What Are The Best Full Body Exercises?

The holiday season is a busy time of year, and despite our best efforts, sometimes making it to the gym just isn’t an option. Whether it’s a last minute commitment, the kids get sick, you have to run unexpected errands, or are traveling to visit family, sticking to your fitness routine can be challenging. But when it comes to staying healthy during the holiday season, it’s important to expect the unexpected and maintain a flexible mindset. If life gets in the way and you aren’t able to make it into the gym for the workout you had planned, rather than skip it entirely, try to think of what you’re able to do where you are with what you have. Try these 10 full body exercises and the workout we’ve included below for a full body burn that you can do anywhere- with or without equipment! For more Healthy during the Holidays content, promos, and savings, subscribe to redleafnutrition.com here.


This exercise is one of the most functional, and effective full body (lower body emphasis) exercises you can do. When doing squats properly, you are actively working your calves, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. Add a dumbbell or kettlebell, and you can get an additional shoulder, triceps, back and core stimulus as well.

Options: bodyweight only, kettlebell, dumbbell, barbell (front or back squat)

Mountain Climber

Looking for a core exercise that torches your muscles and heart rate? Look no further than mountain climbers. This exercise works your shoulders, back, core, hip flexors, and gets you breathing. With tons of variations, mountain climbers are a must in any full body workout.

Options: alternating, non-alternating, add a push-up, tempo, as fast as possible


The king of full body movements has to be the burpee. It’s the exercise everyone loves to complain about, but secretly enjoys doing because they leave no question as to whether or not we worked out hard. Burpees are true full body exercises, working our shoulders, triceps, chest, back, core, glutes, hamstrings, and quads (especially when you add a tuck jump or squat!). If you’re intimidated by full burpees, start with burps, basically a burpee minus the push-up portion.

Options: burps, full burpee, burpee press-up, burpee broad jumps, burpee tuck jumps


Deadlifts are a compound movement that while not complex, are very technical. If you’ve ever picked something heavy up off the floor and felt a pull in your back, then you know just how important proper deadlift form is because that pull won’t happen when you’re picking it up correctly! Compound movements work more than one muscle group at a time and are very important for developing full body strength. Deadlifts specifically help develop your back, glutes, hamstrings, and core and the great news is that pretty much anyone can deadlift. That said, deadlifting with improper form can be very dangerous, so check out this demonstration before giving it a try.

Options: Romanian deadlift, sumo deadlift, barbell deadlift, banded deadlift, dumbbell/kettlebell deadlift, single leg deadlift- yes the list goes on, but this is a great place to start!


Ah, planks. Some people will try to tell you that these are overrated, but that just simply isn’t true. Planks are a great exercise for improving strength and stability in your shoulders, back, transverse abdominis, obliques, and glutes! Yes, planks even work your buns if you’re doing them properly. They also are a great active recovery addition to a high intensity workout. Need a quick breather, but still want to keep working? Drop into a :40 second plank!

Options: forearm plank, extended-arm plank, side plank, plank shoulder taps, high to low plank (commandos), single arm plank/single leg plank, weighted plank


Thrusters are a great full body exercise that essentially combine a front squat and a push press. Holding your weights in a front rack position, with your elbows up, perform a front squat and as you’re standing, thrust your weights up overhead, ending in a locked out position. As you can guess, these exercises work your quads, calves, glutes, hamstrings, core, breathing, shoulders, triceps, and back.

Options: use a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells, or band. More weight and a faster pace = more challenge!


The ultimate full body movement that will have you begging for a rest break, man-makers combine push-ups with plank rows with burpees (ish) with squat cleans with thrusters (ish). Yikes! Man-makers are definitely a more advanced movement and can be broken up into any of its parts to scale back the intensity to your skill level. Rather than try to explain the whole of what makes a man-maker, we will let our friend Camille Leblanc-bazinet demonstrate this beast mode full body exercise here.

Red Leaf Full Body Workout

Now for the good stuff! Keep this full body workout on hand for when you’re short on time this holiday season. If you have a home gym set-up or weights that you can use to increase the challenge, go for it! Otherwise, all of these movements can be done with just your body. All you really need is a timer. Don’t forget to grab some Red Leaf Pre-Workout before you get started!

For an advanced workout, add a tuck jump to your burpee, add weight to your squats, and switch a regular plank to commandos (plank high-low’s). Use your plank as a rest if needed and try to focus on recovering your breath before starting your next round of burpees. Let us know if you give this a try in the comments!