How to Design a Perfect Full Body Workout


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John Papp, CPT - Do you struggle to get to the gym for scheduled workouts because life gets in the way? Full-body workouts may be the solution.

I am not the guy who tells you to buckle down and find a way to get to the gym every single day. For some, the gym is a way to stay healthy and look good, but it's not their passion. I respect that even though my whole life, as a strength coach and avid trainee myself, revolves around the gym. I spend most of my hours at a gym, either coaching or training, but sometimes I find it hard to use a five-plus-day workout split, especially on days when I coach all day long.

So what is the magic bullet to optimize time spent in the gym?

Full-body workouts are great for people who are very busy. They can get the "gainz" they want by training three or four days a week instead of five or six.

When you design your workouts, use the following template to be sure to hit everything you need.

Complete all A exercises together; for example, do a set of Squats and immediately move to Upper-Body Pushes, then to a core exercise.

1. A) Squat

2. A) Upper-Body Push

3. A) Anterior Core (think 6-Pack Abs)

1. B) Hinge

2. B) Upper-Body Pull

3. B) Rotational Core (preferably a powerful movement)

Finisher: 2- to 4-minute high intensity exercise(s) to get your heart pounding and burn that stubborn fat.

What about sets and reps?

Shoot for more sets, and mix high-rep sets for the first few with lower-rep sets for the last few. This will help you hit sets for hypertrophy (8-12 reps per set) and for pure strength (2-6 reps per set).

Below is a sample full-body workout. Give it a shot!

10-minute dynamic warm-up

1. A) Barbell Back Squat: 5×10,8,6,4,2

2. A) One-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press: 4×10,10,6,6

3. A) Stability Ball Stir the Pot: 4×35-60 seconds (depending on ability)

1. B) Barbell Romanian Deadlift (RDL): 4×8

2. B) One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 4×12,12,8,8

3. B) Rotational Medicine Ball Toss (against a wall): 3×6 per side

Finisher: Choose one finisher from this video.

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