Full Body Training Workout Routines

Fantastic article by Chad Waterbury on full body workouts. I’ve been following Chad for several years now and he is by far the best out there. He is the smartest most innovative trainer when it comes to performance training. Take a look at component 1 of this 2 component series on why you need to be doing full body workouts.

By: Chad Waterbury

Training your whole body, each time you suit up for a workout, is the fastest method for 99% of lifters to gain muscle mass. I can’t make it any simpler than that. Full body training (aka total body training) is as well-liked as ever because that’s what the vast majority of lifters out there need.

I’ve written countless articles and three books that revolve around full body training: Muscle Revolution, Huge in a Hurry, and Body of F.I.R.E. In fact, if you do a Google search for “full body training” or “total body training,” the T-nation article I wrote a few years back on the subject is the first to come up. (Out of 67,300,000 feasible outcomes.)

It’s safe to say that my name is synonymous with the full body training philosophy, yet I still get frequent emails from avid lifters who want to try it but do not know how to set up an efficient plan.

So that’s why I decided to write this post. With the following info you’ll have all the tools you should make full body training work for you.

First, let me explain why this kind of training works so well. You will find three reasons: exercise selection, hormonal response, and frequency.

Exercise Selection: when you train everything in 1 workout you should be wise with the exercises you choose. Of all of the variables that make or break your muscle-gaining efforts, exercise selection is number one. Any body part split can be efficient if it’s comprised of compound exercises. However, whenever you target particular muscle groups with body component split training you invariably do a bunch of isolation exercises that have little to no impact on adding muscle to your frame. With full body training, there’s no time to mess with concentration curls, kickbacks, along with a host of other subpar exercises. By default, full body training steers you to compound exercises that give you probably the most bang for your buck.

Hormonal Response: 3 of probably the most important hormones for building muscle are testosterone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), and growth hormone. Study shows that growth hormone will improve after an intense bout of exercise. And when growth hormone increases it signals the body to produce more IGF-1, a powerful anabolic hormone. Research also shows that working the largest muscle groups outcomes within the highest output of growth hormone. A full body workout creates an intense demand for your body to upregulate anabolic hormones – significantly higher than workouts that only work a couple of muscle groups (eg, arms and shoulders).

Via research, it’s been shown that the quantity of muscle mass stimulated in a workout is proportionate to the amount of testosterone that’s released. Put simply, workouts that stimulate probably the most muscles produce probably the most testosterone. I’ll concede that the relationship between strength training and the impact it has on testosterone is still just a little fuzzy, but my empirical data (and common sense) tells us that full body workouts augment testosterone better than a day of arm training.

Frequency: no 1 would argue against the principle that training a muscle group more often results in faster muscle gains (provided you are able to recover between the workouts). With full body training, every of the primary muscle groups are stimulated at least three times per week, as opposed to a body part split that only hits every thing once per week (yes, there’s some carryover between a chest/back and arms/shoulders workouts, but you get the point). Make no mistake about it: training more often is the key to building muscle quick.

Nevertheless, you can’t just train every thing three times per week and recover from those workouts unless you follow these actions.

Step #1: Start with three exercises in one workout. 1 of the problems lifters run into when they embark on a full body training plan is they try to do too many exercises in one workout. For a workout to be full body, it only has to consist of an upper body pull, an upper body push, and a squat, deadlift or lunge variation. Here are two examples of a full body workout:

Full body workout Example 1

1A Chin-up

1B Dip

1C Deadlift

Full body workout Example 2

1A One-arm dumbbell row

1B One-arm shoulder press

1C Reverse lunge

As you are able to see, a full body workout can consist of single-limb exercises, too. Full body training isn’t just about bent-over rows, push presses, and squats. There are countless exercise variations you can use in the workouts. Later on I’ll tell you how you can add much more exercises to a full body workout to be able to target lagging muscle groups. But for the first few weeks, begin with 3 exercises per workout to get your body accustomed to this type of training.

Step #2: Perform a different exercise for each workout throughout the week. This is where lifters frequently get tripped up. If you attempt to do a full body workout that consists of the chin-up/dip/deadlift circuit 3 times per week you’ll get overtrained in no time. Each workout throughout the week should consist of various variations of an upper body pull, upper body push, and squat, deadlift or lunge variation. Here’s a sample weekly workout plan.

Monday

1A Chin-up

1B Dip

1C Deadlift

Wednesday

1A One-arm row

1B One-arm shoulder press

1C Reverse lunge

Friday

1A Pull-up with a narrow grip

1B Decline dumbbell bench press

1C Front squat

Now you’ve a weekly workout plan that consists of different exercises in every workout. Repeat this plan for 6 weeks, and then pick new exercises. The exercises for your next 6-week phase don’t have to be drastically various. Merely switching from dumbbells to a barbell or kettlebells will do the trick. For example, you could do the front squat with a barbell for 6 weeks, and then do a front squat although holding two kettlebells for the next 6 weeks. Or you could do a totally different exercise. It’s up to you and the equipment that’s available.

Step #3: Use a different rep scheme with each workout throughout the week. Full body workouts are demanding and they’ll push your limits of recovery if you’re not used to them. As a result, one simple trick to help your body recover is to use a various number of reps per set in each workout. This, by the way, is just another way of telling you to vary the load throughout the week. You can’t use the same weight for a set of 10 as you use for a set of three reps. This is really a good thing since different loads have a various impact on your nervous system. It’s simpler for your nervous system to recover from 3 various loads throughout the week than it’s for a constant load, especially if it’s heavy.

So let’s build on the sample full body training plan we already have and add in the set/rep parameters.

Monday

Sets x Reps: 8×3

1A Chin-up

1B Dip

1C Deadlift

Wednesday

Sets x Reps: 5×5

1A One-arm row

1B One-arm shoulder press

1C Reverse lunge

Friday

Sets x Reps: 4×10

1A Pull-up with a narrow grip

1B Decline dumbbell bench press

1C Front squat

Now you’ve a weekly plan that consists of various exercises and different loads (reps) in every workout throughout the week. This is how to make full body training work for natural guys who have a limited capacity to recover. I’ve never worked with a client who couldn’t recover from the above program, provided their nutrition and sleep are in order.

Here’s another trick if you’re truly limited by the number of exercises you are able to do. Begin by setting up a weekly plan that consists of the exercises that suit your available equipment. Use the same set/rep parameters I listed above. Do that plan for 6 weeks. Then, when the 6 weeks are up you can alter the weekly plan by simply moving around the set/rep parameters from one workout to an additional. Here’s what I mean.

Monday

Sets x Reps: 8×3

1A Pull-up with a narrow grip

1B Decline dumbbell bench press

1C Front squat

Wednesday

Sets x Reps: 5×5

1A Chin-up

1B Dip

1C Deadlift

Friday

Sets x Reps: 4×10

1A One-arm row

1B One-arm shoulder press

1C Reverse lunge

Now you have a entire new program to do for an additional 6 weeks while utilizing the same exercises you did within the initial phase.

In part II I’ll explain how you can modify a full body workout to burn fat, construct strength, or bring up a lagging body component.

Stay focused,

CW

More info on Total Body Workouts here.

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