Squat, Curl, and Press Exercises for the Entire Body

quat, Curl and Press

Squat, Curl, and Press

Incorporating dynamic, compound movements into your routine will help you involve your entire body, building strength, power and stability. This squat, curl and press is a compound exercise that works the legs, core, arms, and shoulders in one dynamic movement. This is an advanced exercise that requires strength and balance. Take your time and start with lighter weights to perfect the exercise.

  1. Hold light-medium weights and stand on the right foot with the left foot just behind you, resting on the toe.
  2. Squat all the way down, touching the weights to the floor while keeping the back straight and the abs contracted.
  3. Curl the weights up in a biceps curl and then hold that curl and press the weights overhead as you push to a standing position.
  4. On the upward movement, keep the emphasis on the right leg.
  5. Lower the weights and repeat the move for 10-16 reps before switching sides.
  6. Complete 1-3 sets.


360 Plank

One of my favorite whole body exercises, the 360 plank is a tough one and a bit confusing because you be going from standing to a plank position with a few rows in there as well. This compound move works multiple muscles, including the legs, abs and back. You’ll have to work to figure this one out, so take care with this move and start with no weight or light weights as you’re perfecting your form.

  1. Hold weights in each hand and turn to the left, lunging forward with the left leg (right leg is straight) while taking the weight in the right hand down to the floor. You should be in a runner’s lunge with the left arm pulled up into a row.
  2. Put the left hand down (still holding the weight) as you take the left leg back into a plank.
  3. Pull the left weight up into a row while stepping forward with the right leg.
  4. Stand up and turn to face the back of the room.
  5. Repeat the series, once again lunging to the left, moving into a plank and lifting the left arm into a row as you step forward with the right leg.
  6. At the end, you should be facing forward again, having completed one circle of lunges, planks and rows.
  7. Complete 4 circles before going in the other direction and lunging with your right leg first.

Walking Knee Lunge

This functional exercise is perfect for working the entire body with a movement we often do every day – getting up and down from the floor. This move will help build mobility, flexibility and stability all at the same time. Holding a weight overhead makes it even harder, so start with no weight at first until you get a feel for the move. You’ll also want a soft, padded surface for this exercise and you may want to keep a chair nearby if you need help getting up and down. Try to work your way up to doing the move without using your arms.

  1. Hold a light/medium weight in the right hand, arm straight up over head.
  2. Step back with the right foot into a lunge, taking the knee all the way to the floor.
  3. Take the left leg back, knee to the floor while still holding the weight up. You should now be kneeling with the right hand up in the air.
  4. Step forward with the right foot and then the left foot so that you’re standing, the weight still overhead.
  5. Repeat for 8 reps and then switch the weight to the other hand and do the move starting with the left leg for 8 more reps.

Deadlift with Leg Extension and Overhead Press

Dumbbell Press

This is a great total body move that works the hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, quads, biceps and shoulders, all in one flowing movement. Keeping your balance is the biggest challenge, so start with no weights to get the move down and practice each part of the move on its own before putting them all together.

  1. Hold weights in front of the thighs and put your weight on the left leg.
  2. Tip from the hips and lower the weights towards the floor (back straight) while lifting the right leg straight out behind you to hip level, foot flexed.
  3. Lift back up while swinging the right leg forward, bending the knee to hip level as you do a biceps curl.
  4. Extend the right leg as straight as you can while pressing the weights overhead.
  5. Lower and repeat, continuing with the deadlift, leg extension and press for 8-10 reps on the left leg before repeating on the right.

Pushup Plank and Row

The pushup plank and row is a compound exercise targeting multiple muscles including the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, ​and core. By combining a close-grip pushup with a row, you’ll work both the chest and the back while building power, strength and saving time. This is a tough exercise, so start with lighter weights and modify by doing the exercise on your knees if needed. You can make it harder by doing this move on the floor. Use hex weights or other types of weights that won’t roll back and forth.

  1. Get into a pushup position on a step or raised platform with hands gripping dumbbells about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower into a close-grip pushup, keeping the back flat and the abs in.
  3. Press up into a plank and hold briefly.
  4. Working to keep your hips down and square to the floor, pull the right weight up into a row.
  5. Lower and repeat, alternating rows on each side for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps.
  6. You can take your feet wider for a more stable foundation.

Deadlift Row and Squat

.The deadlift row and squat is a great timesaver exercise. You start with a deadlift, which targets the hamstrings, glutes and lower back, followed by a row, which targets the lats. After that, you add a squat with a front raise, which engages the quads and the shoulder, making this a great total body exercise. If you have back problems, you may want to avoid the front raise during the squat, which can cause discomfort

  1. Hold a medium weight in both hands and tip from the hips, keeping the back flat, into a deadlift.
  2. At the bottom of the movement, pull the weight up, bending the elbows and bringing them up to torso level in a row.
  3. Lower the weight and bend the knees while lifting the weight up to shoulder level. Squat as low as you can, keeping the knees behind the toes.
  4. Stand up, lower the weight and repeat the deadlift, row and squat for 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Single Arm Squat and Swing

Single arm squat and swing

The single arm squat and swing is an excellent whole body exercise that works the hips, thighs, glutes, arms, and core. If you use a heavier weight, this move will also raise your heart rate, making this a great warm up exercise. Because this is a dynamic exercise that uses momentum, practice the move with a lighter weight and make sure you engage the abs to avoid hurting your back.

  1. Stand with the feet hip-width apart and hold a weight in the right hand.
  2. Squat down, keeping the back straight and the abs in, and swing the weight between the knees.
  3. As you stand up, swing the weight overhead, keeping the arm straight.
  4. Lower the weight and repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps on each side.


Single Arm Clean and Press

The single arm clean and press is a whole body exercise focusing on the lower body, the core , and the shoulders. By doing this move one arm at a time, the core has to work extra hard to keep your body balanced and the combination of movements gets your heart rate up and your body warm. If you have shoulder problems, you may want to skip this exercise or just do the move with an overhead press.

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a weight in the right hand.
  2. Squat down touching the weight the floor and keeping the back straight, abs in and the knees behind the toes.
  3. Push back up, pulling the weight up into a single arm row.
  4. In a smooth movement, flip the elbow down and the weight up and press the weight overhead.
  5. Lower the weight and repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps on each side.


Rear Lunge With a Double Arm Row

The rear lunge with a double arm row is a compound movement that saves you time by working the glutes, hips and thighs as well as the back. With this exercise you step back into a straight-leg lunge and pull the arms up into a row, targeting the lats. If you have lower back problems, you may want to skip this exercise or use lighter weights.

  1. Hold weights in each hand and step back with the right leg into a rear lunge. The back leg should be straight, the front knee behind the toe.
  2. Tip from the hips, keeping the back flat, and pull the elbows up to torso level into a row.
  3. Lower the weights and step back to starting position and repeat all reps before switching sides.
  4. Complete 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps on each side.

Side Lunge With Triceps Extension

The side lunge with a triceps extension is a great timesaver exercise, allowing you to work the lower body and the triceps in one dynamic exercise. The key to this move is to step out wide into the side lunge, sitting back into the heel to target the glutes while extending the arm out to the side.

  1. Begin the move with the feet together, holding a weight in the left hand with the elbow bent.
  2. Take a wide step to the right into a side lunge. Your left leg should be straight and your right leg bent (foot facing forward).
  3. Sit into the heel of the right foot and lean slightly forward (back flat) as you straighten the left arm, extending it out to the side.
  4. Bend the arm and step back to the starting position, completing all reps before switching sides.
  5. Complete 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps on each side.

Burpee with a Renegade Row

If you want to work multiple muscles while getting a bonus cardio burn, this exercise is a great choice. It combines a burpee, a plank, dumbbells rows and a bentknee deadlift for a complete, total body exercise. Caution: Because you’re lifting weights as you’re standing up, your lower back is vulnerable. Keeping your squat low and your torso upright (not rounded) can help protect your back. Start with light weights to practice or keep the weights on the floor instead of picking them up as a modification.

  1. Stand with legs wide and hold weights in each hand.
  2. Squat low to the floor, keeping the hips down, the torso straight and the shoulders back.
  3. Place the weights on the floor between your feet and step or jump back into a wide stance plank.
  4. Hold that position, hands holding the weights, with the legs straight or the knees on the floor (modified).
  5. Alternate a dumbbell row on each side, keeping the hips square to the floor.
  6. Jump or step the feet back in a wide stance on either side of the weights, remembering to squat very low (again, back straight, hips back) to pick up the weights as you stand.
  7. Avoid rounding the back.
  8. Leave the weights on the floor the entire time for a modification.
  9. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps.

Side Lunge with Upright Row

Side Lunge With Row

This functional exercise is perfect for working both the lower and upper body in one dynamic exercise. The key is to focus on form with the side lunge, making sure you send the hips back and avoid putting too much pressure on the knee. Keep the move slow and controlled and pause with each exercise. Start with a lighter weight or no weight to practice before going too heavy.

  1. Start with feet together, weights in hand.
  2. Take a wide step out to the right and bend the knee into a side lunge.
  3. Pause for a moment and make sure your left leg is straight, toes pointing forward, hips back and back straight.
  4. Focus on pushing into the heel as you step the feet back together.
  5. Do an upright row, bringing the elbows up to shoulder level, weights at chest level.
  6. Lower the weights and then do the side lunge on the left.
  7. Repeat the entire series for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps.


Pivot Squat and Curl with a Gliding Disc

This exercise is one of my favorites for working both the upper and the lower body. You use the Gliding Disc, or a paper plate, under one foot to pivot the body into a moving squat and, as you come back, you get the biceps with a one-armed curl. This will definitely test your coordination and balance, too. 

  1. Stand with the left foot on a Gliding Disc, a paper plate or a towel (if you have hardwood floors).
  2. Begin in a squat position, the right hand holding a dumbbell.
  3. Pivot on the Gliding Disc and take the right foot back into a low squat, hanging the weight down.
  4. Pivot once again, bringing the left foot back into a front squat while curling the right arm into a biceps curl.
  5. Repeat alternating a pivot squat with a pivot curl for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps and repeat on the other side.
  6. Make sure to keep the torso upright, the abs engaged and send the hips back as you squat to avoid tweaking the knees.


Squat with an Overhead Press

Squat with an overhead press

The squat with an overhead press is a great timesaver exercise for both the upper and lower body at the same time. These moves work well together, allowing you to naturally transition from a squat into an overhead press.

  1. Stand with feet about hip-distance apart.
  2. Hold weights just above the shoulders, elbows bent and palms facing one another.
  3. Keeping the weights hovering above the shoulders, lower into a squat.
  4. Keep the torso upright, the abs contracted and send the hips back to protect the knees.
  5. Push into the heels to stand up and push the weights overhead.
  6. Lower the weights and repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps.


Side Squat to Arnold Press

This is one of those exercises that doesn’t look like much until you actually try it.  Then you realize just how many muscle groups this one works, including the lower body and the shoulders.

  1. Begin with the feet together, weights in front of the chest with the palms facing in.
  2. Step out to the right into a squat while pushing the weights overhead, rotating them so that the palms face out.
  3. Rotate the weights back as you step together.
  4. Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps.
  5. For a real challenge, try jumping the squat instead of stepping out

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