3 Day full body workout routine
It wasn’t so long ago that I was laughed off lifting forums for suggesting full body workouts. Man, times have changed. These days frequency training has become an acceptable method of building muscle, and the body part split is often referred to in a sarcastic manner as a
In my day body part splits were the gold standard. In fact, I never knew there was any other way to build muscle. All the muscle magazines and books in the 80s featured splits, splits and more splits. It wasn’t until 2007 – 21 years after I started lifting – that I discovered the concept of full body workouts.
Though it took me nearly 6 months to get used to training more frequently, I now prefer it. These days I rarely run a straight full body workout, but I usually hit the major lifts and muscle groups 2-3x a week.
Frequency training provides many benefits. The main one, for me, is that it does not leave my joints feeling beat up. I find it’s much easier to perform 3-4 sets per muscle group 3 times per week then to destroy that body part with volume one day per week. I stay healthier and feel better when I am not crushing body parts and movements patterns with set after set on a given day.
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What Full Body Workout Do I Use?
I am often asked to detail my full body approach. Lifters are very curious to see how an advanced trainee approaches this style of training. Those that know me won’t be surprised to find out that I keep things simple: basic exercises, a simple focus on maximizing sets and modest daily volume.
This is the way I have always trained, and this is the way I will always train. Complexity and percentages simply doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t want to do math when I tangle with the iron, I want to crush it and make it pay for its sins.
So here goes. This is my preferred full body workout. It is a solid plan for nearly any experience level. Advanced strength athletes can even use it in between peaking cycles to work on overall base strength and muscle building.
Here is a sample schedule:
- Day 1 – Workout A
- Day 2 – Off
- Day 3 – Workout B
- Day 4 – Off
- Day 5 – Workout C
- Days 6 & 7 – Off
What is a “Rep Goal”?
The “Rep Goal” is the total reps performed for ALL sets. You do NOT perform this number for each set.
Take squats for example. This full body workout calls for 3 sets with a Rep Goal of 25. Start with a weight that is about 72.5 to 75% of your one rep max. Perform 3 sets using this weight. If your total reps for these sets reaches 25 or more, you will add weight to the bar the next time you squat.
For example, let’s say your squat workout looks like this:
- Set 1 – 250 pounds x 9 reps
- Set 2 – 250 pounds x 7 Reps
- Set 3 – 250 pounds x 6 reps
You performed a total of 22 reps. This is 3 reps shy of your Rep Goal. Because you failed to reach your Rep Goal of 25, you would NOT add any weight to the bar the next time you squat.
Make sure you do not push sets to failure. Stop each set when:
- You feel like you might fail on the next rep.
- Your exercise form starts to deteriorate.
|Full Body Workout|
|Single Arm Dumbbell Bench Press||30|
|Seated Overhead Barbell Press|
|Close Grip Bench Press|
|EZ Bar Curls|
|Incline Dumbbell Flyes||35|
|Inverted Rows or Pull Ups||40|
|Seated Calf Raises|
|Seated Arnold Press|
|Lying Triceps Extensions|
|DB Stiff Leg Deadlift|
|Ab Wheel Roll Outs||10-15|
Workout Routine Notes:
- Squats – Paused squats can be used if you’d like.
- Deadlifts – Start with 75% of your one rep max. Perform as many singles as you can in 8 minutes. When you can perform 8 or more during this time period, add weight the next time you deadlift. Rest only 15-45 seconds between singles. Make sure you are physically and mentally ready to go again.
- Leg Press – You can also choose to perform a single 20 rep set of squats instead.
- Single Arm Dumbbell Bench Press – You can swap in incline dumbbell bench press.
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes – Any chest isolation can be used here: cable crossovers, pec dec, etc.
- Inverted Rows or Pull Ups – Perform 40 total reps, rest-pause style. Don’t worry about sets. just get to 40 total reps as quickly as possible.
- Push Ups – Perform 40 total reps, rest-pause style. Don’t worry about sets. just get to 40 total reps as quickly as possible.
- Seated Overhead Barbell Press – Any barbell overhead press movement may be used.
- Seated Calf Raise – You may swap in any calf exercise here.
- Lying Triceps Extensions – The bar is brought to the back of your head, not to your nose as with skullcrushers.
- Bulldozer Laterals – These are single arm laterals that start with the dumbbell on the leg opposite of the shoulder being worked. See the video below.