Building muscles is all about spending hours at the gym, right? The only true way to build a chiseled, muscular physique is hours upon hours of slaving away over rusty iron, day after day, year after year.

Well, maybe not.

Yes, hard work is still needed. Like anything in life, you get out of your workouts what you put in. However, you don't have to train on a split system four or more days each week to see gains. The full-body workout can help you progress and is easy to fit into your schedule.

If you're finding it simply too hard to stick to a workout plan, why not try a full-body workout program? The idea of working your whole body in one training session has gotten stereotyped.

Many people picture a lightweight circuit workout designed so that the trainee is hopping from machine to machine, while in between workouts, he's reading up on the latest celebrity gossip.

A real full-body workout performed by an athlete with a goal in mind induces maximal muscle contraction with heavy weights, allows for full recovery so you can grow and still train hard, and prevents the inevitable burnout caused by overtraining.

Let's find out what full-body workouts are all about.

Benefits Of A Full-Body Workout

Saves Time

Probably the biggest positive about training your entire body at once is that your gym frequency decreases to around two to three times every seven days.

Plus, you'll only be spending an hour in the gym for each session. Build muscle with only 3-4 hours of gym time during a week?

You betcha. It's all about the quality of your sessions, not the quantity.

Boosts Your Cardiovascular System

Squeezing a solid 2-4 sets per body part into a 60-minute workout session gets your cardiovascular system up to speed in a hurry!

Rules For Full-Body Workouts

Train Once Every 2-3 Days

Easy enough, right?

The beauty of only training with weights every few days is that the days in between full-body workouts can be used to add a few cardio sessions instead of relying on ineffective cardio tacked on at the end of a workout.

Dumbbell lunge holding weight over head, full-body training

Lift Heavy

Many athletes who try full-body workouts get trapped into training lighter than they usually would in order to conserve energy for body parts that come later in their routine. The truth is, if you're not training heavy, you're not going to make optimal progress, no matter what program you're on.

Keep your weights as heavy as you can. The conserving of energy for the body parts you train at the end of your workout is addressed in point number six.

Perform One Exercise Per Muscle Group

This one is pretty easy to follow, but is still very important.

Using basic, heavy exercises that enable you to lift the most weight means that you don't have to do more than one exercise per body part. For chest, do the bench press or incline bench press.

For back, choose bent-over rows or chin-ups. For legs, nothing beats the squat.

All of these movements allow you to move heavy weights and overload the muscles without performing endless exercises. Once you choose your exercises, plan your routines so you do 2-to-4 sets of each exercise for 10-to-12 repetitions.

Keep Your Workout To An Hour Or Less

When you're planning your workouts, remember that resistance training affects your natural musclebuilding hormones and adjust accordingly.

Lots of big compound exercises will help boost your natural testosterone levels; however, long workouts also boost levels of the catabolic hormone cortisol.

Keeping your workouts fairly brief but still intense is ideal for getting the best of both worlds. Sticking to 60 minutes or less is a good rule of thumb.

Consume A Post-Workout Shake Immediately After Training

During full-body workouts, large amounts of glycogen are used to fuel your exertions, so it's important that you replenish your glycogen stores as soon as possible after training.

Replenishing your glycogen right after training jump-starts the recovery process. Conversely, not taking advantage of this crucial time can slow your results significantly. Think of it as filling up the gas tank on your car after a long drive.

Cell-Tech® by MuscleTech is the ideal supplement for this purpose. With precise amounts of creatine, alpha lipoic acid and dextrose, along with other tested ingredients, Cell-Tech® produces impressive musclebuilding results.

Simply mix 2 scoops of Cell-Tech® in a shaker bottle with 12 ounces of water, drink right after you're finished training, and you're good to go.

MuscleTech Cell-Tech Creatine + Carbs
MuscleTech Cell-Tech Creatine + Carbs
Spend less time recovering and more time building muscle with this research-backed creatine + carb musclebuilder.*

Change The Order Of Your Workouts

Training chest first for every full-body workout is doing a disservice to the rest of your physique's symmetry.

What seems to work better for ensuring your three major body parts get equal attention is alternating between doing chest, back, and legs first in your three workouts a week. Don't always leave abs or calves for last, though!


Below is a list of exercises to help get you started. The exercises are listed in order of effectiveness for each body part.

Exercises To Start With

Sample Workout: Full-Body Workout
Once you've chosen your exercises, plan your routines so that you're doing
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
4 sets, 10-12 reps
+ 8 more exercises


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About the Author

Ben Creicos

Ben Creicos

Ben Creicos is a health-and-fitness writer who is passionate about helping everyone discover the body's limitless potential.

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Full Body Workout