So now you know about all the reasons why I prefer full-body routines over splits from Part 1. In this post I want to tell you how you can design your own full-body routine.
Where to start?
At first you need to pick the exercises you want to do. Like I said in the first part, you need to pick compound exercises like squats or deadlifts. Usually the more weight you can use, the more beneficial the exercise is. For example, the Military Press and Bench Press are more beneficial than flies and triceps kickbacks. Squats and Deadlifts are more beneficial than leg extentions and leg curls. Pull-Ups and Bent-Over Rows are more beneficial than curls. You get the idea. But you may ask what about Military Presses vs Bench Presses? Or Squats vs Leg Presses?That is the issue for the whole another post. But in two words, Military Presses are more beneficial than Bench Presses, and Squats will be more effective than Leg Presses. The issue here is that Military Presses and Squats are free-standing exercises. They involve putting many more muscles into action. They make a greater impact on your body composition. The most effective exercises on this planet are those that can be done while you are standing on your feet. Pull-Ups, Dips and all the gymnastic exercises also count. Someone may disagree, but it’s the rough reality.
Don’t worry about implements. You can mix them as you wish. If you like sandbag training, you can do it exclusively. If you prefer kettlebells and bodyweight over sandbags, then it’s no big deal. Work with those implements. Like barbells and dumbbells? No problem. Do what you like.
Ok, I got it. What’s next?
Mix and match. There are lots of opinions on how to structure a full-body routine but I like to keep it simple.
Upper Body Push + Upper Body Pull + Lower Body Movement = Full-Body Workout
It’s this combination that brought me the best results. It is a combination that many fitness and strength experts preach, including Brooks Kubik and Chad Waterbury.
Here’s a sample full-body routine:
A1) Kettlebell Double Military Press 5×5
A2) Pull-Ups 5×5
A3) Barbell Squats 5×5
Perform all sets in circuit fashion. Rest no more than 2 minutes between sets. Start with your seven rep max. Use the same weight for all sets. When you will be able to finish all sets and all reps add weight or cut the rest periods.
A) Sandbag Floor Press 3×8
B) Kettlebell One-Arm Bent-Over Row 3×8 (each hand)
C) Barbell Deadlift 3×8
Perform all sets in a straight fashion. Rest no more than 2 minutes between sets. Start with your ten rep max. Use the same weight for all sets. When you are be able to finish all the sets and all the reps, add weight or cut the rest periods.
A1) Dips 2×12
A2) Kettlebell Alternating Renegade Row 2×12
Perform all sets in an alternating fashion. Rest no more than 2 minutes between sets. Start with your fourteen rep max. Use the same weight for all sets. When you are be able to finish all the sets and all the reps, add weight or cut the rest periods. Finish all the sets and then move on to the next exercise.
B) Sandbag Zercher Squat 2×12
Rest no more than 2 minutes between sets. Start with your fourteen rep max. Use the same weight for all sets. When you are able to finish all the sets and all the reps, add weight or cut the rest periods.
Try to follow this routine on a 3-day-a-week schedule. For example, Monday-Wednesday-Friday of Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday. Pick any combination you will be able to follow. Just make sure that there’s at least one full day of rest between workouts. If it is too much try 2-day-a-week schedule. For example, Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday. It will look like this:
Monday: Workout A
Thursday: Workout B
Monday: Workout C
Generally speaking, you should get stronger almost every workout. Don’t worry about curls and core work. Your guns will grow like weed and with proper diet your abs will be ripped as hell.
Here you go. Now you have a simple and ready-to-go full-body routine that you can use to gain strength, build muscle and lose fat. But what about splits?
I’d like to say some words about splits actually. If for some reason you don’t like full-body routines or simply like splits so much that you won’t even try a full-body routine, it’s ok. But you need to understand that your body is like a machine. It always works as a whole unit. So when you are designing your split, let your logic be the guide. Sometimes people follow hilarious splits and don’t even analyze what they are doing. As a result they build tremendous muscle imbalances instead of a harmonized body. You know, people tend to work on what they like more instead of what needs to be worked on. That’s why you see people benching and curling instead of squatting and deadlifting. So if you are fond of splits, make them well-balanced. How to do it? The easiest way is to split upper body and lower body into two sessions. That’s how you will maintain balance and find time for your precious isolation work.
Here’s a sample split routine:
Workout A – Upper Body
A1) Barbell Bench Press 5×5
A2) Weighted Pull-Ups 5×5
Perform all sets in an alternating fashion. Rest no more than 2 minutes between sets. Start with your seven rep max. Use the same weight for all sets. When you are be able to finish all the sets and all the reps, add weight or cut the rest periods. Finish all the sets and then move on to the next exercises.
B1) Barbell Standing Curls 2×6
B2) Lying Triceps Extentions 2×6
Same directions as above except that when you are able to finish all the sets and all the reps add reps until you hit 12 with this weight. Then add weight.
Workout B – Lower Body
A) Front Squats 5×5
B) Deadlift 3×5
C) Calf Raises 3×10-12
Perform all sets in straight set fashion. Rest no more than 2 minutes between sets. When you are able to finish all the sets and all the reps, add weight or cut the rest periods. Feel free to add some core work in the end, but don’t get too carried away.
Perform workouts back-to-back. For example:
Monday: Workout A
Wednesday: Workout B
Friday: Workout A
Monday: Workout B
Wednesday: Workout A
Friday: Workout B
If it’s too easy for you then try this approach:
Monday/Thursday: Workout A
Tuesday/Friday: Workout B
I think it’s no-brainer that you should use perfect technique on every rep. Try one of these routines and let me know how they worked for you in the comments.
Stay tuned for more on rough training.
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