This way you are working not only on the traps and deltoids but also on the abdominal muscles and low back muscles as well to maintain good posture.

Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

*HIIT Interval: In between each set, do 30 seconds of squat jumps.

Bicep Curls

This exercise will help define your arms and improve your upper body strength.

Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

*HIIT Interval: In between each set, do 30 seconds of kettlebell swings with a light weight.

Tricep Kick Backs

By targeting the triceps while standing you will once again be engaging and contracting your core to sustain good posture and form during the movement.

*HIIT Interval: In between each set, do 30 seconds of jumping jacks.



There are a number of great back exercises, but the pull up is one of the most effective.

This exercise hits all of the larger and smaller muscles in the back.

Doing pull-ups trains you to use these muscles together to really build up the back muscles.

Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

If you cannot do an unassisted pull up that’s OK!

There are modifications that you can start out with as you gradually build up your strength and work up to performing pull-ups on your own.

Pull up modifications include:

Pull-Up Machine

Many gyms will have a machine with a platform to rest your legs on.

The heavier weight you choose to assist you, the easier the pull up will be.

Try using this machine at first, gradually decreasing the assistance until you are able to do a pull up without any assistance

Pull-Ups with a Spotter

Have a spotter hold your legs to assist you during the movement.

Negative Pull-Ups

  • Start by standing under a pull-up bar.
  • Jump up, grabbing the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip.
  • Using the momentum from your jump, pull yourself upwards until your chin is above the bar.
  • Slowly lower yourself.
  • Slowly extend your arms as you inch closer to the ground.
  • Aim for 3-5 seconds until your arms are fully extended.
  • Let go of the bar and return to the ground.
  • Repeat for the desired reps.

*HIIT Interval: In between each set, do 30 seconds of high knees.


Hold a low plank position for 30 seconds.

Try to increase this time as you gain strength in your core.

Try to do this three times.

*HIIT Interval: In between each plank, do 30 seconds of burpees.


Cool Down/Stretch

After combined cardio and resistance workouts like the one above, be sure to cool down and stretch.

This will help to limit some of the post-workout soreness and tightness that can often follow a grueling workout.

To get your heart rate down, you can do some light walking or jogging.

You can do this on the treadmill, or just walk for 3-5 minutes around the gym.

This will aid in reducing lactic acid build-up and will bring your heart rate back down to its resting rate.

Post Workout Stretches

Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Raise your arms above your head then bend forward and reach for your toes.
  • If you can't quite touch your toes, grab a towel and wrap the towel around your toes so that you are feeling the stretch in the hamstrings.
  • Try to keep your chest and head up.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds.

Lying Glute Stretch

  • Lie on your back and place your left foot over your right knee, and wrap your hands around the back of your right leg.
  • Gently pull back to encourage a deeper stretch.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite leg.

Abdominal/Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Lie on your stomach and press up while keeping your legs on the floor.
  • You should feel this stretch in your abs and hip flexors as you lean back.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds.

Tricep/Shoulder Stretch

  • Stand tall and bring your left arm overhead and drop your forearm behind you, resting it on your back between your shoulder blades.
  • Your left elbow will be pointing towards the ceiling.
  • With your right hand, grab right above your bent elbow and pull gently, until you feel a stretch in your shoulder and the back of your arm.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds.


Get in the Best Shape of Your Life with Full Body Workouts

Adding full-body workouts into your fitness routine is an excellent way to build strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, and enhance your overall health.

Plus, full-body workouts are a great option for a busy mom to fit in an all-over workout in less than an hour.

No matter what your current level of fitness, there is a full-body workout that can be tailored to your abilities.

In addition, the Fit Mother Project offers a number of workout plans and exercises along with dietary guidelines to get you into the best shape of your life.

So get started today with these full-body workouts for women. You will not be disappointed with the results!

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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