Full Body Workout Plan | Workout Routines

[ 199 ] June 6, 2008 |

Full Body Workout Routine Not Only Builds Muscle But It Torches Fat  … in Less Than 60 Minutes.

Can you spare 60 minutes, three times a week?

If the answer is “yes” I have the perfect workout routine for you: A “Full Body Workout” program that will get you in-and-out of the gym in Image of Woman with EZ Bar Performing Full Body Workout Routineless than an hour, will amp up your metabolism for the next 48 hours and — after about a month — will give you noticeable improvements not only in your strength, but also your physique.

Oh, and expect to drop some body fat in the process.

Why A Full Body Workout?

Full body workouts are probably the single most under-utilized workout routines in the gym.

Regardless of your experience level or existing strength, working your entire body in a single session is not only challenging, but an extremely effective way to build muscle, strength and even burn fat in the process. Even experienced bodybuilders can reap the benefits of switching to a full body workout, especially if they’ve been on a split routine plan for an extended period of time.

Before we actually take a look at a full body workout routine, let’s quickly discuss some of the advantages of working your entire body in a single session and the basics you need to know about before getting started.

The Benefits of Full Body Workouts

There are a number of benefits to performing full body workouts, including:

  • Better core development
  • Less overall time in the gym
  • Improved recovery intervals
  • Reduced risk of overtraining
  • Greater training frequency per muscle group
  • Increased energy expenditure during and after training
  • Increases in beneficial growth hormones
  • Highly customizable to different training goals, whether that is strength, muscle size (hypertrophy) , endurance or a combination of the three
  • Better overall muscular development and symmetry
  • Reduced risk of developing muscle imbalances, especially among smaller stabilizer muscles
  • Secondary cardiovascular benefits
  • Appropriate for all ages and levels of experience, from beginners to advanced trainees

10 Rules For An Effective Full Body Workout

Before you jump into full body workouts, there are a few of rules that you need to follow, especially if you are used to higher-volume, higher-frequency split routines:

Rule #1: Perform only one exercise per muscle group.

This is the hardest rule for most experienced trainees to follow, since you will probably be used to performing 2-3 exercises for each muscle group as part of a traditional split routine. However, because you will be working out your entire body, not just 2-3 muscle groups, it’s critical that you choose one exercise per muscle group on this plan.

Rule #2: Perform a different exercise for each muscle group each workout.
For example, if on Monday you performed barbell bench presses for your chest, on Wednesday, you’ll perform incline dumbbell chest presses. By choosing a different exercise each workout segment, you’ll work the muscle in slightly different ways, and from different angles. This will contribute to better overall strength and development.

Rule #3: Do not perform more than three sets of any given exercise per muscle group (you can perform one additional light warmup set, however.)

Again, if you are used to high volume workouts with lots of sets, you may be tempted to perform more than three working sets per exercise, per muscle group.


The goal here is maximum intensity during the three working sets, not to maximize volume. By the end of the three workouts each week, you’ll  find that you’ve either matched your split volume in terms of overall sets, or even increased it. And because you aren’t fatigued from previous exercises targeting that muscle group (as can be the case with split routines), you’ll likely find that you are able to lift more weight with a full body routine than with a split.

Rule #4: Ditch the Machines.

Most weight or resistance machines isolate muscle groups, which is the opposite of what you are aiming for with a full-body workout. 

Other than the Smith Machine or leg press machine, stick to free weights. Cable machines — especially Free Motion machines – are fine for some exercises, and you’ll see them included below.

This workout can be adapted to machines, but to get the maximum benefits of this particular full body workout plan, you’ll want to use free weights — equipment like dumbbells and barbells and some body weight machines like pull-up bars or chin-up stations, parallel bars for dips, etc.

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Rule #5: Do not perform this routine two days in a row.

Because you are working every muscle group each workout, full body routines can put additional stress on your central nervous system and muscles. Resist the temptation to perform this workout two days in a row. Give yourself at least 48 hours rest and recovery time between each full body workout.

Rule #6: Choose compound exercises.

Again, the goal of a full body workout is to optimize your time in the gym, maximize the number of muscles you recruit and build core stability. With the exception of bicep and triceps, avoid isolation exercises and instead focus on compound, multi-joint movements — things like dips, presses, squats, etc.

Rule #7: Use a weight that allows you to perform between six and eight reps.

This plan can be modified to target strength (lower reps, higher weight) or endurance (reps in excess of 15), however, initially the goal is to build both strength and muscle size.

Keep your reps between six and eight per set, which will build a good foundation. Later, if you want to substitute a higher or lower rep day, that’s fine. But for the first 4-6 weeks, focus on keeping your reps in the strength and hypertrophy range.

Rule #8: Eat Right.

Pay special attention to your pre- and post-workout meals. Full body workouts are intense and require extra energy to keep your workout fueled up. Make sure to eat a balanced pre-workout meal with plenty of protein and slow digesting, complex carbs. Follow-up your workout immediately with a fast digesting protein like whey and some simple carbs to aid in recovery.

Rule # 9: Minimize rest time between exercise sets.

With this full body workout, you’ll be working out eight major muscle groups with one exercise for three working sets each. In order to get through the entire routine in under an hour, you’ll need to keep moving. This means limiting your rest time between sets to no more than 60 seconds, or ideally, performing an exercise for a different muscle group in-between sets (a super set.)

For example, if you just completed a set of barbell chest presses, instead of resting on the bench for 60 seconds, go immediately to the pull-up station and perform a set of pull-ups for your back and then return to the bench for your next chest set. If your gym is particularly busy and you’re afraid of losing your place on the weight equipment, this may not be practical. In that case, opt for the shorter rest period.

By super-setting with other exercises between sets or limiting your rest periods, you’ll keep your heart rate up (good for fat burning) and get through this challenging workout in under 60 minutes.

Rule #10: Watch the order of your exercises

Because full body workouts strength train all of your major muscle groups, as well as many of the smaller, more easily fatigued supporting stabilizer muscles, you need to pay attention to the order that you perform the exercises.

For example, you generally want to avoid working smaller muscle groups like triceps and biceps early in your workout, since you’ll rely heavily on them to assist with your larger, higher-weight movements like chest, back and shoulder exercises.

If you perform tricep or bicep exercises first in your workout, the smaller muscles will be fatigued, limiting the amount of weight you can move during pressing or pulling exercises.  Also, leave ab and lower back exercises (like back extensions) until after you’ve performed heavier leg exercises like squats or deadlifts. Both of these exercises require a great deal of core stability, and if your ab and lumbar muscles are fatigued, they can limit the effectiveness of leg exercises, as well as increase the risk of injury.

Rule #11: Don’t Be Afraid To Change It Up 

That said, it’s not a bad idea every now and then to change up the order that you perform certain exercises.

While it’s still a good idea to keep tricep, bicep and core exercises toward the end of your workout, changing the order that you perform your larger movements like chest and shoulder presses can help you break plateaus.

For example, performing shoulder presses before chest presses, when your triceps are fresh, will often allow you to move more weight on shoulder exercises than when you perform them after your bench press. However, expect your bench to be more challenging, since your triceps and front delts (shoulders) will be more fatigued from the earlier shoulder presses.

Within the larger movements, it’s a good idea to change up the order ever couple of weeks — not just to keep things fresh, but to ensure that you are always challenging your muscles as fully as possible.  

The full body workout routine I’ve put together below is set up to take the role of stabilizer and assistor muscles into account. So at least initially (the first four weeks), try to stick with the order I’ve provided. Below the workout, I’ve provided some suggestions on ways you can change out the order without dramatically impacting your overall performance during the workout.

Don’t Forget Your Exercise and Training Log!

To get the most out of this — and any workout — keep track of your progress with an exercise log. Increasing strength, mass and muscle endurance requires you to gradually increase the weight, reps and volume (sets) each successive workout to keep your muscles challenged and growing. Because this particular full body workout routine fixes your sets at three, progression will primarily be a function of increasing reps within the 8-10 range, as well as making slight increases in weight week-over-week.

To accomplish this, you’ll need to know how much you lifted in your last workout, as well as the reps. The only way to be sure is to write it down. Please don’t skip this step. Not keeping track of performance in the gym is one of the primary reasons people don’t progress in their workout routines and fail to hit their fitness goals. Read this article on why you should keep an exercise log for more background.

So let’s get to the actual workout.

The Answer Fitness 60 Minute Full Body Workout

Unless otherwise indicated, for all exercises use a weight that causes you to “fail” between 8-10 reps per set. Perform 5 minutes of light cardio and stretching prior to the routine. Also, you can perform one light-weight warm-up set (not reflected in the sets in the routine below), and three working sets for each exercises.

Workout #1 (Day One) Exercises

Barbell Chest Press: 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Pull Ups (Can be performed on a pull-up station with assist or a traditional pull-up bar): Perform as many pull-ups as you can for 3 sets.
Standing Military (Barbell or Dumbbell) Shoulder Press: 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Barbell Squat: 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Seated Calf Raise: 15 Reps for 3 Sets
(Optional) Dumbbell Bicep Curls: 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
(Optional) Tricep Bench Dips: Perform as many dips as you can for 3 sets.*
(Optional) Back Extensions: One Set of 15**
Swiss/Stability Ball Ab Crunches: 20-25***

Rest and Recover for at least 48 hours. 

Workout #2 (Day Two) Exercises

Dips: Perform as many reps as possible for 3 sets*
Cable Rows: 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Presses: 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Barbell or Dumbbell Deadlifts: 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Smith Machine Standing Calf Raises: 15 Reps for 3 Sets
(Optional) Dumbbell Hammer Curls: 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
(Optional) Overhead Seated Dumbbell Tricep Press:  8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
(Optional) Back Extensions: One Set of 15**
Hanging Leg Raises/Roman Chair (Abs): Perform as many as you can for 3 sets***

Rest and Recover for at least 48 hours.

Workout #3 (Day Three) Exercises

Dumbbell Chest Press (Vary the position of the bench from flat to incline across sets): 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Bent Over Dumbbell Rows (can be performed in a Smith Machine as well): 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Upright Rows (Dumbbell or Barbell): 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Lying Leg Press: 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
Seated Calf Press (Performed on Leg Press Machine): 15 Reps for 3 Sets
(Optional) Reverse Bicep Curls (Palms down): 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
(Optional) Lying Tricep Dumbbell Extensions (“Skullcrushers”): 8-10 Reps for 3 Sets
(Optional) Back Extensions: One set of 15 **
V-Crunches/Jack-Knife Sit Up (Abs): Perform as many as you can for 3 sets.***

*  As it becomes easier to perform dips with your body weight, add additional resistance by holding a light dumbbell between your feet (in the case of parallel bar dips), or have someone place a light plate across your legs on bench dips.

** Increase resistance on back extensions by holding a light plate or dumbbell over your chest during the movement.

*** Increase resistance progressively during ab crunches by holding a plate or dumbbell across your chest. For hanging leg raises/Roman Chair leg raises or V Crunches, place a light dumbbell between your feet.


I’ve taken this full body workout and made it available for download and quick printing in a convenient, easy-to-use workout log format. 

It’s available in two formats: a single PDF workout routine that includes all three days of the plan, or in three Word documents that you can save and print off. The Word version allows you to customize the workout.

Reps and sets are pre-populated into the workout sheet. All you need to do is print it off, take it to the gym and start training. The workout includes open areas for weight used, rest time, vital statistics, exercise notes, pre-and-post workout nutrition, supplements and vitamins and an area to record cardio.

To get the workouts, choose your format from below:

Workout and Full Body Exercise Notes

A few notes about this workout and the exercises I’ve chosen:

First, you’ll notice that I’ve thrown in a few isolation exercises for the biceps and triceps. These are optional. You will work out both of these muscles by performing larger compound pressing and pulling exercises like bench presses, shoulder presses, rows and pull-ups.

However, I recognize that many people take a certain amount of pride in having great “guns” or if shapely arms are important to you and you are able to still get through the workout in 60 minutes, go ahead and include them.

I’ve also included a few exercises that are performed on cable machines. I’m actually a big fan of cable machine work, because I’ve found that the constant tension cables provide can be really beneficial for strength, coordination and overall development. And because you still have to balance the cable against resistance and can “course-correct” your movements, you can enjoy many of the same benefits of free weights.

In all cases, you can substitute the corresponding free weight version of the cable exercises if you don’t have access to cable machines or prefer to workout with dumbbells and barbells.

In terms of calfs, I’ve used the seated calf raise machine and Smith Machine because it allows you to focus on going heavier than you would be able to do with a dumbbell or barbell calf raises. If you don’t have access to a Smith Machine or Calf-Raise Machine, you can perform these with free weights as well. They will be slightly more challenging, however, from a balance perspective, so you’ll probably have to lighten up.

For abs and lower back, I’ve provided three ab exercises that will ensure that by the third workout, you’ve worked out both your upper and lower abs. I haven’t included any oblique work, but you could substitute an oblique exercise in for the V-crunches/Jackknifes.

Your lower back will get worked out in nearly all of the large compound movements, especially deadlifts and bent-over rows (and to some degree, squats and standing military presses.) However, performing a set of back extensions each workout can help improve lower back stability and actually increase your performance in bent over rows and deadlifts.

Don’t perform this exercise on the machine that you strap yourself into — instead use the back extension equipment that gyms usually have in the free weight area. Again, this exercise is optional.

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Category: Workout Routines

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Comments (199)

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  1. Joe (9 comments) says:

    Hello I had a question, this requires a 48 hour rest and recovery. I have read that for effective weight loss alternating cardio (running for me) and lifting days is great. With this full body workout will I be able to run on the in between days or do i risk substantial injury?

  2. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Hi Joe, thanks for stopping by.

    Yes, you should be able to perform cardio on your in-between days without any serious risk of overtraining. The main thing is to give your muscles time for rest and recovery. Unless you are doing high-intensity interval stuff (and I’m thinking primarily 100 yard sprints or high incline work on the treadmill) the cardio should be fine. I actually used that exact pattern last summer with this workout to strip down to about 9% body fat. I actually was doing sprints on the non-weight training days, and never had an overtraining issue. But each person is different. If you feel unusually tired or fatigued, or if you have problems sleeping or get irritable, you might want to take it back a notch (these are all signs of overtraining.) But in the absence of these symptoms, feel free to keep up your running on the down days. Stop by again….

  3. Joe (9 comments) says:

    Thanks Matt I took this routine to the gym last night and I thought it was great. Now I have been working out since high school off and on but i would like to get serious. My concern is that I do not know the correct way to perform each of these exercises, and I know that If you do not perform them correctly you may not work out the correct muscle groups as well as hurt yourself. Can you refer me to a somewhere that I can get that information?

  4. MikeK (1 comments) says:

    Full Body Workout looks like a great addition to my swimming but, being new to exercise, I don’t know what exercises the various names describe. Where can I find diagrams of dips, dumbbell rolls, back extensions and hammer curls, etc, to show me the basic motion and proper form?

  5. Matt (194 comments) says:

    I’m actually working on building out an exercise video instruction library for Answer Fitness. Until then, I would recommend checking out ExRx.net: http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

    Thanks for stopping by and best of luck. Let me know how the full body workout goes for you.

  6. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Joe, see my response to Mike above. ExRx is a great resource to show you how to effectively perform all of the exercises in this full body workout.

    Best of luck with your fitness and exercise goals!

  7. Anthony (2 comments) says:

    Thanks Matt I have been using a routine that I sort of came up with myself involving lunges, barbbell presses, oblique and ab work among a few other exercises. This routine looks so much better. I have been wanting to try a full body workout but wasn’t sure how to put one together. I will definitely be trying this in the gym tomorrow!

  8. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Anthony, keep me posted on how you do with this particular full body workout routine. Just watch your volume — it will be tempting to do more sets than are outlined in the workout plan — especially during the early exercises when you’re fresh. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll drop in again. I usually post fresh content 1-3 times a week. Best of luck!

  9. littlefitgirl (1 comments) says:

    i’ve been following this full body workout plan now for about five weeks and wanted to stop back by and let you know this rocks! i’m tighter and more toned than I’ve ever been in my life, including when I was working with a personal trainer. my last trainer had me doing a lot of core work, which was fine but i just wasn’t feeling like I was getting my ass kicked enough or looking toned. i actually showed this routine to her and she discouraged me from using it. She said it was too heavy. it’s not! i love the results i’m getting. i even dropped my body fat! just wanted to let you know. thanks.

  10. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Littlefitgirl, thrilled this full body workout is given you the results you were looking for. Not sure if you saw it or not, but I wrote an article a few weeks ago on what “being toned” really means and how to get there (and it ‘aint going light with lots of reps.) If you haven’t read it, check it out. Your trainer was probably scared that you’d complain if you started to put on muscle … which is why she may have been steering you aware from this workout. It’s really satisfying to have someone stop back by after using this full body routine and leave such positive feedback. Don’t be a stranger and keep all of us updated on your progress.

  11. Julie (4 comments) says:

    Is it safe to do this routine without a spotter? I don’t have anyone to spot me. The past 9 months I’ve been using machines, but I’d like to move up to free weights. For upper body exercises I use 50-55lbs and for lower body 95-100lbs. I do 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise.

  12. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Julie, you’ll want to ease into this if you are making a switch from machines to the free weights in this full body workout routine. Start off lighter than you are used to doing, since balancing the free weights will require some coordination and will call on some smaller stabilizing muscles that you may not have developed fully on the machines.

    The goal here is to perform the exercises with good form — so if that means reducing resistance/weight some, that’s okay. You can build back up to it in time. In fact, I would expect that. Without knowing your build and the types of machines you are working on, I would expect at least a 50% reduction in the weight you’ll be able to move with free weights. So let’s say you are doing 55 lbs on the chest press machine. I would start off simply pressing an unweighted Olympic bar on the bench press. Use that as your baseline and then gradually add weight in 3-5 lb increments, making sure you are still performing the exercise with good form and safely.

    In terms of a spotter, go light enough initially where you don’t require a spotter. If you eventually want to challenge yourself with additional weight, see if you can get someone at the gym (maybe even the staff) to spot you briefly. I’ve found that in most gyms, people are more than willing to lend a hand.

    By the way, stop back by and let us know how this routine works for you.

    Best of luck!

  13. Kellen (1 comments) says:

    This looks a lot like Gold’s Gym’s “Body Pump” class. And no, I don’t work for them. I was wanting to develop a free weight class that replicated what Body Pump offered and this looks like the ticket. A great article. I can’t wait to try this.


  14. Total Lifetime Fitness (4 comments) says:

    This is a terrific, very complete post. Excellent information from A to Z. Full body workout is a great way to use the Weider Muscle Confusion Principle, particularly if you’ve been doing the same split routine for more than three months. The tips and recommendations here are right on target – especially doing a different exercise for each body part on different days, and doing compound exercises whenever possible.

  15. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Kellen, come back and let us know how this full body workout routine works out for you. Give it about three weeks and let us know your results. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll come back and read some of the other articles and fitness/workout advice on Answer Fitness.

  16. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Total … you’re right, I tried to mix up the exercises each workout so that you get maximum impact (and “muscle confusion”) from this full body workout routine.

    Based on feeback from some very smart people in the training and exercise physiology field, I’m actually going to be making some modifications to this full body workout plan, as well as publishing a couple of condensed versions that drop some of the ancillary exercises (like bicep moves) and substitute in some true, full-body moves like Press Ups and Turkish Get-ups. Check back often, since I’ll be publishing these in the next couple of weeks.

  17. Total Lifetime Fitness (4 comments) says:

    Matt – Thanks for the heads-up – glad to hear about the proposed modifications – looking forward to checking them out!

  18. Ahsan (1 comments) says:

    Can I know what is the most effective way of burning belly fat?

  19. Max (3 comments) says:

    I just completed my 4th week of using this workout, and have been getting very consistent results. The amount of weight I use for each exercise has increased each week. Prior to starting this routine I had been working out for about 3 months just doing my own thing, which caused me to hit a plateau. This routine definitely broke my plateau.

    Recently I have been read various articles about gaining muscle mass and they say that the ideal rep-range for mass gain is 5-7. My primary focus right now is gaining mass (bulking). Would this routine be more effective for gaining mass if I began doing 6 reps per set instead of 8 reps per set?

  20. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Max, thanks for stopping back by and giving us an update on your experience and progress with the full body workout routine. I’m glad to hear it’s working out for you.

    So here’s the deal: Changing up rep ranges on a regular interval is almost always productive. These ranges were simply guides. There is some disagreement around what the optimal rep range is for hypertrophy (size) — some will say 6-8 and others drop it slightly lower.

    Bottom line is to always experiment around with things like rep ranges to find out what works for YOU. I’m assuming your tracking your workouts with log, so you’ll be able to look back over a couple of weeks and get a sense for what happened mass wise when you dropped the reps down. If your not using a log, try mine:


    Even if mass is your main goal, you may find yourself naturally dropping down into the 4-5 range on your next plateau (which you likely will hit at some point.) What I’ve personally found is that to make my next big increase in weight, I often have to knock down my reps by about one-third to one-half. So let’s say I’m doing dumbbell bicep curls for 8 reps at 45 lbs each. To jump up to 50 lbs, I’ll end up coming in at 4-5 reps with that weight. Within a couple workouts, I’ll usually be back up to eight reps with the new weight.

    What’s happening is that you’re dropping down into a strength rep range as a result of the additional resistance. Once you’ve set that base, you can start to build up on top of it back into the hypertrophy range. And then you basically keep repeating this cycle. The problem is people usually don’t keep track of their weight and reps enought to see that they really haven’t “plateau-ed” — they just have increased one of the variables — either resistance, reps or sets.

    A lot of women really fall into this trap because they’ve had high reps pounding into their heads by “toning workouts” (my personal pet peeve.) But you can’t build muscle unless you are continously challenging it to be “better” somehow.

    So go ahead and drop your reps down … but increase the weight also. Hell, if you want, train with a weight that takes you down into the four rep range for a couple of weeks. You’ll probably notice an improvement in muscle hardness as a result.

    Also, don’t shy away from doing a lower-resistance, higher rep cycle as well. Go as high as 15-20 reps. The change up is good.

    Keep us posted. I’m fascinated to hear how individuals react to this particular full body workout plan.

    Best of luck! – matt

  21. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Ahsan, spot reduction of body fat is generally very difficult to achieve. 

    There is some research that indicates it may be possible to spot reduce when you work the muscles in a specific area (the muscle draws from nearby subcutaneous fat stores for some of its energy, it appears), but in general, to lose abdominal fat, you need to lose overall body fat.

    That said, combining a full body workout routine with some cardio (and watching you diet) is the best route to losing body fat, including fat deposited around the abdomen.

    Also, there is some evidence (both clinical and anecdotal) that high intensity interval training (HIIT)may also do a better job at reducing abdominal fat than solid state, long-duration or distance cardio.  And, HIIT tends to preserve lean body tissue.  You can find a detailed article on high intensity interval training here.

    Best of luck!

  22. Max (3 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,Thanks for the informative reply. I have in fact been keeping track of my progress with your workout log. The log makes it very easy to keep track of what weight I am lifting and what progress I am making. It is very reassuring to flip back through the weeks and see how much I have improved.I have a follow up question to your reply. Should I stay in the 3 set range regardless of reps? Like if I were to drop down to 4 reps per set, should I still use 3 sets? And if I were to up my reps to 15 per set, still 3 sets?Also, with the exercises that should be preformed to failure (such as dips, pull ups, and captains chair), how many reps should I be able to do before I add weight? For instance, on my tricep bench dips last week, my reps to failure were 18, 14, and 9 just using body weight. Should I add a weight plate? And how do I determine when to add weight on the other exercises?Thanks Matt, your input is very much appreciated.- Max

  23. Parisa (1 comments) says:

    thanks for that, i have been looking all over the net to find something like this. eating healthy is one thing but you defiantly need to exercise as well.

  24. pintobean (1 comments) says:


    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am following your full body workout plan and today will be day 3. I am indeed doing the strength training every other day as opposed to every day. Sorry about the confusion on my blog. I plan to do ST every Tu/Th/Sa for now and see how that works out.
    I would like to answer the questions you posted regarding what I’m eating etc. And would like to further discuss it further and am looking for some guidance on your workout plan as well. :)  Any help would be much appreciated.


  25. Joel (2 comments) says:

    I just started doing this workout plan, and when I say just started I mean that I’ve done it once. I plan on doing 5 days of cardio a week, 20-30 minutes after the full body workout MWF, and 30 minutes of HIIT on the off days TTH and resting on the weekends. Is that too much cardio? I have just switched from a split routine and doing cardio after every workout but just wanted to get your advice on the situation.

  26. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Joel,  this full body workout will probably take you about 45 minutes to do — an hour tops. Adding an additional 20-30 minutes of cardio on top is pretty aggressive.
    How you approach this in terms of cardio really depends on your current level of fitness, recovery abilities, stamina and, most of all, goals.

    If your goal is to add lean tissue (muscle), then I would skip the post-weight training cardio on the days you perform the full body workout. The HIIT on in-between days is a great approach.

    If reducing body fat levels is your main goal, then 20-30 minutes of light to moderate cardio post workout may help you shed some body fat. However, you also run the risk of burning off some lean tissue in the process — or at least not encouraging optimal muscle growth.  

    I would ease into this, see how you are feeling, and then decide whether you want to layer anything else into your full-body days.

    Keep us posted on how this works out for you.

    Best of luck!

  27. Master Hater (1 comments) says:

    Great article.  Full body exercises are what it takes for fat people to lose weight as fast as possible and become more physically attractive.

  28. EBJr. (2 comments) says:

    I just came across this site today while researching the best method for overcoming the dreaded weightloss plateu.  I’ve been working toward weight/fat loss since April of this year and have gone from 230lb to 195lb(I’m 5’9") doing elliptical, bike riding and now jogging. 
    So now I’ve joined a gym so I can start working out with weights.  I’d like to drop another 15lbs if possible as well as get lean.  I’m definitely going to give this a shot. 
    My original plan was to do 20min of cardio prior weight training but it sounds like that may not be a good idea, right?

    Also, before I get started, I’d like to confirm that on my off days, Tuesday and Thursday, would it still be ok to jog 3-4miles?  Its a pretty level trail that I take with no major inclines or dips. 
    Thanks again for this article.  Its very informative. 
    I look forward to your response.

    EB Jr.

  29. Sanja (2 comments) says:


    I just found this website yesterday and boy am I excited!!! This is the first workout routine I can see myself sticking with. I am a girl and there is not a whole lot of stuff out there for girls, so thank you for putting this together! I will try this program starting today and will let you know how it goes. I am 5"3, 106 lbs but 22% body fat. I would like to see myself come down to 18 or 19. Don’t wanna lose any more weight, but would like to replace those 3lbs of fat with 3 or 4 lbs of muscle. How realistic am I about this accomplishment being possible? Thanks!

    New Fan,

  30. Keenan (1 comments) says:

    This is exactly what I have been looking for. I can already tell this is right for me. Thanks to Matt for the completeness in this article (and the PDF files).

    I’ll check back in a month or so with my results.

  31. Misty (1 comments) says:

    Hey Matt, I was curious, is it ok to do cardio after this weight training routine?  I have about 30lbs to lose fast, (I’m 210lbs right now, but down from 245lbs I’m 5’6" and female) since I have a photo shoot coming up.  Please advise, thanks!

  32. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Misty, first congrats on losing that first 35 lbs. That’s amazing progress. You should be really proud of yourself. What’s your target weight/body fat percentage goal?

    In terms of the workout and cardio: You can perform cardio after this full body workout weight training routine, but the intensity of the workout (because it relys on super-setting your exercises with minimal rest periods in between exercises) makes it extremely challenging on it’s own.

    Depending on your conditioning and motivation, you can include some short-duration cardio after the workout to burn some additional fat. But I have to tell you that’s biting off a lot in one day.

    That said, everyone responds differently, so if you want to try it, see what happens. Also, on your non-weight training days, consider trying out HIIT, or high intensity interval training, which many people have found effective at stripping off body fat without adversely impacting lean muscle retention.

    Finally, remember that the best path to permanent fat loss is the slow and steady path. Fast weight loss typically results in a rebound, while slower weight/fat loss (between 1-3 lbs a week) is a more successful approach preserving your losses long-term. This has been proven clinically over and over again. This is why crash or fad diets are usually unsucessful at achieving lasting weight loss.

    Stop back and give us an update on your progress, and let me know if you have any other questions.

    Best of luck — Matt

  33. este ervin (1 comments) says:

    i just need some advise of how do i make my upper arms smaller and tone?

  34. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Este, thanks for stopping by. Can you give me some more details here? What is your current body composition like? In other words, height, weight, age and gender?  What is your current workout routine?  Once I have some details, I can provide more guidance here.

    Thanks for stopping by ….

  35. diamondchica (5 comments) says:

    this looks great. do you have a version though that targets the upper body more versus the whole body? i’m pretty happy with my legs and butt but i’d like to work more on my shoulders, back and arms which are a little skinny like i said before. any advice would be appreciated!

  36. Sanja (2 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,

    I started with the program about a week ago and I love it so far. I have been lifting three times a week with light cardio on days in between and one resting day.  I am 24 years old, 5"3, 107lbs, 22% body fat and would love to get down to 19%; lose those 3lbs of fat and turn them into muscle. My daily calorie intake averages 1300 calories, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending how long I sleep and how I feel on a particular day. Since starting this program, I did increase my protein intake from 30g/day to about 90-110g/day.  I also lowered carbs(this was a pain) from about 180g/day to now 110-130g. Are there any additional changes you would recommend for me to get better results? Thanks for your time.

    Sanja B.

  37. phreakyfitnesschick (3 comments) says:

    Okay, so I’ve been on your full body workout for about six weeks and I wanted to let everyone know that this thing really works! I didn’t really notice any results for the first two or three weeks, but by about week four, I was really starting to firm up … and I mean a lot. I also never went this heavy with a workout before, so i was a little nervous about using heavier weights. But I did it anyway because of all the things you said about the fitness models who do this. My upper body has never looked this good! Especially my shoulders, back and arms. I just wish I had done this in the spring before swimsuit season. I even have lost about 5% body fat since starting this. The only downside is that my boobs have gotten a little smaller, it think. But they still look pretty good because my body is tighter now. Any advice on how to do this workout without losing your chest? Also, when should I change and do a different routine? I’m not bored because its WORKING, but I just wonder if I need to do other things. Thank you!

  38. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Phreakyfitnesschick, I’m really glad you took the time to stop back by and share your experiences with my full body workout routine. I’ve taken a few lumps here and there over this workout, primarily from the functional crowd who think it’s too heavy on upper body and doesn’t use enough really large compounds. Many of them make fair points.

    So it’s always cool when I hear a great success story like yours. This is the full body routine that I basically follow most of the year, and I’ve had great results with this as well. Others that have tried it seem to pleased, although I do know that many people make some mods to it, depending on their goals. This is actually ideal, since this was intended to just be a basic template.

    Congrats on dropping some body fat. That’s always a really nice fringe benefit, especially if you are putting on some additional muscle, which is sounds like you are. Supersetting these exercises and keeping the rest periods short really helps with the fat loss, since it basically transforms this into a full-body circuit workout with free weights.

    You’re also right that it takes a few weeks for things to kick in, but as you experienced, you should be seeing some noticeable difference in your physique and body composition within 4-5 weeks, especially if you’re following the routine closely and keeping track of your exercises and progress (which I know you are from your comments on the workout and exercise log article.)

    In terms of losing your chest, this is probably happening because of the body fat reductions. This isn’t uncommon with women. I know it would be nice to just lose your abdominal fat and still maintain your bust, but it doesn’t usually work like that. You’ll lose fat across your body, but because the breasts are primarily fatty tissue, some loss in chest size is unsually unavoidable.

    What I normally recommend is focusing additional attention on the back and chest, which can provide an additional "lift" and help compensate for some of the loss in breast fat. Both pressing and pulling motions can help with this, and you can even try some additional isolation work like chest flyes to carve out a little more defined cleavage between the chest muscles.  Varying the position that you perform your chest presses from can also put some additional muscle under the breasts, which can help. Try changing up your dumbbell chest presses so that you perform them on a decline bench, which emphasizes the lower pec muscle more. Be sure to keep putting plenty of attention on your back as well (the bent over rows are actually great for this), since most people have under-developed backs. By improving back development, you’ll also improve posture which will result in your shoulders naturally pulling back more, which will cause your chest to go out more. This can actually give you the visual appearence of having a larger bust than you might really have.  Good posture almost always improves a persons profile.

    In terms of changing up the routine, at about the the 8-10 week mark, I would consider taking a period of "active-rest." This is basically performing the workout three times a week, but raising your rep range and lowering your weight considerably, and training in the high-rep, endurance range. This will give you a break, but will still help you keep the muscle active during this period. I’m actually going to create a Phase II Full Body Workout Plan that will address this, as well as provide some alternatives to change up the routine and keep you progressing.

    Again, I’m glad to hear your having so much success with this. Can’t wait to hear how you look at week eight! Please stop by again and let us know.

  39. EBJr. (2 comments) says:

    Just wanted to drop a quick note to say thanks…I’ve finally broken through my plateu!  My weightloss is much slower now,  maybe 1lb- 1.5lbs a week when it used to be around 3lbs per week.  I’m in my 6th week now and can really notice the difference.   I’ve cut my jogging down to 2 times a week…sometimes I jog and sometimes I walk.  
    One other thing that I’ve also noticed is that I get hungry a lot quicker during the day and more often.  When my primary focus was weight loss I was taking in between 1600-1800 calories a day and jogging at least 4days a week.    I kept track of my food and calories for about 6months and have developed better eating habits.  I stopped tracking about 5 weeks ago but have not changed my habits until recently.  If I had to guess I’m probably taking in about 2200-2400 calories a day now.  Is this normal?  My first thought is yes since my body continues to burn calories for up to 48hours after my workout.  But is this too many extra calories?

  40. TakesHeart (2 comments) says:

    Hi, on your workout logs there is just space to put one weight next to each exercise, so does that imply you just stick with one weight through out the three sets? Or can you move up each set?

  41. Sealy (1 comments) says:

    this looks pretty good, thanks for sharing.

  42. Yoosuf Hamid (1 comments) says:

    Hi, I have a question can i do running after the full body workout? And if i can than how much time is good for that and is there any harm for body?

  43. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Takesheart, sorry for the delay in responding here. I got backlogged on comments for a few weeks recently.

    You actually should have room to write more than one weight amount in that space. The way you do it is by separating the weight with slashes. So, let’s say your first set was done with 10 lbs, your second, 15 lbs, and your final two sets with 20 lbs.

    You could record it in the space like this: 10/15/20/20. There actually should be enough room — provided you write small — to do two rows of this in the space provided.

    In terms of whether you should use the same weight for each set of exercises, that’s really up to you. Your first set should be lighter, since it’s a warm-up set. The following sets can be at the same weight, or you can pyramid up by using slightly more weight each set. This is sometimes a good strategy for determining your strength threshold for a given exercise. 

    In your next workout, you can then look back and after your warmup set, start with your highest weight amount from the previous workout. This is a good way to make sure you are always challenging yourself and making progress.

  44. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Yoosuf, this is a fairly intense, challenging full-body workout that relies on minimal resting periods between sets and exercises. While you can run after this workout, it really will depend on your level of conditioning and current physical fitness. And of course, your energy levels after the workout.

    In general, I would recommend doing your running on your off days, so that you can mentally focus attention on your weight training, and not have to rush yourself through to get in some cardio.

    That said, if you want to take up the intensity of your training overall and really want to run after this workout, I would choose to do a shorter-duration, HIIT bout of exercise for no more than 20-25 minutes.

    Best of luck and let us know how this workout goes for you.

  45. Matt (194 comments) says:

    EBjr, thanks for stopping by and giving us an update on your progress using this full body workout routine. Congrats!

    This workout generally takes about six weeks before you start to really see results in the mirror — so you’re a great example of why people need to give themselves about 2 months minimum on this training routine. Patience pays off, as you discovered.

    Losing the weight more slowly is actually a good thing. You’re probably conserving much more lean body mass, which will help you switch your body composition away from fat and toward muscle. Also, people who lose fat more slowly tend to be more successful at keeping it off long-term — which is the name of the game.

    It’s also not unusual to find yourself being more hungry when you start training with routines like this. Your calorie requirements will go up (primarily because you need the food for post-workout repair) and the addition of lean mass (along with the loss of some fat) does seem to increase metabolism (although marginally.)

    It’s hard to say whether you are eating too many calories without knowing your height, weight and age. If you are performing this full-body workout three times a week, and doing some running on days in between, I would say you’re probably eating about the right amount of food.  Remember, if you are burning 500 extra calories a day, that’s going to put you at about 1500-1800 calories a day (assuming you are eating 2500), which would likely cause some weight loss.

    The approach you are taking is actually ideal, because you are creating a calorie-deficit through exercise, versus food. This typically results in better lean mass gains, and will make you happier, because you actually get to eat a fair amount of food. Dieting your way to a good physique rarely works.

    Also, glad to hear that you’ve been tracking food and exercise. These are the single two most important things that a person can do to be successful and continue making progress. I’m thrilled you took this approach, and your results I think are the best testament to how important these two steps are.

    If you haven’t tracked food in six weeks or so, I would go back and do it again just for a week to do a gut check on how much you are eating. It’s just a way to recalibrate yourself, and will keep you from hitting a weight loss or fat loss plateau.

    Also, make sure you recalculate your calorie requirements based on your new weight, since if you’ve lost some fat, you may need slightly less calories.

    Finally, remember that if what you are currently doing is continuing to get you ongoing fat-loss, keep with it. Don’t fix it if it ‘aint broken. If you start to stall, stop back and we’ll come up with some strategies to jump start you. You will eventually hit a training plateau, but they are actually not hard to break with a couple of tricks.

    Keep us posted on your progress and thanks for stopping by!

  46. kelly (4 comments) says:

    I’ve tried day 1 and day 2 of your full workout routine (just recently found it)…I love it, don’t get me wrong…but…I really feel that it focuses more on the arms and not so much on the legs…Will alternate day of cardio suffice that?  Or should more leg weight machines be incorporated into the workout?  Please advise, thanks!!!!

  47. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Hi Kelly, thanks for dropping by and providing some feedback.

    You’re right, the large pulling and pushing exercises like chest presses, rows, standing shoulder presses, etc., all work the biceps and triceps as a secondary supporting muscles, so whether you want to do any of the additional, more isolated arm work is really your call. I’m actually going to label these optional, so this will be clear to people.

    In terms of legs,  this workout should actually do a good job of training your legs — each workout emphasizes the legs a little differently. The squats are going to work your calves, quads, glutes and hamstrings, but they tend to target your quads (or the front of your legs), on Day 2, you perform dumbbell deadlifts, which target your hams, and on Day Three you hit the legs again with presses, which if performed deep, will hit your quads and glutes, primarily.

    Also, if you’d prefer, you can substitute something like walking dumbbell lunges for the leg press on Day 3. Dumbbell lunges (especially the walking variety) are very challenging, and can give you great overall development in your legs. 

    The key here isn’t necessarily to add more leg exercises in — I’ve basically constructed this workout to train each major muscle group each workout, with a different exercise, three times a week. Rather, focus on intensity during the leg exercises you perform. Use a weight that is causing you to work hard to move those last couple of reps. And always try to beat your last leg workout in some way — whether that’s an extra rep, another 2 lbs, etc. This is why it’s really important to keep a log of your exercises, weight, reps, sets, etc.

    Cardio isn’t going to train your legs, although if you do perform it under more resistance (for instance by setting the treadmill on an incline or increasing the resistance on the elliptical), you can get some strength-training benefits in the legs. I know Amanda Carrier is a big fan of using the stair stepper with high resistance to build tighter glutes and encourage some muscle in the hams, and I’ve personally had some success adding some muscle to legs doing HIIT on an incline treadmill. However, I don’t view cardio primarily as a resistance activity.

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions, and keep us posted on your progress.

  48. Duane (2 comments) says:

    Hi Matt.
    This looks like a GREAT workout program!! I am eager to try it. I haven’t worked out (consistently) in 6 months. So basically I’m starting over. Would this be an ideal work out program for beginners? In addition, would the program work if I start out using weight that will allow me to perform 8-10 reps instead of the recommended 6-8 reps? Eventually I will work to performing 6-8 reps.  Thanks!


  49. Kevin (8 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,

    Is this okay to move to immediately after doing a split routine for ages?  Or should I gradually move in.  I’ve read a lot about the benefits of a full body workout, I guess I’ve just been afraid to because I’m so used to what I know, and my unfamiliarity with some of the exercises always made me afraid that I would end up choosing a workout that was neglecting one or two muscle groups.  This template, however, seems to be well thought out.
    Also, for work reasons, the gym I’m going to for the next few months is a rather small one.  Can you suggest comparable exercises to replace the Dips and Pull-ups? 

  50. Takesheart (2 comments) says:

    Hey Matt, I found some fullbody workout that is very similar to what you have on this site but it has you do 10sec positives and 10sec negatives with continous movement (no stopping at top or bottom). I guess it taxes your muscle so much you only need to do one set of 5-8 reps to see benefits. You have to use a little bit lighter weight ofcourse. Do you have any experience with the slow lifting and does it produce results? Thanks

  51. Michele (1 comments) says:

    Question for you….I’m starting this routine tomorrow!  I absolutely love how you’ve put it together. I only have 3 days a week to work out and wanted to do cardio for 45 – 60 min and then the full body workout.  I know that will be alot but my time is limited and I know I need the cardio as well as the weights.  Is this going to be a  huge problem doing both on the same one right after the other? Thanks for your reply! 

  52. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Michele, I get this question quite a bit. You can scroll up for some additional detail around performing the full body workout and cardio on the same day.

    I’ll recap for your particular question, however.

    Whether you can successfully do both the full-body workout and an hour of cardio in the same day is really a matter of how well you are currently conditioned. If you have good cardiovascular conditioning and plenty of stamina and energy you could try it … but honestly, you’re biting off a lot.

    Full body exercise routines — when performed correctly — are going to be intense. This particular workout has the intensity of a circuit workout, but with heavier weights than are typically used during circuit training. So how much energy you’ll have after completing the routine will really depend on your conditioning and constitution.

    One approach would be to cut down on the volume of sets that you do, so that you are reducing some of the total time it takes to perform this workout. You could probably do this routine in around 30 minutes if you did one lighter warmup set and only 1-2 working sets. If you are lifting with intensity, you could get away with one set.

    The trick here is to make sure you are going heavy enough on your working sets to progressively challenge yourself. Many people (including myself) have had good results with higher-intensity, but lower volume resistance training programs that have you only performing one working set to failure or near-failure.

    If you do take the lower volume approach, please be sure to keep a detailed exercise log for each workout (the link goes to my free printable workout log, which I think is pretty good and use myself.) You’ll need to know exactly what your previous workout performance was in terms of weight and reps in order to maximize the potential of performing a single set exercise at higher intensity. As long as you are always increasing either your weight or reps (without exceeding the top line of 10 reps, in which case it’s time to add a bit of weight), you will have good results with this workout, even if you perform less overall sets. But again, keeping the log is really critical. I can’t stress this enough.

    The net effect of this would be to still give you a great full body workout, but in less time, which will allow you to squeeze in that cardio.

    Also, I would perform your cardio AFTER the weight training. There are some good reasons for this. You need to be fresh when you lift weights, and an hour of cardio before-hand is probably going to leave you lethargic. There is also some evidence (and not everyone agrees on this) that you may experience better fat burning results if you perform cardio after weight training. This has to do with liver glycogen being depleted after intense anaerobic exercise, which may cause your body to burn slightly more fat (versus carbohydrates) during aerobic exercise.

    Provided you are in good cardiovascular health with no serious health or heart conditions, you might also consider substituting high intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio for your longer-duration cardio. HIIT typically has you performing cardio at a much higher intensity that normal, which can let you burn the same amount of calories in 30 minutes, that you do in a 60 minute bout. You can learn more about HIIT here.

    One final thing to consider. While including cardio in your training and workout routine ensures that you are well-rounded, many people (especially women) do too much cardio at the expense of putting some attention on building lean tissue through resistance training. You want to strike the right balance here. If you are spending more time on cardio than you are on lifting weights, try to balance that out.  You WILL NOT run your way to a beach body. You need to do both some cardio and some weight training. Mentally, this is hard for many people to do, especially if they are used to lots of cardio or have been told over-and-over that lots of cardio is going to get you lean. By putting equal attention on both, you’re going to get the best overall results.

    Let me know if you have any other questions, and please keep us all up-to-date on your progress and experiences with this routine. I love feedback.

    Best of luck with your training and fitness goals and stop by again!

  53. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Duane, yes, this workout is fine for beginners. And you should definitely ease into this. Starting with a 8-10 rep range is fine. Keep good track of your exercises, weights and reps with the workout log on my site, and then work "down" to the higher-weight and lower-rep range.  You’ll still get good results with this approach.

    You also can take your overall set volume down a bit when you first start out as well.

    Best of luck and keep us posted on your progress.

  54. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Takesheart, great question. Yes, increasing time-under-tension or slowing your contraction tempo/pace can be a very effective training technique. And you are also right that when performed correctly and with the right amount of weight or resistance, you can get away with a lower set volume by increasing time-under-tension. This approach also emphasises the "negative" or eccentric portion of the contraction – where the muscle lengthens — which can also be very effective at building strength and size.  You muscle can actually take more load on the eccentric contraction (on the way down) than on the concentric.  Just be ready for some DOMS the next day.

    The reason performing less volume with a longer-time-under-tension can work as well as multiple set exercises is that total work and load on the muscle is what really matters at the end of the day. Because a slower rep tempo keeps the muscle under load for a longer period of time, it can actually produce some of the same results as higher volume work, with less reps. Performed correctly, the muscle is actually doing an equal amount of work because of the extended time under tension as if you did multiple sets or more reps.

    I always encourage people to experiment around with variations in this routine, and tempo is a good one to try for yourself. Some people respond very favorably to this type of training, but you really have to try it to see for yourself.  The free printable workout log here on Answer Fitness actually has a column for you to record tempo, so you should check it out if you already haven’t.

    Again, great question and let us know how this full body workout routine works for you, especially if you modify it for tempo versus set volume.

  55. Kelly (4 comments) says:

    Thanks, Matt!!!  Your response and knowledge has been very helpful. 

  56. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Kelly, keep us posted on how this routine works for you, okay? Hope you’ll stop by again.

  57. Sanya (1 comments) says:

    Workout plateau, here I come!

    I have been doing this routine for two months now and loved it…but I have reached plateau phase. Any suggestions?

  58. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Sanya, first congrats on sticking with this. Thrilled to hear you like it and it’s working.

    In terms of the plateau, I’m going to be writing an article on tactics to break weight training plateaus within the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for that.

    In the meantime, here are a couple of tactics to try.

    First, give yourself a week of “active rest.” Basically, this means continuing to perfom the same workout, but go much lighter so that you are working out in a weight range that allows you to go as high as 25 reps per set.

    The idea here is to give yourself a week of “rest” without actually reducing your activity – just the intensity. You’ll also be training in the upper range for muscular endurance which can sometimes jolt you into a rep or two more when you go back to the heavier routine.

    If that doesn’t get you the result you want, consider taking a week off entirely. Perform cardio only. Many people are surprised that a week off can actually leave them stronger when they return.

    Third, try increasing your weight so that you can only perform 4-5 reps per set.Do this for two weeks and then return to the standard workout. You should find you are able to lift a slightly higher weight for a few more reps.

    A hyrbid approach would be to alternate a low-weight/high rep week with a low rep/high weight week for the next four weeks.Then return to the standard workout rep scheme.

    By doing this, you’ll be training for in the optimal rep ranges for both endurance and strength, which can cause a break-out in the mid-range when you return to it.

    I would start with these tactics. Try each one in sequence – and only move on to the next if it doesn’t break the plateau.It’s good to leave some weapons in your arsenal for when you hit the next wall.

    There are some additional advanced techniques you can try if these don’t work, but in 3 out of 4 cases, one or more of these will do the trick.

    Also, you’re keeping an exercise log right? And trying to beat yourself each week? If you’re not (and you’re trying to track weight and reps in your head) I would startthe log right now. That is always the first point to focus on when you reach a plateua. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

    If you are keeping a log, then try the active rest as your next step.

    Let me know how you progress.

  59. Lue (1 comments) says:


    The workout looks good but I do have a couple questions. Im kind of a different build im pretty skinny at 5’11 150-155 but alot of my friends say im built not big or anything just in decent shape. I want to walk on to a football team and wanted to know If this workout would get me in the right shape, I need to put on atleast 15 pounds and wouldnt mind twenty. Was thinkin about doing your workout running in the offdays and taking either protein or creatin ( my brother has both). Would you make any changes to the workout on based on my cirmcumstances, and do you think It will allow me to bulk up a little bit.

  60. Larissa (1 comments) says:

    I love your site! Really useful well organized info! Check mine if you’d like to throw an ad on there
    thanks fitness nerd
    a fitness nerd

  61. Personal Trainer (3 comments) says:

    Torches fat huh?

  62. Ahmed (1 comments) says:


    I never lifted regularly, and I wanted to start. I found your full body workout plan and read all the positive comments and started it about 3 months ago. You are an absolute genius. I was chubby before i started. I’ve combined lots of cardio in addition to weight training, but the combination has yielded noticeable results.

    I did have a question. Virtually every part of my body has become stronger and more lean than before. I’m having trouble with my chest. Are there any exercises you reccomend that could help the chest work harder? Or am I simply not doing enough weight? I’ve added a core workout after each full body workout, and during that I alternate pushups with situps. In any case, love your plan, I’ve been reccomending it to friends. I didn’t think I could make this kind of progress weight training in such a relatively short amount of time. Many thanks.

  63. Gabriel (4 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,

    I really like the look of this routine and I’m really impressed.

    I’m currently at about the weight range I want to be, but I’d really like to achieve the lowest body fat percentage which I can maintain for a year (I’m assuming that’s about 10%). I only have 3 hrs to spare in the gym so this workout seems perfect. My question is does this workout require cardio on off days for someone like me, who is looking to get leaner and put on more muscle?? What is the optimal rep range for my goals?

    Thanks and all the best.

  64. Gabriel (4 comments) says:

    One other thing: My deadlift form is really ordinary. I think more out of coordination problems than strength problems. Is there a good alternative or is it extremely important to persevere with that exercise?? I have good sized legs btw and don’t feel the need to heavily work that area.

    Thanks again.

  65. Emily (1 comments) says:

    Hi,I just found this workout (and really want to try it) and had a question.  I am wanting to tone and lose size and I was wondering if this workout would make me gain size.  I have been working out consistently since August and spent the summer working on a farm, so I am pretty lean to begin with.  Thanks so much!

  66. Syn (1 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,

         I just wanted to first say your routine is great. I was just wondering if I should use back support belts and wrist support gloves with the workout? I found a article saying that it might throw off the total body workout due to them shifting all the weight only on certain muscles and it would leave out others strengthening along with the exercise. I was at least going to start wearing gloves because the weights were starting to tear at my skin, but I was thinking of getting more support to avoid injury.

    Thanks for your help.

  67. Marty (2 comments) says:

    I am about to start the weekly full body workouts. I’ve been working out for a good ten years. I plan to do the workout twice a week with 3-4 days of cardio in between. I’ve been doing 30 minutes of weights and 30-40 minutes of cardio the last year. Any suggestions/recommendations for someone my age? I was thinking of starting off with doing two sets for each exercise then moving to 3 sets in a month or so.

  68. Marty (2 comments) says:

    Sorry, forgot to ad my age. I am 50 years old and I am 5-10 and 180lbs.

  69. Stephen (4 comments) says:

    Wow, great post. My compliments on a very well constructed site with great content. I too have a fitness blog. Take a look if you have a moment. http://obsessionfitness.com

  70. Duane (2 comments) says:

    Hello again, Matt! I’ve been doing your program for the past 3 weeks. This is a great workout. I’ve already seen some results showing. People are telling me that I’m starting to lose weight! That’s good for my ears to hear.
    I do have a concern and a question. I have bad knees. My right knee has some minor arthritis. The squats seem to be doing more harm than good on my knees. I have been doing squats on the smith machine. And I’m afraid of doing them on the rack. So I’m thinking I should stop doing squats all together. What alternative leg exercise would you suggest to replace squats? Thanks in advance.

  71. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Personal Trainer — yes, despite your sarcasm, full body workouts have been clinically shown to burn more body fat than split routines or cardio on its own. 

    As I’m sure you know, large compound movements expend more calories and the short rest-periods in this workout keep people moving — hence more fat burning.

    The word "torch" is used for flair — but, hey, there’s nothing wrong with flair, right? After all, we are trying to both educate and motivate people.

    As you can see from the comments thus far, this is a very effective workout for a lot of people. If you have alternatives, please share them. I’m always open to improvements.


  72. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Lue, sorry for the delay on responding to your question. January has been a huge month on the site with lots of questions, comments, visits, etc. I’m just now digging out and getting to the backlog.

    I don’t see any reason that this workout wouldn’t meet your training needs and gain goals. In your case, I think the key is making sure you are eating enough. You sound like a borderline hard-gainer, so you may need to eat more food with this workout to gain lean mass than the average person.

    You don’t indicate what position you hope to walk-on to, but at your weight,  I would assume you won’t be a linebacker. Depending on your position, I would probably train for some mass, but preference speed and strength. If this is the case, I would try this routine, but layer in some plymetrics and balance/coordination work — this can improve your explosive strength which may help you in football. If you are really serious about this, hire a trainer for a few weeks to develop a customized exercise plan for you to help you reach your goals. It’s hard to do that online. It will be worth your money.

    Also, instead of doing solid state cardio, I would consider performing HIIT — specifically sprinting (like 100 yard dashes.) Football isn’t an endurance sport (at least not in the vein of marathon running), so work on increasing your speed and power. You’ll probably also add some lean mass to your legs as a result. Fat loss isn’t really an issue for you, so doing duration/distance work probably doesn’t make a lot of sense — and may actually be counter-productive.

    Drop me an email if you want to discuss this in more detail.

  73. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Ahmed, can’t tell you how great it is to hear back from people that this is working. Thrilled you stuck with it and are seeing results.

    In terms of your chest, I would probably try playing around with the amount of weight you are using. If you aren’t using a spotter, you may be using less weight on the chest than you can actually handle, which could be causing you to not develop to your full potential.  Try to find someone who is willing to spot you, and drop your reps down into the 4-6 rep range for a while. Perform the same exercises for your chest, but make sure you are really pushing yourself.

    The chest work in this routine is pretty balanced — you do dumbbell, bodyweight and barbell work. You swap in some isolation work like dumbbell flyes or use a chest flye machine, but that will typically only result in more definition, not mass.

    From what you tell me, I suspect this is just an issue of you not really choosing the right weight.  On the dips, if you can performm 15-20 reps unassisted, add some weight by placing a light dumbbell between your feet during the exercise.  You’ll perform less reps, but definitely feel it.

    Also, try throwing in some pushups instead of the barbell work. Aim to build up to 50 in a single set. To get there you may need to break it up into smaller sets, like maybe 3-4 sets of 15 reps. Pushups are actually great chest conditioning exercises and might shake things up.

    Thanks and keep us posted!

  74. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Gabriel — the key to making this full body routine work for you is to determine what works for you.

    Start the routine and keep track your performance using the workout and exercise log here on Answer Fitness. I feel really strongly about the benefits of recording your performance — so try it.

    In terms of leaning out, it is very hard to lean out AND gain lean muscle simultaneously unless you are really disciplined about recording and tweaking food intake. 

    That said, drop the cardio for four weeks and see what happens in terms of body fat and lean muscle ratios. Some people do fine with more weight training and little cardio, while others find that body fat levels climb too much without the additioanal burn of cardio.

    A lot of this can be managed through diet, but you have to get "scientific" as I like to call it. That means weighing food and tracking calorie intake and expenditure. Many people don’t like doing this, so if you are one of those people, you just need to see what happens when you focus on the weight training and cut back on the cardio.

    You don’t HAVE to do this three times a week. If you want to do it twice and on the third day do cardio, fine. Play around and see what works for you.

    In terms of the deadlifts … if you really think you have well developed hams that are equal to your quads, then don’t sweat the deadlifts.  This is  unusual, because most people have over-developed quads and under-developed hamstrings.  But you may be one of the exceptions. If this is the case, then don’t focus so much on lower body. To each their own.

    Email me with any additional questions and thanks for your patience on this.

  75. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Syn … great question. The weight lifting belt, in general, is unnecessary. Unless you are a powerlifter who is moving huge amounts of weight (or are under some kind of medical care that advises using a belt or corset), weight belts aren’t required.

    The goal should be to strengthen your lower back through the exercises themselves — weight belts tend to provide unnatural support and can actually impeded this strengthening of the lower back. If you need them, then you are probably trying to move more weight than you should.

    Now, in terms of weight lifting gloves, these actually can improve performance because they boost gripping power. I would opt for a pair that doesn’t provide an extensive amount of wrist support. The reasons your wrists are weak is because they haven’t been trained to be stronger. Wrist support straps will just tend to encourage this.

    However, the gloves themselves — as you point out — can improve overall grip, protect the palms and make things more comfortable, so I’m in favor of using them if they help. However, unless you have a medical condition that requires bracing of the wrists, avoid gloves that over-support the wrist. It’s good to build up stability and strength at these points.

  76. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Emily … great question. It will likely make you gain muscle — whether that translates into "size" will really depend on your body type and build.

    In general, if you are already quite lean, the additional muscle will not make you look "bulky."  That typically is a temporary condition that people who are already carrying a fair amount of body fat experience before the curve changes and they start to lose BF.

    Also, unless you have some unique genetics, most women are limited by hormones as to how much muscle mass they can realistically put on.  I would say most women experience a firming-up and tightening effect with this type of workout, especially if they are already lean. If anything, it will help pull off some additional body fat and probably cause your dress size or waist to become smaller.

    The best approach is to try it for about six-eight weeks and see how it impacts your body composition, muscle definition, etc. DO NOT rely on the bathroom scale to measure it’s impact — you will likely gain weight (lean tissue) on this routine, although physically, you will probably look leaner despite the increase in scale weight. Go on your appearances and aesthetics not how many pounds you lose or gain. 

    After you give it a shot, stop back by and let us know what’s working and not working and we’ll go from there. 

  77. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Marty, I think you’re approach makes sense. What you don’t indicate is what your goal is.

    Are you primarily looking to lose body fat and gain or preserve lean tissue? If gaining some muscle is your goal, the cardio frequency may be a little high.

    If you are looking to have a good, integrated mixture of weight training and cardio, then I think the schedule you’re proposing makes sense. The best approach is to try it and see what your results are and tweak from there.

    You will face some challenges because of your age around gaining lean mass. This varies from individual-to-individual, and many men can continue to gain muscle well into their 50s — especially if they have been exercising regularly for years and are in good overall shape. Gains may be slower than when you are in your 30s, but age-related muscle loss is not inevitable. There is actually a lot of debate around this, and one of the theories is that people simply become less active in the 50s, which contributes to muscle wasting.  There are hormonal things that start to happen in your mid 50s that impact body fat and lean tissue, but a good exercise routine can mitigate a lot of them. Just look at Jack LaLane.

    By the way, I like that you are going to ease into this routine. The key at your age is not to overdo the poundage.  Keep your rep ranges up in the higher end — eight would probably be a good target. This will keep you from going to heavy, which can be hard on the joints and cause injury.

    Also, make sure you are doing a good, light warmup set for each exercise before doing the heavier, eight rep set.

    Stop back by and let us know how this works out for you after a few weeks.

  78. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Hey Duane, great question.  I want you to be careful on the leg work because of the knees.

    What may be happening here is that you need to build up the supporting muscles around the knee joint (this is where your quads attach to the bone around the knee) as well as strengthen your connective tissue in the knees.

    Form is also really important here. In general, squats are generally safe for the knees, provided you are performing them correctly. The key thing is to make sure that your knees are NOT extending past the tips of your toes as you lower the weight. When they do, it causes shearing forces on your knees, which isn’t good.

    Ironically, sometimes performing squats in the Smith Machine causes more problems with your knees than if you perform them in the squat rack. The reason for this is that the fixed plane of motion in the Smith Machine doesn’t let you adjust for your own unique body mechanics. So it can force you into planes of motion that aren’t "natural" for you. This can put additional stress on joints.

    One thing you might try is performing you squats in the rack with just the bar and no additional weight. Train your legs with higher reps in this case, and lower weight, which can help build up the connective tissue around your knees.  Take it slow and easy and don’t use too much weight or push yourself to hard. As you build up strength and endurance in these muscles, you may actually find the knee problems becoming less of an issue.

    Again, watch your form. Keep your lower back arched in, head-up and looking forward, and don’t let your knees come out in front of your toes. Imagine sitting down in a chair.

    If you still are experiencing discomfort or pain, try doing leg presses instead. Go light, and if the gym has a medicine ball (the "squishy" kind are best), try performing the leg press with the medicine ball between your knees. Hold the ball in place by pressing your knees together and performing the leg press with the ball between them.

    Your range of motion may be less (meaning you may not be able to go quite as deep with the movement and still be able to keep the ball pressed between your knees), but that’s okay. One of the problems with leg presses is that depending on your flexibility, you may let your knees "flare" outward as you reach the bottom of the motion. This can force them into uncomfortable planes of motion and possible cause pain or injury. By holding the ball in place between your knees, you reinforce proper positioning of the knees in a straight plane.

    This can provide additional support to the knees, and may improve development of some of the supporting muscles in your legs (like the adductors — which are on your inner thighs) .

    One thing you don’t indicate is whether the pain is during the exercise, after or both. E-mail me directly and we can discuss this more.

    Also, some people report dramatic improvements in arthritis with some additions to their diet. Drinking tart cherry juice has some clinical research behind it, and I know a number of people who have arthritis that claim it did wonders for them. It has anti-inflammatory properties that may help you.  Fish oil may also be of benefit here.

    Email me directly and we can talk more about your specific situation. If the knees are a real problem, you may want to schedule an appointment with a trainer who specializes in physical therapy and working with people who have pre-existing conditions/injuries.  She or he can help put together a customized leg routine for you that takes into account your knee issues. There is only so much that a person can do online. And this may be one of those cases.

  79. Kelly (4 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,

    I hope all is going well for you.  I just wanted to let you know that I’ve dropped 2 inches from my waist and 10 lbs - thanks to you!!  I wasn’t really over weight just added a few holiday lbs that are now gone.  I love the fact that I can finally see the  muscle definition in my arms, abs and legs - I cant wait till summer time now!!!  I love your site and refer to it quite often.  Thank you so much for preparing such an awesome site and actually responding to everyones questions (even the sarcastic personal trainer who didnt deserve it)…Take care and best of luck to you!!!

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Kelly, thanks for stopping by and letting everyone know how this routine worked out for you. 2 inches from your waist and 10 lbs (which I’m sure was probably mostly body fat) is a great accomplishment. Always love hearing people’s success stories. It’s always cool to start seeing that muscle definition come out as well. Just think how great you’ll look by the end of March.

      Stick with it and keep us posted. If you need a little change up eventually, don’t hesitate to stop by and we can tweak it out a bit for you so you keep making progress.

  80. shaun (1 comments) says:

    hey i was wondering if this routine would hel me achieve my aim which is get big at a fast and reasonable time will i put on size with this routine?

  81. JAY (4 comments) says:



  82. Joy (3 comments) says:

    Hey Matt, I just started this workout routine at the beginning of this week. I am excited to see results in the next month or so! Having this comment box is what convinced me to try. If it weren’t for your feedback to people’s replies, I would have been more skeptical! Thank you for your feedback, and I will be back to reply in March to let you in on my progress!

    One question though, I have not been taking two days of rest, just one. Is that bad? Will I see quicker results with the two days of rest? Also, I have been doing 20-30 minutes of cardio a day. Should I do cardio on the days of rest instead?
    Thanks so much!

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Hi Joy, glad to hear you’re going to give this workout a shot.

      Actually, when I refer to 48 hours of recovery time, what I mean is to give yourself a full-day in between full-body workouts, not two days. So just to explain, if you performed the workout at 7 am on Monday, you should do your second workout no sooner than 7 am on Wednesday. That would be 48 hours from the time you completed it.

      Make sense?

      And yes, if you want to perform cardio on your in-between days, that’s a great strategy.

      Best of luck and keep us updated on your progress. Any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Joy, thanks for stopping by. My apologies on not responding sooner.

      When I mention to give yourself 48 hours of rest and recovery, what I mean is 48 hours from the time you complete the workout — so that’s actually just a day off in-between. So if you work out at 8 am on Sunday, your next workout would be on Tuesday (approximately 48 hours later.) The exact hours don’t really matter — just give yourself one day in between weight training.

      In terms of the cardio on your weight training days, 20-30 minutes shouldn’t be a problem, provided you have the stamina to do it. Perform it after your weight training if possible. You can then do as much cardio on the “off days” as you’d like.

      Best of luck and keep us updated on how things go. Don’t hesitate to stop back by with any other questions.

  83. K. Payne (1 comments) says:

    Thanks for the workout log and all the great info. This is great. I’ll keep you posted.

  84. Bartosz (1 comments) says:

    Three years ago I had bone marrow transplant and after that I started to train on gym.I have been using this system since that time and worko for me very well.I have gained 10 kilos lean muscle mass.

  85. Brett (1 comments) says:

    Excellent and precise article. I wish I could fold you up and carry you in my pocket and then take you out when I need you.

  86. Alan (4 comments) says:

    Matt, I’m 48, and have been pretty consistent about exercising since 40.  I’ve got some chronic injuries I have to work around, and my recovery time is really slow.  So I have two questions:
    Can I do your workout one day, aerobics the next, relax the next, and start the cycle again, or is that too far apart to do me any good?  2nd question:  With a knee that’s been snapped backwards, and several other injuries, I have trouble with squats and deadlifts.  My kneecap shifts painfully, and my brace limits mobility.  Could I substitute exercises that are more comfortable to me?  Particularly, walking up/down a flight of stairs while carrying weights, and lunges?
    Thanks for your time.  Your workout is great, I really enjoy it!

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Hi Alan, great questions. This workout is intended as a baseline template, you should make modifications as necessary to help it fit with your particular situation. In most healthy adults without pre-existing conditions or past injuries, the workout should be fine as is. But we all accumulate our share of war wounds over the years that require some adaptation.

      To answer your first question, frequency should match your individual recovery needs. I think your plan is fine. If you want to take a full two days between workouts, do it. In fact, when it comes to recovery the one-day in between is just a rule of thumb — some people may need to full days to be well-rested and ready to roll again. Even if you only performed this workout twice a week, you will see results. I myself have gone period of up to a month where I performed it only once a week, and were able to hold on to my gains. I didn’t necessarily add much additional muscle or strength during those periods, but I didn’t lose anything.

      In terms of the knee, you should avoid any exercises that cause pain or create discomfort or irritate your existing injuries. If you find lunges easier to do, I would absolutely substitute them. They are great exercises period, and can be substituted for any of the leg exercises in this routine. Climbing stairs with some resistance is also a great work-around. If your are able and it is comfortable, try doing the stairs two steps at a time — this not only helps with quad strength, but also does a nice job of recruiting the glutes and hams, to some extent. I actually take the stairs at work two at a time every day for this reason.

      Finally, you might try performing seated leg presses with a “squishy” medicine ball held between your knees. The act of push your knees together to hold the ball in place naturally stablilizes your knee joints and can make a leg press much more comfortable if you have knee discomfort or problems. It also helps strengthen the muscles around the knee, which can improve overall stabilization over time. If you do try this, be careful not to “lock-out” at the top of the press because of your knee injury. Also go light here and gradually increase your resistance as you gain strength.

      Finally, if you continue to have issues with your knees getting in the way of leg work, consider hiring a trainer that specializes in sports or injury rehab. Check their credentials well, and set up a few sessions. They can evaluate your particular situation and develop a plan for your legs that may be able to strengthen them and help alleviate some of the issues you are having around your knees. Yes, it will cost some money, but it will be well-worth it over the long-haul.

      Keep us posted on your progress and best of luck!

  87. Micheal (1 comments) says:

    Can I do an overall body workout daily for 5 days?

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Michael, I wouldn’t recommend it. Here’s why: This workout is fairly intense if you perform it as directed: Rest periods should be pretty much non-existent. Between sets of one exercise, you should be performing the next. Basically you are super-setting.

      You also should be constantly focusing on increasing your reps with a given weight, or moving the weight up slightly. There’s no slacking on this routine — the emphasis is on workout-over-workout progress in some manner. And you’ll know that because you’ll be recording all of your sets, reps and weight with the workout log.

      If you aren’t experiencing some level of soreness after each workout, then you probably aren’t overloading enough. I’ve known very few people who don’t have some DOMS after this — even after doing the routine for 3 months.

      I know the temptation here is the same with a lot of weight lifting routines: more often is better. That may be true with a split routine, where you have to pretty much workout five to six days a week if you want to hit all of your major muscle groups at least once a week. But because this workout has you exercising them all in one routine, three times a week, it’s generally unnecessary to perform it more than three times each week. In fact, the total amount of work that you perform over the three workouts probably exceeds what you culmulatively would perform with a 6 day split.

      Finally, the rest and recovery is really key here. You need to give yourself at least one day between each full body workout. If you performed it five days a week, you wouldn’t be able to allow for this. At least twice you’d be performing it back to back.

      Resist the temptation to fall into the “more frequency is better trap.” Try doing it only three times a week, but focus on the intensity here. Make sure you are really challenging yourself each time your perform the workout. Keep track of your lifts with the exercise log on my site and always try to beat the last lift someway or another. If you’re just itching to be in the gym five days a week, then on the in-between days do some cardio, or try some lower-intensity balance work, ab work, etc.

      Do me a favor and just try it three days a week, with the necessary intensity. Give it about six weeks and see if you aren’t happy with the results. If you’re not, then let me know and we’ll see what needs to be modified. Almost everyone responds very well to total body workouts. Especially if they’ve been doing split routines for a long time.

  88. Jere (2 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,

    I started your workout routine 2 weeks ago. I love it.

    I had to stop for one week because I got the flu and after that week of downtime I started back up this monday.

    I’m scheduled to workout again today (Wednesday) and I really want to work out again but whenever I stretch my arms, poke my chest, and stretch my legs I feel a great amount of soreness.

    Would it be ok to workout despite the soreness I have?

    Thank you,
    Jere Rutter

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      When you feel that level of soreness (especially when the muscle is tender to the touch), I would give yourself an additional day of rest and recovery, Jere. Another option is to do a very light workout — lower your weight used by about 50 percent.

      This can sometimes actually help with alleviating some of the symptoms of the delayed onset muscle soreness.

      Make sure you’re eating well immediately following your workout — protein and carbs. This can help speed muscle recovery and get you back in the gym faster.

      Keep us posted on your progress!

  89. Alan (4 comments) says:

    Thank you for sharing so much of your time and expertise with me.  I’m very glad to hear your advice.  I’ll try the 2-stairs at a time in today’s workout, but they’re kind of steep (the 2nd floor of our shed is my ‘private guy place’, and I exercise there!).
    If I can manage them, I’ll definitely incorporate that as part of my routine.
    Again, thank you very much!  It’s a big relief knowing a 3-day cycle (weights, aerobics, rest) is acceptable.

  90. Joy (3 comments) says:

    Hey Matt, it’s joy again. With my change in diet, daily cardio and this workout plan, I was able to see some changes in my body in about the first two weeks. ost noticeably in my biceps and delts. Although.. I had been doing one workout routine and cardio per day with the weekend as my break. Then last week i had only gone twice because i had company at my house most of the week. I figure I should start only doing one routine every other day because that is what you have suggested. I need some reassurance though, i feel like i am in denial: will i really have faster results with three times a week plus cardio? I am going for a lean toned body and already have a mesomorph body type with full arms, thighs and butt. I wouldn’t mind having smaller arms and thighs though. What should I do?

    Oh and the workout only takes me 35-45 minutes rather than the whole 60 minutes.. That bad?

    Thank you for your help, i’ll keep in touch.

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Joy, great to hear you are seeing some noticeable differences in your body. Congrats!

      In terms of frequency, I designed this to be for a three-day rotation. You can do two days if that works better with your schedule, but it’s set up to work each muscle group slightly differently over the three workouts. If you can swing it, try to do all three days. If you miss one because of your schedule now and then, I wouldn’t fret too much.

      How many weeks have you been on it now? Also, you mentioned you are a mesomorph with full arms, thighs and butt. How much of the fullness in those areas would you say is muscle versus fat? One of the things mesos might initially experience with this work out is a gain in lean tissue that may not immediately include a loss of body fat. However, even if you put muscle mass on in those areas, it’s not unusual after a couple of months to start to lean out — especially if you take your cardio up.

      It’s actually fine if you are doing the workout in 45 minutes — you are probably doing it true circuit style and limiting your rest periods. The sixty minutes tends to be the maximum upward end of the time commitment, although when I do it, I’ll sometimes run over to 90 minutes — but I typically add some additional exercises in to work on some specific muscle groups I’m targetting for better development.

      See if you can commit to three times a week for the remainder of March. Take some tapmeasurements of things like your waist, bust, hips, upper arms, thighs and calves. Record them and then in four weeks, remeasure and let us know where you are at. We can then make adjustments to your cardio based on what we find. Also, if you aren’t using the body fat calipers, give them a try. This will keep you focused on reducing BF, versus scale weight. You can buy them here on Amazon for under $10 bucks.

      Keep us posted on your progress!

  91. Ayal (1 comments) says:


    I’m a little confused about how many repetitions to do for the excercises you suggest.  On one hand, most of the excercises say 8 – 10 repitions but rule #7 says 6 – 8 reps.  Can you please clarify?

  92. billy (1 comments) says:

    Hey Matt, I have been working out for 9 weeks now. I went from 190 to 167 in that time. I do 25-30 minutes of cardio to start and then i do one body part. I am really struggling to lose the last 7 pounds. I eat a veggie subway for lunch, and a 6in sub for dinner. I would like to do the full body workout, but since i run first can i cut out the leg exercies What are your thoughts on how to lose that last 7 thanks

  93. Joy (3 comments) says:

    Hey again Matt!

    I have been doing this workout routine since the beginning of February. So about five weeks now. However, the first two weeks I worked really hard, but did not go by your rules of only going three times a week, but actually went 10 days straight with both cardio and weights, rotating routines each day. After that I went to do weights less – about 3x/week but in a row, rather than having a day of rest in between. I had been sloppy with the routines up until now because of exams and visitors, and my cardio has not been as good.
    My main question is, is it ok to do more than 3 workouts per week, or in a row? Or is it more benifitial to always have a day in between for rest and/or cardio?

    Answering your questions: I would say that my “full” arms thighs and butt are more muscle than fat.  Maybe the word I should have used was “thicker” arms/thighs butt. I will take your word for it and continue, and hopefully see this gain in muscle will lean out more in a few months! I am not too worried about it since it is cool to see that I can get definition in my arms so quickly. Oh, I have also been attempting to do interval running on the treadmill after my workouts and whenever i can do cardio on my days without weights. That will get me quicker results right?
    My only concern is that I am only enrolled in this gym until the end of May, so i will use it as much as possible and hopefully find another gym in my hometown, as I live on campus at my university.

    Thank you again! I love this workout.

  94. Kevin (8 comments) says:

    This workout is fantastic.  I gained a lot of weight over a few years, but seriously started going back to the gym on a regular basis about a year ago.   Switching to this routine,  I was really worried at first – doing fewer reps and having fewer workouts then my previous “one muscle at a time”  routine seemed unintuitive. 

    I’ve been on it for two months now and I’ve already seen much better results and progressed faster then any period before.  This routine seems to really have shifted my usually slow metabolic rate into high gear, as going to the gym on and off for ages has never been nearly as effective as this in both losing excess weight and simultaneously gaining muscle.

    I tend to follow up the routine with cardio, lasting about 30 minutes, but sometimes going for a full hour if it’s a weekend day.  Should I stop and consume protien before I do the cardio or do you think it’s fine that I’m waiting until afterwards?

    Anyways, thanks!

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Kevin, glad to hear you’re getting great results with this workout. These types of “back-to-basics” workout routines tend to surprise people with their effectiveness. Really appreciate you stopping by and keeping everyone in the loop on how the routine works for you.

      In terms of your protein intake and timing, it’s really a matter of personal preference. Some people find it very difficult to down a shaker of protein after weight training and then jump into their cardio. You’re doing about 30 minutes post weight training cardio, so I you should be fine with drinking the protein after cardio. However, if your cardio sessions are running 45 minutes or longer, try to take a least half of your protein immediately after the weight training, and the remainder after you complete the cardio.

      Stop back by and keep us updated on your progress!

  95. NQ (1 comments) says:

    Hi Matt!

    Can I go the gym on daily basis? Because I’m planning on taking a sport, maybe fencing, so is it alright to go the gym like 5 times a week or something?

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Hey NQ — you can go to the gym on a daily basis, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this particular workout more than 3 times a week due to the intensity. If you want to do cardio training on the other days, that should be fine.

      If you are following the recommendations on this full body workout, you generally shouldn’t have to weight train more than 3 times a week.

  96. Jere (2 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,

    I’ve been following your routine for 4 weeks now and I love it.

    Although, I do have a question regarding pull ups and dips

    Currently, I can only do about 4-5 pullups my first set and about 3 and 2 on my second and third sets. I was wondering if I should do another exercise where I can work my back so then maybe I can go back to pull ups when I can do a little more?

    I don’t feel like I’m getting much out of doing 5/3/2 reps.

    Also, I’ve been told to keep the isolation workouts(in this case, dumbell curls) for the end of my workouts. What’s your take on this?

    In high school I was able to easily rep 10×135 on bench, but this year in college I can really only bench 3 sets of 8×115/120– even after the third week. Do you have any recommendations to strengthen this? Would doing 6 reps on bench and 8 on all the rest hurt anything?

    Thanks Matt, I appreciate your consult.

    • Matt (194 comments) says:


      Keep with the pullups — it’s not unusual to find that your second and third sets will be harder. Doing five unassisted for you first set is actually a great start. Pull-ups are hard, but they are worth it — one of the best back compound exercises, period.

      If you have a pull-up assist station, try doing drop sets for your last two sets of pull-ups. Start with no assist, and then when you can’t do another pullup, add enough weight to get in about 8-10 assisted pullups. When you fail with that weight, add another 20-40 lbs and go to failure. Basically do this until you’ve moved down the weight assist rack. This is a fantastic way to break a pull-up plateau. Within a few weeks, you should be able to do more pull-ups during your second and third sets, and probably a few more on your first set as well.

      Remember, pull-ups just take practice. Don’t give up on them, because they are well worth the effort.

      In terms of the isolation work: Yes, if you want to throw in some bicep curls, do them last in the workout. Your biceps will already have gotten a pretty decent workout from some of the compound pulling movements like rows and pull-ups. If you want to put a little additional love on your arms, do them last.

      Your bench: When you were doing 10×135 was that just for one set? Did you take a break of several months from doing bench presses between high school and college? If so, you probably just need to build your strength back up. It’s not rare to see a reduction in strength — up to 20 percent after a break of more than two months. The good news it will typically bounce back within a month or so, depending on the length of your time out of the gym. Give me a few more details and we can come up with some additional solutions.

  97. Rod (2 comments) says:

    Hi Matt,

    Just finished “day 2″. (Still hurting from Monday though) I’ve done a few different routines over the years but I really like the total-body concept especially for fat-burning. Now I get to hurt all over, all the time..lol. I train at home so I’m varying my workout a bit. For example, I use a ball for back extensions. This works well.  My question is, you suggest perhaps a protein shake immediately after the workout. Does this slow the metabolism from burning stored fat?

  98. Navtez (1 comments) says:

    Thanks for this workout Matt. I have been working out for about 2 months now but have been using machines since I was new. I just tried day 1 of this routine yesterday and it was great changing to free weights finally. I am starting with low weights and hoping to increase slowly. I did not feel very sore yesterday after the workout, but my body is killing me today despite 9 hours of sleep. I am planning to go to day 2 tomorrow but I had a question: is it ok to do assisted dips since I need to build up strength first? I did assisted pullups yesterday. Also, I am 6’3″ and 18 years old but only 160 pounds, I really want to get up to at least 190. Will this workout build me up? And I should not do much cardio except for the 5 minutes at the beginning right? Thanks so much.

    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Navtez, yes you can use assist on the dips until you can build your strength up to do them unassisted. The workout should help you build mass, especially if you are eating well and following the “rules” of the routine. If you want to do cardio, do it on the in-between days aside from the warm-up.

      The soreness you got the day after the workout is not uncommon. It’s known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. Give yourself a couple of days of recovery before you do this workout again, but eventually the you’ll become less sore with each workout.

      Keep us posted with your progress.

  99. Miles (1 comments) says:


    Your program works great. For putting muscle on fast, this definitely works.

    The only problem is getting back on the schedule after a winter of being lazy.

    So a week ago I started intense excercise, mainly to decrease my body fat, but also, my muscles have atrophied over the past couple months of limited muscle strengthening.  Now that I’m motivated again, I’m trying to do everything. Anxious to lose that fat annnd gain the muscle back.

    So here’s the problem, I’m starting to train for a triathlon at the end of next month, so my cardio needs to be tip-top, but I don’t want to sacrifice muscle at it’s expense. How can I train for the triathlon and still build muscle?

    I understand its difficult to build muscle and do intense cardio,  but what can I do to make it work? Eating right isn’t a problem either because I stick to lean meats,  fruits and vegetables, protein bars before workouts and milk.


    • Matt (194 comments) says:

      Miles, in reality, it’s going to be difficult to train for both objectives. The specificity in your training for the triathlon will sometimes be at odds with how you would train for muscle mass and strength.

      I think your intermediate goal should probably be to preserve as much lean mass during the triathlon training. For the most part, you will be training for endurance — both muscular and cardio-vascular. If possible, I would continue to slip in 1-2 days of weight training with a focus on higher weight and lower-rep ranges.

      The issue is that for a triathlon, you actually benefit from having less mass, so it may not be a good goal to put too much on. You cardio training will probably self-limit that anyway. However, if you can continue to build strength during this period, when you return to a mass-building routine you’ll have the necessary strength base to put on additional muscle when it’s more advantageous to you.

      Expect body fat to drop from the TA training. This also will help you when you move back into a mass building phase. In fact, many trainers will actually suggest people focus on reducing body fat before adding muscle. I’m not a huge fan of that approach for a number of reasons (primarily because weight training has so many benefits for encouraging fat burning), but it has produced decent results in many people. So I would view your TA training as almost a “cutting phase.” The trick is to keep yourself from losing whatever existing muscle you have right now.

      So, if you can squeeze in the weight training, keep doing it. Make sure, however, that you are keeping very close track of the food you are eating and your total calories. You will be burning through a lot of energy during your training, so the single most important thing you can do to prevent muscle catabolism is make certain you are eating enough calories to support yourself. I would recommend tracking your food intake for the first few weeks of training, just to make sure you’re hitting your maintenance levels. Yes, this is a bit of a hassle, but doing it for a few weeks will let you set the amount of food you need in relation to your increased activities. Calorie King.com or Fitday are both very good for this. Once you get a feel for things, you probably won’t have to track it.

      Keep us posted on your progress, and drop me a note with any other questions. Thanks for your patience while I answered this. I got a bit behind on comments the past week or so.

  100. Tim (3 comments) says:

    Hi Matt.  I’ve been on your routine for about 2 weeks and stick to it pretty closely (although I don’t do the optional bicep/tricep work just yet).  I haven’t really seen much in the results, but I understand these things take time.  Also, I’m way overweight, so I know it might take a little while to actually be able to see the muscle, lol!

    Anyway, I had a quick question.  Since I don’t do the bicep/tricep stuff, and since I really try not to rest, I end up finishing each workout in something like 20-30 mins.  Is that normal?  I will say that, since I’m trying to slowly get back into shape, I’m not necessarily using weights that I “fail” at around 8 reps.  By about 10 reps, the weight is certainly heavier, but I don’t really “fail.”  I also figured that since I lift by myself (I’m at the gym but not with a partner and there really isn’t anyone I know), I don’t use a spotter, so it makes me nervous to lift a lot, say, on the bench and then get stuck.

    Thoughts?  Thanks again, and I look forward to posting some positive results in the next few weeks.

  101. Brandon (3 comments) says:

    I was hoping I could get some advice.  I love doing a full body workout and have been doing it for years.  The only issue I have is that I can’t seem to get big arms.  My chest and shoulders are fine, I can see improvements everytime I increase weight.  With my arms I feel like since they are at the end of the workout, they get the least attention and its very hard to build them up after they have been used in every other excersice before to help with lifting the weight.  I know if I did bi’s and tri’s first I would see significant gains, but it will kill my chest, shoulder and back workout.  Currently I do three sets of skull crushers and three sets of weighted dips for tri’s and used to do 4 sets of preacher, but recently switched to 4 sets of 21′s on a cable machine due to try and mix things up.  My entire workout is about 90 minutes. 

    Let me know if you have anything!


  102. Brandon (3 comments) says:

    Also: I am 6 foot 2 and about 180 pounds, so I need a LOT of muscle to look ‘big’.  I can do preacher with 35′s on each side (using a curl bar) and can do around 6 reps no problem.  The strength is but my arms are skinny!

  103. Christy Baker (1 comments) says:

    This is an odd question… but who is the girl in the first photo? She looks just like a friend that I lost touch with many years ago. Please respond to me via e-mail. Thank you.

  104. Bryan (4 comments) says:


    This looks like a pretty good routine, I think I’ll be starting it tomorrow. Just one question though…what is the degree of flexibility with set and rep numbers? I’ve been following a split routine for a few months now where I typically do three sets of 8-10 per workout. I had wanted to switch to full body but also was thinking of doing something more in the 5×5 range. Could I follow this routine with lower reps and higher set numbers?

  105. Bryan (4 comments) says:

    Also, as somebody who has suffered a few shoulder dislocations and corrective surgeries in my day, dipping is pretty much off the table for me. Are there any reasonably effective alternatives for the dips?

  106. Mike (11 comments) says:

    I was just wondering whether this workout is best to lose weight or to gain mass and muscle. I want to be in somewhat of a better shape within the next two weeks as I will be going on vacation and I want to implement the best workout which would help me achieve this goal. I do not wish to exercise one muscle group a day as I am aware that doing so will delay the fast result that I am seeking. So I have thought about trying a full body workout routine and want to assure that this would be the right plan for me to gain mass and increase muscle.

    Here is my information: Male, 22, 5’10″, 145 pounds. I have been weightlifting since a very long time, but have always stopped after 2 months maximum. So I do have the general ability to perform these exercises properly and I also have the strength and stamina to follow through with a workout plan of this sort. I just need some guidance as to the speed of muscle growth and also what kind of protein powder will be best suited for me, for example: Isolate, Mass builder, etc.?

    Please reply as soon as you can!
    Thank you,

  107. Ross (6 comments) says:

    Hi Matt, Im 32, 187lbs and 6’2″ Im not massively out of shape but im certainly not in the shape Id like to be. I’ve been using the same routine for probably more than 5 years and have never really achieved anything I hoped in terms of strength and aesthetics. I think my biggest failure has been working on individual body parts. A few years ago I was probably a little stricter with my self but in probably the last few years barring the odd week this has deteriorated to a day on chest a day on shoulders and a day on arms(tri’s and bi’s) with a bit of ab cradle work thrown in. I’ve pretty much neglected leg work, back and anything vaguely different for my abs. On the days I work any one muscle group ie chest, I’ve usually done around 8 different exercises doing 3 sets of 8 reps, which means I’ve been doing around 21 sets every time I do a weights workout. Until recently I’d let cardio slip completely of the radar, but im now doing 2-3 30 minute cardio sessions usually on the treadmill or cross trainer which i do on days in between my weights days. Ive never really upped my reps or weight although sometimes I’d try a heavier weight just for a change but I’ve kept no log and have therefor made no progress in terms of increasing how much I can lift. I realise (especially reading your site) that im making a lot of mistakes! I’ve often considered a full body workout and over the years tried to design my own as I know that my normal workout neglects several muscle groups. My biggest problem when doing this is that whilst im not in the shape I want to be I am in ok shape ( if I had to rate it out of 10 id say a strong 6 to 7!)  and Ive been reluctant to drop the amount of set I do. This has usually started with me trying to do 5 exercises for every body part and Id still end up doing something like 35 sets altogether. This usually starts out ok for a week but I gradually slip into old habits and before I know it im doing the same old 3 days of weights and ignoring my back abs and legs! 
    Im getting married in 3 months (and want to look good on my honeymoon) so finally thought enough is enough and decided to find a full body routine and stick to it religiously, I found your today so tonight is my first night suing it. I’ve printed out the diary and Im going to post every week or so to record my development(hopefully I will have some) Given my previous concerns and workout history can you allay my fears that doing one set of 3reps per body part will long term be better than the 21 or so I usually do and give me any other bits of advise!

  108. Ross (6 comments) says:

    That was meant to say 3 sets of 8 reps per body part!

  109. db (1 comments) says:

    I’ve looked over your workouts and curious as to what you based your exercise selection and order of exercises on? Seems there are some simple things in programming lacking…any reason you start with “chest” first ALL the time??

  110. Rob (2 comments) says:

    Hi Matt,

    Stumbled across your site today and have enjoyed reading the articles. I haven’t weight trained for a long time but have decided to start the full body routine next Monday! I have been doing bodyweight training for the past three months..shed twelve pounds so I feel I’ll be ok to start the workout. I was just wondering how long you advise following this routine as it is before making any changes?

    Your site is an excellent resource for people; especially the superb workout logs which I never get around to making myself! I will post my progress regularly here to let people know how the routine is working!

  111. nat (1 comments) says:

    hey matt great advise , Im going to give this a try . I know it works I have done a rountine something like this .  I have A question for you , Im thinking about doing 1-2 drop sets at the last set of every exercise. do you think this is a good idea or would it lead to over training??

    nat from canada

  112. cass73 (1 comments) says:

     Hello, I just came across your website. This is what I have been looking for. There is so much confusing information out there. I am currently working on losing 34 pounds. I do cardio 4 to 5 days a week. Is this too much cardio, when using the Total Body Routine presented here? Also, I haven’t weight trained for about 4 months. How should I start this program? I noticed you tell everyone to perform between six and eight reps. I have never lifted that low. Will I bulk up or is this not possible for females? Thank you,


  113. Kimberly (1 comments) says:

    Hi Matt,

    The routine looks great, will be starting tomorrow….

    A couple of questions, i want to loose about 40lbs currently at 165lbs…

    Currently i have been doing around 90 min cardio 5x a week but have yet to add a weight routine into it…

    With following this programme 3x a week, would i be fine to workout 3x cardio inbetween rest days?  I tend to do HIIT on the treadmill and then some work on cross trainer.  If im doing an high intensity workout i tend to stick to an hour..

    In the in between days, how much is too much cardio do you think?

    Excited to try your programme!

  114. Heman (2 comments) says:

    In the 2nd day workout what do you mean by dips? please explain

  115. Heman (2 comments) says:

    What do you mean by dips in 2nd day workout. Please explain

  116. nino (1 comments) says:

    im getting some weights 2mo to do this plan at home
    was wondering what weight to start off with each exercise
    and what to substitute any exercises that need machines.
    ive lost 3 stone since the 1st of february with diet and reduced exercise but im still extremelly overweight,and got told by a mate free weights are better for weight loss.

  117. Danny S (1 comments) says:

    hey matt

    I am totally interested and psyched about this program and am just starting to workout, I wanna start this program immediately  but the problem is I dont know how to do most of the exercises can you help in anyway. Diagrms would help any thoughts?


  118. deano baggio (1 comments) says:

    good man matt deano here fro ireland…im gonna start this workout next week the thing is i can only fit workouts in after i train wit my soccer team its semi pro n we hav gym facillities i can only do it twice a week so can u recommend which plans i follow for the two days should it be day 1 plan and day 2 or day 3 plan?also will i be able to get full benefits from the workout so close after training with my team i no thats how the pros do it so i should be able to get the benefits shouldnt i??look forward to ur reply thanks m8

  119. Bobby (2 comments) says:

    I’m currently deployed to Iraq and have been trying to get a routine going in the gym. Seems like everybody wants to put on a lot of mass. That’s not my goal. I’m looking to lean out, add definition and a little size. This looks like the ticket and I will be giving it a try. I’ll stop by occasionally to update my progress. My start day is Monday!

  120. Eric (2 comments) says:

    Hey Matt, i have a question about the weight im using in the 8-10 rep range. I have been picking a weight and keeping that same weight throughout my set but making sure on my third set it heavy enough to fail at about 6-7 reps. I was recently told i was wrong and that i should be failing every set by starting heavy and removing weight as sets proceed, failing each set around 8-10. Now im a little confused. im looking for a little direction. thanks

  121. Daniel (2 comments) says:

    I just found your workout routine and I love it. I am going to start this Monday 06/05. I have been working out for the past 3 years and I lost 70 lbs the first 8 months, but gained back about 30 of them. I gained it back because I was lazy and partying too much. I recently decided to get back on my routine and start living a healthier lifestyle. I am 5’10, 33 year old male at 230LBs. I am going to do this for the next 6 weeks and give you an update.

  122. Viki (1 comments) says:

    hey Matt ,
    i have seen many full body workout routines online and their recommendations and everywhere as far as i have seen the full body workout have produced better results with reference to the feed backs . and frankly am tempted to follow this particular workout … you see the gym that i have joined here follow the 2 muscle a day program .. and when i showed a full body routine to my trainer and asked him whether if i could follow it .. he says it would kill me and that it was not good … and i do understand most of the teachers never accept taht their method’s degrading …. but i am pretty convinced that the full body worout’s the best and i intend to follow it now …. the gym i go to right now dont have very great trainers and in fact they dont communicate much as well … but in few of the good gyms as well i see them recommending full body workout …. i for the past 2 months have been going through the 2 muscle programme per day .. and i have quite a development on my chest muscle and not much in my arms … should i make any adjustments in ur mentioned routine … or should i follow the same for more time … ? and i am interested in my chest muscle more than the rest .. so can i add an excercise more for the chest ? and anyways ty matt , i really found this workout really impressive and i’ll be trying it from today ! thank you .

  123. Paul S. (1 comments) says:

    Matt,  just read through your full body workout routine.  I think it sounds great.  I am 50 years old, 6’2″ tall and 190 lbs.  My goal is to increase my weight to about 205 to 210 lbs.  I have worked out in the past but never with the goal of gaining weight.  I have always been lanky-strong.  Now I want to get a bit more meat on my bones.  I am going to start the routine tonight.  I’ll keep you posted monthly on my progress.  Any idea how long it should take to gain 15 lbs of decent weight?  Thanks.

  124. nick parella (1 comments) says:

    hey, my only question is once its a month……what routine should i do? like to keep my musels guessing what other full body workout routine can i do?

  125. Leaf Coleman (1 comments) says:

    This is not a circuit in which we perform one set and move on to another exercise right? I get we can superset to expedite time but we say do all sets of bench for example before moving on to next muscle group?I was doing abs diet which was a total body in which u did a complete circuit before going back to first exercise, but i think i like how ur explaining it i just wanna make sure

  126. Saf (1 comments) says:

    Hi Matt,
    I am going to start this workout routine but I have a couple of questions before I begin:
    1. For each exercise, is the weight supposed to be the same for every set or is it to be increased for every set?
    2. I do not like to take protein shakes so is there anything else I can take for after my workout?
    3. Can I use exercises such as lat pull down and tricep pull down in this routine?

  127. victor (1 comments) says:

    Hey there
    i was wondering is it okay to power lift a full body workout?

  128. Caleb (1 comments) says:

    Hey Matt
    Is it okay to power lift for a full body workout?


  129. craigmac (1 comments) says:

    This routine works!  I’m 42 and  have been working out for years.  My high volume workout had become stagnant and my physique was very slow to improve although my diet was very good (I am very disciplined in how I eat).  Once I went back to a basic fullbody routine, I  noticed  my body changing after about 3 weeks.  I still see improvement every week.  Morever, I have much more energy out of the gym.  This is true for my wife as well…we workout together.  Amazing how going back to basics  (low volume, less time) works.  I was only going to do this for 4 weeks but after 10 weeks, we keep improving.  I just change exercises every 4 weeks but stay with fullbody/1 hour concept.

  130. Joe Wilder (1 comments) says:

         This workout seems to be a little too much volume to perform every 48 hours.  For someone who can lift a lot of weight this program would lead to overtraining to be honest with you.  It would be best to follow this routine but to only workout about once every 3 or 4 days if you want to make steady strength and or size gains.  Just an opinion but thats what always worked for me.  Years ago I did bench pressess in excess of 400 lbs and squats in excess of 700 lbs.  You can’t do those types of pundages without a bare minimum of 96 hours of time completely away.  A skinny person would not need to do much aerobics at all.

  131. Personal Trainer (3 comments) says:

    Very solid list.

  132. naitik (1 comments) says:

    Hi, MAtt

    I feel realy fit after using u r full body work out ,but i am confuse that i need to change it after four weeeks or stick to the same?i want to know that i need increas weight of each set and decreas count?i  am doing u r workout as three day as mention.my age is 24.

    Thnak you,

  133. Patricia (1 comments) says:

    Thank you for this workout Matt! Didn’t think I would get so lucky when searching for this topic in particular. Great job! Very generous of  you!

  134. tucson (1 comments) says:

    After years of letting myself go, I was looking for something simple to burn fat quickly. I used the full body workout 2 days ago, used very light weights too. Did cardio yesterday. Now, on day 3 I can still feel the workout from the 1st day. I really feel like I’m on my way. Thanks for the simple workout plan.

  135. Harrison (1 comments) says:

    Hey Matt, I was gonna ask about the super sets which exercises  would you recommend doing with them? and also with the optional workouts you posted should I do all of them or just how sore I feel that day?

  136. Yusuf (1 comments) says:


    I’v been training for a few years and been using a full bod workout for the past year. Jus like to let u know ur article is EXCELLENT it covers every aspect thanks alot

  137. Michael - Fat Loss Tips (1 comments) says:

    Great post. Agree with all your points and glad to see someone else promoting total body movements as opposed to dated isolation exercises.


  138. Johnny (2 comments) says:

    Hey Matt!

    Just wanted to say that I really appreciate this site! It’s awesome stuff dude!

    Here are my stats: male, 15 years old, 5’8″ and 120 lbs.

    Because of my age, I wanted to know if a workout routine of this caliber was alright for a relativily “small” and young guy like me. Also, I don’t really live close to a gym so my parents agreed to help me pay for equipment. What equipment should we consider buying in order to complete a workout like yours?

    Thanks a bunch Matt…

  139. Jerrod (1 comments) says:

    I tried the day #1 workout tonight.  I have been doing Chest and Tris, Back and Bis, Legs and shoulders 3 days on 1 day off for the past 3 months.  I need a change and I figured this would do the trick.  I completed the routine in 45 minutes.  I did not feel like I did enough.  Maybe for day 2 I will try more weight to make the exercises push me to the full 1 hour.  I broke a damn good sweat however.

  140. Mub (1 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,

    I’m actually using your workout routine, but I’m also considering to use P90X. Is there anything wrong with the program?

    I don’t wanna spend more than 2 Hours in the gym.

    Thanks for the post.

  141. veloci (1 comments) says:

    Hey, this workout is great, but how long I should do this? 4 weeks is enough or I have to keep this for another 4 weeks?

  142. JL (1 comments) says:

    Matt, great workout plan, I’ve been working out (off and on) since I was 15, I’m 32 now.  One thing I felt wasn’t mentioned (and often is not), is that all group exercises should be completed to “failure”.  That means at the end of your 3rd set, you should not be able to complete the last rep.  Clearly this is idealistic and hard to judge until you’ve worked out for a couple of weeks.  But ALWAYS make sure you cannot get your last rep, or your muscles will not trigger for adaptation.

  143. Ivan (1 comments) says:

    hello to everyone,
    great post, i find this workout to be exactly the thing i need. however, i do have one question. if i do cardio trainings in the rest days, how much will that take away the effects of this program? my idea was to do something like this, on a weekly basis:
    weights, boxing, weights, free day, weights, boxing, swimming

    swimming would be 45 min at most (to avoid drowning) and boxing about one hour. i am aware that i shouldnt do too much of cardio while trying to gain weight, especially since i am very hard gainer (6′ 3″ tall, 150 lbs, believe it or not, and i simply cannot move from there for ages even tough i eat more than anyone i know. i am a rower, for 15 years now, since i was 10, and in all that time i was never able to gain weight) but i just like to be in shape and able to do some high heart rate trainings as well. i know that the non weights trainings will take some effects away, but i never really knew how much that is, and should i just skip them completely. thanks a lot for the info in advance


  144. Akmal (1 comments) says:

    Hi Matt,

    I am following the exact same work out plan. Although I am reading your article today, I am happy others are also using it. My question is when I workout hard I grow my muscles big but at the same time my belly gets big too. though i do ab exercises daily. I hate it when my belly grow big same time as my other muscles.
    why is the belly fats not used during the exercise or is it just the bad eating habits? I do not do any cardio.

  145. stu (1 comments) says:

    hi matt,
    i have been weight training for a while now and have started to get a   bit bored with my workout ,but this ful body work out it looks really good, cant wait to get in the gym now and try it out

  146. Shan (1 comments) says:

    Hi Matt, I am 25 years Male. My weight is 222 Pounds. I am gonna marry after 4 Months. I want to reduce 65 Pounds in 4 months and I am ready to do anything for it. Please Help me.

  147. Mark (13 comments) says:

    Thanks, Matt.
    Can’t wait to get started. I’ve gone down in weight, from nearly 400 lbs (yes, I was once weighed on a frieght scale!) to 270, through cardio, portion control and a great personal trainer.
    Now I’m ready for the next step. But, I don’t want to spend over an hour at the gym.
    Any modifications for those of us with back injuries and ways to prevent burn out?

  148. alex (4 comments) says:

    Hey matt, i already finished 8 weeks of the this full body workout with great results!! Where do i find the phase 2 of this workout, have you posted it yet?

  149. Workout Without Weights (1 comments) says:

    Great information. Providing the rules and then the workout makes the full body routine much more understandable. You’re writing style is clear and explains the concepts well.

    Excellent post.

  150. Michelle (8 comments) says:

    A great workout for busting out of a plateau. Thanks for sharing.

  151. aaron (2 comments) says:

    hey mat,

    im a 13 year-old athletic male that weighs around 110, do i need to modify this at all? if i do please help me.
    thank you

  152. Dan (3 comments) says:

    My primary goals are to lose weight, tone what I have more geared to a full body workout, but more for rehab and stablility so I dont get hurt especailly at work.  My job is very physical.  I am not looking to get big just is shape and better health.  I noticed that you said to rest for 48hrs between workouts so does that mean start on monday take tuesday and wednesday off work thursday take friday and saturday off work sunday and I am guessing I would do some cardio on my rest days would that be correct.  Also would I need to do 3 sets of each if I am not concerned about size.  I was thinking one set of 12-15 reps per exercise but again I am just searching and reading as much as I can on all this and trying to find a workout that would be good for me so any help and comments would be greatly appreciated.  Look forward to talking with you.

  153. Jeremy (2 comments) says:

    Do I do this Full Body workout every other day,  or every other day and two off after the third day?  M,W,F or M,W,F, Sun,…? I have been doing the Hypertrophic Specific Training with good to great results, but it is M, W, F with two off.  I’d really like to give this workout a try!

  154. Jerry Watts (1 comments) says:

    That sounds like a good balanced workout plan. i’ll try it. Thx.

  155. emmy (1 comments) says:

    i have just joined a gym with a hope to loose almost 4stones, am 38yrs a lady and i want exactly a routine i need to follow explaining to me how long i need to go on treadmill,cross section etc. how long and how many days i need to do if its weights, which one i need to go to for great results within 4months. i need to feel good,loose weight and feel more motivated.i dont mind watching what am eating..

  156. Georges (1 comments) says:

    hey, i lost weight and now i’m flabby .. and have some belly
    i want to do this workout + 30 min of HIIT On off Days ..
    i will achieve my goal my doing it ? thank you.

  157. Paul (1 comments) says:

    Full body workouts are my favorite ways to train. I just love they I am working my entire body and the calorie burning benefits of them. Full body workouts that are done in a fitness boot camp are great for weight loss. I really like using a sandbag because the weight shifts every time you move it causing your muscles to have to adjust. My favorite is doing tabatas as a circuit doing full body exercises.

  158. Bryan (4 comments) says:

    I feel like this workout is geared too heavily towards legs and back and doesn’t have enough chest exercises. Betweenthe three workouts there are only two chest exercises unless you include dips. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to include more chest. 

  159. Jcourbat (1 comments) says:

    Hi Matt,

       I have a question about rest times between sets. The gym I use is often to busy for me to incorporate supersets into the program. That being said, do you still recommend 60 second rest intervals between sets or should I drop it down to 45 or even 30 seconds ?


  160. Joshua (2 comments) says:

    Hi Matt
    Any advise on diet? 

  161. Joshua (2 comments) says:

    Hi Matt Any advise on diet? 

  162. David (7 comments) says:

    HI everyone!

    What about stretches? Is there a particular set of recommended all-round stretches to go together with this workout? Something that can cover the main areas of the body and can easily fit into the plan, so not longer than about 10 minutes I’d say…

    Any suggestions/references?

  163. Rina (2 comments) says:

    Hello Matt,
    I’ve been following your program for about 4 weeks now and I am lifting/pushing weight that I have never reached before… THANK YOU… I am also seeing more muscle, which is great!

     My only question is… I need to grow my butt and legs… I feel like I am not doing enough lower body. I am already fit to begin with (123 pounds, 5.5 height, 18 body fat and split training for years)… How can I pack on muscle to my butt and legs with only one exercise 3 times a week. I used to do a bunch of exercises on “legs” day.

    So to clarify, what would you recommend I do to really pack on muscle to my legs and BUTT? I would still like to follow your plan but I’m thinking maybe switch a leg exercise out on day two and go hard like 3-5 exercises for legs and butt on day 1 and day 3 in addition to everything else??? at least it would give my lower body enough time to rest. 

    Thank you in advance and I really would appreciate any help you can offer.

  164. Rina (2 comments) says:

    Hello Matt,I’ve been following your program for about 4 weeks now and I am lifting/pushing weight that I have never reached before… THANK YOU… I am also seeing more muscle, which is great!  My only question is… I need to grow my butt and legs… I feel like I am not doing enough lower body. I am already fit to begin with (123 pounds, 5.5 height, 19 body fat and split training for years)… How can I pack on muscle to my butt and legs with only one exercise 3 times a week. I used to do a bunch of exercises on “legs” day. So to clarify, what would you recommend I do to really pack on muscle to my legs and BUTT? I would still like to follow your plan but I’m thinking maybe switch a leg exercise out on day two and go hard like 3-5 exercises for legs and butt on day 1 and day 3 in addition to everything else??? at least it would give my lower body enough time to rest. Thank you in advance and I really would appreciate any help you can offer. Rina  

  165. Debbie (1 comments) says:

    Hi Matt,
    After many, many years of letting myself go, I want to start this workout program.  I would like to know if I do this 3 times a week (MWF), would yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays be too much?  Or not the right exercise for “off days”?  I was just thinking about walking for 30 minutes after the weight training.  I am a 38 year old female, 5’9″ and 184lbs.  I am looking to loose weight and get fit. 
    Thank you in advance.

  166. Joel (2 comments) says:

    Dear Matt,
    Thanks for this guide. I will start using it from my next session. Previously I was a doing split routine, however i thought i would give this a try as I am much shorter of time now and would like to strengthen my core. I’ll let you know how I get on.

  167. John (14 comments) says:


    Great Article and thanks for writing it, it has motivated me to start doing full body workouts. I’m 5″8″ and 132 pounds (not very much) and I’m looking to maintain muscle (perhaps gain) and lose fat. Only problem is that I don’t have access to weights as the gyms around me are way too expensive so I can only use body weight exercises.
    Could you suggest a weight-free alternative to this workout? Thanks very much  

  168. Mike (11 comments) says:

    Great article! and the workout is very simple and effective.  In Rule #8, you stress the need for a good pre and post work meal.  Was wondering if you could give a few examples of both.  I currently consume whey protein after my workout, but really don’t pay any attention to what I eat before a workout.

  169. Ray Navarrette (1 comments) says:

    Hi Matt, 

    As a Boxing fan, will doing my Heavy bag work as a cardio on my off days , disturb my recovery period for my upper body.  I usually do about 8 rounds on the heavy bag for about 3 to 5 minutes a round. Sometime’s I’ll even go as long as 10 minutes if I pace myself and depending on the style I’m using, Boxer vs Puncher. Normally I like mixing up my ranges with being the puncher as I’m inclose and transitioning to a Boxer as I move out away to a longer ranger. Kind of like Joe Frazier on the inside and Ali on the outside. Anyway, Thanks 

  170. Bobby Carter (1 comments) says:

    Hey Matt,
    I just had a quick question whether is it okay to ride a bike about 3 miles to a gym because I dont have a car yet. I heard its not good to do cardio before weight training. So can you please give me some input on this dillemma. Thank You so much for sharing all of thi valuable information. Oh and also can you send me and email, though if it is too much of a hassle to send it to my email, it is 100% ok to post on this blog. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your contribution to the community.

  171. Niccie (1 comments) says:

    I want to try out your workout program. I have been doing a different programs but haven’t seen the results I wanted so thought I’d change it up and see how this goes. I noticed that the last comment was in 2012 so I was wondering if there are any changes or improvements you have found for the workouts since? And I also was wondering what you would recommend for my daily intake of calories and proportions of carbs, fats, and proteins? I am 23. 5’6. 120lbs. I am wanting to tone up and lower my body fat percentage.

  172. URL Shot Gun Bonus (1 comments) says:

    hi!,I really like your writing very a lot! share we keep up a correspondence more about your article on AOL? I require a specialist in this area to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Looking ahead to see you.

  173. MIchelle (8 comments) says:

    Hi Matt,
    I am currently training for my second 1/2 marathon and have dabbling in lifting.  Do you think it would be too much for me to do this program 3x/week and also continue with my training?  I am running upwards of 27-35 miles per week, but I need to also have some muscle.  My first half marathon was ok, but I know that I needed some muscle to help me through it.  I figured I would follow the upper body portion completely and maybe just lighten up on the lower body portion. What are your thoughts?

  174. Alex (4 comments) says:

    Would this workout work for someone trying to loss weight? You also mention eating right in the article. It’s there an article on it you can recommend?

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