Although many people solely focus on cardiovascular exercise, integrating muscle-building exercises into your routine is critical. Not only can strength training improve functional fitness, but it can increase your metabolism and help with fat loss. There are several full-body exercises that use weights so you can become more efficient in building muscle.
A traditional squat involves squatting down, much like sitting onto a chair with your legs hip-width apart. Adding dumbbells can include keeping the weight at your side as you perform the squat or alternating your squat with a dumbbell press. Another squat variation is the goblet squat. It will require you to stand with a wider stance. While squatting down you are holding a weight between your legs. One of the advantages of this variation of squat is it can help target your inner-thigh muscles.
Taking a lesson from powerlifting you can also perform a squat with a squat rack and using a weighted bar. The bar should be balanced on your traps, then squat down and maintain control of the bar on your way down and back up. There are slight variations in the powerlifting squat, such as a high-bar or low-bar squat. You should just place the bar where it feels comfortable. Additionally, some people stand with a more narrow or wider stance during a powerlifting squat. You can try both to see which one is more comfortable or in order to target different muscle groups.
Much like squats, lunges can be modified into a full-body exercise and there are many variations to help you change up your routine and target different muscle groups. The most common form of lunge involves standing with your legs about hip-width apart. Use one foot to step forward until this knee is at a right angle. The back leg should avoid touching the floor. Then you return to your original position. Adding weights not only makes lunges more challenging but can also improve core strength and balance. The traditional lunge can also be turned into a walking lunge to increase strength and endurance. An alternative form is the side lunge, which can work well to target the inner thighs.
Another exercise taken from powerlifting is the deadlift. During a traditional deadlift, you can stand with your legs about hip-width, which is the traditional stance, but many people do a sumo deadlift, which about double the width of the traditional stance. With a weighted bar in front of you, your objective is to lift the bar straight up, approximately to your hips. You should squat down to grab the bar and bend at the waist. Both your back and your lower body are working in unison to lift the bar because it avoids placing unnecessary strain on one particular body part.
One variation is the Romanian Deadlift (RDL), which involves the use of a single dumbbell. With the weight in one hand, allow the weight to bring you forward toward the floor. On the unweighted side, the leg will lift up behind you. You should perform this with fluid and controlled movement. Return to the original position and do the same on the other side. One of the benefits of the RDL is increasing balance, and it can also be used to reduce imbalances on one side versus the other.
Adding weights to many standard exercises is one way to create a full-body exercise. Additionally, some exercises have numerous variations that not only help reduce monotony but can help you work out different muscle groups.