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Designing a Full Body Routine by CowPimp

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Designing a Full Body Routine by CowPimp Designing a Full Body Routine by CowPimp
here's another one...

Originally Written by CowPimp:

There has been enough interest as of late in full body routines that I thought I would make a thread about designing one so that I can just drop a link when a question arises. Not to mention, I'm sure people will offer some valuable input on ways to improve what I am going to layout.

Usually, I suggest designing at least 2 alternate workouts to rotate between, but feel free to design as many as you would like. However, the exercises don't even have to be planned. These workouts should be performed 2-3 days per week, or possibly every other day if you have been training a long time and have raised your work capacity to that level.

As a general rule of thumb, 2-4 sets per exercise is probably fine. Nonetheless, I would consult my thread on designing training routines for more information on the topic of balancing the variables of a training routine.

The following is a general template which should aid you in creating a full body routine, along with an example of one:

Workout A:
Lower body quad-dominant: back squats, front squats, hack squats, leg press, etc.

Upper body vertical push: military press, DB press, push press, Arnold press, incline press (45 degree+), etc.

Upper body horizontal pull: bent rows, Yate's rows, cable rows, single arm DB rows, etc.

Accessory movements (Up to 4): arm isolation work, calf isolation work, full body movements, additional work for a weak point, grip work, stabilization exercises, rotator cuff work, etc.

Workout B:
Lower body posterior chain-dominant: deadlifts, good mornings, SLDLs, RDLs, GHRs, etc.

Upper body horizontal push: bench press, decline press, dips, DB bench press, etc.

Upper body vertical pull: pullups, chinups, pulldowns, etc.

Accessory movements (Up to 4): arm isolation work, calf isolation work, full body movements, additional work for a weak point, grip work, stabilization exercises, rotator cuff work, etc.

Workout A:
Front Squats (Quad-dominant)
Bench Press (Horizontal push)
Spider Rows (Horizontal pull)
Farmer's Walks (Accessory work - Full body exercise - Grip)
YTWLs (Shoulder prehabilitation)
Incline DB Curls (Accessory work - Arm isolation - Pull)

Workout B:
Romanian Deadlifts (Hamstring-dominant)
Seated DB OH Press (Vertical push)
Neutral Grip Chinups (Vertical pull)
Turkish Getups (Accessory work - Full body exercise - Core Stability)
Birddog Planks (Accessory work - Core Stability)
OH DB Extensions (Accessory work - Arm isolation - Push)

Another great way to set things up would be to perform 6 compound movements each session and do a quad and hamstring dominant movement each session along with a vertical and horizontal push and pull each session. I would probably make an alternate workout or two. As well, I wouldn't include any accessory work, or maybe one accessory movement.

Workout A:
Back Squats (Quad-dominant)
Seated Cable Rows (Horizontal pull)
DB Bench Press (Horizontal push)
Glute Ham Raises (Hamstring-dominant)
Wide Grip Pullups (Vertical pull)
Standing Military Press (Veritcal push)

Workout B:
Deadlifts (Hamstring-dominant)
Close Grip Chinups (Vertical pull)
Seated DB Arnold Press (Vertical push)
Bulgarian Squats (Quad-dominant)
Bent Rows (Horizontal pull)
Close Grip Bench Press (Horizontal push)

For the accessory movements you will probably want to throw in some calf and arm work. As well, you should throw in an extra set or two for a lagging body part. The rep range used should probably be in the 6-12 range for the majority of training, but don't be afraid to occasionally go higher or lower to keep things interesting, spark an increase in strength, etc.

During a cutting phase you may want to consider trying some circuit training. This should definitely help you boost your RMR and burn some additional calories. Lowering rest intervals is another way to have a similar effect.

Move one accessory lift to the beginning of your workout. Alternate the accessory lift between a maximum effort lift for your weakpoints in the squat, deadlift, and bench press and dynamic effort lifts for each of the big 3 (Example: Monday ME Squat/DL, Wednesday DE Bench Press, Friday ME Bench Press, Monday DE Squat/DL, Repeat). You could even try 2 ME sessions and 1 DE session per week, with the DE session including speed training for all the lifts. There are endless possibilities. Accessory lifts should probably stay in a bodybuilder type rep range, but with a bit more usage of the 3-6 range as needed.

Be sure to switch up your maximum effort lift every couple of sessions to avoid excessive strain on the CNS, a la conjugate periodization. If you have time, you can also throw in additional accessory work for weak points at the end of each workout (Lockout strength, starting strength, grip work, etc.).

If you prefer linear periodization, you could always just work your way down from 8-12 repetitions on the big lifts to 1-3 over the course of several weeks and cycle through as desired. Just make sure you change the order so you start with the bench press on one of the days.

General Health:
Perform these lifts in a circuit. Keep rep ranges in the 10-20 range. This will ensure a high level of cardiovascular conditioning, improved muscular endurance, and with some level of increased strength, which can be improved by going heavier on occasion. For the accessory lifts, I highly recommend movements that require you to use your body as a unit. Performing exercises like farmer's walks, Turkish getups, pushing a car, sandbag carrying, etc. is a great way to improve general strength, stability, and conditioning.

Although you should eventually lean toward a specific goal with regards to your weight training, you need to begin by building a solid foundation. Stick to purely compound exercises utilizing only free weights. You don't need to bother with machines or isolation work just yet. I know bicep curls and those pretty machines look tempting, but just hold off a few weeks. You need to start developing your physique as a unit and learning your weak points before you try to work on them. You should also learn how/gain the ability to control your body.

Work in the 12-15 rep range until you develop your stabilizer muscles and intermuscular coordination skills to the point where you can handle heavier weights. Focus heavily on form. Do a lot of research and watch videos of professionals performing various exercises. Starting out with the right technique will mean developing proper motor patterns right from the start, which is a Hell of a lot easier than correcting them later.

Well, there you have it. My take on the full body routine. Remember, these are general guidelines; I want you to change them as you see fit. There is a lot of room for creativity and specificity in full body routines. If you have never tried one before, then I highly suggest it.


to be honest, i'm afraid that if i read these posts, i might change my current program  

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