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April 13, 2022
Full-body workout plans are a fantastic way to train. They emphasize effectiveness and efficiency while getting rid of any “extra”. Plus, they are universal as literally anyone can progress using full body training, assuming they have the correct variables. Lifters of all levels use full body workout plans with great success; from beginners to elite athletes.
In this article, you’re not only going to learn what makes a full body workout plan awesome and we’re going to hook you up with our own full body training program that will definitely get you some great gains.
Let’s get into why we think full body workout plans are fantastic and why you might want (need) to try it.
One of the first things you do before starting training is picking out a training program with a split that meets your lifestyle and needs. There are actually entirely a few different quality splits, such as a PPL (Push, Pull, Legs) or an Upper/Lower split. The plan’s name tells you what your split is. Therefore, a full body workout plan means that you will train all the major muscle groups in your body every training session.
One of the key components and benefits of a full body workout program is that it’s efficient. In other words, it provides an effective stimulus to every muscle with minimal time.
A full body workout program is fantastic for someone with little time or simply doesn’t want to spend more time in the gym than necessary. At the same time, it could be for someone looking for the most efficient plan there is or needs to monitor their fatigue. Because you’re training every muscle group every day, full body workout programs are usually performed 3 days a week. You could also train two days a week using a full body workout program if you were really limited on time, but we’ll focus on the ideal full body workout plan, which has you training 3 days a week.
If you are wondering, what about 4 or 5 days a week? Well, you aren’t going to train your entire body 4 or 5 days a week in an effective manner. Even if you wanted to, your body would say “heck no” and burn out fast. The reason being is that you would simply not be able to recover enough between workouts. Therefore, if you plan on training more than 3 days a week, you should definitely go with another split. There are plenty of excellent 4-day and 5-day (and even 6 day) splits; they’re just not full body.
Note: We are here talking about full body weight training. If you do bodyweight-only, full body could work 4 days a week.
Using a full body workout is a highly efficient way to get in an effective workout, knowing you’ve trained every muscle sufficiently. But that’s not the only benefit to full body training plans.
Below are the top benefits of using a full body workout training program:
1. You Know You Train Every Muscle…With The Right Frequency:
With a full body workout plan, you know exactly what you’re doing that day…everything! A little bit of chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs! It pretty much leaves the guess work out of it - if it’s not tired, you probably need to hit it!
This simplicity makes it impossible to train a body part too little or too much. That’s because there’s not enough time to favor one body part over the other; you either do it or you don’t. However, it also ensures that you hit the muscle at least 2x a week. Studies have shown that training a muscle group with this frequency tends to elicit the most significant benefits in terms of strength and hypertrophy. This allows the muscle to be trained, recover, and then be trained again in a cyclical pattern. While you’re training every muscle group 3x a week, you will still have enough recovery time between sessions as you’ll only perform a few exercises per muscle group per day.
2. Extremely Efficient On Time:
We love full body workouts because we know every exercise counts. Again, full body workout plans are scheduled for every 2 or 3 days. This means that while there is plenty of time to get in an excellent workout, there’s not any time to mess around. What happens is, you get a training program where every single exercise is of utmost importance, and there is no fluff. This makes it the perfect choice for those who are always on the go and have limited time. To be clear, none of our plans have “fluff” but there is definitely a spectrum of importance and all of the exercises in a full body workout plan lean more towards “vitally Important”.
3. Ensures Plenty Of Rest And Recovery:
A full body workout plan only has you train 3 days a week, which means there are another 4 days to rest and recover. Unless you try to purposely mess up your training, you’re going to have adequate time to fully recover between sessions. Ideally, you separate each training day by one recovery day with one two-day recovery break (generally the weekend). For example, perhaps the most common schedule would have you train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Regardless, recovery is one of the most essential parts of an effective program and most straightforward (you don’t have to do anything!). Yet, it’s a variable people tend to mess up the most. A full body workout plan ensures this doesn’t happen, which is one of our favorite parts. This simple variable could actually be the key to many people’s success.
4. Allows Plenty Of Time For Other Sports Or Activities:
Believe it or not, not everyone wants to be in the gym every day. Still, not everyone even really cares about hitting new PRs. In fact, we’d guess the majority of people going to the gym are just trying to be healthy and look pretty good, and that’s perfectly ok.
Or, perhaps some are involved in other sports such as cycling, running, or dancing. This group of people wants to get to the gym simply to stay in shape or help strengthen their bodies for their sport. A full body split allows this as the training days are either 2 or 3 days. This leaves the other 4 or 5 days wide open to do whatever it is you want. We believe that balance is the key to success: gym, relationships, rest, fun, social, and hobbies. This is a lot easier to do when running a full body split due to the less number of training days.
5. Allows You To Workout Out With Intensity Every Session
Going hand in hand with allowing you adequate recovery, running a full body split will enable you to completely crush every single session. This is because you should be coming off a rest day before every single workout! Too often, trainees try to go to the gym and kill it every workout. This is difficult to do unless your programming is on point, and even still, it’s still hard on the body. Going to the gym for two or three days in a row can make it very challenging to give 100% effort as you’re still likely fatigued from the last session, even if you don’t feel like it.
Other than the physical component, going to the gym too often can become tough mentally for a variety of reasons. In a perfect world, you want to be hungry for that next session where you are actually looking forward to moving a lot of weight around. While not every workout will feel like this, your best bet to get it the most consistently is with a full body workout.
To be clear, training 4 or 5 days is still extremely effective as they allow you to get in more work volume. However, fatigue management becomes a bit more important as it’s easier to burn out, especially for beginners.
Creating a full body workout plan is relatively easy as you’re going to stick to the basics. This means you want to incorporate at least one exercise from each major movement pattern:
After these are taken care of, you can then add in some isolation to finish your training plan, but keep it to a minimum. There’s no reason to do any more than one isolation exercise for a muscle group, especially beginners.
Further, even though you’re going to train every muscle group daily, you can still be smart about it. This means you don’t have to train every big exercise on the same day. It also means that each day can favor either different muscle group. As you’ll see, our days will train both strength and hypertrophy. However, the accessory and hypertrophy movements will stick to one similar muscle group. Further, as you’re only training 3 days a week, you’ll be doing a bit more exercise to ensure a well-rounded training session. However, you’ll only be doing 2 sets of high reps for the smallest exercises to counteract this.
Ok, now you are ready. Here is the plan you should follow...
|Squat||5 sets||5 reps|
|Bent Over Row||4 sets||6 reps|
|Romanian Deadlift||3 sets||8 reps|
|Dips||3 sets||2 RIR|
|Lateral Raise||2 sets||12-15 reps|
|Face Pull||2 sets||12-15 reps|
|Rope High Pull||2 sets||12-15 reps|
|Bench Press||5 sets||5 reps|
|Chin Ups (weighted if needed)||4 sets||6 reps|
|Leg Press||3 sets||8 reps|
|Seated DB Overhead Press||3 sets||8-10 reps|
|Walking Lunges||1-3 sets||100 steps (50/leg)|
|Leg Extension||2 sets||12-15 reps|
|Leg Curl||2 sets||12-15 reps|
|Calf Raise||2 sets||12-15 reps|
|Deadlift||5 sets||5 reps|
|Military Press||4 sets||6 reps|
|Seated Row||3 sets||8 reps|
|Hip Thrust||3 sets||8 reps|
|Skull Crusher||3 sets||8-10 reps|
|Hammer Curl||3 sets||8-10 reps|
|Tricep Extension||2 sets||12-15 reps|
|Preacher Curl||2 sets||12-15 reps|
Above, you have a fantastic training program that will definitely deliver results. To begin, you are simply going to find a weight that’s challenging but doable. For example, for the squat that has you perform a 5x5, you should start with a weight that you can get 8 times. Don’t worry about going too light as you’ll grow into it as you’ll be adding weight. However, DO worry about starting too heavy as this will stunt your progress and have you missing reps before you even begin.
As you look at the exercise, realize that in a way, they are ordered in their “importance”. Basically, you want to worry the most about the exercises at the beginning while using the latter exercises as accessory movements to help generate more volume and strengthen specific muscles. And by “importance” we mean how you will use progressive overload and how that will look for different exercises. We’ll explain below...
At the same time, you will notice that the beginning exercises have a set rep scheme on the lower end (heavier load), i.e. 3x5. These are more geared towards strength development as these are your big, foundational movements. But still, you’ll also get muscle growth as well (the idea that you have to use higher reps for muscle growth is built on an improper understanding of physiology). To progress on these, you will simply increase the weight every session, or when you are able to complete the total number of sets and reps at a given weight. This is because for strength, using heavier weights is vital for optimal improvements.
On the other hand, the later ones have a rep range that sits on the higher end i.e. 3x12-15. These will be used for volume and hypertrophy training. For these, you are going to use a weight that allows you to work somewhere between the given range. Once you can perform the sets on the higher end, you will then add weight. Keep in mind that your performance on these will vary as there towards the end of the workout. If you are able to put more weight on all of your bigger lifts, you may not be able to add weight to the exercises towards the end. In fact, you may even lift less. This is perfectly fine as long as you are pushing it to failure.
Remember at the beginning, we mentioned that the exercises ranged in “importance” - this is what we meant. If you are increasing your bench press, you are definitely getting stronger and bigger. Therefore, your triceps are also receiving overload so the triceps extension doesn’t matter as much in terms of worrying too much about increasing the weight.
So you have four days to do nothing, right! Nope. Just because you have “rest” days doesn’t mean you don’t do anything. In fact, this is the time to get things done that you’ve been putting off. This can include things such as working in your mobility work or getting in some of that cardio you keep promising you’re gonna do...or, you could even throw in some core work at your house. Regardless, make the most of this time off. Perhaps doing nothing would be ok for one day (make it a beach day!), but get out and move on the other three! Staying active will only help improve your results.
The full body split is an awesome training plan that more people should actually utilize at the end of the day. Its biggest hindrance is a false belief that many people have that basically asserts you need to go as hard as you can as often as you can. This three full-day plan allows you to push it when you need while giving you plenty of time to rest so that you can crush the next session. That sounds like a pretty sick workout plan; being able to crush every session?…Sign me up!
Other good workout plans:
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