Full Body Workout Program

Full Body Workout is workout program where trainee in one workout session train entire body.

Many things are special to Full Body Workout (FBW) programs:
- entire body is trained in one session
- workouts are based on compound exercises
- isolation exercises are few and for problematic muscle groups
- workouts can last longer than split programs
- impact on individual muscle groups per workout session is lesser than in split programs

There are many FBW programs on the internet, with their good and bad features. As any other program, individual FBW program should be changed after certain period - usually after 8-10 weeks.

Since I don't have much time for training in the gym, most of the year I train using Full Body Workout programs. One of my favorites is combination of general conditioning program with slight emphasize on PL lifts. Program is divided in four training days, with goal to finish cycle (all four training days) in two weeks - that is 'only' two gym workout sessions per week.

I say 'only' because with two workout sessions in the gym, I try to have one cardio session (preferably running track in nature) per week - this is enough workouts for (almost) 40 year old guy (or should I say young? :o) ).


So, my favorite general conditioning Full Body Workout program, with moderate emphasize on PL lifts, looks like this:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4

1. Dead Lift
2. Declined Barbell Bench Press
3. Seated Cable Rows
4. Narrow Grip Barbell Bench Press
5. Chin-ups
6. Abs
7. Seated Calf Rises

1. Barbell Flat Bench Press
2. Front Squats
3. Inclined Bench Dumbbell Flyes
4. Pull-ups
5. Standing Barbell Calf Raises
6. Arnold Dumbbell Press
7. Alternate Hammer Curl
1. Back Squats
2. Good Morning
3. Dips (Triceps)
4. Chin-ups
5. Pec-deck (Butterfly)
6. Ez-bar Reverse Grip Curls
7. Abs
1. Pull-ups
2. Lunges
3. Inclined Barbell Bench Press
4. Dumbbell Shrugs
5. Dumbbell Side Bend
6. Triceps Push Downs
7. One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Workout starts with low intensity cardio on stepper or stationary bike for 5-10 minutes, than gentle stretch.

For me, first exercise is at least 50% of entire workout. One cycle I train with 5x5 (5 sets, 5 reps), second cycle 8x3 (8 sets, 3 reps). So, if you train twice a week, it takes you 4 weeks to do two cycles (5x5 AND 8x3) - I like this program because it takes me 16 weeks to do just 4 'two cycles'. And when you keep logbook, you can see clearly progress in 16 weeks. Often I don't have much time to do entire workout, so I go to the gym just to do first exercise and go home (if you are not married, have no kids, have no job, clients, than don't bother to understand this :o) ). Rest between sets is around 120 seconds, TUT is not so important because emphasize is on big weights and proper form.

Usually, I train on Tuesday (Days 1 and 3) and Thursday (Days 2 and 4), with cardio during weekends (preferably in nature). It would look something like this:

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Day 1 and 2 (5x5) Day 3 and 4 (5x5) Day 1 and 2 (8x3) Day 3 and 4 (8x3)


Also, it is possible to mix things further and change Week 2 and Week 4, but I never did it, at least not yet - it would make body adaptation to this training pattern even more difficult, but it seems unnecessary (not for up to 16 weeks - and after 16 weeks, I really like to change workout program).

Some of my clients do this program only 5x5 first exercise (they don't do 8x3) and stay on it for 10-12 weeks. Strength gains are great (it would be greater if they combine 5x5 with 8x3, but many of them are my age or older, with even more obligations) and with proper nutrition and supplementation, they lose fat and gain muscle at the same time (ok, most of them usually have less than 2-3 years of experience in the gym, even that was on doubtful workout programs and even worse nutrition).

When you do 5x5 and when you do 5 sets with ALL 5 reps per set, than next time when you do 5x5, you increase your weight by 5-7%. When you do 8x3 and when you do at least 6 sets with 3 proper reps per sets, than you can increase your weight by 3-4% next time you do 8x3 - I recommend to wait to do 3 proper reps for all 8 sets before increasing weight.

Exercises 2 - 7 are done 3x8 (3 sets, 8 reps) after at least 2 warm-up sets. TUT is moderately slow - 202 to 302, depending on range of motion. Rests between sets are 60 seconds (use stopwatch), weights are heavy, but TUT, form and rest time must be strict! When you manage to do all 3 sets with 8 reps, than next time you increase your weight by 4-6% - this is why it is so important to keep logbook!

Few notes:

- this program neglect little bit mid-shoulders and neck. I have enough width in shoulders and neck (my wife often says that I don't have neck at all, but that is imho exaggeration :o) ) not to bother about this. If you have weak shoulders or neck or any other muscle group, than put it as 8th (yes, 8th) exercise in the program, from time to time.

- FBW workouts can last longer than most of the gym workouts, sometimes 70-80 minutes, even more with additional exercises and warm-up. This is where proper pre, during and post workout nutrition comes to play. Also, it is easier for many employed people to come to gym twice per week and have 90 minutes workout, than to come three times per week and have 60 minutes workout.

- abs are done once a week. You should always try to do at least two different exercises for abs and one for lateral section. If you have enough width in mid-section and don't want to do them much, than Dumbbell Side Bend (Day 4) will probably be enough. Abs are also done in 3x8, feel free to add more weight when doing abs (you should add weights to abs exercises and not do hundreds of them!)

- recommended diet for this workout program is carbohydrate (carbs) cycling, with high carbs days (two per week) on workout days, one moderate day on cardio day and rest of the days are low carbs days. This way you will gain some muscle mass, plenty of strength, lose some fat (plenty if your bf% is high in the beginning) - most important, you will feel great and full of energy - except after workout, when you will feel rather exhausted (but smiling :o) ).

- if you are beginner, this program is not for you. If you are eager to start PL training, but you never trained in the gym before, first do some of simpler programs, for example 'Free 3-days split program 1 – General Conditioning' for 8-10 weeks. First few weeks focus on learning exercises, keep weights low. After that, slowly increase weights, but keep proper form. After 8-10 weeks, you can try this program. If you are younger (18+), have access to supplements, have good nutrition, plenty of rest, try 'longer' version of this program (5x5 and 8x3). Maybe you can even try 3 gym workouts per week, but be careful, and listen to your body. If you want to train in the gym three times per week, and want to do some cardio, than you should try, after 'Free 3-days split program 1 – General Conditioning', 'Free 3-days split program 3 – General Conditioning, emphasize on PL lifts'. It will give you plenty of heavy lifting - and as beginner, you don't need to go low with reps for strength. 5 reps per set is low enough and I recommended to mix 5x5 and 8x3 only when new trainee has burning desire to start to lift heavy as soon as possible - I am not saying that this is overall good thing.

- cardio session is done on weekends, on moderate carbs day. I start it with slow running for 10-15 minutes, than gentle stretch, slow running for next few minutes. After that 2-3 minutes of rest, than HIIT runnig - sprinting for about 50-60m in one direction, walking back. I start HIIT with 2-3 sprints with not more than 70% strength (although I am warmed and stretched) followed by full sprinting for as much as I can (and feel ok). After that 3-4 minutes and that HIIT again. I do up to 3-4 sprinting sessions with no more hat 25-30 sprints (shorter sprints, more of them). If this seams not much, good for you :o) If it seams too much, don't worry, just try this way and be careful not to injure yourself - steady rise number of sprints and their intensity. After HIIT, few minutes of rest, 10-15 minutes of slow running, gentle stretch, cool down, drink classic PWM, go home. From time to time, when I find suitable branch, I would do after HIIT few sets of chin-ups. Also, few sets of push-ups and squats will make no harm, especially if they are made in rep range not used in the gym (10+). Somebody would say that anaerobic training should not be done after cardio, but HIIT is not strictly cardio, and 10+ rep range of push-ups, chin/pull-ups or squats are not strictly 'strength' exercise ...

Many of coaches will disagree with some (many?) things here, but it works for me and works for many people around us.


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