Maria Sollon’s Favorite Quick Total Gym Moves To Add To Your Routine

Maria's favorite total gym exercises

5 Fast, Fierce, and Fabulous Total Gym Moves

Every trainer has their own set of favorite exercises that they feel are the best to do with certain pieces of equipment. Having a variety of different exercises to experiment with and add to your fitness repertoire can always make any routine different as well as add a challenge.

When working out, I always try to have a plan of what I want to accomplish. Whether it’s a cardio day, a combination of core and strength intervals, or a Pilates workout, it’s always best to throw in some of your favorite exercises to accomplish significant results. I have compiled some of my favorite Total Gym exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. These functional movements combine strength, core, and cardio components that train the entire body in a short amount of time to produce maximum results!

Maria’s Favorite Exercises

Here is my set of go-to exercises that I do when I’m short on time and want an effective and efficient full-body workout. I suggest incorporating these exercises into your routine and performing them at least twice a week.


  • The reps and sets will vary depending on your fitness goals. For a reference, try to perform 10-15 reps and 2-3 sets.
  • Perform the following 5 exercises in circuit format. Rest briefly, then repeat to complete your workout.
  • If you’re interested in more Total Gym Circuit Workouts, check out this post!
  1. Arm Circles

    Goal: To target the entire arm area (shoulders, triceps, biceps) & core
    Description: (cables / low-med level)Lie flat on the glide board with the cables in each hand. Exhale as your arms sweep in a continual motion to perform a complete circle. Perform an equal amount in each direction.

     * Keep the spine in a neutral or imprinted position throughout the motion. 

    • Beginner: Keep your knees bent while your feet rest on the glideboard (GB). Try to keep your head, neck, and shoulders resting on the GB while the arms circle, to avoid unnecessary strain.
    • Intermediate: Lift your legs and bend them at a 90′ angle. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders into a crunch position and hold to engage your abs.
    • Advanced: Extend your legs straight and lower them closer towards the GB while keeping the correct spinal alignment.
  2. Glute Sweeps

    Goal: To engage the glutes, hamstrings, core, and improve functional stability
    Description: (cables / low-med level)
    Stand to one side of the GB facing the tower. Place the outside foot into that side’s cable. Anchor down and assume a quadruped position with the arms extended long. With the core engaged, sweep the cable leg straight back to activate the hamstring and glute. Keep tension on the cable at all times.

    * Repeat on both sides

  3. Circle Chops

    Goal: To challenge the obliques and improve core stability, and shoulder/ arm area
    Description: (cables / low-med level)
    Face one side with the cable(s) in hand. Perform a complete circle with the cable to activate the core. Perform an equal amount in each direction.

    • Beginner: Perform while sitting
    • Intermediate: Perform while kneeling
    • Advanced: Perform while high-kneeling

    * Repeat on both sides

  4. Back Extension Sweeps & Scissor Legs

    Goal: To engage the upper, middle, and lower back area; this exercise works the shoulders, arms, and outer thighs.
    Description: (cables / low-med level)
    Lie in a prone position facing the tower with the cables in each hand. Lift the torso into extension as the arms simultaneously sweep straight back to the hips and the legs abduct to the sides. Perform this exercise at a controlled pace.

  5. Push Up, Circle Knee Tucks

    Goal: To engage the chest/shoulders/arms and improve core strength and functional stability in the shoulders
    Description: (low-med level)
    Face away from the tower in a plank position with hands close to the bottom base and the feet positioned on the GB. Keep the shoulders on top of the wrists with the spine and legs extended long. Perform a push-up, bend the knees into chest, pike the hips up while the legs extend again, and then return to a plank position to repeat the exercise.

    *Repeat this exercise in the opposite direction.

The more familiar you become with certain exercises, the more comfortable you will be at designing your own workouts. Eventually, you will begin to know what works best for your body. Trying different movements and exploring new challenges is what will ultimately make a difference in your workouts!

Always train hard,


Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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