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Atlanta Personal Trainers Share Their Favorite Exercises for a Total-Body Workout

Atlanta Personal Trainers Share Their Favorite Exercises for a Total-Body Workout

Matt Thomas
By Katherine Sauceda

Ready to begin your fitness journey but a little overwhelmed about where to start? Lucky for you, we’ve tapped some of Atlanta’s top personal trainers and fitness influencers for their take on easy-to-learn exercises for a total-body workout. Each move targets multiple muscle groups to generate the strength and muscle tone you need to tackle your fitness goals. So let’s get started!

Katherine Roarty, Legs

Professional Dancer and Instructor at AKT Inman Park

Exercise Recommendation: Lunge Series

The Benefit: Lunges are an all-in-one hamstrings, quads and glutes workout.

The Breakdown: Alternate between side and reverse lunges for eight sets, then stay in a reverse lunge and pulse down to the floor for 32 repetitions. Doing the same sequence, you can alternate into a curtsy position for another eight sets. Pulse in curtsy pose for 32 repetitions. The goal is to keep your hips and shoulders square to the front, placing most of your body weight on the front heel for maximum effect.

@katherine.roarty, @theaktinmanpark,

Pamela Molinari, Glutes

Pro trainer for 35 years, Owner and Lead Trainer at Atlanta Fitness Diva

Exercise Recommendation: One-Leg Deadlift

The Benefit: One-leg deadlifts recruit a greater percentage of muscle fibers than exercises utilizing both legs, making them an optimal glute exercise.

The Breakdown: Stand on one leg and bend forward at the hips slowly and with control to allow for an intense muscle contraction. To up the ante, beginners can hold eight-pound dumbbells in each hand or 12 pounds each for more advanced athletes. Keep your back straight and push your hips back to allow for the deepest stretch possible. For a modification, you can keep your back leg on the ground slightly behind the front one for stability.


Jeremy Watford, Core

Trainer at PT Cross-Training

Exercise Recommendation: Dead Bugs

The Benefit: Unlike other core exercises, dead bugs target deeper core muscles like the transverse abdominis, pelvic floor and erector spinae.

The Breakdown: Engage your core by keeping your lower back in contact with the mat. Lift your arms and extend them straight above your shoulders. Raise your knees until they are over your hips, creating a 90-degree angle. With a controlled movement, lower one arm toward the floor while extending the opposite leg toward the floor. After returning to the starting position, repeat the movement on your opposite arm and leg.


Kariim E. Smith, Arms and Shoulders

Founder of Body By Kariim Fitness

Exercise Recommendation: Lateral Raises

The Benefit: Maintaining shoulder strength and mobility is very important, especially as we mature. Lateral raises are the most effective exercise used to target the side shoulder or lateral deltoid head. 

The Breakdown: This exercise can be done with dumbbells, cables, bands or arm weights. Start with your arms at your side. Put a slight bend in your elbow. Now raise your arm from the side until your elbow is perpendicular to your shoulder. As you raise your arm, tilt your hand until your palm faces the floor. Lower your arm about 90% to maintain stress on the muscle, then raise again. Repeat 10 to 12 times per set.


Missy Mostrom, Overall Cardio

Co-founder of VESTA FitBoxing

Exercise Recommendation: Kickboxing

The Benefit: Strength, speed, hand-eye coordination, agility, endurance and power kickboxing does it all. The ultimate benefit? There’s no plateau because you’re constantly getting faster and stronger, targeting the entire body.

The Breakdown: While kickboxing, keep your core tightened and constantly stay loose lightly bouncing between your left and right foot for maximum cardio benefit. Make quick, snappy jabs  withdrawing as quickly as you strike the bag. Don’t have access to a bag? No problem. Shadowboxing is a great alternative.

@missprissatl, @vesta_fitboxing,

Matt Thomas, Overall Strength and Conditioning

Founder of Fight and Flow and Brawl for a Cause

Exercise Recommendation: Plank Strikes

The Benefit: Regular plank is a great exercise for full-body engagement. Longer holds with arm and leg movements help increase your heart rate, calories burned and endurance. Opposed to traditional cardio like running, this exercise has less impact on the joints and is more accessible for people of all ages and fitness levels.

The Breakdown: Keeping your back flat with your hands and elbows stacked under your shoulders, hold the plank position for intervals of 30 to 60 seconds. For a challenge, try “strikes” or raising alternating legs for kicks or alternating arms for punches to enhance full-body conditioning and core strength. Bring your knees to the ground to reduce strain on your back or come to a forearm plank to reduce strain on your wrists.


New to working out? Read our 10 Tips to Avoid Injury When Exercising here.

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