The 30-Minute Total-Body Strength Workout

By K. Aleisha Fetters |

Challenge every muscle group, boost mobility, and burn major calories with this gym routine.

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There’s a time and place for multitasking. When you try to do it every day—balancing errands, family, friends, and everything else on your to-do list—it can quickly backfire. But in the gym? That’s where multitasking is most valuable.

This workout is proof. It’s made up of compound movements that each recruit multiple muscle groups at the same time. The result: In just 30 minutes, you’ll build head-to-toe strength, improve mobility, and get your heart pumping.

How the Total-Body Strength Workout Works

With each exercise, prioritize quality over quantity. At the end of each set, you should feel like you could do one or two more reps, but no more than that. If you feel like you could knock out three extra reps with good form, that’s your cue to increase the amount of resistance you use for that exercise.

Do all sets of each exercise before moving to the next, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between each.

Ready to get started? Here’s how to perform each movement. As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Exercise #1: Medicine Ball Wood Chop

Medicine Ball Wood Chop

Do 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold the medicine ball in both hands, and keep your arms straight. Inhale as you lift the ball diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with arms above your head. Allow your feet to pivot as you twist.

As you exhale, rotate at your waist and lower the ball to the left so your hands are outside your left knee. Pause, then slowly reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Perform six to eight reps, then repeat on the opposite side. Complete a total of three sets, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

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Exercise #2: Lat Pulldown

Lat Pulldown

Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps

Holding one end of a resistance band in each hand, raise your arms straight overhead. The band should be taut between your hands. Brace your core and allow your knees to bend slightly to create a strong base. This is your starting position.

From here, lower your right arm out to the side, squeezing your shoulder blades down and together as you do. Pause, then slowly and with control return to the starting position. Repeat the movement on the other side to complete one rep. Perform three sets of eight to 12 reps, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

Or try the lat pulldown machine: Set your weight, starting with a light weight so you can focus on good form. Sit tall, and grab the long bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and your palms facing away from you. Brace your core, and lean back just slightly, maintaining a flat back. This is your starting position.

From here, squeeze your shoulder blades down and together, then pull through your arms to lower the handle to your collarbone. Resist the urge to lean back or move the bar with momentum. Pause, then slowly raise the bar to return to start. That’s one rep.

Exercise #3: Stepup

Stepup

Do 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps

Grab a pair of light dumbbells, and hold them at your sides with your palms facing your body. Stand in front of a step. Start with a low step, increasing the height for a challenge.

Set your left foot on the step, push down through your heel, and lift yourself up until your leg is straight. Step down. That’s one rep. Perform six to eight reps, then repeat on the opposite side. Complete a total of three sets, resting for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Exercise #4: Chest Press

Chest Press Exercise

Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps

Grab a dumbbell in each hand, and lie faceup on a bench. Position the dumbbells just outside of and above your chest, palms facing away from your body. If you have cranky shoulders, try angling the dumbbells so that your palms face each other. Your elbows should flare about 45 degrees away from your torso. Do not let them flare straight out from your sides. Brace your core to press your low back into the bench. This is your starting position.

From here, press the weights up and together until your arms are straight, but not locked out. Pause, then slowly lower the weights to return to start. That’s one rep. Perform three sets of eight to 12 reps, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

Exercise #5: Band Side Step

Resistance Band Side Step

Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps

Place a miniband or tie a longer band around your legs, just above your knees or ankles. If you have cranky knees, keep the band above your knees to limit the stress placed on your joints. Bend your knees slightly with your feet hip-width apart.

From here, step to the side until the band provides resistance, then slide your other foot over to re-create your original stance. Repeat this sidestepping movement for eight to 12 reps in one direction, and then do the same number of reps in the other direction to complete one set. Do three sets total, resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

Full-Body Workout Routine for Beginners