So life happens: you get busy with work and family commitments. You have limited time in the gym for your workouts and you’re down to two or three workouts per week. A full-body workout might be your solution. A full-body workout is a flexible, low-volume routine that allows you to work every major muscle three times a week. Full-body routines have been used for years and research has shown that full body workouts are superior to body part split for building muscle. Even the legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger started with full-body workouts. Some might consider this routine to be basic and solely for beginners, it’s one of the most underrated routines.
How to structure a full body workout
The full-body workout should be performed three times a week on alternating days with rest or recovery days between sessions. You will be training the legs, chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, calves and abs all in one training session. On this program, you will be limiting the number of exercises per muscle group to one or two, for three total sets of each exercise.
You should structure your training so that your first three to four exercises focus on the big compound exercise such as squats, deadlifts and chest press. Everything else is accessory work. Compound exercises will train the muscle effectively and also involve other muscle groups. The goal is to do the exercises that give the most bang for your buck first. You will also have the most energy in the beginning of the workout so it makes sense to train the bigger muscle groups first. This routine may take slightly longer to complete, but when you consider the overall time commitment, you will find that it’s more beneficial than other programs.
Rest and Recovery Days
It’s important that you include adequate rest so you do not over-train. Incorporate active rest days on the days you are not at the gym. On those days, you can either foam roll, perform basic mobility work, or go on a 30-minute walk. Alternatively, you can use that time to do a mini, low-volume workout on a specific lagging body part like arms, glutes, legs, or back. Your mini workout should be focused on only one body part with no more than three exercises. Here is an example of a simple full-body workout to consider:
|Standing Barbell Press||3||8-10|
|Decline sit ups||3||15-20|
This may not be the program you use long-term, but for now will give you the fastest gains in muscle size. Be sure to eat balanced meals that include protein, carbs and fat. Sometimes a simple approach is more effective and a few exercises is really all you need.