Why a Full-Body Workout Routine Is the Best Way to Build Muscle

Updated on November 7, 2018
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David is an army-trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifelong health and fitness enthusiast.

Full body workouts build muscle fast
Full body workouts build muscle fast | Source

Use Full-Body Workouts to Build Muscle Mass

If you want to build muscle mass, there are hundreds of different training programs you could choose from to help you achieve that goal. And although many of them will give you decent results, at least for a while, if you want to build the maximum amount of muscle in the shortest possible time, you really can’t beat a full-body workout routine.

This is especially true for those who are just starting out. So if you are in your first year or two of training, or you haven't had much in the way of results from your efforts so far, this article is of particular relevence for you.

How to Build Muscle Naturally

If you go to the gym regularly you’ll know that body part splits (where you train say chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, shoulders on Thursday, and arms on Friday), are very popular.

But the only real reason for this is that this is what all the top bodybuilders do. However, what works for top bodybuilders may not work for the rest of us. This is because competitive bodybuilders take a lot of steroids to enhance their muscle growth. They also have really great genetics. And on top of this, they are very near their limits in terms of how much muscle they can put on. So they need a very large amount of volume and intensity in order to stimulate further growth. And the only way they can achieve this is to use body part splits.

But if you are natural, genetically average, and simply want to put on 20-30 pounds of muscle as quickly as possible, a full-body workout is the best way to go.

Full-body workouts are the best way to build muscle because they allow you to train all your major muscle groups more often. This, of course, means you get more frequent growth stimulation, which leads to greater muscle growth over time - provided you can recover from it.

Another reason this type of training works so well is that the focus of your workouts tends to be on compound exercises. This is because compound exercises enable you to train more total muscle tissue in less time, so you can work your whole body quickly and efficiently. Compound exercises also produce a much higher level of hormonal response than isolation exercises. And this again causes more muscle growth.

So a full-body workout routine can pack on muscle more quickly than anything else, provided that you know how to structure it in the right way.

The Best Full-Body Workout

All you really need is a squat, lunge or deadlift variation, an upper-body push, and an upper-body pull. Do 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps.

Leroy Colbert Explains Why Full-Body Workouts Are Superior to Body Part Splits

How to Structure a Full-Body Workout Routine

  1. Train three times per week, but don't do exactly the same workout every time, as this will soon lead to recovery issues. Instead, alternate two (or even three, if you are more advanced) different routines over the course of the week.
  2. Your workouts should not be too long. A big mistake many people make is doing too many exercises. You can work your whole body very well with just three or four exercises. And six is the most you should do. Doing more than this will only make it more difficult for you to recover, and this will limit your gains.
  3. All you really need for an effective full-body workout is a squat, lunge or deadlift variation, an upper-body push, and an upper-body pull. You can add in some additional arm work at the end if you wish, but that’s about it. By simply alternating between two different workouts over your three weekly visits to the gym you'll get all the growth stimulation you need to ensure maximum progress.

As an example, a simple, but highly effective routine might look something like this:

A Full-Body Workout Routine for Rapid Muscle Growth

Workout 1
Workout 2
Squat
Deadlift
Bench Press
Overhead Press
Bent-Over Row
Chin-Ups
Barbell Curls
Parallel Bar Dips
3-4 sets of 5-8 reps

Stick With Two for a Few Months

If you are a complete beginner, stick with alternating between the two workouts above for at least a few months. After that, you can move on to doing three different workouts if you wish.

After a few months on the above routine you may wish to move on to doing three different workouts. So now each exercise will be worked just once per week, but each body part is still being worked three times per week. This will further help with recovery, enabling better consistent long-term progress to be made.

An example of a three-day full body workout program might look like this:

Three-Day Full-Body Workout Program

Monday
Wednesday
Friday
Squat
Deadlift
Leg Press
Incline Bench Press
Overhead Press
Bench Press
Bent-Over Row
Pull-Ups
Dumbbell Row
Barbell Curls
Parallel Bar Dips
Hammer Curls
3-4 sets of 5-8 reps

Leroy Gives More Information on Full-Body Training

When to Increase the Weight

Increase the weight when you can do 8 reps on all 3 sets. If you do 8 on your first set, you should be able to do it on all of them, as you should be stopping your first set a rep or two short of failure. The only reason to go below 8 on subsequent sets is if you push your first set too hard, or if your rest periods are too short. If you push to your max on all your sets, your progress will grind to a halt more quickly than if you hold back a little.

What About Sets and Reps?

Another important factor to consider is your training volume. That is the number of sets and reps you perform. Most people will find they’ll get the best results by working in the 5 – 8 rep range most of the time (a little higher for your arm work). This builds hard, dense muscle, and is also great for making gains in strength.

Occasionally, however, you could use higher reps (10 – 12) to create additional growth through sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. That is an expansion of the non-contractile components of the muscle cells. And going down to 2 or 3 reps for a while will help build more strength. This is important as it will mean you will then be able to use more weight for your higher rep sets, which will result in even more gains in muscle size.

So most of the time your training should consist of around 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps (after a couple of warm-up sets) per exercise.

At a later date, you can switch to 3 sets of 10-12 reps for a month or two. And after that do 4-8 sets of doubles or triples for a while.

Vary Your Workouts

It may also be a good idea to change some of your exercises occasionally too, as this will prevent your body from getting too accustomed to them. However, the principle of "muscle confusion," which states you should be changing your exercises on a regular basis, is a myth. Think of powerlifters and Olympic lifters. They use the same exercises all the time yet still manage to build enormous strength and massive muscle size.

So whilst body part splits can have their role to play for more advanced trainees, if you want to pack on as much muscle size to your frame as quickly as possible, do a full body workout routine in the way described here. Combine this with a good muscle-building diet, and get sufficient rest and sleep, and you’ll be certain to make the best gains of your life.

Which method of training do you prefer?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • What should you be doing on your non-weightlifting days? Steady state cardio, HIIT, or just rest?

    You can rest if you wish, but if you are not doing any cardio on your lifting days, it would be a good idea to do some on your off days. Just go for a brisk 20 - 30 minute walk each day and/or do a HIIT workout twice per week. That should be enough to keep you fit and lean if your diet is also on track.

  • "And going down to 2 or 3 reps for a while will help build more strength." I suppose that in this case you should increase the weight, right?

    Yes, that's right. The weights you use should always be challenging, but you should not go to actual failure very often. And you should never do this when training with low reps/heavy weight.

  • I’m a female who weight lifts 4/5 days a week doing a bro split. Will this work for me too? I have been mainly working in 10-12 rep range, but recently lowered it to 6-8. I have mobility issues, so I can't do squats and deadlifts, but I can do rdl to the knees, split squats and lunges. Just wanted to clarify it was ok for women too.

    Yes, this is perfectly ok for women and will work well. However, I prefer a slightly higher rep range for females, so I would not go below 6 reps. And do 10 - 12 reps for your arm work. For more information on how women should train, see my article on weight training for women. But it's not much different than how men should train really.

  • I see your workout examples don’t include calf exercises. Should I add calves to this workout at some time?

    You can add calf work into your routine whenever you wish. I tend not to bother with them in my beginner routines, but do include them in all my intermediate programs.

  • What direct shoulder, ab and calf exercises can I do for full bodyweight training?

    It's not easy to train shoulders directly if you are doing just bodyweight exercises. Handstand push-ups are excellent of course, but most people can't do them. So the only real alternative is to get a set of dumbbells and do overhead presses or lateral raises with them.

    Calves and abs are easy though. For calves, just stand on a step or a book and do heel raises. When it gets too easy to do them on both feet, do them on just one foot at a time. And there are lots of good exercises for abs. Weighted crunches, isometric crunch, reverse crunches, hanging leg raises, ab-wheel rollouts, planks, and side planks to name a few. Just pick one or two and do them for a few weeks. Then swap them around if you wish.

© 2012 David

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    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      2 weeks ago from Birmingham, UK

      Not really. That's pretty much exactly what I recommend now. But I wouldn't do 4 sets of deadlifts; that will likely be too much. And if you are doing 4 sets of the other exercises, just remember to stay a bit further away from failure, or recovery could soon become an issue.

    • profile image

      Toni 

      2 weeks ago

      Hi David.

      Love the simplicistic program.

      A:

      Squat 4x5-8

      Bench Press 4x5-8

      Bent-Over Row 4x5-8

      Barbell Curls 3x8-10

      B:

      Deadlift 4x5-8

      Overhead Press 4x5-8

      Chin-Ups 4x5-8

      Parallel Bar Dips 3x8-10

      Is there anything you would chance. I would consider my self early intermediate. I´m 36, 6" 190lbs.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      4 weeks ago from Birmingham, UK

      You can train abs and calves at the end of any of the workouts, two or even three times per week, although personally I would not train abs more than twice per week. My favorite loaded ab exercise is cable crunches, but you can do ab wheel rollouts, hanging leg raises, or any of a number of other exercises for a couple of sets of anything between 10 and 30 reps. Straight leg calf raises are best done for 3 - 4 sets of 8 - 10 in my experience.

      As for the curls (and dips), I do say in the article that I prefer higher reps for these - usually about 8 - 10. Hubpages/Caloriebee have edited it to look like I'm suggesting all the exercises should be done with the same number of reps, so I'll need to make some changes to clarify that. Thanks for reminding me.

    • profile image

      John Per 

      4 weeks ago

      Hi David

      Love the program. How would you go about implementing abs/core and calves training in this routine? Train them monday and friday? Every day? What exercises and reps/sets would be most optimal?

      Also, could you elaborate on why the curls in the program use the same reps and sets as the more strength focused compound exercises?

      Thank you!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      6 weeks ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, that looks good.

    • profile image

      Anthony 

      7 weeks ago

      Thanks for your last reply, in case of your suggestion maybe it would be better for me to do alternating sets with the upper body lifts and do the lower body lifts on their own? E.G.

      Incline DB Press/60s/Pull-ups/60s 3x8-10

      Squats 3x5-8

      Curls/30s/lat raises/30s 3x10-12

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      7 weeks ago from Birmingham, UK

      You could take a look at the one on the bodyrecomposition website (sorry I can't put links in here). He also gives a good writeup on the subject, which is well worth reading.

    • profile image

      Pete 

      7 weeks ago

      Hi Dave

      Hope All is all with you

      Can you please direct me to a solid full body Heavy/Light/Medium Workout

      Many Thanks

      Pete

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      8 weeks ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, that's perfectly fine. Personally I don't like using alternating sets with the very big exercises, like squats and deadlifts, but if your other exercise is a small isolation exercise it should be fine. I have done sumo deadlifts alternated with calf raises in the past and that worked well.

    • profile image

      Anthony 

      2 months ago

      Hello David, hope you’re well. What do you think of using alternate sets to quicken the workout up. E.g

      Incline DB Press 8-10

      60secs

      Pull-ups 8-10

      60 secs

      Repeat 3 times

      Squat 8-10

      60 secs

      Isolation exercise 8-10

      60 secs

      Repeat 3 times

      How does that look for a workout? Cheers David!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, doing some post-workout stretching is definitely a good idea, and will hopefully help your joints feel better. As a minimum, stretch your chest/biceps, back, hips/glutes, quads and hamstrings. But you can add in some additional ones if you wish, such as neck, triceps and calves. I can't describe them all here of course, but I may write an article on it soon. Meanwhile, you can find some good descriptions elsewhere online. It might also be worth taking an omega 3 supplement as well.

    • profile image

      Andy 

      2 months ago

      I've been using this article for some time now and found it very useful. I perform 3 full body workouts a week and 2 cardio session, one 20-30 minutes of cardio, and one 10-15 minutes of intervals. This has been going well, however, I feel quite tight and my joints don't always feel great and I am only in my 20s. Therefore, I have been looking at adding some sort of stretching to my routine, I warm up by doing warm up sets for my lifts. So I am thinking of adding 5 minutes of stretching to the end of all my exercise sessions. Does this seem like a sensible way to add some sort of stretching/flexibility work to my routine? As currently for each workout I warm up using whatever mode of exercise I will be doing, warm up sets for weights, walking for running etc. And I don't have any stretching or the like in my routine, but want to add it in. So does 5 minutes at the end sound good? And do you have any go to stretching protocols etc? Thanks for all the great help, this article really helped my training!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      If you are using fairly light weights on your squats and are improving well, you could squat three times per week for a while. But it will soon get to be too much. Better to use the three day full body routine, where you deadlift once per week, and do just one work set of 5 reps, leaving a rep or so in the tank when you finish your set. And make sure your form is really good. You are right, deadlifts put an enormous strain on the body and CNS, but they are an excellent exercise if used properly.

    • profile image

      kriss 

      2 months ago

      Still I’m discovering my body and now I know deadlift is super hard for my CNS.

      I’m considering to switch deadlift to squats and to do it 3 times per week (4 x 8) to check my body limits.

      When will be hard again, maybe I will try to decrease volume or just switch one day for deadlift with only one work set. What do you think about it?

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, that's an excellent routine. Personally I would bring in a little more rep variation by doing your incline DB press, seated row and leg press for 3x8-10. But it's still fine just as it is.

    • profile image

      Daniel 

      2 months ago

      Hello!

      I’m quite an advanced lifter but really like full body splits. How does this split look?

      Monday:

      Front Squat 3x5-8

      Incline DB Press 3x5-8

      BB Row 3x5-8

      Ez curl 1-2x10-12

      Standing crunch 1-2x10-12

      Wednesday:

      BB Romanian deadlift 3x5-8

      Standing DB Press 3x5-8

      Chin-ups 3x5-8

      Dips 1-2x10-12

      Calf raise 1-2x10-12

      Friday:

      Leg Press 3x5-8

      Bench Press 3x5-8

      Seated row 3x5-8

      Hammer curl 1-2x10-12

      Hanging leg raise 1-2x10-12

      Thanks!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      You are welcome Nick. Glad to be of help.

    • profile image

      Nick 

      2 months ago

      This was actually very helpful, thank you so much!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Many people like to do 3 sets of deadlifts with their working weight (after their warm-up sets). However, I always got my best results from working up to one top weight set. So I might do 10, 5, 4, 3, 5, or something like that, increasing the weight for each set. Ideally you should have a rep or so left in you even on your last set. Deadlifts are extremely demanding, and put a lot of strain on the entire body, so they are very difficult to recover from. But you might want to experiment a bit to see what works best for you personally.

    • profile image

      kriss 

      2 months ago

      Hello, I have one question about volume in deadlift. All sets/reps I should do with the same weight? Or I should implement some progress method? I'm afraid it will be so heavy..

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, that looks very good. The first three lifts of each workout are by far the most important, so it's fine to reduce the volume on the others if you are short of time.

    • profile image

      John 

      2 months ago

      Reading comments below, can I do the 3 main lifts of the day 3x5-8, but then just do 1 or 2 sets for the isolation lifts at the end to save time and still get similar results. Say something like

      A

      Squat 3x5-8

      Bench Press 3x5-8

      Barbell row 3x5-8

      Tricep dips 1x10-12

      Calve raise 1-2x10-12

      B

      Deadlift 3x5-8

      Overhead Press 3x5-8

      Pull-ups 3x5-8

      Bicep Curl 1x10-12

      Weighted Crunch 1-2x10-12

      How does this look David? Thanks!!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      When you say "knee dominant", I presume you mean "quad dominant". But yes, that's an excellent routine, and if you can manage to do it whilst travelling you should do very well.

    • profile image

      Liam 

      2 months ago

      Hello David, I will be travelling for work for about a month staying at various hotels and therefore using different hotel gyms, however, I don't want this to affect my progress at all. I hope to perform strength training 2-3x week and cardio 2x week. Is this a good way of setting up a full body routine whilst travelling long term, just alternating between A and B whether I go 2 or 3 times in any given week?

      A:

      (knee dominant lower body lift) Goblet Squat 3x6-10

      (horizontal push) DB Incline Press 3x6-10

      (horizontal pull) DB Row 3x6-10

      (Isolation superset) Tricep Pushdown/hanging leg raise 2x8-12

      B:

      (hip dominant lower body lift) DB Romanian DL 3x6-10

      (vertical push) DB Seated Shoulder Press 3x6-10

      (vertical pull) Pull-ups 3x6-10

      (isolation superset) Bicep Curl/Calf raise 2x8-12

      2 warmup sets and 2 minutes rest for compounds. 1 warmup set and 1 minute rest for isolations. Increase weight when upper rep limit is hit on all sets.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, sorry, I meant a deep knee bend, like a squat variation or a leg press.

      As for dips, I see what you are getting at, but these are included because they work both the chest and the triceps hard. So the best alternative is a close grip bench press. But if you were to simply want a secondary chest exercise, I would go with an incline press rather than a decline. Presses, however, are always much more effective than any flying movement.

    • profile image

      John Per 

      3 months ago

      Thank you for the quick reply!

      Prowler sled push is a knee bend exercise, but maybe that still cant replace squats?

      The high to low cable Cross Over was thought as an alternative to dips (decline press), as that is used in your routine. Maybe you have a suggestion for a Better decline press?

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      It's a perfectly reasonable and balanced routine, although I really like to include some form of knee bend exercise. If you can't do squats, can you do front squats or goblet squats or split squats or hack squats or leg press? Also cable crossovers will not be as effective as an incline press (barbell or dumbbell).

    • profile image

      John Per 

      3 months ago

      Hello David, is this a well rounded full body, 3 times a week routine? If not, what would you change? It resembles yours, but has more exercises. DL and squat hurt my back, so I have replace them. Reverse grip curls and upright rows to hit forearms and traps, being that DL isn't included. Thank you in advance.

      A

      3x5-8: bench press

      3x5-8: wide grip cable row

      3x5-8: hip thrust

      3x8-12: upright row

      3x10-15: standing calf raise

      3x8-12: crunch

      B

      3x5-8: OHP

      3x5-8: pulldown

      3x20 steps: prowler sled push

      3x8-12: high to low cable crossover

      3x8-12: reverse grip bb curl

      2x30-60s: plank

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      I would do lunges or split squats, as you are already doing squats on Mondays.

    • profile image

      Frank 

      3 months ago

      David,

      I am looking into starting your three day workout plan as its simple and straightforward. I do most of my workouts at home and thus dont have a leg press machine but do have a squat rack. Should I simply replace the leg press with squats or do you suggest lunges instead?

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Training to the point of actual failure (that is when you fail to complete a rep and the weight comes back down on you) causes a lot of muscle damage and is extremely difficult to recover from. Granted this does give the maximum muscle buiding stimulus, but you can only grow from what you can recover from, and going that far is too much for most people most of the time. Stopping just short of failure (i.e. the point where you think the next rep will be realy difficult and you may not manage it) is preferable. Also, those really slow grinding reps should be avoided as well. Complete your reps cleanly and with good form; then stop when you can't do that any more.

      Also, your level of effort should be cycled anyway, starting off more moderately and progressing each week until you are going close to failure. Then contine this until you stall, at which point you should reduce the weights and start building up again.

      As for one set, well the first set is the most important, and again more sets are more difficult to recover from. So it's possible that you might get maximum stimulation from one set, or you may need one or two more. Certainly it is down to the law of diminishing returns when you perform more working sets, and it may be better to increase your volume either by using work up sets before you reach your working set weight, or doing additional exercises for the same body part, rather than more sets.

      In fact Frank Zane is reported as saying he effectively trained the same way as Mike Mentzer in that he did five or six sets of an exercise, but he increased the weight each set, with only the last set being a true maximum set. Mike did pretty much the same, but he called it one set, because it was just the last hard set that he counted.

      Finally, a warmup set with 50% will not prepare you adequately for a maximum effort work set. You need at least 75%. So I would suggest you do something like a warmup at 50% and 75% for the bigger exercises, and just one with 75% for the smaller exercises.

      In short though, yes one set, after a warmup set or two, and stopping just short of actual failre can give good results. You may need to do periods of higher volumes, or do higher volumes for one or two muscle groups (alternated every 4 - 6 weeks) to reach very close to your maximum potential though.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      4 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes; I would say that looks excellent for a long-term (maybe lifetime) plan, as long as you bear in mind my comments re. intensity (effort and load) cycling. As for warm-ups; I do a five minute burst on the elliptical or treadmill, followed by some mobility work, and then anything from one to four warm-up sets per exercise - depending on when in the workout the exercise is done, and how big an exercise it is.

    • profile image

      Jonathan 

      4 months ago

      Okay, thanks david. I'm thinking this then:

      A:

      Front Squat 3x5-8

      Incline DB Press 3x5-8

      BB Row 3x5-8

      Alternate sets: BB Curl and Ab rollout 2x10-12

      B:

      Deadlift 1x5-8

      DB Seated Press 3x5-8

      Pull-ups 3x5-8

      Alternate sets: Tricep Pushdown and calf raise 2x10-12

      C:

      Leg Press 3x5-8

      Dips 3x5-8

      DB Row 3x5-8

      Alternate sets: Hammer curls and hanging leg raises 2x10-12

      Does this look good for a long-term plan? and also how would you recommend warming up? I normally do a dynamic warmup then 2 or 3 warm up sets. Thanks for all your help.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      4 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      I agree that information overload and misinformation are big problems and it can be difficult to find a plan that you can stick with. There is certainly nothing wrong with your template, but you may find that training each lift every 4 - 5 days will become more difficult to recover from over time, and a three day full body split will probably work better later on. I know that it seems you will improve your lifts faster with an AB split, but that will not be the case long term. Also, you will probably find that three working sets of deadlifts will become too much as well. These are extremely demanding on your whole body, and it's likely you will have to cut down at some point if you are pushing them hard. I've always made my best progress doing just one working set of deadlifts (but with a few work up sets). That's just me though; you may be different. And like you say, when you stall you can switch the exercise, or you could simply reduce the weight and build back up again, perhaps changing your rep range a bit at the same time. Although, when you establish the best rep range for you for each of the lifts, you should stick with that rep range at least 70% of the time. One final point, which is very important, is that you need to vary your level of intensity. That is, don't push close to failure all the time. Train in cycles, where you start the cycle fairly easy and increase each week until you are pushing close to failure. Continue this until you stall, and then reduce again (changing exercises if you wish). Hope that helps. Best of luck.

    • profile image

      Jonathan 

      4 months ago

      Hello David, I have been lifting for around 6 years, however, have followed so many different plans and to be honest I have a serious case of information overload. Even though I am an advanced lifter I just want a simple template to follow and modify from here on out. I was thinking of the A/B split as I quite like that setup and doing.

      A:

      Front Squat 3x5-8 2 minutes rest

      Incline DB Press 3x5-8 2 minutes rest

      DB Row 3x5-8 2 minutes rest

      Then use the alternate set you mentioned below for tricep pushdown and an ab exercise for 2x10-12 30s-60s between alternate sets.

      B:

      Deadlift 3x5-8 2 minutes rest

      DB Shoulder Press 3x5-8 2 minutes rest

      Pull-ups 3x5-8 2 minutes rest

      Then use the alternate set for Bicep Curls and calf raises for 2x10-12 30s-60s between alternate sets

      Would this be a good approach even for an advanced lifter for the rest of his lifetime as the amount of misinformation in the fitness industry is confusing even for someone who has been lifting for so long? So I really want just a simple routine which will continue to make me stronger and more aesthetic, I am not looking to be a bodybuilder I just want to look good and be strong training 3 days per week. I understand I am more likely to stall as an advanced lifter, so I was thinking of whenever I fail to add a rep or increase weight for an exercise 2 times in a row I would swap it out for a similar exercise. Does this seem like a good approach? and are there any tips you could give someone who plans to use this as a lifelong template? Thank you for all your help David.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      4 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Well, the strict definition of supersets is going from one of the paired exercises to the other with no rest in between. Personally I don't like those. But alternating sets is the same thing, except that you have a rest before performing the second of the paired exercises. I think that is a good approach, and will still save time, as the rest periods can be shorter than if you were doing straight sets of the same exercise. It's often used with opposing muscle groups, but can also be done with completely different muscle groups, and the way you have set it up should work fine.

    • profile image

      Liam 

      4 months ago

      Hi David. What's your opinion on supersets, I have been doing the split we spoke about a while back. However, I am looking at trying to fit in some isolation exercises with my main work, but am still under the same time constraints. I found an article online talking about full body splits that recommended having either a squat/push/pull as a strength focused move and then superset the other two that you didn't perform first and then superset some assistance exercises after if you like. Something like the following, with / signifying a superset between the two movements:

      Day 1:

      Squat 3x5-8 2 min rest

      Incline DB Press/Pull-ups 3x8-10 90 second rest

      BB Curl/Hanging Leg Raises 2x10-12 60 second rest

      Day 3:

      Bench Press 3x5-8

      DB Lunge/DB Row 3x8-10

      Calf Raise/Lateral Raises 2x10-12

      Day 5:

      Deadlift 3x5-8

      DB Shoulder Press/Goblet Squat 3x8-10

      Tricep Pushdown/Weighted Ab Crunch 2x10-12

      Would this be a good approach to fit in more work within the same period of time? Thanks David!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      4 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      If you were a complete beginner, I would suggest you stick with the dips, but as you've been training a while now, and built up some strength, it's a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

    • profile image

      Mark 

      4 months ago

      Hi again. Can i switch the parallel bar dips on Wednesday to tricep cable pushdowns? I can feel it way more in my triceps even if it is a isolated exercise. Thanks.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      4 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, that's perfectly reasonable, as long as you stick to the same exercise for a few weeks. You don't want to be swapping exercises every week. There's no need to train abs three times per week anyway.

    • profile image

      Jack 

      4 months ago

      Thanks your feedback David. The reasoning for the intervals is that they’ve really helped with jiu-jitsu. Based on your comments I’m thinking this:

      25%x5, 50%x5, 75%x3

      Monday:

      Front Squat 3x5-8

      Dips 3x5-8

      DB Row 3x5-8

      Exercise of choice if time 2x10-12

      Wednesday:

      Deadlift 3x5-8

      DB Shoulder Press 3x5-8

      Pull-ups 3x5-8

      Exercise of choice if time 2x10-12

      Friday:

      DB Lunge 3x5-8

      Incline DB Press 3x5-8

      BB Row 3x5-8

      Exercise of choice if time 2x10-12

      My rationale about the exercise of choice, is that rather than doing abs after every session. If I have time I’ll choose an isolation depending on what I feel like bringing up and then do that if I have time. Having the full body as base then having the option to do an isolation at the end if I have time. Is this a good strategy? Thanks for all your help David.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      4 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      There's nothing wrong with your exercise selection at all, but personally I would do slightly higher reps for the dips and lunges. Also, I wouldn't go from a 50% warmup straight to my working weight. A 75% (ish) warmup is needed really. And you don't actually have any isolation exercises there (apart from abs). You just have big and small compounds. I would want to do one warmup set for the smaller ones, but that will take extra time of course. Same comment for arms/calves isolation. These are not essential unless you particularly want to bring up these areas more, but they will necessitate a little more time if you do them. And finally be careful with those intervals. 15 minutes solid is tough and will take some recovering from.

    • profile image

      Jack 

      4 months ago

      Hi David, looked over your articles and really like them. I’m a really busy guy who wants a good looking physique and also be in good athletic shape. I can consistently make 30 minutes a day 6 days a week. My current plan is Monday/Wednesday/Friday: full body strength training, Tuesday/Thursday: cardio, Saturday: yoga. I’ve tried so many different routines for years and want something to actually stick with. So I need something in 30 minutes I can do 3 days a week based on aesthetic and strength. Based off your article I’m thinking this.

      Warm Up:

      Fwd leg swings 15s per side

      Lateral leg swings 15s per day side

      Squat hold 30s

      Fwd/bwd arm circles 15s per side

      Rotations 15s per internal/external

      Band Dislocates/wall slides 30s

      Monday - Strength:

      Front Squats 3x5-8

      Dips 3x5-8

      DB Row 3x5-8

      *Weighted Crunch 2x10-12

      Tuesday - Interval Cardio

      5 min warm up

      30/30 intervals for 15 mins

      Wednesday - Strength:

      Deadlift 3x5-8

      DB Shoulder Press 3x5-8

      Pull-ups 3x5-8

      *Ab Rollout 2xfailure

      Thursday - Cardio

      5 min warm up

      20 mins cardio

      Friday - Strength

      DB Lunge 3x5-8

      Incline DB Press 3x5-8

      BB Row 3x5-8

      Hanging leg raise 2x10-12

      Saturday - Flexibility

      30 minutes Yoga/Pilates

      *Only do if have time

      Warm up 25%x5, 50%x5 for main lifts, none for iso.

      Increase when hit upper rep goal on all sets with good form.

      Stop 1 or 2 reps short of failure.

      2 minute rest compounds, 1 minute rest isolation either superset or alternate sets.

      The only thing I’m worried about is that there is no arm/calf isolation. Does this look like a good plan? Or how can I add those things within the 30 min limit. Thanks for all your help David.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      4 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      You can certainly do some abdominal exercises if you wish, but it's unlikely to make your abs look much better, unless you have very underdeveloped abdominal muscles, which I doubt. You make your abs look better mostly by reducing your body fat. If you want to train them though, I would probably do them twice per week with something like ab wheel rollouts on Mondays and hanging leg raises or reverse crunches on Fridays. A couple of sets of 10 - 30 reps is enough (after at least one warmup set). If you can't do hanging leg raises with straight legs, do them with bent legs at first, and gradually straighten them out over time.

    • profile image

      Mark 

      4 months ago

      Hi again, I have decided to continue bulking, since I only really have about an inch of fat on my lower abs. My body is about 17% BF. I have just estimated it using an app. Should I do some abs exercises too at the end of my workouts, just so I can maybe make them look better while im still dirty bulking? What should i do and how many reps and such? Someone told me its a good time to work on your abs when your bulking and in a caloric surplus. Thanks.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      5 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Glad you have done well with this Mark. Yes, you can use the same routine for cutting, but there are just two things to bear in mind. Firstly, your recovery will not be quite as good when cutting, due to being in calorie deficit, so you may want to cut back a little on volume and/or level of effort. And second, you should increase your protein intake even more than when bulking to help maintain your muscle mass better.

    • profile image

      Mark 

      5 months ago

      Hi again.

      I have been dirty bulking with this routine for a few months and have seen amazing results in size and strength but i want to start cutting now and continue using this routine. Should i keep lifting heavy and doing the same amount of sets and reps? I want to add 30 minutes of treadmill after too. Thanks.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      5 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes jgjdjr, it should work great if you are just starting out. But don't try to push it too far before changing to a less demanding routine. See my article on training for older guys for more info on this.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      5 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      I suggest you start with the 2-day. Do this consistently for at least 6 months, and then consider changing to the 3-day.

    • profile image

      Karim 

      5 months ago

      Hi Dave,

      I have first started working out around 10 months ago. Since then, there has been lots of ons and offs and workout trial and error, switching between splits and fullbody workouts etc. been doing a 3-day split for a month now. I have gained a little bit, but not that much.

      Your workouts seems to be perfect for my aims and schedule. I want to start doing one of them. Would you recommend starting with the 2-day or the 3-day? Thanks!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      6 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Hi Mark. For most people, training biceps directly three times per week is fine and gives good results. But triceps tend to take a bit longer to recover. So it might be worth just training them twice per week. Or you could reduce the number of sets. Also, make sure you are not pushing them excessively hard as well. Only go close to failure on your last set.

    • profile image

      jgjdjr 

      6 months ago

      Is this a good program for me (male, 61)? I've seen varying opinions on gaining muscle at my age, some suggesting lighter weight more reps.

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Mark 

      6 months ago

      Hi, again.

      I have started doing additional arm exercises on each workout like you said with 8-10 reps. On Monday I got an insane pump and the next day my biceps and triceps were a bit bigger, :) but my triceps were really sore. My biceps were fine though. I continued to workout on Wednesday and Friday, and today is Sunday and my triceps are still sore from Monday. They are still bigger and a bit harder. I think it has to do with the rep range and not so much the exercise since I always have worked my triceps with soreness lasting just a day or two and would be very mild. Nevertheless, should I remove the 2nd arm exercise from each workout, and just do the normal 1 arm exercise routine with 8-10 reps? Is this telling me that 2 is too much or is it that I just need to get used to it? Thanks.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      6 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      I don't have a specific one, but if you take a look at this article it will give you a good idea of how to set one up: www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/build-hlm-full-body-workout

    • profile image

      Rocko 

      7 months ago

      Hi Dave,

      Can you direct me to a solid Heavy/Light/Moderate full body workout for an intermediate lifter

      Thanks

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      7 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, there is already an arm exercise at the end of each of the workouts, but you can expand this to do both biceps and triceps each time if you wish. The reason we have parallel bar dips on Wednesday is to give the chest some additional work, as well as the triceps. But yes, you can still change it. So you coud do barbell curls and lying triceps extensions on Monday, dumbbell or cable curls and triceps pushdowns on Wednesday, and hammer curls and overhead extensions on Friday.

    • profile image

      Mark 

      7 months ago

      Hi, again. Sounds good. You have said that you can do an additional arm workout at the end of your workouts, and I really want to work my arms a bit more. What would be a good arm routine to include for each workout. I'm doing the 3 day routine. And 8-10 reps should be fine. Also, on Wednesday, could I change my parallel bar dips to tricep pushdowns? And do 8-10 reps?

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      7 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Glad you are doing well with this, Mark. Yes, it will probably be a good idea to increase your reps for the arm exercises to 8 - 10 for a couple of months, and then go up to 10 - 12.

    • profile image

      Mark 

      7 months ago

      Hi, i have been doing the 3 day workout for 2 months now and have really seen my legs grow. I have also seen my arms and lats grow. Awesome! I do 3 sets of 5-8 reps. I see that you say that for arms you should do 10-12 reps. Is that only for arms and should i start doing arms with 10-12 reps? Thanks.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      9 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Full body workouts are the best way to train for beginners and early intermediates, but they can also work well for more advanced lifters, especially if your recovery is quite good. The program you have written is well structured and arranged in a way that will optimize recovery, so I'm sure it will work very wel for youl.

    • profile image

      Liam 

      9 months ago

      Hi David, I currently have a hectic work schedule and will for the foreseeable future. I have been training for 6 years, so I am wondering how this split will work for a more advanced lifter. I no longer have the time to do my usual split, therefore, I need something more time efficient like this. So I was thinking of Monday: Incline DB Press, Pull-ups, BB lunges. Wednesday: Overhead Press, Barbell Rows, Deadlifts. Friday: Flat BB Press, Lat pulldown, Leg Press. All for your 3 sets of 5-8 reps. I have put legs last on all days, as they are my most developed muscle group and I want to bring up my upper body.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      10 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      You can replace back squats with front squats, goblet squats, Zercher squats, split squats, machine hack squats or even leg presses. However squats and deadlifts are not necessarily bad for taller people as long as you have decent mobility in the hips and ankles. And you may have to adopt a slightly different position as compared to a shorter person. Also, partial squats don't really activate the hams much at all, and they don't work the glutes or even the quads as well as full, or parallel, squats. So you might want to find out what it is that's causing your knee pain and try to address it if possible.

      Yes, you can replace barbell bench and incline bench with dumbbells if you wish, though I prefer barbells for beginners. Or you could do one with a barbell and one with dumbbells.

    • profile image

      Mark 

      10 months ago

      Oh, I forgot to mention, when I do the squats they are half squats since I can't go down all the way for a full squat, cause it hurts my knees too much. But, I've heard they don't work your hams and glutes the same as full ones. hmmmm

    • profile image

      Mark 

      10 months ago

      Hi, David. I have been following your 3 day a week program and have gotten a lot stronger after only 2 weeks. I have been substituting deadlifts with forward lunges though. Since I never worked out my legs before, I can carry so much more weight now, as i'm a stock clerk at a grocery store. I just want to know, I'm 6'5" or 1.956 m tall. I heard that deadlifts and Squats are bad for tall people. I want to substitute my squats now. What would be a good alternative for it? And also, can I change my flat and incline barbell bench press and use dumbells instead, because of the better free range of motion? Thanks. Sorry for all the questions.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      10 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, doing a barbell complex after your main workout is great for conditioning. You could take a look at my article entitled "Best Full-Body Fat-Burning Workout Routine" for more info on this if you wish.

    • profile image

      Michael Bialuk 

      10 months ago

      Hi David, I really enjoy your articles and knowledge about weight training. Thank you. I enjoy doing a full body workout three times a week and have been doing so for some time with excellent results. I would now like to incorporate a barbell complex for conditioning after the weight training session. Does this sound like a good approach to you? I would like to do this three times a week.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      10 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      That workout is not full body, as only chest and arms are being trained, so you will become completely unbalanced if that's all you are doing. With my three day plan, if you want to do more arm work you could add one of those bicep exercises to Wednesday's workout, and add a triceps exercise to Monday's and Friday's workouts.

    • profile image

      Mark 

      10 months ago

      Hi, David

      I have followed Leroy Colbert for 2years nowand I love doing full body workouts.I have been doing the same 6 exercises, every workout though for 3 days a week. 3 sets. 6-10 reps as he says.

      -Incline dumbbell press.

      -Flat dumbbell press

      -Seated half barbell curls.(Love this one but started getting sore wrists.)

      -Barbell Drag curls

      -Dips

      -Tricep Cable pushdowns.

      I have gained more in strength and not much in overall size, just bigger arm peaks, but I think its because of doing the same exercises every workout. Do you think so? This changing your workout every day sounds good though. You said that you can add a few arm exercises to your workout if you wish. Should i just follow your 3 day workout as is, or add Seated dumbbell curl and drag barbell curls to it too?

      Thanks! Sorry for the long comment.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      10 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      The two day program is for people who are just starting out. Their priority should be to get strong on the big lifts, and I wouldn't add anything to those workouts if you are in your first 6 months of training. After that the three day program may be more appropriate, and you can certainly add an exercise to each of these. In your case I would add lateral raises to the first workout, face pulls to the second and upright rows to the third. Do them for 2 or 3 sets of 10 - 12 reps.

    • profile image

      Raphael 

      10 months ago

      Hi David, first I would like to thank you, your basic and minimalist approach has literally changed my way of thinking and living fitness.

      Now I like the two and the the three days program but I would like to add some delt/traps work. My favourites are lateral raises, shrugs, face pulls and wide upright rows. How would you include some of them in a 2 or 3 day schedule? Which exercises and rep ranges do you recommend?

      Thanks in advance and greetings from South Italy!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      12 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      No; it's fine to do those twice per week for a while, but if you do it too long you will likely run into recovery issues. So after about 2 - 3 months, or sooner if you are starting to struggle, I'd do a different set of complementary exercises on your second day.

    • profile image

      Notafool 

      12 months ago

      I am getting back into lifting after 15 years. I did not do much leg work before because I was doing a lot of cycling. I get to the Gym twice a week. Say Monday and Thursday. I want to be able to cycle at least 30 miles a week at 10-15 miles, which is easy for me.

      Is there anything wrong with doing the major exercises each workout? As in:

      Bench Press (155lbs 4x8)

      Overhead Press (85lbs 4x10)

      Bent Row (115lbs 4x10)

      Lat Pull Down (100lbs 4x10)

      Squat (85lbs 4x10)

      Deadlift or Romanian Lift (85lbs 4x10)

      Squat and deadlift are new to me so I am starting very light to work on form.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      12 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, you can stay on the upper/lower split indefinitely if you wish. or you can move on to a push/pull/legs split. Or alternate the two, doing a few months on one and then a few months on the other.

      As for straps for deadlifts; personally I don't like them because you get dependent on them. So I would only ever use chalk. Also I would only do three sets of deadlifts for a while. Once you get reasonably strong on them, reduce to two sets, and maybe later to just one set.

    • profile image

      Pilgrim86 

      12 months ago

      Thanks for replying David. Going through the routines for six months then progressing sounds good. I'm guessing you'll stay on the upper/lower split forever once you're on it? or is there another progression from that - obviously a couple years down the line.

      Also deadlifts - you've programmed deadlifts in all the routines the same as the other exercises (3-4 sets of 5-8 reps). Would you recommend lifting straps to handle the multiple sets? Great article :)

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      12 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      It's all very well to give advice re. time/strength needed before moving on, but the problem is that everyone is different, and will therefore respond differently and reach different levels before they reach the optimum time to move to the next phase. For instance, I might be tempted to say stick to the two way full body for 6 months, then do the three way for another 6 months, and then move on to the upper/lower split. But really the best advice is to stick to each one until you stop progressing, and then move on. But you'll need to allow for at least two or three de-loads (backing off and then building back up again) before you decide you are no longer progressing on any particular plan.

    • profile image

      Pilgrim86 

      12 months ago

      Hey David. Great article regarding full body training.

      You've written about the progression from going from the two routine full body to the three routine full body and then eventually to an upper/lower split.

      I was wondering if there was a realistic/average time you would recommend staying in each phase before moving to the next one? Is it time related (weeks then months) or strength related (wait until achieving 2 plate bench, 3 plate squat, 4 plate deadlift on a 1 rep max).

      Any advice regarding time/strength needed before moving from one phase to another would be great. Thanks :)

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      13 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Well, the first thing I would say is I don't think your workouts are really arranged optimally, but if you are happy with them and making progress, who am I to argue? As for diet, you need 150 - 200g of protein per day, most of which should come from meat, fish and eggs, and perhaps some cheese and whey protein (if you can find one you like). Take a look at my article on the best muscle building diet for more info, and let me know if you have any more questions then. Best of luck.

    • profile image

      Keith 

      13 months ago

      Quick question,

      I am 43 5'6" weight 190 I have been doing a full body work out 4 days a week for some time now and notice it takes around 2 to 3 hrs. a day. I preform bench warmups then 1 heavy then working sets. Then move to arms warmup sets then working sets I go back and forth from the bench to the bow flex for full arm workout. Then I work on legs warmups on squats then working sets, then deadlift warm up working sets. then I do barbell row sets then head over to bow flex work back. I always feel good when working out in fact my days off I look forward to working out again cause I feel better when I am working out. My question is I am OK with my routine but really suck on what to eat and protein all protein shakes taste like crap. What should my daily protein be for my size and routine and how is the best way to get it. Also I will mention I only eat dinner everyday that is it in the morning I have coffee on workout days I just started an energy powder that feels great that's all I have. What would you recommend?

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      13 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      That depends. If you have got quite strong you will probably benefit from splitting your body up a bit now, rather than continuing with full body. However, if I read your comment right, you are looking to be training 7 days a week. That would be too much. You need your recovery days. For most people 4 days per week would be the most I would recommend. You might want to take a look at my article on the upper/lower body workout to see if that gives you a better idea of how to split things up.

    • profile image

      Tanis 

      13 months ago

      I’ve bern doing full body for almost 2 yrs, 4 days a week. Doing a glute/ham, quad, back, chest and a core. Then conditioning or HIIT afterwards. Am thinking of splitting it now... 2 days of Deadlifts, 2 days of glute/ham, 2 days quads, chest and back. And stocking in a gratuitous bicep, shoulder and tricep exercise. Would this be just as effective as doing all 4 compound movements 4 days a week?

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      13 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Leroy was very advanced and had great genetics and recovery. This is for more typical trainees who have not been training that long. But even if you have been training a while, workouts of this sort will allow for better recovery and therefore better long term progress for most people.

    • profile image

      Berd 

      13 months ago

      But Leroy Colbert has many exercises (about ten or eleven) in his workout ... you suggest just doing four or five ...

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      14 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, it's a perfectly reasonable choice. Just continue with this as long as you are making good progress.

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      14 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Do your exercises as a circuit, with minimal rest between each one. See my article on the full body fat burning workout routine for more information.

    • profile image

      Tanveer Mustafa 

      14 months ago

      How can we use full body workout to reduce wait or fat.

    • profile image

      Nikhil 

      15 months ago

      Hello, I'm coming from a gap of 50 days and started full body workouts 3 times a week to get back on track. I have noticed that it does not tire me as my previous hypertrophy based workouts used to also I'm lightly heavyweight and i assume full body workouts is the rught chouce for me, isn't it?

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      15 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      You are welcome Pete; all the best to you too.

    • profile image

      Pete 

      15 months ago

      Thanks again Dave,all the best

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      15 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Glad you are enjoying your training Pete. Myofibrils are thickened with low to moderate rep work. So if you do your big compound exercises for sets of 4 - 6 reps and your smaller exercises for 6 - 8 reps that should work well.

      Any sensible weekly plan will work, but I still prefer upper/lower or something similar.

    • profile image

      Pete 

      16 months ago

      Hey David

      I still enjoy only working 3 days a week and am now looking to build up my myofibrillar fibres to make them thicker.

      Do you have any ideas on how I perform a well structured workout weekly plan?

      Thanks again

    • profile image

      jgjdjr 

      17 months ago

      Thank you sir from a dumbbell!!!

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      17 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Ok, I understand the article doesn't really address the upper/lower/upper approach, but it gives you an idea of that sort of training. Maybe I'll add that to the article. But for older guys especially I tend to prefer upper twice per week and lower once per week. And you stick to the same lower workout.

      So maybe Monday would be bench press, bent-over row, seated dummbell shoulder press and curls.

      Then on Wednesday you could do squats, Romanian deadifts, leg press and calf raise.

      And on Friday you'd do incline dummbell press, pull-up, lateral raise and lying triceps extension.

      That's similar to what I'm doing at present. But you can choose your own exercises of course, and make the workouts a bit longer if your recovery is good. But most older guys don't recover so well, so this will probably be enough.

    • profile image

      jgjdjr 

      17 months ago

      David,

      Read your article and if I understand correctly.... upper on Monday and Friday and lower on Wednesday and then lower on Monday and Friday and upper on Wednesday or just stick with 1 lower and alternate those exercises. I realize this may be a dumb question but want to make sure.

      Thanks again for your advice and patience for us older folks. Also, I have no problem paying for a routine set up for me but didn't know how to go about that or if that's an option on this site.

      John

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      17 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Glad to be of help Davis; and thanks. Yes I'm talking about body parts. Do upper on Monday and Friday and lower on Wednesday. See my article on the upper/lower body split routine for more info on this type of training.

    • profile image

      jgjdjr 

      17 months ago

      Davis,

      Thanks for answering. By upper/lower/upper, I am assuming you are talking about body parts not weight or rep ranges. You routine here is mixed for the 3 day plan. I assume I can pick the upper/lower from each and put them together or can you give me a routine or point me in the direction of one you have already devised?

      Thanks again. Great to get advice from a professional!!!!

      John

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      17 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Older guys don't recover as well as younger guys, so you need to take this into account in your training. You can't do high volumes, you don't want to be doing very heavy training too often and you should not go to failure.

      I like an upper/lower/upper approach doing 4 or 5 exercises per workout, generally for 3 sets in the 8 - 12 rep range, but the sets and reps can (and should) be varied a bit. And there are also different ways of setting up the routine that can also work well.

    • profile image

      jgjdjr 

      17 months ago

      I am a 60 year old male looking for a good routine to look and feel strong. Almost all workouts I see today are for younger people. I try to lift 3 days and jog the other 3 or 4 but am not sure of reps and sets for older men.

      Thanks

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      17 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      You could if you want to burn out very quickly. But it would work well if you reduced the number of work sets to 3 and did a different rep range each day. Say sets of 5 on Monday, 10 on Wednesday and 8 on Friday for squats and bench, and 8's, 12's and 10's for curls and dips. And like you say, moderate weights. Don't go to failure, especially on the 5's.

    • profile image

      arun 

      17 months ago

      Day 1:

      weighted squat, barbell curls , bench press, dips for triceps and light cardio

      5 sets each with average weight

      can I do the same workout on monday, wednesday and friday?? And rest on other days

    • dwelburn profile imageAUTHOR

      David 

      18 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes; always do at least 2 - 3 warm-up sets before the big exercises, and 1 - 2 before the smaller exercises.

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