What Is a Quick Full-Body Workout?

A Lego looking out the window of his home

You’re in a rush, huh? But you’re also eager to squeeze in a quick workout!

(We’ve got a knack for understanding you at Nerd Fitness.)

No worries, we’ve got your back, my friend!

Today, we’re dishing out a full-body workout that only requires TWO EXERCISES.

This means you can smash a workout and still have plenty of time for your day (you know, for things like dominating video games).

So, what’s the secret sauce? It’s all about the push-up and the deadlift.

These bad boys are your go-to moves when time is of the essence.

Here’s what we’ll be covering today:

Let’s get into it.

Why the push-up and deadlift?

The push-up is a great upper-body exercise that also strengthens your core.

Coach Matt doing a push-up

Plus, unless you’re currently floating in the vacuum of space, you’ve already got everything you need to start: the floor.

Then we couple this with the deadlift.

Coach Staci doing a deadlift

The deadlift strengthens your lower body during the movement, while your grip and back muscles have to engage to keep everything under control.

Put that all together, and just about every muscle head to toe has done something!

Yep, it’s all about efficiency with this workout: two exercises then we’re done.

Now, you might be all ready to go with these two moves. Great!

We’ll cover some ideas if you need to make this workout even more challenging.

However, you might be feeling a bit intimidated – we hear you! No worries!

We’ll cover variations of the standard push-up (if it’s still a goal in the distance), and variations of the deadlift (even if you don’t have a barbell).

Okay, let’s go into the details.

The Nerd Fitness (Quick) Full-Body Workout

Step #1: Warm-up

Before we head to the main event, let’s get those muscles warmed up. Think of it as your fitness pre-game show:

  • Arm Circles: Stand tall and extend your arms to the sides. Make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size. Go 5-10 reps in one direction, then 5-10 in the other direction.
  • Bodyweight Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down as low as you feel comfortable. Use an assist (doorway or chair) if needed. Repeat for 10 total reps.

If you need a little more of a warm-up, feel free to do another round or two of arm circles and bodyweight squats (but we understand time is of the essence here).

Also, we have a plethora of other warm-up moves in this guide if you’re interested in more.


Step #2: Push-ups

Goal: 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

The push-up is your trusty sidekick for building upper-body strength, and it’s more versatile than a Swiss army knife! But if you’re new to this move, don’t fret. We’ve got some regressions to help you level up your powers:

Wall Push-Up

Coach Jim doing a wall push-up

Stand facing a wall with your arms extended. Lean in and push back. It’s like giving the wall a friendly nudge!

Countertop Push-Up

Find a sturdy countertop and get into a push-up position. Perform the push-up, adjusting the angle to suit your comfort level. Countertop, meet your match!

Coach Jim doing a countertop push-up

If you can’t find a suitable wall or countertop, then knee push-ups on the ground may work better. Get creative!

Steve doing a knee push-up

And if all of this is easy peasy push-up squeezy, then increase the reps over 12, or try different hand positions like the diamond push-up to up the challenge!

For some finer details, check out The Nerd’s Guide to the Push-up.

Step #3: Deadlift

Goal: 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

As we said above, the deadlift is like the one-stop-shop of lower-body exercises, strengthening everything from your:

  • Legs
  • Core
  • Grip
  • Back
  • Courage

(Okay, maybe not that last one. But also, kind of that last one.)

And the best part? No need to wait for a squat rack!

Here’s how to do a deadlift:

  • Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart, the barbell over the middle of your feet.
  • Keeping your back straight, push your hips back and bow forward. You’ll then bend your knees just slightly until you can grip the bar. Your grip should be about shoulder-width apart with arms straight.
  • Squeeze the bar tight, get your midsection tight, and stand up with the bar – keeping it as close as possible on the way up. Reverse everything to put the bar back down – push your hips back, bow forward, bend the knees slightly – maintaining control throughout the movement!

It’ll look like this:

Steve doing a deadlift

If you don’t have a barbell available (or you’re working up the strength to deadlift one) – you can easily substitute:

Bodyweight Good Mornings

Coach Staci doing a bodyweight good morning

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Just like the deadlift, keep your back straight, and push your hips back. Return to standing position. It’s like saying “good morning” to your muscles!

Band Deadlifts

Another great variation that’ll work the same muscles. There are several varieties, but standing firmly on a band, grabbing it, and then standing up will get things done.

Coach Matt doing a deadlift with a resistance band

Dumbbell or Kettlebell Deadlift

Coach Matt doing a kettlebell deadlift

Bodyweight or bands too easy? Then grab a single dumbbell or kettlebell, or a pair of them.

Hold the weight in between your legs if you’ve got a single weight. Hold the weight on either side of your body if you’ve got a pair of them (we find this a little more comfortable).


With some practice, you’ll move up to a barbell before you know it.

Of course, if you’re already deadlifting with a barbell – go heavier if needed! We recommended sets of 8 to 12 reps so that you could get in plenty of work each set.

For more help here, check out The Nerd’s Guide to the Deadlift.

So there you have it, a quick and effective workout for those “I don’t have time” moments.

You’ve got this! We believe in you.

-Jim Bathurst

PS: If you’re looking to continue the fun with Nerd Fitness, we built three programs just for you.

(Seriously, we talked to your friends and family during the design stage.)

1) If you want step-by-step guidance, a custom workout program that levels up as you get stronger, and a coach to keep you accountable, check out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:

Your NF Coach can help you lose weight and get healthy!

2) If you want a daily prompt for doing workouts at home, check out NF Journey. Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise more frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

Try your free trial right here:

3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll help you start incorporating these bodyweight moves into your training.

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