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Full body exercises, also known as total body exercises, will almost always require the use of the muscles of the abdomen and lower back. These muscles are grouped to be called our core muscles. The Mayo Clinic says that not only are full-body core exercises beneficial for strengthening the abdominal muscles, but they also will improve balance and stability, which can benefit you in everyday life and other physical activities.


One of the simplest total body exercises that requires core strength and stabilization is the push-up. To begin this exercise, lay prone on the floor with your legs extended. Position your hands slightly wider than, and ahead of, your shoulders. Contract the muscles of the core and lift the body up until the arms are straight and the spine is in a neutral position. Inhale as you lower the body, forcing the upper portion of the arms parallel to the floor. Without releasing the abdominal muscles, exhale as you raise the body back to the starting position.


The burpee is not only an amazing exercise for the total body, but it also is perfect for conditioning the body and increasing power and strength, says Position yourself in a squat position with your hands flat on the floor in front of you to begin the burpee. Contract the abdomen and jump your feet back to extend your legs behind you, placing you in a push-up position. After the spine reaches neutral, jump your feet back forward to your starting position. From the squat, stand and jump straight up. When you return to the floor, drop down into squat position and repeat. To prevent injury, be sure to keep the muscles of the abdomen tight to control your body weight as you land your feet into push-up position.


The windmill is most often performed with a kettlebell or a dumbbell, but it can also be performed with no weight at all. Starting in anatomical position, spread your legs until your feet are slightly wider than hip width and rotate your right foot to the right until it is perpendicular to the center of your left foot. Slightly bend the right knee and tilt the left hip toward the ceiling. Extend the left arm straight up above the shoulder and the right arm straight down in front of the right thigh. Contract the core and flex to the right at the hip to drive the right arm toward the floor while simultaneously forcing the left arm straight up. Flex over as far as you can without twisting the core. Return to the starting position without dropping your form. Switch legs and change arms to perform on the left side.

Side Plank with Hip Abduction

This exercise requires total body strength with an emphasis on the glutes, hip abductors, shoulders and core. Begin by lying on your side on the floor. Lift the upper body to place your elbow directly beneath your shoulder, with your forearm flat on the floor perpendicular to your body. Form a 90-degree bend at the knee of your lower leg and lift your hips off the floor to balance your weight between your forearm and bent leg. Form a straight line from your shoulder to the foot of the extended top leg. Once in position, abduct the top hip to lift the leg as high as possible without raising or lowering your hips. Return to the starting position without touching the floor with your foot and repeat.