Stop burning through your workout time by only working one muscle group at a time. Instead, make the most of your exercise session by using moves that hit multiple muscle groups — including exercises for arms, legs and stomach — all at once.
An added bonus? Taxing more muscles in one move burns more calories, as explained by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Transform your body, especially your stomach, hips, thighs, arms and butt, with these multi-purpose moves.
Read more: The Top 15 Moves to Tone Your Glutes
Add Some Circuits
Perform the moves as a circuit, one right after the other, taking just enough time between them to change position and equipment. Do eight to 12 repetitions of each move.
Complete this routine two to three times per week on non-consecutive days to allow adequate muscle recovery, as recommended by the ACE, such as Monday/Thursday or Saturday/Tuesday.
Start with light weights your first few workouts to get the feel of the exercises. Then, increase the weight over the course of several workouts so that you feel fatigued by the last one to two repetitions.
Warm up before you work out. Do 3 to 5 minutes of gentle cardio, such as stepping up and down on a platform or pedaling a stationary bike. Then, do 3 to 5 minutes of dynamic stretching that includes jumping jacks, body weight walking lunges and arm circles.
Move #1. Triceps Extension with Hip Bridge
While you might feel your glutes contracting during the bridge exercise, it also targets your midsection, as pointed out by Princeton University Athletic Medicine. Combine bridges with the triceps extension to target the muscles at the back of your upper arms.
- Lie on your back on a gym mat with your knees bent, feet planted and a weight in each hand.
- Raise your hips to create a bridge from your shoulders to your knees.
- Draw your butt muscles, or glutes, in tightly.
- Extend the weights up and over your shoulders, arms straight.
- Maintain the bridge as you bend and extend your elbows to complete one repetition.
- Keep the points of your elbows shining straight up; don't move your upper arm at all. The weights should pass alongside your temples or ears as you bend your elbows.
- Complete all the repetitions for your triceps and then lower your hips.
Move #2. Squat and Curl
The squat is the king of exercises to target your butt and thighs. This exercise also activates muscles in your trunk. Adding arm movement to your squat further challenges your core muscles as they contract to keep your trunk stable.
Biceps curls build strength and function in the fronts of your upper arms — building those guns that you can show off in a tank top.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended alongside your torso and palms facing forward.
- Bend your knees and push your butt back as if you were sitting in a chair.
- Simultaneously, bend your elbows to curl the weights up toward your shoulders.
- Return to a stand and extend the arms to complete one repetition.
Keep your heels down and your hips back as you squat. The knees should not travel past your toes.
Move #3. Plie Squat with Triceps Extension
The plie squat does activate your glutes, but particularly your thighs with its wider stance. Pair it with a standing, overhead triceps extension and add it to your workouts for arms, legs and stomach.
- Stand with your feet wider than hip-distance — about 3 feet apart.
- Point your toes forward or slightly out to the sides in the direction of your knees.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and reach them up toward the ceiling, arms by your ears.
- Bend your knees as you send your butt back and down — aiming for 90-degree angles at the knee or slightly lower.
- Simultaneously bend your elbows so the weights come behind your head. Elbows point to the ceiling and upper arms stay next to your ears.
- Straighten your knees and elbows to return to a stand. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Read More: 17 Exercises to Shape and Tone Your Booty
Move #4. Renegade Rows
This compound move trains your abs for stability and rotation as well as your biceps, back, shoulders and chest.
- Get into the top of a push-up position, hands propped on dumbbells directly under your shoulders.
- Hold onto the weight with your right hand and pull it up against your rib cage, elbow pointing to the ceiling, to perform a row.
- Put the right weight down and perform a row on the left side. Right and left equals one repetition.
Wide feet help provide stability in the top of the plank position. Avoid hiking or sagging your hips, too. Keep a rigid torso to maximize abdominal activation.
Read More: The Ultimate Workout for Sexy, Sculpted Arms