Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine

Full-body workouts have always been popular and for good reason.

They helped legendary bodybuilders like Steve Reeves and Arnold Schwarzenegger build their impressive muscle mass.

One of the reasons they work so well is because you can train hard just three times a week. This allows most people to recover fully between sessions.

Full-body workouts are great for everyone, no matter your experience level. Beginners will see amazing results, intermediates will continue to make progress, and experienced lifters can maintain their muscle mass while gradually building on it.

In this article, we’ll cover five essential exercises for a complete full-body workout. Then, we’ll share a fantastic full-body workout plan to help you reach your fitness goals.

Lastly, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about full-body workouts.

5 Best Exercises for Full Body Workouts

Choosing the right exercises is key to creating an effective full-body workout.

Since you won’t be working out every day, it’s important that each exercise you pick gives you the most bang for your buck.

Compound exercises are perfect for this. These exercises use multiple joints and muscle groups, which means they work more muscles and help you burn more calories.

We’ve listed the top five compound exercises here. While we’ve shared them in their basic forms, you can modify most of them to better fit your needs. Try out different variations or consult a trainer to find what works best for you.

1. Deadlift

The deadlift is probably the most important exercise you’ll learn in your lifting journey. It focuses on the posterior chain, which involves a hip-hinge movement. Being strong and having good deadlift technique can really help you stay healthy and avoid injuries throughout your life.

That’s why most workout plans include the deadlift. However, not everyone is comfortable with the traditional deadlift. The good news is there are plenty of deadlift variations, so you can find one that works for you.

One of the most beginner-friendly options is the trap bar deadlift. It helps you lift with a more upright posture, making it easier to perform. If you’re having trouble with deadlifts, consider getting help from a trainer to find a variation that suits you.

Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine
Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine

2. Squat

The squat is another classic exercise that shows up in most online fitness plans. It’s a fundamental move that helps strengthen basic movement patterns. Like the deadlift, squats are important to develop and maintain throughout your life.

The barbell back squat is the most common version, but it’s also one of the more challenging ones. If you’re new to squatting, you might want to start with easier variations like the front squat or goblet squat.

Squats are great for building your lower body. They work your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, and improving your squat technique will help develop all these muscles. Plus, squats burn a lot of calories because they’re tough to do.

Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine
Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine

3. Row

Exercises like the barbell bent-over row are often overlooked, but there’s a reason bodybuilders from the golden age used them a lot. They’re excellent for building up your back.

Getting good at the row is key if you want to achieve that V-taper look. The more effort you put into these rows, the thicker your back will become.

Most people can do the barbell bent-over row without issues, but if you start feeling pain in your elbows or shoulders, there are plenty of alternative exercises to try.

With just these three exercises, you can build a strong and impressive physique, even if it’s not all about aesthetics.

Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine
Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine

4. Bench Press

To round out your workout and complete the aesthetic look, you should include a few pressing exercises. Unfortunately, some people, especially beginners, tend to focus on push exercises while neglecting others on our list.

But it’s still important to train them. The bench press is a great way to get good at pressing movements, as it’s a fundamental horizontal push exercise.

If you’re experiencing ongoing joint pain, like with the barbell row, try experimenting with different variations of the horizontal push until you find one that’s comfortable for you.

Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine
Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine

5. Overhead Press

The overhead press is the final exercise you should add to your full-body workouts. It’s great for training the important vertical push movement.

This exercise mainly targets your shoulder muscles, but it also works your triceps a bit. Plus, it requires strong core stability to perform well.

By mastering the overhead press, you’ll see better shoulder development and a stronger core.

Also Read: Top 10 Mass Building Exercises

The barbell version isn’t the best fit for everyone. It might irritate your elbows or shoulders. If that’s the case, check it out and work with someone to find an alternative that suits you. Then, focus on perfecting your technique.

Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine
Maximize Gains: Full-Body Workout Routine

M&S Full Body Schedule & Overview

This program is made for beginners and early intermediate lifters who want to build muscle and strength. By gradually increasing the weight you lift, you can maximize muscle growth by targeting both big and small muscle groups.

You’ll work out three times a week, with at least one rest day in between each session. Here’s a sample schedule:

  • Monday: Workout A
  • Wednesday: Workout B
  • Friday: Workout C

M&S Full Body Workout Notes

How to work ramped 5×5 sets

“Warm-up” sets are the first two sets you do before your main working sets. The weight for these warm-up sets is based on the weight you’ll use for your working sets. Here’s how it works:

  • Set 1: Use 60% of your working weight for 5 reps
  • Set 2: Use 80% of your working weight for 5 reps
  • Sets 3-5: Use 100% of your working weight for 5 reps

So, if your working weight is 200 pounds, your warm-up sets would look like this:

  • Set 1: 120 pounds (60%) x 5 reps
  • Set 2: 160 pounds (80%) x 5 reps
  • Sets 3-5: 200 pounds (working weight) x 5 reps

Ramped 3×5 sets for deadlifts

You’ll use a similar approach with just one working set, like you did with the 5×5 ramping sets:

  • Set 1: 60% of your working weight for 5 reps
  • Set 2: 80% of your working weight for 5 reps
  • Set 3: 100% of your working weight for 5 reps

Workout C – Ramped 3×5 squats

If your squat sets felt manageable during Workout A, try adding 5 pounds to your working set for Workout C. Here’s how you’ll do your squats for Workout C:

  • Set 1: 60% of your working weight for 5 reps
  • Set 2: 80% of your working weight for 5 reps
  • Set 3: Add 5 pounds to the weight you used in Workout A for 5 reps

How much weight to use per set

Use the same weight for each set of an exercise. When it starts to feel manageable, increase the weight on the bar by 5 to 10 pounds. Always look for chances to add more weight because aiming for growth is key.

Progressing in weight is crucial for making gains. Without it, this program won’t be as effective. It’s really that important.

Rest between sets

Take about two minutes to rest between sets of heavy exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, and barbell rows. For everything else, a 60 to 90-second break between sets should be enough.

Workout A

Squats (Ramped)55
Bench Press (Ramped)55
Barbell Row (Ramped)55
Upright Row310
Dumbbell Curls310
Leg Curls312-15
Ab Wheel Roll Out310-15

Workout B

Deadlifts (Ramped)35
Romanian Deadlift28-12
Seated Overhead Press38-10
Pull Ups or Inverted Rows310-15
Barbell Shrugs310
Standing or Seated Calf Raise312-15
Plank360 seconds

Workout C

Squats (Ramped)35
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press310
One Arm Dumbbell Row310-15
Seated Arnold Press310-15
Cable Tricep Extensions310
Barbell Curls310
Leg Curls312-15
Ab Wheel Roll Out310-15

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