Building the perfect full body workout program is easier than you think and only requires a few simple movements to create a simple and effective routine that can build muscle and blast fat.
Full body workouts are great because they stimulate the entire nervous system and engage more motor units and movement patterns than body part split workouts. Plus, they are time efficient and great for people who can't make it to the gym more than 2 or 3 times a week.
Because a full body workout program stimulates the entire body, they are often seen as more functional and better for improving overall fitness and general physical preparedness.
For example: If you're only training arms you are limited to arm exercises. If you are working your full body, the arsenal of exercises and movements you can incorporate becomes endless.
Two Key Considerations for Building a Full Body Workout Program
#1: Movement Patterns: When building a full body workout program, the primary key is to ensure that all of the body's basic movement patterns are included in the workout. This is important because an effective workout routine should improve mobility; as well as strength and cardiovascular fitness.
These basic movement patterns include, but are not limited to: hinging, squatting, horizontal/vertical pulling, horizontal/vertical pressing, and core stability.
#2: Balance: No matter which exercises you choose to include in your full body workout program, it is important to match up exercises that compliment each other to ensure the body remains in balance.
Focusing too much on any single one muscle group or movement can create imbalances that can lead to injury or over development of small groups of muscles. The best example is the guy who bench presses constantly without doing an equal amount of rowing.
We have all seen this guy, with his rounded shoulders and rounded upper back. Aside from the aesthetic issues with this, an imbalance like this can also create instability and misalignment of the shoulder which can lead to long term issues.
Creating the Perfect Full Body Workout Program
How it works: Pick an exercise from each of the seven categories below to create your full body workout program. Then complete that workout 2 to 3 times per week for 6 to 8 weeks. Then choose a different set of exercises and repeat. It is that easy.
As far as the right amount of sets and reps are concerned, there are many variations to choose from. Start with a basic routine of 3 sets of 10 repetitions and then adjust as needed based on your individual needs and goals.
Full Body Workout Program Movement Pattern Categories:
Category #1 Vertical Pressing
- Barbell Overhead Press
- Kettlebell Strict Press
- Dumbbell Press
- Kettlebell Piston Press
Category #2: Horizontal Pulling
- Bodyweight Row
- Cable Rows
- Kettlebell Renegade Rows
- Barbell Rows
Category #3: Vertical Pulling
- Lat Pull downs
- Pull ups
- Chin Ups
- Reverse Grip Pull downs
Category #4: Hinging
- Kettlebell Swings
- Straight Leg Deadlift
- Barbell Deadlift
- Suitcase Deadlifts
Category #5: Horizontal Pressing
- Barbell Bench Press
- Push ups
- Dumbbell Bench Press
- Ring Push ups
Category #6: Core Stability
- Inch Worms
- Kettlebell Windmills
- Turkish Get Us
Category #7: Squatting
- Leg Press
- Barbell Squat
- Double Kettlebell Racked Squat
- Goblet Squat
Sample Full Body Workout
- Vertical Push: Kettlebell Strict Press
- Vertical Pull: Pull ups
- Horizontal Push: Push ups
- Horizontal Pull: Bodyweight Row
- Hinge: Kettlebell Swing
- Squat: Goblet Squat
- Core: Inch Worms
Again, to create a solid full body workout program it is essential to, at a minimum, pick at least one exercise from each of these categories. This will help you adequately stimulate the entire body, along with provide you with the balance and stability you need to avoid injuries.
If you're interested in learning more about functional fitness, check out our partner Awake and Alive Fitness.