5 Total-Body Exercises To Build Muscle And Burn Fat

If you’re a natural trainee looking to build an athletic physique with incredible muscle size and definition, total-body exercises are the way to go. Not only do they recruit a large majority of muscle fibers in the body, they also help burn more fat in the process.

Due to the larger amount of muscle mass involved, full body training can cause bigger testosterone boosts, leading to more muscle gain and faster fat loss. It’s also ideal for people short on time or those who want to perform activities outside weight training.

As they cause less CNS fatigue, it’s useful for beginners and people getting back into training after a break. Another benefit of total-body exercises is that they allow for a greater recovery rate, as they’re only performed 2-3 times a week.

Total-Body Exercises For Building Muscle And Burning Fat

Here’s a look at five such exercises:

1) Barbell deadlift


The deadlift is called the king of all exercises for a reason. If there’re any weak links in your body from head to toe, deadlifts can help reveal them.

If you want to build a ton of muscle in your upper back, lats, legs, forearms, spinal erectors, and lower back, deadlifts should be a definite addition to your list of total-body exercises.


  • Stand upright in front of a loaded barbell. The foot stance is determined by your skeletal structure and mobility. The mid-foot should ideally lie under the bar.
  • Take a deep breath, and engage your core. Hinge at your hips while keeping your back flat. The bar should touch your shins slightly when you’re in the correct position.
  • Grab the bar with a double overhand grip. As the weights exceed your grip strength, you can switch to a mixed grip or use weightlifting straps instead. The deadlift is one of the few total-body exercises where back strength can quickly exceed grip strength.
  • Flex your lats and hamstrings to start the lift. Think of pushing the ground down with your feet.
  • Once the bar reaches the hips, thrust forward, and lock out.
  • Lower the barbell to the starting position. Repeat.

2) Barbell Squat


Squats are among the best total-body exercises for building explosive lower body strength.

They also burn a lot of calories and help improve cardiovascular stamina, as anyone who has done 20-rep squats with more than half their body weight would readily profess.


  • Stand upright with a barbell on your back. Use the high bar or low bar position, based on your goals and overall mobility.
  • While bracing the core, bend at the knees, and descend into a squat. Keep your chest up and your back flat.
  • Avoid turning the squat into a good morning by kneeling too forward.
  • Squat as deep as possible for stretching out the quads.
  • Explode back up to the starting position. Repeat.

3) Pull-up


Pull-ups have been used as total-body exercises to test and train soldiers since the Graeco-Roman times.

Firstly, they require just your bodyweight and something to hang from. Secondly, they help develop the lats, forearms, upper back, core, and grip strength.


  • Grab on to a pull-up bar with a double overhand grip. You can also use rings, towels, or even your door handle to perform pull-ups.
  • Brace your abs, and engage your glutes.
  • Using your upper back and lats, slowly lift yourself up to the bar.
  • Make sure your chin comes above the bar. Avoid kipping, and make sure to reset your shoulder blades after each repetition.
  • Lower yourself down slowly. Repeat.

4) Overhead Press


The overhead press is one of the best total-body exercises you can perform to develop 3D, boulder shoulders. Apart from the delts, it also builds the core, triceps, chest, and upper back.


  • Stand upright with the bar in front rack position.
  • Hold the barbell at shoulder-width. This distance can vary based on your height and arm length.
  • Squeeze your glutes, and brace the core. Keep your chest up and chin tucked in slightly.
  • Press the bar straight overhead. At the topmost position, the bar should line up with your mid-foot.
  • Lock your elbows at the top, and shrug your traps to complete the movement. Repeat.

5) Farmer’s Carry


If you’re looking to build real-world strength and top-notch stamina, weighted carries should be a staple in your arsenal of total-body exercises.


  • Add weight to a pair of farmer’s handles.
  • Brace your core, and hold your chest up.
  • Walk up and down a course, either for longer duration or heavier weight. Perform them unilaterally to work more of the core and obliques.


Make sure to consume a high-protein diet, and ensure adequate recovery while performing the aforementioned total-body exercises. Perform them 2-3 times a week to build muscle while burning body fat.

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