The full body workout is the best way to build muscle and burn fat there is. Make sure you never miss a major muscle group by fitting all of them into each session that you do. The full body program will ensure you never miss a lower body workout or an upper body workout again. This will also count towards a cardio workout as the session is pretty intense!
This article will look at the most effective exercises to include in a whole body workout, what muscles the exercises work, and how to perform each one correctly. Finally, the exercises will be put into a workout that you can follow next time you're in the gym.
Exercise One: The Deadlift
The big one, the ultimate exercise. No exercise works more muscles at once than the deadlift. This exercise works the Quadriceps, the Hamstrings, Gluteals, Abdominals, Obliques, Trapezius (upper and lower), Latissimus Dorsi, and Rhomboids. No workout program should be missing the deadlift.
There are many variations to try; Sumo, Deficit, Rack Pull, and stiff legged to name a few. But this article will look at the most common version. The Barbell Deadlift.
Place a plate loaded barbell on the floor in front of you, put your feet so that the centre of each foot is directly underneath the bar. Your feet should be slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart, and your toes should be slightly pointed out. Grab the bar with both hands, they should be just outside of your knees. Push your knees forward until your shins are touching the bar.
Now sit down until your glutes are parallel with the floor, make sure your shoulders are over the bar and your back is straight (push your chest out and pull your shoulders back to achieve this). Take a deep breath in and then stand up, bringing the bar with you (and breathing out whilst doing so). Drive your hips forward as you stand, so that at the top of the movement your hips are pushed forward and your chest is out too.
Return to the starting position by pushing your hips back and sitting down whilst keeping the bar nice and close to your body throughout. Don't bend your arms at all, when the plates touch the floor you have successfully completed the rep.
If this is too difficult you can shorten the range of motion by putting the bar on a slightly raised platform. This will make it a lot easier to perform.
Exercise Two: Barbell Back Squat
Another massive exercise that would stand out in any program, the barbell back squat works a large number of muscles in the legs. Particularly the Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus, and Gluteus Minimus. This exercise is designed for heavy weights and flawless form. You will need a squat rack to perform this properly.
Walk up to the bar and place it on your Upper Trapezius muscle (centre of your upper back), make sure it is comfortable and place your hands on the bar just past shoulder width apart. Make sure your elbows are pulled back, your chest is pushed out and that your feet are shoulder width apart.
Take the bar off the rest and make sure you are in control of it, then take a step back so that you have space to perform the exercise. Take a deep breath in and start to squat down (as if you were about to sit on an invisible chair). Once your thighs are at least parallel with the floor (you can go lower so long as it feels natural) pause, and then slowly return to your starting position breathing out whilst doing so.
Exercise Three: Lunges
One of the toughest exercises there is when done properly, anyone who has performed lunges until fatigue knows just how hard, and how effective they can be. This exercise targets the Quadriceps and the Gluteus Maximus.
Grab a pair of dumbbells, and stand straight, take a large step forward and then drop your back knee. This should make your front thigh lower until it is parallel to the floor, pause and then take the back foot and lunge forward with it. Repeat until the allotted reps are completed.
Exercise Four: Bench Press
The most popular chest exercise there is, the bench press also works the Anterior (front) Deltoids and the Triceps Brachii. Grab a barbell (or two dumbbells) using an overhand grip, make sure that your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
Keep your feet on the floor throughout, then lower the bar to your chest. Pause, and then drive the bar forcibly up until you reach your starting position. You can bring your hands closer together to place more emphasis on the Triceps, or bring your hands out wider to place more emphasis on the chest.
Exercise Five: Pull Up
The best back building exercise in existence, the pull up will continue to challenge you for years. This exercise will separate the men from the boys. There are multiple variations to this exercise, including the overhand grip, underhand grip, wide, and close-grip. In this article we are going to concentrate on the regular overhand grip pull up. It works the Latissimus Dorsi and Biceps Brachii.
Find yourself a chin-up bar and place your hands at a wider than shoulder width position (experiment around until you find one that is comfortable). Pull yourself slightly off the floor so that you are hanging off the bar. Take a deep breath and pull yourself up so that your collar bone is in line with the bar, pause and then lower yourself back to the starting position.
Exercise Six: Push Press
One of the more enjoyable exercises on this list, the push press is a fantastic shoulder exercise. It works the Deltoid muscles (Anterior, Middle, and Posterior) whilst also hitting the Triceps Brachii. It can be performed with either dumbbells or a barbell, but we will be focusing on the latter today.
Hold a barbell (overhand grip) in line with your collar bone with your elbows pushed forward and parallel with the floor. Take a deep breath and bend your knees slightly, then push them straight whilst using the momentum to push the barbell above your head. Bring it slightly backwards once it has cleared your nose so that the bar finishes directly above the centre of your head. Breathe out whilst doing this, then pause at the top and bring the bar back to your starting position.
Example Full Body Workout
Barbell back Squats (2-3 warm up sets) 3 x 6-8
Deadlifts (2 warm up sets) 2-3 x 4-6
Lunges 2-3 x 10
Bench Press (2 warm up sets) 3 x 6-8
Pull Ups 2-3 x AMRAP*
Push Press 2-3 x 6-8
*AMRAP = As Many Reps as Possible