Upper and Lower Body Multitasking Moves

a woman doing pushups, only body

If you’ve been struggling with the time-management at the gym, you might want to look into multitasking moves as opposed to usual gym routines (which do work as well).

Basically, a multitasking move involves the performance of two exercises in one – you kill two birds with one stone by working out two muscle groups simultaneously.

Generally, the best exercise combinations involve upper and lower body exercises. Here are the top 10 multitasking moves.

#1 Wide Squats with Bicep Curls

This exercise is a great way to increase glute and overall leg strength, while also working on arm strength. Simply stand with your feet spread about two-feet apart, while holding a pair of dumbbells in outstretched hands.

To perform a repetition, bend at the knees while also bending at the elbows – squat down while curling the dumbbells up.

Keep your spine neutral and your weight centered in your heels. Try and do 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.

#2 Reverse Lunge and Press

This exercise combines shoulders with legs. It can also serve as a light form of cardio, as it involves full-body movement.

Stand with your feet together, holding dumbbells above your shoulders with your palms facing out.

Step your left foot back to fall into a lunge. Then push off with your left foot and raise that leg into the air, making it even with your hip. At the same time, raise your arms.

Repeat on the other leg. Try and do 3 sets of 12-15 reps. 

#3 Super Plank

This exercise is a great core-burner that will make you sweat and shake.

Get into a plank position with your palms pressed flat directly beneath your shoulders. Lower your right forearm to the mat, then your left arm, coming into a traditional elbow plank. Then return to starting position.

Set a 30 second timer and try to perform these reps at an even pace for as long as you can. 

#4 Ball Plank

This one is an arms-core combo, and it requires a yoga ball. Start in a plank position with your hands beneath your shoulders and your shins on the ball.

Breathe in, and suck your stomach in, pulling the ball towards your hands. You’ll fall into a deep bend, and your toes will be on the ball. Return to the starting position.

This is one repetition. Perform this in 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. 

#5 Mountain Climbers

This is a great full-body exercise, involving your legs, core, and arms. Start in a pushup position, then bring your right knee to your chest.

Return to start and repeat on the other leg. Set a 30-second timer and try to keep your pace constant and your intensity high. 

#6 The Squat-Curl-Press

This is a 3-in-1 workout. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, holding dumbbells at your side. Bend at the knee to squat down. When you begin to rise from the squat, curl the dumbbells up as you do so.

Once you’re standing at your full-height, bring the dumbbells to your shoulders and perform a shoulder press.

Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. 

#7 Burpee

This is perhaps the most well-known full-body workout. Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart. Drop into a low squat.

Once you reach the bottom of the squat, kick your feet back and fall into a pushup position. Lower your body and complete one pushup.

Bring your feet back to your chest (in one jump), which should bring you back to that low-squat position. Rise to your full height, and finish it off with a quick jump.

This is one repetition. Aim for 10 reps. 

#8 Plank with Kick

This twist on the classic plank makes it twice as hard, and adds the benefit of increased glute strength.

Get into an elbow-plank position, then bend one leg at a time and push your foot towards the ceiling.

Try for 3 sets of 15-20 reps. 

Or, if you’re tired of planks, you can try a great core exercise called toes to bar in which hang from and, well, lift your toes up to a bar. 

#9 The Row-Plank

This combines dumbbell rowing with a plank, for added full-body toning. Get in a plank position with your hands on your dumbbells and your dumbbells directly beneath your shoulders.

Widen your legs slightly for stability. Keep your core engaged, then lift one hand at a time to row.

Do 12-15 reps per arm, and try for 3 sets in total. 

#10 Push up with Ball Crunch

This adds an extra core-element to the pushup. Start in a pushup position with your shins on a yoga ball. Lower your chest.

As you straighten your arms, engage your core and pull the ball in towards your face. Try to complete 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.

If you’re really pressed for time, but still want to get good, full body workouts in, these are a great place to start. Achieve full-body toning in half the time.

Bonus Move - #11 Trap Bar Jump

If you’re looking to develop some explosive power, this is one of my new favorite moves. While you need a trap bar (you could use dumbbells or even a barbell but a trap bar works better), it’s an easy to learn and novel exercise. 

Here’s a complete breakdown of the trap bar jump if you want to give it a shot!

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Article by:

Daniel DeMoss

I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.