What better way to make the most of your time in the gym than with exercises that target more than one muscle group. These exercises, often referred to as compound movements, are easy to master and perfect for the times when you just can’t seem to find a place in your schedule for the usual full workout.

Backwards Burpee

Works: Core and Legs

Start in standing position, lay down on your back, roll your legs up toward your chest (as if you were doing a reverse crunch), roll them back down so your feet are on the floor and jump straight up. This plyometric move is easy to do and work as a great variation on the traditional burpee.

Cross-Body Punches

Works: Arms, legs and Core

Stand in a squat position, holding 5 to 10 pound weights in each hand at your chest, palms facing in. Do 10 cross-body punches on each side. While this sounds easy, and it is, it’s important that you push yourself by lowering deeper into a squat or upping your weights. To get the most out of this as a core workout, keep your midsection tight and move from the hips up, keeping your feet firmly in place.

Mountain Climbers

Young happy fit woman doing pushups at gymWorks: Shoulders and core

Get into plank position and pull your left knee into your chest, bring it back to start and then bring your right knee forward; alternate back and forth, doing 10 on each side. Remember, this is a fast-paced move, so start slow and once you get the feel of the movement, go as quick as you can for a good cardio blast.

Squat Press

Works: Legs, arms and shoulders

Hold 5 to 15 pound weights in each hand—if you’re maintaining, use smaller weights with more reps, if you’re building use a larger weight with fewer reps—and pull your hands up to your shoulders, palms facing in and lower down into a squat. As you rise out of the squat, push your hands up into the air. Bring them back down to shoulder height as you go down into a squat.


Works: Cardio and core

Stand feet hip-width apart and push off your left leg to jump to the right. Land on your right foot and slide your left leg behind your right, and touch your right foot with your left hand. Do the same for the other side for one full rep. Think of the skating movement to get into a rhythm with this one, which should be performed fast once you have the exercise down.