Most workout routines you come across these days are body part splits, with rep ranges that are all over the place and changing. Those routines do have their place and purpose. However for the person just starting in the gym, or getting back to the gym after an extended absence, or even an experienced athlete looking to simplify their gym session, the full body routine is key.
A well crafted full body routine is a great thing. It will allow you to go to the gym only 3 (or 4 if you’d like) days a week. A good full body routine will even help to put on mass for beginners and help to build strength for more advanced athletes. So you’ll be saving time at the gym and seeing some great results.
So what makes a great full body routine? A combination of things. Some of which are: compound exercises (squat, bench press, etc.), progression, and heavy weight. In your workouts, you should be working most of the muscle groups in your body and ideally, a few at a time. Some exercises that should be in your full body routine are:
-Squats, as they work all of the leg muscles and the core
-Bench presses, as they hit the chest, triceps, and front of the shoulders
-Overhead presses, they will develop the overall shoulder, and hit the triceps
-Chin ups, a great bodyweight or weighted exercise that develops the back, grip, and biceps
-Deadlifts, King of Exercises, the deadlift works almost every muscle group in the body
-Preacher/EZ Bar curls, for extra emphasis on the biceps and forearms
-Leg Raises, great overall AB developer
When I did a full body workout, I would alternate week to week, the chin-ups and deadlifts. I also included some calf presses.
Most full body routines will have you starting with 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise. That means you’re using a weight that you can only do 10 reps at a time with. For progression you can add weight when you’re able to do 2-3 reps above 10 for every set. For long term progression, increase the volume from 3 sets to 4,then 5, up to 6. Any more than six sets becomes to time consuming and taxing for the body.
That’s it. Pretty simple. No fancy exercises, no hard to find machines needed. Get in, work hard, and get out. Rest, repeat.
If you want to try some famous full body routines, check out Arnold’s Golden Six and Larry Scott’s full body routine.