If you are pressed for time, there are literally hundreds of short-duration, high-intensity workouts that utilize just your own body weight and may be performed anywhere. And, full body extensions are one of those exercises. As you will see when you read the exercise descriptions below, this exercise requires you to use your upper and lower body and demands a strong full core engagement throughout.
There are three variations of this exercise discussed with the third, a very high intensity version (not for the light of heart or those with lumbar spine/knee/shoulder issues). So, for those of you that experience lumbar spine/knee/shoulder issues, choose versions one or two. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
*Perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions of one of the versions, 2-3 times/week on non-consecutive days. If you have never performed this exercise before, begin with version #1, master it and then consider version 2 or 3.
**Warm-up for 5-10 minutes elevating the ratings of perceived exertion to a 1-2 which is very light to light exertion. Good movement choices are full body in nature such as squats, lunges, pushups, step touches, light jogging or marching.
***Set up first by standing up tall, completely vertical, head/neck in neutral, shoulders rotated back/down, rib cage lifted, navel pulled toward your spine, pelvic floor pulled up and in and the knees relaxed.
Full Body Extension – Version #1
Set up as reviewed above, with the feet approximately shoulder-distance apart, arms at a 90-degree angle at the shoulder joint and the body weight equally distributed in the feet.
Now, sit back and down into a squat position aiming your tailbone toward the wall behind you.
Once you have completed the squat position with heels down, press straight up onto the balls of your feet, heels lifted, as you raise the arms directly over your head toward the ceiling so that your body is vertical and fully extended at the knee joints.
Then, lower the body back into a squat position, heels down, weight in the heels, arms returning with control to a 90 degree angle at the shoulder joint.
Full Body Extension – Version #2
Exactly the same set up and full body extension skill except that you will hold moderate dumbbells or a weighted bar or medicine ball in your hands pressing the arms over the head as described in version #1.
This increases the intensity considerably as the external resistance is being pressed over the head. Therefore, take your time pressing up and lowering the dumbbells/weighted bar/medicine ball.
Full Body Extension – Version #3 – Plyometric (no external resistance!)
Exactly the same set up as versions one and two.
Driving through the heels, explode upward from the floor extending the entire body vertically toward the ceiling.
Then, land softly with control, think—touching the balls of the feet, then heels, then knees flexed into the squat position again.
This is high intensity work and should be avoided if you have lumbar spine or knee issues. Plyometrics are explosive; however, this high impact activity may be safely performed as long as you remember to control the takeoff and landing as described.