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Stimulate Growth With Full Body Workouts - 3 Effective Variations.

Full-body workouts performed in a superset style can be completed in a shorter period of time than a traditional split and they are simpler to put together than you think. Try these three full body schemes and see which works for you.

By: Jen Heath

I have found in training, that people who do not perform full body workouts regularly have either one of two concerns:

  1. That it will take too long to complete the workout under a tight schedule.
  2. That they simply are unsure of how to put an effective workout together.

I have good news for both camps. Full-body workouts performed in a super-set style can most often be completed in a shorter period of time than a traditional split (not to mention the high fat burning potential of this sort of training) and putting together a good, functional full body workout is simpler than you think!

Here are three effective ways that full body schemes can be performed:

    1. Straight Sets:

      Performing the same exercise, for all sets of the each muscle group before progressing to the next muscle group.

    2. Different Exercises For Each Set:

      Whether 2, 3 or 4 sets, it involves choosing a different exercise to perform for each set of each muscle before moving onto the next muscle group.

    3. Supersets:

      Performing one exercise for a muscle such as chest, then moving to the opposing muscle group, back for the next set - back and forth in that fashion. Quads and hams, abs and low back, biceps and triceps in the same style. Or, you can get creative, but function should be a consideration when performing supersets (i.e. it does not make sense to superset calves and triceps).

Super Set Video Guide:

Set/Rep Scheme:

    My traditional full body workouts follow this set/rep scheme, then repeat. There are strategies involved in manipulating load and volume over time, the most important here, being to stimulate and maximize growth:

    • Week 1 & 2: 2-3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Week 3 & 4: 3 sets, 8-10 reps
    • Week 5 & 6: 4 sets, 6-8 reps

    Plus, 1 intensity technique set on the last set; i.e. partials, flushing, drop set etc. I do not like to use intensity techniques a whole lot, because they can often make one more susceptible to injury if over done, but when not over utilized, used in moderation, (i.e. when and there are two or more days to rest until your next heavy workout) they can be very effective.

    magnifying glass Click Image To Enlarge.
    Author, Jen Heath.

    I often recommend incorporating these techniques for intermediate and advanced lifters for a Friday workout, right before a weekend break.

    When the exercises are different for each set, the most sets I recommend are four, meaning each muscle would perform 4 sets, 4 separate movements. Weeks 1 and 2 only call for 2-3 sets, thus only need to do 2-or-3 of the exercises listed with the respective rep count on days when you choose varied exercises per muscle.

1. Standard Straight Set Example:

2. Different Exercises Example (4 Set Week):

Click Image To Enlarge.
Bulgarian Split Squats.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

It is rewarding to accomplish goals. Total body training is a great way to make it happen. However, it is taxing, and induces a lot of micro trauma. Should you choose not to eat enough and enough of the right foods to assist your body in utilizing these workouts to burn fat, build muscle or maybe even a little bit of both, you will sabotage yourself. No one wants to lose muscle.

Doing so only lowers the metabolism; I consider this to be one of the worst things that a person can do to themselves. So, if you want the results you are after, remember, what you deliver to the inside will determine what your body delivers on the outside!

3. Supersetting Appropriate Muscle Groups:

    For this style, you would just take any of the exercises I listed or whatever you like and follow style #1, but alternate your back and chest sets, quads and hams, Bi's and Tri's, abs and low back sets.


Full body workouts are absolutely killer in many ways. You will burn fat, raise your metabolism and make great gains! Always remember though, that proper stimulation of the nervous system is important. If you find your self completely exhausted during your workouts, unable to sleep at night, or a combination of these with any other elevated levels of stress training full body like this, it is a good sign that you need to rest more, lower your volume or eat more food.

Overtraining can become an issue if the nervous system is over taxed. The good news is this with smart planning, proper rest and excellent nutrition, you should be able to make more progress than you thought possible by giving your "whole" body a chance to let you know what it is made of

1 of 3: The Central Nervous System (CNS):

The human central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. These lie in the midline of the body and are protected by the skull and vertebrae respectively.

This collection of billions of neurons is arguably the most complex object known.

The central nervous system along with the peripheral nervous system comprise a primary division of controls that command all physical activities of a human.

Neurons of the central nervous system affect consciousness and mental activity while spinal extensions of central nervous system neuron pathways affect skeletal muscles and organs in the body.

Learn More... Back Next

If I do anything on Saturday, it would be MAX 30 minutes of just WALKING or light elliptical, simply to bring a little blood to the area for recovery purposes only.


There is a lot of thought and educated planning that goes into my workouts. If you are curious about any aspect of my training or your own, or simply have comments, visit my website and fill out the contact form at: www.jenheath.com.

Stimulate Growth With Full Body Workouts - 3 Effective Variations.

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