There are many ways to boost your workout and make the most of large muscle group exercises, which is a win-win for your calorie burning process! Multi-muscle group exercises get your heart rate up, which in turn burns MORE calories, works MORE muscles and increases your workout performance. (Workout tip: Your legs are your biggest muscle group, so the more your work them, the more calories you burn. And the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn in your sleep!)
So, what is a multi-muscle group exercise?
A multi-muscle group exercise is an exercise that utilizes more than one muscle group, like the glutes and the shoulders, all in one move. When you work multiple muscles at the same time, your heart rate will increase, giving you more of a cardiovascular workout instead of solely weight training, again, win-win! A healthy (recommended) workout schedule includes three to four cardiovascular workouts and two to three (all depends on fitness level and/or goals) strength training workouts. Getting both types of workouts in one is even better!
Here’s are a few great examples of multi-muscle group exercises:
Sumo squat with an upright row (focuses on the shoulders, arms, glutes and hamstrings/inner thighs)
Hold a pair of dumbbells so your arms are comfortably hanging in front of you. Your legs should be more than shoulder width apart, as you’re preparing to do a sumo squat. (Make sure your knees never go in front of your toes, and that you’re squeezing when you come up!) With your arms hanging, do a sumo squat, and when you come up from the squat, raise your hands into an upright rowing position, with your hands only going up to shoulder height. Squeeze the shoulder muscles, then lower your hands (controlled) and repeat the sumo squat with the upright row form. Do three sets of 15 repetitions, with weight that’s heavy enough to challenge you but not too light. (I like to start with 8-10lbs as a safe weight!)
Squat with a lateral raise (focuses on the glutes, quads, shoulders and deltoids)
Hold a pair of dumbbells so your arms are comfortably hanging at your sides. Your legs should be shoulder width apart, as you’re preparing to do a squat. (Make sure your knees never go in front of your toes, and that you’re squeezing when you come up!) With your arms hanging by your side, do a squat, and when you come up, raise your arms (keeping them straight) only going up to shoulder height. Squeeze the shoulder muscles, then lower your arms (controlled) and repeat the squat. Do three sets of 15 repetitions, with weight that’s heavy enough to challenge you but not too light. (I like to start with 5-10lbs as a safe weight!)
Plated curtsy lunge (focuses on the shoulders, glutes and quads)
This is one of my all-time favorite exercises! Hold a barbell plate in front of you, flat, at your shoulders just under your chin. Bring your right leg back behind your left, into a curtsy, keeping the plate held at your shoulders. Then step back with the left leg. Your shoulders, glutes and quads will feel the burn! Do three sets of 10-15 repetitions, with weight that’s heavy enough to challenge you but not too light. (I like to start with a 10lb-20lb plate, but you can also use a single dumbbell if you don’t have a plate weight. You’ll hold the dumbbell the same way as the plate, at your shoulders just under your chin.)
Melissa is a fitness guru with a passion for inspiring others to be their best. As a certified personal trainer, PiYo Live instructor & aspiring bikini athlete, she’s well-rounded in all aspects of health & wellness. She’s an advocate for “bikini after babies” and helping women regain control of their bodies/health- educating, guiding and motivating them to be at their healthiest. Your body loves you, so love it in return!