Our bodies are able to work as a series of independent parts but it’s built to work as a single cohesive unit.
While that is true, the last 40-50 years have seen the fitness industry focus on individual muscle training.
For bodybuilders this makes sense because each area is supposed to stand out and you don’t want one area to overpower another but eventually we all hit that dreaded plateau where we start doing everything we can think of and still not get anywhere.
This is why we need to occasionally go back to doing what our bodies were meant to do…work at once.
Full-body routines can occasionally shock the muscles because they will be working differently than the norm.
Instead of doing a few different workouts with each area being targeted once a week, you can follow this plan every other day for 4 weeks and hit each muscle group three or four different times each week.
From Head to Toe
We’re going to start at the top which is our shoulders and work our way down until we finish with the calves.
We’re going to work each area in two different ways for two different purposes which will be explained in their sections.
Shoulders: Lateral Raise & Arnold Press
The shoulders can help you appear wider and if they are properly developed then they can give your physique a powerful look. For the width, the obvious choice is lateral raises. You can do them standing or seated.
As for the power, no name in bodybuilding is more powerful than Arnold so Arnold Presses make sense here. The twisting motion can allow you to hit all three heads of the delt so nothing is neglected.
Back: Neutral Grip Pulldown & T-Bar Row
There are two movements that you need to develop a complete upper back. They are pulling up or down and rowing. For the pulling portion, neutral grip lat pulldowns are great because the neutral grip can help you blast your lats while keeping bicep and shoulder involvement to a minimum.
When it comes to rows, the T-bar version is a great one that you can use. It’s a simple lift you can go heavy on but thanks to the fixed pattern can be a controlled one.
Chest: Incline Dumbbell Press & Cable Crossover
Much like the back, the chest is trained in two different ways. You can press or you can fly. Obviously for this program we’re going to do both.
Incline dumbbell presses allow you to work each side independently. This move is also a free weight, compound lift so you can build some serious muscle with it.
Cable crossovers will help you isolate the chest and really target each pec that’s working. Focus on getting good contractions with each rep to pump some blood into the chest.
Biceps: Barbell Curl & Hammer Curl
Before we go any further down the body we should knock out some arm work. For biceps we’re going to keep it as simple as possible with barbell curls and hammer dumbbell curls.
The barbell curl forces you to lift with your hands supinated so you can maximize that peak. Hammers are great because you can target your brachialis as well as your forearms. These two moves are as basic as they come but they’re also effective.
Triceps: Overhead Extensions & Rope Pushdowns
For the back of the arms we’re going to go in opposite directions. First we’re going to go up with two arm overhead extensions. You can use a heavy dumbbell or a barbell, whichever you’re more comfortable with.
Then we’re going to push down, as in rope pushdowns. The rope will allow you to separate the ends so you can put an extra squeeze on the long head of the muscles.
Core: Crunches & Hyperextensions
Notice I didn’t say abs. For our midsection area we’re going to do one movement for the abs and one for the lower back. For the abdominals you can do the basic crunch. Squeeze your abs hard and force your air out to really contract them before going back down.
Next, head over to the low back bench for hyperextensions. This is a simple movement but don’t fly through the reps. You can still get hurt easily if you’re not careful. If you feel it’s necessary, hold on to a weight for extra resistance.
Quadriceps: Leg Press & Leg Extension
I know, squat is king. But for this plan we’re going to stick to machines. So you got the leg press and leg extension. For the leg press, pay attention to your range of motion. Moving the sled four or five inches isn’t going to do anything productive and it will increase wear and tear on your knees.
When you start your leg extensions, make sure you squeeze the quads for a good contraction at the top. Hold it for a count of 1 before lowering the weight back down.
Hamstrings: Stiff Legged Deadlift & Leg Curl
Hamstrings are the lower body muscle that never seems to get enough love. People will throw one in after three or four quad movements. So for this program, make sure you really focus on the back of the legs.
Start with stiff-legged deadlifts. Instead of doing them on the floor, place a plate or step where you would normally stand so you can get extra range of motion. This longer stretch will burn but you will see the rewards for yourself soon enough.
Next, perform leg curls. The version you do can be up to you because I know not all gyms have all three (lying, seated, standing). Regardless of the version you choose, make sure you perform negatives. Since you can’t watch your hamstrings work, these negatives will help you feel them working.
Calves: Standing & Seated Calf Raises
There are two portions of the calf muscle. The gastrocnemius is the visible part of the calf you see when you flex. You need to do a standing calf raise to target this area.
The soleus resides under the gastrocnemius and is active when the legs are bent so seated calf raises are going to serve your needs here.
There are two different workouts here for you. Workout A is your basic plan with straight sets that should take you around an hour to do. As the reps go down, the weight goes up.
Workout B is supersets which are going to be more intense. Remember to adjust the weights you use according to how you feel. For both workouts, keep rest to a minimum.
My advice would to be to start off with workout A for 4 weeks and then progress to workout B for another 4 weeks.
|1. Lateral Raise||3||20, 15, 10|
|2. Arnold Press||3||20, 15, 10|
|3. Neutral Grip Lat Pull Down||3||20, 15, 10|
|4. T-Bar Row||3||20, 15, 10|
|5. Incline Dumbbell Press||3||20, 15, 10|
|6. Cable Crossover||3||20, 15, 10|
|7. Barbell Curl||3||20, 15, 10|
|8. Hammer Curl||3||20, 15, 10|
|9. Two Arm Overhead Extension||3||20, 15, 10|
|10. Rope Pushdown||3||20, 15, 10|
|13. Leg Press||3||20, 15, 10|
|14. Leg Extension||3||20, 15, 10|
|15. Stiff Legged Deadlift||3||20, 15, 10|
|16. Leg Curl||3||20, 15, 10|
|17. Standing Calf Raise||3||20|
|18. Seated Calf Raise||3||20|
Workout B – Supersets
|1a. Lateral Raise||3||12|
|1b. Arnold Press||3||12|
|2a. Neutral Grip Lat Pull Down||3||12|
|2b. T-Bar Row||3||12|
|3a.. Incline Dumbbell Press||3||12|
|3b. Cable Crossover||3||12|
|4a. Barbell Curl||3||15|
|4b. Hammer Curl||3||15|
|5a. Two Arm Overhead Extension||3||15|
|5b. Rope Pushdown||3||15|
|7a. Leg Press||3||15|
|7b. Leg Extension||3||15|
|8a. Stiff Legged Deadlift||3||15|
|8b. Leg Curl||3||15|
|9a. Standing Calf Raise||3||20|
|9b. Seated Calf Raise||3||20|