In my opinion, taking time for yourself to work out is one of the best forms of self-care. Instead of letting stress creep up as you scan the gym to figure out which machines are free and if you can snag a squat rack, I recommend coming in with a plan. Whether you’re following a four-week workout plan or showing up already knowing what you’re going to do for the day, preparation makes your workouts a lot smoother.

If you have no idea what to do at the gym, and aren’t sure if doing 10 squat variations in one day is OK (hint: don’t do it), I’ve got you covered. Instead of doing every squat known to man, try this eight-move full-body workout. You’ll be working your shoulders, biceps, back, glutes, quads, and abs, and it shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes to do.

Contents

The 45-Minute Full-Body Gym Workout

Equipment needed: two sets of dumbbells; one set should be medium/heavy and the second set should be light. This guide will help you choose the right weight. You’ll also need a stability ball. Once you’ve gathered your equipment, it’s time to get started.

To help you save time, this workout should be performed in supersets, meaning you should take little to no rest in between each exercise. For example, you’ll do a set of the overhead squat press and immediately transition to bicep curls. Then, you’ll go back to the squats until you’ve completed the listed sets.

  • Superset 1, exercise 1: overhead squat press: four sets of 12 reps
  • Superset 1, exercise 2: bicep curl: four sets of 12 reps (each arm)
  • Superset 2, exercise 1: single-leg bridge: four sets of 12 reps (each leg)
  • Superset 2, exercise 2: single-arm row: four sets of 12 reps
  • Superset 3, exercise 1: step up: four sets of 10 reps (each leg)
  • Superset 3, exercise 2: lateral raise: four sets of 10 reps
  • Stir the pot: two sets of 10 reps each direction
  • Bird dog: two sets of 10 reps

Get Toned with The Best Full-Body Workouts for Women at the Gym or at Home

Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you’ve surely seen the “You have as many hours a day as Beyonce” memes on Facebook or Instagram. It’s a strong reminder that if Queen Bey can manage all her appointments and obligations—including keeping her booty tight—so can you.

But how can you, a mere mortal (but still a boss b*tch) do the same? The answer is full-body workouts.

More likely than not, switching to a full-body routine will build more muscle, burn more fat, and get you out of the gym faster than the one you’ve been doing. So you’ll have plenty of time to record your album, start a fashion line, and star in a blockbuster movie.

We talked to wife, mom, and Onnit Coach Nikita Fear (also an Equinox Tier X Coach/EFTI Master Instructor) about how to get the best results from the least amount of time spent in the gym.

Full-Body Workout Benefits for Women

When most people start working out, they train one or two body parts at a time, or focus only on the ones they most want to enhance. Body-part training splits have their place, but if you want to get in and out of the gym fast—and have fewer overall workouts per week—you should get in the habit of training the whole body each session.

“One of the benefits of full-body programming is that you are being as efficient as possible with the time allotted,” says Fear. Training the whole body ensures that you don’t overlook or neglect any area, and it burns loads more calories than focusing on only one or two muscle groups. That means you’ll burn more fat in each session. “Blood has to pump all over your body to fuel every muscle you train,” says Fear, “so full-body workouts get your heart rate up more, and they’ll improve your cardiovascular fitness.”

Full-body workouts are also great for longevity. “They allow you to get more connected to your body,” says Fear. “In life, we don’t move in parts, but as a whole. So when we train to move that same way in a workout, it helps us move more fluidly in life.” To that end, the workouts that Fear designed below feature several combination lifts, such as Romanian deadlifts that finish with a row, split squats that end with a biceps curl, and rows from a plank position, so you mimic more movements you’ll do in real life. They also have you doing your exercises in circuit fashion, meaning that you’ll go from one exercise to the next with little rest in between. Within one round of any circuit, you’ll have trained nearly every muscle in your body.

How Often Should I Do a Full-Body Workout?

Fear says three workouts per week is enough when you’re training the whole body each time. Depending on the exercises you choose, and how you organize the workouts, you could train more frequently if you like, doing as many as five sessions per week. But if you’re a beginner exerciser, or new to full-body training, start with three non-consecutive training days (such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).

Remember that muscles recover and grow when they’re resting between workouts. So if you train every muscle group on Monday, there’s no need to do it all again on Tuesday. One of the great benefits of full-body training is that, if you miss a workout, you won’t fall behind. Let’s say you train the whole body on Monday. If you have to miss Wednesday’s workout, but you plan to train again on Friday, you’ll only have gone three days without training. You won’t lose any progress in that short time. In comparison, imagine doing a body-part split where you usually train legs on Wednesday. If you miss that workout, a whole week may go by before you can train legs again, or you’ll have to re-shuffle your training schedule to fit in the leg day, and some other body part will suffer.

Yet another bonus of full-body workouts is the rapid strength you can gain from them. In a full-body program, you typically only do one or two exercises for a particular muscle group in a single session (doing any more won’t leave time to hit the other areas of your body). So, every time you train shoulders, for instance, you’ll be able to work them with the heaviest possible weights and the greatest focus. With body-part splits, in which you might do five different shoulder exercises on “shoulder day,” what typically happens is that you’ll hit the first exercise or two hard, and then be too fatigued to push yourself on the remaining lifts. When you train full-body, each muscle group is fresh when you go to train it, and you can work it with the greatest intensity.

If you think working a body part with only an exercise or two in a session isn’t enough to make it respond, consider the big picture. If you do three sets for your shoulders on Monday, two more sets Wednesday, and five sets on Friday (just for example), that’s 10 sets overall for the week. Not only is that plenty of training volume for one week, each set will be done with your best effort, and that leads to the best results.

Training with such frequency, however, does require that you prioritize recovery. In addition to resting a day between sessions, choose exercises that vary in intensity, so you’ll minimize the risk of muscle strains and joint stress. Staying with the shoulder example, you could do a heavy, compound movement like dumbbell presses on Monday, relatively easy lateral raises on Wednesday, and bodyweight pushups from a downward-dog position on Friday.

In short, the more often you can train a muscle—and still let it recover—the faster you can see results. A 2015 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that subjects who trained the whole body three days per week gained more arm muscle than another group who trained each muscle group just once per week.

Beginner Full-Body Workout for Women

If you’re new to strength training, start here. This routine, designed by Fear, uses basic but challenging exercises, so don’t worry if you can’t do a full pushup yet or are unable to lift your bodyweight on a chinup. We’ve modified some of the classic beginner exercises so that you can train as hard as possible at your own level.

How To Stretch Before A Beginner Full-Body Workout

Perform the following exercises as a warmup. They increase mobility in the joints that are typically the most restricted, help to raise your body temperature, and will prepare your nervous system for the work ahead.

Gecko

Reps: 5–8 (each side)

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Step 1. Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Draw your shoulders and downward (think “proud chest”), and tuck your tailbone slightly so that your pelvis is perpendicular to the floor. Brace your core.

Step 2. Raise your left leg 90 degrees out to the left side while simultaneously raising your right arm out to your side with elbow bent 90 degrees.

Step 3. Lower, and repeat for reps. Then repeat on the opposite side.

Squat to Stand

Reps: 5–8

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Step 1. Stand with feet about hip-width apart. Drive your hips back and down, sending your butt into a deep, low squat just inches from the ground. As you drive your hips back, shoot your arms straight out in front of your body to around shoulder height.

Step 2. From this position, reach your arms down and grasp your toes. Hold on to your toes as you straighten out your knees as much as you can, sending your hips up to the ceiling. Finish with your body bent at the hips and your legs almost straight with a soft bend at the knees.

Step 3. Return to the low squat position, and then squeeze your glutes to stand up tall again.

Chaturanga Flow

Reps: Perform the exercise for 30 seconds

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Step 1. Get into a downward dog pose with your toes pressing firmly into the floor, and your hands pressing your butt up and back toward the ceiling.

Step 2. Bring your hips forward into a plank position (body in a straight line), and, keeping your arms tight to the body, lower your chest to the floor as in a pushup.

Step 3. From this position, extend your arms while arching your back and dropping your hips to the floor (upward dog).

Step 4. Lift the hips up and back to starting, downward-dog position.

Mobile Table

Reps: Perform the exercise for 30 seconds

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Step 1. Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you and knees bent 90 degrees. Place your hands on the floor behind you with your fingers pointing forward.

Step 2. Push through your heels to extend your hips to lockout, so you end up in a tabletop position.

Step 3. Lower your hips back down and behind you. The motion should look like you’re swinging your hips back. Use momentum to begin the next rep.

Alternating Shin Box

Reps: Perform the exercise for 30 seconds

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Step 1. Sit on the floor and with your left leg in front and your right behind you, knees bent, so that your left foot is directly in front of the right knee.

Step 2. Twist your torso to the right, raising your right knee up 90 degrees. Continue turning to the opposite side so that your right foot ends up in front of your left knee on the floor. If you need to, use your arms on the floor behind your body to help you shift from one side to the other.

Workout Directions

The workout is made up of two circuits. To perform a circuit, do one set of each movement in order, resting as little as possible between exercises. When you come to the end of the circuit, rest as needed, and then repeat the circuit for 2 to 3 total rounds. Complete all sets for the first circuit before you go on to the second one.

1. Romanian Deadlift to Row

Reps: 10–12

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Step 1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet hip-width apart. Draw your shoulders back and downward (think “proud chest”), and tuck your tailbone slightly so that your pelvis is parallel to the floor. Brace your core.

Step 2. Bend your hips back while keeping a long spine from your head to your pelvis. Allow your knees to bend as needed, and stop when you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.

Step 3. From there, row the weights to your sides. Lower them back down, and then extend your hips to stand up tall again.

2. Goblet Squat

Reps: 10–12

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Step 1. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold a single dumbbell at your chest with both hands, just underneath your chin. Your shoulders should be back and down—proud-chest position.

Step 2. Brace your core. Keeping a long spine from your head to your pelvis, sit back and spread your knees apart to squat down as deeply as you can without losing alignment.

Step 3. Squeeze your glutes as you come back up to standing.

3. Inverted Row

Reps: 10–12

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Step 1. Set a bar in a rack at about hip level. Grasp the bar with hands shoulder-width apart, and hang from it with your legs extended in front of you. (To make it less challenging, bend your knees 90 degrees and plant your feet on the floor.) Draw your shoulders down and back, and brace your core so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet.

Step 2. Pull your body up to the bar, squeezing the shoulder blades together, until your chest touches it. Lower back down to the starting position.

1. Split Squat with Bicep Curl

Reps: 10–12 (each side)

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Step 1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stagger your stance so that your left leg is forward and your right is behind you.

Step 2. Lower your body into a lunge, until each knee is bent 90 degrees. As you go down, simultaneously curl the dumbbells with a neutral grip (both palms face in). Allow your arms to come forward a bit as you curl so that the weights stop at the front of your shoulders. Complete your reps, and then switch sides and repeat.

2. Kneeling or Full Push Up

Reps: 10–12

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Step 1. Get into a pushup position on the floor with hands under your shoulders and legs extended behind you. (If regular pushups are too hard, rest your knees on the floor as shown above. Either way, make sure your body forms a straight line.) Shoulders are pulled back and down, and tailbone slightly tucked so that your pelvis is perpendicular to your spine.

Step 2. Lower your body until your chest is just above the floor. Tuck your elbows close to your sides as you descend, and then push yourself back up.

3. Kneeling or Full-Length Side Plank

Reps: Hold for 20–60 seconds (each side)

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Step 1. Lie on the floor on your right side and rest your forearm on the floor. Extend your legs, aligning your body from head to feet.

Step 2. Bridge your hips up, so that you balance on your forearm and the edge of your right foot. Your legs should be stacked directly on top of each other. If that’s too easy, extend your left arm toward the ceiling to challenge your balance more, as shown above. If the plank is too hard to hold with legs straight, you can bend your knees 90 degrees. Hold for 20–60 seconds, and then switch sides and repeat.

Decompression/Cool Down

Finish your workout with the scorpion, designed to open up the hips and T-spine.

Alternating Floor Scorpion

Reps: 5 (each side)

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Step 1. Lie on your stomach on the floor with your arms outstretched.

Step 2. Lift your left leg up and twist it over to the right side of your body, turning your hips to put your foot on the floor. Push your knee out as much as you can, ideally so that it points straight up to the ceiling. Your left shoulder will come off the floor as you twist, but try to keep the left arm reaching out so that it doesn’t come up more than it has to. Create as good a stretch as possible.

Step 3. Reverse the movement and repeat on the opposite side.

Bodyweight Full-Body Workout for Women

If the only gym you have access to is your living room, you can still get stronger and more defined—and we don’t mean by doing more reps with your couch cushions. This routine from Fear requires only your bodyweight.

How To Stretch Before A Bodyweight Full-Body Workout

Perform the following exercises as a warmup. They increase mobility in the joints that are typically the most restricted, help to raise your body temperature, and will prepare your nervous system for the work ahead.

Mountain Climber with Sky Reach

Reps: 10 (each side)

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Step 1. Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Draw your shoulders back and downward (think “proud chest”), and tuck your tailbone slightly so that your pelvis is perpendicular to the floor. Brace your core.

Step 2. Bring your left foot up to the outside of your left hand. Maintian your long spine and shoulder and pelvis position.

Step 3. From there, twist your torso to the left, stretching the left arm toward the ceiling. Hold for a moment, and then return your hand to the floor. Return your left knee to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side.

Alternating Sit-Through

Reps: 10 (each side)

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Step 1. From the all-fours (table top) position, push your hands into the floor and raise your knees off the floor so that they hover. Brace your core.

Step 2. Twist your body to the right, raising your right hand off the floor and kicking your left leg straight out to the right side. You should be holding your body weight off the floor using your left hand and right foot.

Step 3. Return to starting position, and repeat on the opposite side.

Standing Side Bend and Arm Reach

Reps: 10 (each side)

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Step 1. Stand with your arms out to your sides and elbows bent 90 degrees—your left arm pointing up and the right pointing down.

Step 2. Bend your hips to the left side as you stretch your left arm over your head to the opposite side of your body. At the same time, reach your right arm down and across your body.

Step 3. Reverse the motion and repeat on the opposite side.

Beast to Alternating Knee Tap

Reps: 10 (each side)

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Step 1. Get into a child’s pose—knees on the floor, arms stretched in front of you, and your weight back on your heels.

Step 2. Push yourself up into a pushup position as you bring your left knee forward to touch your left elbow.

Step 3. Return to the child’s pose, and then repeat on the opposite side.

Workout Directions

The workout is made up of two circuits. To perform a circuit, do one set of each movement in order, resting as little as possible between exercises. When you come to the end of the circuit, rest as needed, and then repeat the circuit for 2 to 3 total rounds. Complete all sets for the first circuit before you go on to the second one.

1. Drop Lunge to Lateral Lunge

Reps: 12 (each leg)

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Step 1. Begin standing with your feet about hip-width apart.

Step 2. Lunge out to the right side and bend your hips back, lowering your body until your right leg is bent about 45 degrees. Keep your left leg straight as you drop into the lunge. Your shoulders should be pulled back and down (think “proud chest”) as you lower.

Step 3. Push off your right foot to come back up, but instead of returning to the standing position, cross your right foot behind your left leg and plant it outside your left foot.

Step 4. Bend both knees to lower into a lunge, stopping when your rear knee is just above the floor. That’s one rep. Complete your reps on that side, and then switch sides.

2. Pushup to Bent-Knee Downward Dog

Reps: 12

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Step 1. Begin in a downward dog position: balancing on the balls of your feet with your arms pressing into the floor and hips pushed back so they point to the ceiling. You must keep your head, spine and pelvis aligned, so if you feel a big stretch in your hamstrings that makes you want to tuck your tailbone under, bend your knees a bit so that you can tilt your butt up higher.

Step 2. Bring your hips down into a pushup position, so your body forms a straight line that’s level with the floor. If you need to, rest your knees on the floor as shown above. If you can do a pushup with legs straight, lower your body to the floor, tucking your elbows to the sides of your body. Stop when your chest is just above the floor.

Step 3. Press yourself back up, using the momentum to help send your weight backward and return to the downward dog position. That’s one rep.

If you’re doing the regular pushup, and you find yourself tiring out before you’ve completed all your reps, you can switch to the knees-down pushup to complete the set.

Reps: Hold for 20–30 sec. (each side)

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Step 1. Lie on the floor on your right side and rest your forearm on the floor. Extend your legs, aligning your body from head to feet.

Step 2. Bridge your hips up, so that you balance on your forearm and the edge of your right foot. Your legs should be stacked directly on top of each other. If that’s too easy, extend your left arm toward the ceiling to challenge your balance. If the plank is too hard to hold with legs straight, you can bend your knees 90 degrees. Hold for 20–30 seconds, and then switch sides and repeat.

1. Sit-Through to Bridge

Reps: 6 (each side)

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Step 1. Start on all fours with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your back should be flat.

Step 2. Brace your core and push your hands into the floor, raising your knees a few inches off the floor so they hover.

Step 3. Twist your body to the left, raising your left hand off the floor to allow your hips to turn. As you twist, extend your right leg straight out the the left side. You should be holding your body off the floor using your right hand and left foot so that your butt doesn’t touch the floor.

Step 4. Drive your hips up to full extension, squeezing your glutes at the top. Return to the starting position, and repeat on the opposite side.

2. Mobile Table

Reps: 15–20

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Step 1. Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you and knees bent 90 degrees. Place your hands on the floor behind you with your fingers pointing forward.

Step 2. Push through your heels to extend your hips to lockout, so you end up in a tabletop position.

Step 3. Lower your hips back down and behind you. The motion should look like you’re swinging your hips back. Use momentum to begin the next rep.

3. Alternating Single-Leg Extension

Reps: 15–20 (each leg)

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Step 1. Lie on your back on the floor. Anchor your body by holding on to something sturdy, such as a bench, couch, or ottoman behind you.

Step 2. Bring your knees to your chest and brace your core.

Step 3. Extend one leg while keeping the other bent. Return your leg to the starting position, and repeat with the other leg.

Finish your workout with the angled child’s pose, designed to open up your back and hips.

Angled Child’s Pose

Reps: 5 (each side)

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Step 1. Get on all fours and reach your right arm forward and across your body, placing the edge of your hand on the floor in front of your left hand.

Step 2. Drive your hips back and to the right side so that you feel a stretch in the right side of your back.

Step 3. Come forward again and repeat for reps. Then repeat on the opposite side.

Reps: 5 (each side)

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Step 1. Lie on your stomach on the floor with your arms outstretched.

Step 2. Lift your left leg up and twist it over to the right side of your body, turning your hips to put your foot on the floor. Push your knee out as much as you can, ideally so that it points straight up to the ceiling. Your left shoulder will come off the floor as you twist, but try to keep the left arm reaching out so that it doesn’t come up more than it has to. Create as good a stretch as possible.

Step 3. Reverse the movement and repeat on the opposite side.

Advanced Full Body Workout for Women

If you’ve been training for six months or more, Fear says this workout will push you to the next level. The exercises are more complex and will allow you to lift heavier—while challenging your balance and flexibility—for greater gains.

How To Stretch Before An Advanced Full-Body Workout

Perform the following exercises as a warmup. They increase mobility in the joints that are typically the most restricted, help to raise your body temperature, and will prepare your nervous system for the work ahead.

Reps: 5–8 (each side)

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Step 1. Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Draw your shoulders back and downward (think “proud chest”), and tuck your tailbone slightly so that your pelvis is perpendicular to the floor. Brace your core.

Step 2. Raise your left leg 90 degrees out to the left side while simultaneously raising your right arm out to your side with elbow bent 90 degrees.

Step 3. Lower, and repeat for reps. Then repeat on the opposite side.

Reps: Perform the exercise for 30 seconds

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Step 1. Get into a downward dog pose with your toes pressing firmly into the floor, and your hands pressing your butt up and back toward the ceiling.

Step 2. Bring your hips forward into a plank position (body in a straight line), and, keeping your arms tight to the body, lower your chest to the floor as in a pushup.

Step 3. From this position, extend your arms while arching your back and dropping your hips to the floor (upward dog).

Step 4. Lift the hips up and back to the starting, downward-dog position.

Reps: Perform the exercise for 30 seconds

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Step 1. Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you and knees bent 90 degrees. Place your hands on the floor behind you with your fingers pointing forward.

Step 2. Push through your heels to extend your hips to lockout, so you end up in a tabletop position.

Step 3. Lower your hips back down and behind you. The motion should look like you’re swinging your hips back. Use momentum to begin the next rep.

Reps: Perform the exercise for 30 seconds

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Step 1. Sit on the floor and with your left leg in front and your right behind you, knees bent, so that your left foot is directly in front of the right knee.

Step 2. Twist your torso to the right, raising your right knee up 90 degrees. Continue turning to the opposite side so that your right foot ends up in front of your left knee on the floor. If you need to, use your arms on the floor behind your body to help you shift from one side to the other.

The workout is made up of two circuits. To perform a circuit, do one set of each movement in order, resting as little as possible between exercises. When you come to the end of the circuit, rest as needed, and then repeat the circuit for 2 to 3 total rounds. Complete all sets for the first circuit before you go on to the second one.

1. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Reps: 12–15 (each leg)

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Step 1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand on your right foot. Draw your shoulder blades down and together (think “proud chest”), and tuck your tailbone under slightly so that your pelvis is parallel to the floor.

Step 2. Begin bending your hips backward so that your torso moves toward the floor. Keep your head, spine, and pelvis aligned as you move, and allow your right knee to bend as needed. Your left leg will naturally extend behind you—squeeze the glutes on that side as it does.

Step 4. Try to keep your hips level with the floor, but it’s OK if your left toes rotate outward a little. Maintain your proud chest position—the weight will try to pull your shoulders forward, so fight to keep them locked back and down. Bend as far as you can without losing your alignment.

Step 5. Squeeze your glutes as you come back up, extending your hips to lockout. You can touch your left foot down for a moment if you need to regain your balance, and then begin the next rep.

2. Deficit Reverse Lunge

Reps: 12–15 (each leg)

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Step 1. Stand on a box or step that raises you a few inches off the floor.

Step 2. Reach your right leg behind you and plant it on the floor. Reach both arms in front of you to help you balance, and lower your body with control until your rear knee nearly touches the floor.

Step 3. Drive through the left foot to stand up and bring the right foot back to the box. Complete your reps, and then switch legs and repeat.

3. Underhand-Grip Pulldown

Reps: 8–10

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Step 1. Sit at a lat-pulldown station and grip the bar with palms facing you, hands shoulder-width apart. Secure your knees under the pad.

Step 2. Pull the handle to your collarbone, driving your elbows down and back and squeezing your lats. Control the weight on the way back up, and let it stretch your back at the top.

1. Elevated Single-Leg Hip Thrust

Reps: 10–12 (each leg)

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Step 1. Place a bench, box, or step that will elevate your foot a few inches above the floor; set another one behind it that’s even taller. Rest your upper back on the taller bench and place your left foot on the smaller one. Your hips and knees should be bent 90 degrees.

Step 2. Brace your core and drive through your left heel to extend your hips to lockout. Keep your right knee pulled to your chest as you rise. Control the descent back to the starting position. Do not let your butt rest on the floor between reps. Complete your reps, and then switch sides and repeat.

2. Single-Arm Row from Plank

Reps: 8–10 (each side)

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Step 1. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and place your right forearm on a bench, box, or step that elevates a surface a foot or so above the floor. Extend your legs behind you as in a pushup position and tuck your tailbone slightly so that your pelvis is perpendicular to your spine. Use as wide a stance as you need to maintain balance (the narrower you go, the more challenging it will feel).

Step 2. Brace your core. Keeping your body in a straight line from your head to your heels, row the left-hand dumbbell to your side. Avoid twisting your body—keep your shoulders square to the floor.

3. Narrow-Grip Pushup

Reps: 10–12

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Step 1. Get into a pushup position on the floor, legs extended behind you. Move your hand placement in slightly so your hands line up with your chest (rather than your shoulders). Make sure your body forms a straight line. Shoulders pulled back and down, and tailbone slightly tucked so that your pelvis is perpendicular to your spine.

Step 2. Lower your body until your chest is just above the floor. Tuck your elbows close to your sides as you descend, and then push yourself back up.

Decompression

Finish your workout with the scorpion, designed to open up the hips and T-spine.

Reps: 5 (each side)

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Step 1. Lie on your stomach on the floor with your arms outstretched.

Step 2. Lift your left leg up and twist it over to the right side of your body, turning your hips to put your foot on the floor. Push your knee out as much as you can, ideally so that it points straight up to the ceiling. Your left shoulder will come off the floor as you twist, but try to keep the left arm reaching out so that it doesn’t come up more than it has to. Create as good a stretch as possible.

Step 3. Reverse the movement and repeat on the opposite side.

For another full-body workout that uses kettlebells, click HERE.

Shape up for summer in just 6 weeks with the ultimate his and hers diet plan

Summer’s almost here, which means sun-drenched holidays are just around the corner.

However, if you’ve spent the past six months hibernating in winter clothes and want to lose a few pounds before you hit the beach, don’t panic – we have just the plan for you.

Our exclusive new diet and simple but effective exercises will help you lose weight and tone up in just six weeks.

Designed for men and women, our easy-to-follow plan works for everyone – so why not get your partner involved and do something healthy together?

Research shows your chances of losing weight improve significantly if you diet as a couple or buddy up with a friend.

So, what are you waiting for?

Opt for porridge for a healthy breakfast that will fill you up (Image: Getty Images)

How this diet works

From the 1970s until recently, experts believed that following a low-fat diet was the key to successful weight loss.

But over the last decade, a raft of new research has emerged to suggest that a diet lower in “white” carbohydrates and processed sugar is actually far more effective at shifting fat.

Which means your best bet when it comes to losing excess pounds in time for summer is to switch to a Mediterranean style diet with plenty of lean proteins such as chicken, fish, eggs and nuts, along with wholemeal carbs such as granary bread, and lots of fresh fruit and veg.

Our plan includes protein with every meal, which will make you feel full and keep your blood sugar levels steady.

Portion size guide

Portion sizes for men

  • Two palm-sized pieces of protein with every meal
  • Two closed fist-sized portions of veg with every meal
  • Two cupped hands of carbs with specified meals

Portion sizes for women

  • One palm-sized piece of protein with every meal
  • One closed fist-sized portion of veg with every meal
  • One cupped hand of carbs with specified meals

This will keep cravings for sweet snacks at bay and will also rev up your metabolism, encouraging your body to burn more of its fat stores as fuel.

Combined with the easy exercise plan, this simple diet will leave you leaner and more toned – as well as helping you drop up to a stone in weight.

The menu is packed with delicious meals that are quick to prepare. And there’s no need to count calories – simply stick to the male and female portion guidelines below.

What is a healthy portion?

This is a portion-controlled diet, but you’ll only need your own hand as a measuring device.

Men should have two palm-sized pieces of protein with every meal and women should have one palm-sized piece of protein (Image: Getty Images)

In many ways using your hand as a visual guide for measuring food is better than counting calories because it’s proportional to your own body size and never changes.

As a rough guide, though, on plan women will consume around 1,500 calories a day and men 2,000, the widely recognised levels for healthy weight loss.

The rules

1 Eat a handful of nuts daily. Nuts are packed with protein so will fill you up and make you less likely to snack on rubbish.

2 Avoid white carbs. Instead choose wholemeal varieties of bread, pasta and brown rice.

3 Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses per day, to stay hydrated and take the edge off your hunger. Add mint leaves or slices of cucumber to liven it up.

Why not try a prawn sandwich with two slices wholemeal bread, sliced tomato and salad for lunch? (Image: Getty Images)

4 Have no more than two cups of tea or coffee per day. And ditch all fizzy drinks, even diet versions, as studies show they increase hunger.

5 Keep alcohol as a twice a week treat, having no more than one small glass of wine or one small beer.

Breakfast

  • Scrambled eggs (two eggs for men, one for women) on
    a toasted wholegrain bagel (whole for men, half for women) topped with 1 tbsp smoked salmon pieces
  • Granary toast with 1 tbsp any nut butter (two slices for men, one for women) plus a handful of strawberries
  • Veggie omelette (two eggs for men, one for women) made with a handful of chopped red pepper, spinach and mushrooms

Soup is great for dieting – even in the summer (Image: Getty Images)

  • Mango and banana smoothie – blend a glass of semi-skimmed milk, one small banana, 1/3 of a mango. Plus a handful of almonds. Men add a small pot of Greek yoghurt
  • Porridge (two handfuls oats for men, one for women) made with any type of milk and topped with a handful of blueberries and raspberries, plus 1 tbsp chopped nuts
    and seeds
  • Poached eggs (two eggs for men, one for women) with granary toast (two slices for men, one for women), plus half a sliced avocado and
    one apple

Lunch

  • Prawn sandwich with two slices wholemeal bread, sliced tomato and salad. Mix prawns (two palm-sized portions for men, one for women) with 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Plus one banana
  • Shop-bought fish or veggie sushi (six pieces for men, four for women) with a cup of miso soup. Plus two slices of fresh pineapple

Smoke mackerel salad is a good choice for lunch or dinner (Image: Getty Images)

  • Wholemeal pitta (men can have two) filled with 1 tbsp houmous mixed with half a chopped red pepper. Plus small pot Greek yoghurt
  • Sweet jacket potato (large for men, medium for women) topped with
    2 tbsp veggie chilli made using carrots, green lentils and red pepper instead of mince. Plus one nectarine
  • Avocado and chicken salad, with grilled chicken breast (two palm- sized portions for men, one for women), half a sliced avocado, mixed green leaves, lemon juice and black pepper. Plus
    one apple
  • Smoked mackerel salad, made with one fish fillet, plus sliced hard-boiled eggs (two for men, one for women), baby spinach leaves, all drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Plus one pear
  • Lentil and vegetable soup with a granary roll (men can have two). Plus a peach

Have a handful of olives as a snack (Image: Getty Images)

Snacks

  • Handful of green olives
  • Handful of almonds, peanuts or Brazil nuts
  • Sliced apple with 1 tbsp nut butter
  • Greek yoghurt, small pot
  • 1⁄2 sliced avocado with one slice
    of ham
  • Carrot and red pepper sticks with 1 tbsp houmous

Dinner

  • Lean steak (two palm- sized portions for men, one for women) grilled and served with stir-fried mushrooms, red pepper and broccoli
  • Mixed vegetable and coconut milk curry. Fry half a chopped onion, one chopped red pepper (half for women), one cubed sweet potato (half for women) with
    2 tsp curry powder and half a can of coconut milk. Serve with brown basmati rice
  • Cod fillet (two palm-sized portions for men, one for women) baked with three
    slices chopped chorizo. Serve with two handfuls steamed new potatoes (one for women), plus steamed carrots, broccoli and green beans

You can still have steak when you’re dieting (Image: Getty Images/EyeEm)

  • Moroccan lemon chicken. Bake chicken breast (two palm-sized portions for men, one for women) in foil with a handful chopped olives, one crushed garlic clove, lemon slices and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with oven-roasted vegetables and chickpeas. Slice one red onion, chop up half a sweet potato and half a red pepper, add half a can of chickpeas, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp harissa spices and roast in a tray for 30 minutes
  • Salmon fillet (two palm-sized portions for men, one for women) baked in foil with lemon juice for 20 minutes. Serve with salad made from two sliced tomatoes, half a sliced avocado and mozzarella (two matchbox-sized pieces for men, one
    for women)
  • Lean pork chop (two palm-sized portions for men, one for women), grilled and topped with a pineapple ring. Serve with oven- roasted veg – one sliced pepper, one sliced courgette, two tomatoes and half a chopped red onion drizzled with
    1 tbsp olive oil and cooked in the oven for 30 minutes
  • Grilled lamb chop (two palm- sized portions for men, one for women) served with two handfuls white canned beans (one handful for women) drizzled with a little vinegar and olive oil. Plus steamed broccoli, broad beans and peas with 1 tsp of
    fresh chopped mint

Fast track your fitness

To get the best results from this six-week plan, it’s important to build more activity into your daily life, from walking up stairs to taking a stroll after your evening meal. Pick an activity you enjoy doing such as dancing, yoga or cycling
and aim for 30 minutes a day between now and your holiday. This will burn off excess calories and boost your metabolism.

It’s worth using a pedometer – most smartphones have an app included – to keep a rough check of the number of steps you take each day. Aim for around 10,000.

And try these targeted exercises three times a week to tone and shape muscles.

THREE EXERCISES FOR MEN

Push-ups are a great way to tone up your chest (Image: Getty Images)

Chest toner: Push-ups

Place your hands on the floor, fingers facing forwards.

With your arms straight, shoulders above your hands and feet on tiptoe, ensure your back and legs are in a straight line.

Pull in your stomach muscles and slowly lower your chest to the floor, bending your elbows. Push up to the start position.

Repeat three sets of 10.

Belly blaster: The plank

Plant your hands directly under your shoulders, like a push-up, and push your toes into the floor.

Squeeze your bottom as you lift your body in one straight line, arms straight.

Look at a spot on the floor beyond your hands so your head and back are in line.

Pull in your stomach and don’t let your bottom dip. Hold for 20 to 40 seconds. Repeat three times.

Arm shaper: Tricep dips

Find a stable chair or bench and sit on the very edge, gripping it with your hands, fingers pointing down.

Place your feet hip-width apart with knees bent at 90 degrees

Looking straight ahead, push up from the palms of your hands to lift your torso and straighten your arms.

Lower to start position, keeping your bottom close to the chair edge throughout.

Repeat three sets of 10.

THREE EXERCISES FOR WOMEN

Squats are a great way to tone up your bum (Image: Getty Images/EyeEm)

Tummy toner: Twisted crunches

Lie on the floor, with knees bent
and hands behind head, elbows pointing out.

Breath out as you lift up your shoulders and torso, twisting to touch right elbow to left knee.

Rotate back to centre, lowering your head and arms back to the ground.

Repeat 15 times on each side.

Thigh slimmer: Side leg raises

Lie on your right side, resting your head in your right hand, with your left hand on your hip.

Slowly raise your top leg as
high as you can and slowly bring it back down.

Repeat 15 times on each side.

Bottom shaper: Squats

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forwards. Lower yourself (as if sitting) until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Keep your chest up and facing forwards. Push down through the heels as you
stand again, pulling in your bottom muscles.

Repeat three sets of 15.

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The do’s and don’ts of getting fit fast.

There are about six weeks left before summer is here! For many people that’s a cause for celebration, but others may be concerned about shedding their cold weather clothing and revealing a body that’s gained a few pounds over winter. But if you act now, you can start work on attaining the body you want.

Today, I’m going to share three do’s and three don’ts to help you reach your body beautiful goals. Let’s start by setting some realistic expectations. With the summer months fast approaching, many people feel pressured to shift extra pounds quickly. Unfortunately, many people also become despondent because extra weight doesn’t magically disappear as fast as they would want. The ‘get thin quick’ frenzy is often started with great intentions, but if it isn’t accompanied by realistic goals then it doesn’t have much chance of success.

As a personal trainer this ‘get thin quick’ frenzy brings mixed emotions. Part of me is excited to help people jump on the path to a healthy, active lifestyle. The other part of me feels concern about how misunderstood nutrition and fitness are by the general population. I hate to see people begin a new routine with enthusiasm only to abandon it before they see results. So, let’s make sure everyone understands what an achievable ‘get thin quick’ plan could look like.

Everyone should feel body confident, and with six weeks until summer there is plenty of time for you to make a few lifestyle changes that will deliver visible results. Let me help you by giving you three simple do’s and don’ts to help you start achieving your summer fitness goals.

DO start now

There is no better time than today to get started with a positive approach to fitness and nutrition. Of course, you need to check with your medical provider to ensure you are healthy enough to participate in increased physical activity.

Once you get the all clear, you should get started immediately, because wishing and daydreaming about having a perfect body in time for summer isn’t going to get you any closer to your goal. A simple walk or bike ride is a perfect place to start. And then make sure you’re at least a little bit active the next day and the day after that, too.

DO take a slow and progressive approach

Jumping into a fitness routine that is too difficult may achieve two things: you may either quit because your body is sore from the sudden increase in activity, or you could sustain an injury that derails your carefully laid fitness plans. So, take it one day at a time and choose activities that you enjoy.

Aiming to complete at least 30 minutes of activity each day is a great starting point, and the great news is that almost every exercise can be modified to fit your current fitness level.

DO set realistic goals and develop a long-term plan

If you want to get thin and show off 6-pack abs by summer, then you need to already have a reasonably low body-fat percentage. Starting a consistent exercise routine will help you firm up all over and work towards a 6-pack one day, even if you don’t manage washboard abs by this June.

Setting an achievable goal will help you stick with your fitness plan, so work towards bringing your body fat down by a percentage point or two and then keep up momentum. And remember: feeling active and healthy is a far more satisfying goal than just aiming for a tummy that ripples with muscles.

Healthy weight-loss per week is about 1-2lbs, and although there are no set guidelines for body-fat loss, a 1% loss per month is considered safe according to the American Council on Exercise.

I believe that the key to success with fitness is making exercise fun and achievable. It’s also important to avoid the pitfall of doing too much too soon, so let’s look at my top three don’ts that could block your summer body success.

DON’T opt for a radical diet or crazed fitness routine

The promise of rapid weight loss and an incredibly toned physique will tempt many people to try an extreme diet, or go from the couch straight into a high-impact fitness routine. In my opinion, this approach is one of the main causes of the yo-yo effect in diet and exercise and often leads to weight gain rather than weight loss.

People may experience initial rapid weight-loss but because they can’t possibly sustain extreme plans for a prolonged period, many people find themselves overeating and slumping back on the couch in a short amount of time.

DON’T weigh yourself every day

Weight alone is not a true indicator of a successful training program. Jumping on the scale too often may make you feel disappointed and tempted to quit. Instead of focusing on exact weight loss, consider measuring other success factors. It’s often rewarding to aim for improved heart rate at a set intensity level or increased strength—judged by lifting an increased amount of weight. Measuring body fat and body measurements such as waist, hip and arm inches may provide you with a little extra motivation that your hard work really is paying off.

DON’T workout without a plan

If you are setting your own workouts without the help of a trainer, you should still attempt to make a fitness plan. In order for your body to change, your workout must change, too, as you adapt to your new increased activity. In simple terms: as you get fitter and your workout seems easier, you should increase your intensity or duration, as this will push your body to improve. This approach follows the simple principle of adaptation and a fitness journal will help you track your progress.

***

The truth is that there are no shortcuts when it comes to weight loss and an improved fitness level, because a slow and steady approach is always the most successful route to long-term results. But in just six short weeks, it is possible to see your body adapting to positive changes. And that means it’s definitely worth getting started today! Even if you don’t manage a 6- pack this summer, you might be well on your way by next summer. And by the time the holiday season rolls around, you might be shopping for that perfect party outfit in a smaller size.

Last June, Tara Holtgrewe Smith threw all her “skinny clothes” away. After having four kids, the most recent being a set of twins, the almost-42-year-old had accepted that she would now have a “mom bod” forever. The former athlete had struggled to get back into shape after her twins were born and had resigned to the fact that her former self was now out of reach.

But the next month, Tara saw a friend’s post on social media about a six-week challenge at Iron Tribe Fitness, home of the high-intensity workout combining fitness coaching and group training. Over the course of six weeks, participants who enroll are challenged to lose weight, trim body fat, gain muscle and overhaul their diets through coach-led workouts, a custom meal plan and a ton of support from the Iron Tribe community, both online and off. Participants who meet their goal weight, body fat percentage loss or muscle mass gained get their money back.

Tara Holtgrewe Smith, through hard work and rising to the challenge, reclaimed her pre-baby body via the Iron Tribe Fitness six-week challenge. Image: Grannis Photography

The challenge got Tara’s attention. But the full-time mom and part-time tutor was just about to embark on an extensive home remodel, and cash was tight. Plus, she’d just gotten rid of all those clothes. She went into the Belle Meade location anyway to learn more. When she called her husband to tell him what she was considering, her next step instantly became clear.

“He said, ‘You’re gonna kill it.’ I get emotional just thinking about it,” Tara says. She told her husband they didn’t have the money though. His response? “He said, ‘I am zero percent concerned that you’re not going to kill it. Do it.’ So I was very motivated that six weeks.” The first day of the challenge started the same day as their home remodel. Kitchen or no kitchen, Tara was determined to make it work.

The challenge is simple, but not easy. With a personalized plan, coaches and a community of support, you have six weeks — 42 days — to transform your body. Meet your goal and complete all the challenge requirements, and you get your money back, simple as that. In addition to a customized meal plan, each participant also gets a personalized grocery list, food prep instructions and 42 recipes to eliminate some of the most common food roadblocks that can set challenge-takers off course. Three 60-minute workouts each week, with check-ins required online for increased personal accountability, are accompanied by a coach and an online and in-gym community support system. While the challenge is yours alone to complete, you are never alone.

Participants gain noticeable results within weeks of joining the challenge.

Participants who meet their weight loss, body fat percentage goals and complete all the challenge requirements get their money back. That’s an added motivator that pays off.

Participants share their pics on social media with the hashtag #6weeksITF. Look it up and see more success stories.

Founded in 2008 in Birmingham, Ala., Iron Tribe now has 35 locations in 12 states. Dedicated to making fitness fun, fast and effective, Iron Tribe hosts a legion of devotees committed to their high-intensity, always-changing, community-oriented workouts. Iron Tribe offers three diverse class types designed to meet the needs of everyone from current and former athletes to individuals brand new or just returning to fitness.

And for many, like Maggie Jenkins, the 6-Week Challenge is exactly what they need to break into a new way of living.

Like Tara, Maggie was also a former athlete who’d settled into a less than satisfactory health and fitness routine. The 33-year-old hair stylist was in the worst shape of her life, a fact made apparent to her on a trip out west when she found the hiking more challenging than she thought it would be.

A hiking trip — and the lack of endurance she felt while hiking on that trip — was the turning point that Maggie Smith needed. She knew it was time for a change, and Iron Tribe Fitness was the solution! Image: Grannis Photography

“I was definitely ready to make a change,” says Maggie. “I don’t want to miss out on things because I can’t physically do it. That was really my motivator.”

Also a motivator? Getting her money back. When Maggie arrived for her orientation, she was not happy. “I was so mad,” she says, now laughing. After learning what was required over the six weeks and watching people joyfully high-five one another after their workouts, she remembers thinking, “This is not the place for me. But I was committed, and I was going to get that money back.”

After Maggie’s first class, she was hooked. By the second week of the challenge, she knew she would keep going after the six weeks were complete.

She didn’t have significant weight to lose, so she focused on body fat percentage loss. The results came fast. She met her 6% goal (actually, 6.2%) with more than a week to spare. While Jenkins added some additional workouts outside the three required, the success came from following the meal plan to the letter. Tara had a similar experience.

Though the program is your own to conquer, you’re never alone — either in person or online — when you’re part of the Iron Tribe community. Left to right: Suzy Constantine, Elisa Smith, Nancy Parker, Amber Wilson, Maggie Jenkins and Tara Holtgrewe Smith | Image: Grannis Photography

With four kids and a part-time job, Tara didn’t have time to do more than the three required workouts, but she followed the meal plan exactly. And like Maggie, the changes were almost immediate. By the halfway mark, she’d already lost 8.5 pounds and met her 6% total body fat loss goal. By the end of the six weeks, she was down 13.2 pounds and had lost 7.2 percent body fat.

“I don’t have my mom bod anymore,” Tara says. “I didn’t realize that I had just given up on that former self, and to find her again and to realize that I was still there was very, very emotional.”

For Maggie, completing the challenge changed her body, but like Tara, it also changed something inside, too. “It was the first time in my life that I had experienced that level of confidence,” she says. “I was so stinkin’ proud of myself .”

Challenge completed, weight lost, confidence boosted, they’re just the tip of the iceberg for Tara and Maggie when they think about everything the challenge has given them.

Tara can pick up endless toys with no pain, run up and down stairs, and chase her small children. She’s watched her joint pain dissipate, her sense of intimacy and desirability change, and even her complexion has improved. She has been able to show her 11-year-old daughter what it looks like to set and meet goals.

Maggie, whose job is very physical, can now work all day without pain. She’s noticed how days that start with a workout at Iron Tribe go more smoothly, how it can change her mentality for the entire day. And her wins in the gym move into wins elsewhere, too. This year, Maggie is starting her own podcast, and she credits the confidence that comes from looking and feeling her best for inspiring her to take that leap.

“If you want to make a change,” Maggie says, “this is how you can do it.”

The six-week Winter Transformation Challenge runs January 16-February 27 at all Iron Tribe locations. Iron Tribe Fitness has locations in Belle Meade, Belmont, Brentwood, Cool Springs and Franklin. Learn more about the challenge and sign up at https://6week-challenge.com/jan-optin.

This article is sponsored by Iron Tribe Fitness.

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Shed extra pounds and tone your whole body in just weeks with easy-to-follow illustrated gym workouts, training advice and a simple nutrition guide you will enjoy following.

Detailed workout program
with 42 unique visual routines Print or view workouts on any device
View sample workout › Easy-to-follow nutrition guide
to design a balanced diet you’ll love

Designed for gym novices, this plan is a great place to begin if you’d like to permanently say goodbye to love handles, thunder thighs and wobbly bellies – but it going to be a challenging program. A challenge that you will overcome and begin to transform your body.

Over the upcoming 8 weeks, you’ll be taking on a delightful mix of fitness-improving circuit routines, fat-stripping cardio sessions and frame-toning full-body workouts. Nobody wants a boring gym routine, which is why this plan has been designed to include fun, dynamic and progressive workouts that will leave your fat begging for mercy and your body crying for more.

The simple nutrition guide will teach you the essential information to design your own balanced diet you will enjoy following:

  • Carbs, protein and fat: their roles and how much of them you should be eating
  • How to set your weight goal and find your progress point
  • Which supplements should you take
  • Sample meals plans for fat loss, toning and muscle gain

Plus training tips on when to work out, how to breathe during workouts and stick to your training plan.

Get started today!

We get it, you’re busy. You don’t have time to work your back, your chest and your biceps and triceps twice a week. That’s why we’ve collaborated with Josh Silverman, head of education at top London gym Third Space, to create two full-body workouts, which will fit into your busy schedule.

But there’s more to these workouts than just being time-efficient. There’s real strength to be had. As Silverman says: “What a lot of people get wrong is someone builds up their legs or builds up their upper body, and they don’t realise that the other muscles in the body will actually contract at the same time, so if you don’t strengthen those or if you don’t get to grips with how to control them you may find that your strength goes down elsewhere.”

If you want to build true strength, you need to work out all of your major muscle groups.

A study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that total body workouts resulted in a superior hypertrophic effect, when compared with a traditional bodybuilding split where each muscle is trained once per week. In other words, if you want big muscles, full body workouts are how you build them.

Who Are Our Full-body Workouts For?

Looking to lose weight? These workouts will help you retain lean muscle so will be good for you. Looking to build strength? These workouts will help you to build full-body strength. New to the gym? These workouts will provide a platform from which you can hone your skills and learn about your body’s mechanics.

“Anybody can get something from it,” says Silverman. “It’d just now be down to the weight selection, a more experienced person obviously hits a heavier weight, but it’s a good foundation exercise for anyone, even if they’ve been training for years. You don’t want a weight to begin with that’s going to literally ruin you.”

Our advice: you want to have about two reps left in the tank, because you are working hard enough to cause an adaptation, but not to the point of exhaustion.

How Long Should You Follow the Programmes For?

Our two workouts aren’t designed to be picked up and put down. For best results, follow this plan for a minimum of a month and a maximum of three.

“Up to 12 weeks would be great, says Silverman. “But, like any programme, you want to stick to it for at least four to six. After about 12 weeks that might be when you want to change some elements of it.”

3-Day Full Body Workout

For your 3-day workout, your week will be split into three sessions: push, pull and supersets. The idea is that you target each muscle group twice per week, while the third session encourages you to push harder with what Silverman refers to as an “antagonistic superset session”.

In the first two workouts of the week, sessions are broken down into a number of sections. You’ll start the session with a primer, so rather than working out on a treadmill in order to warm up for a weights session, you’ll use bands and bodyweight to get you fully prepared. Next you’ll work on strength, and we’d encourage you to try and increase the weights you’re using by a little bit each week. “Even if you can only manage a 1kg increase, it’s still progress,” says Silverman.

Over the course of one to three months we also want you to try and maximise volume. To do this, each week you’ll add an extra rep. Finally, we have included some accessory work. This is where we add in exercises for muscle groups that are generally lacking or which help with major lifts.

The 3-day Full Body Workout

Day One: Push Workout

Primer

  • Banded Pull Apart
  • Gorilla Stretch
  • Cat-camel Stretch

First Moves

  • Goblet Squat 4×5
  • Floor Press 4×5

Second Moves

  • Leg Press 3×8 to 12
  • Landmine Press 3×8 to 12

Third Moves

  • Leg extension 3×12
  • Pallof press 3×12

Day Two: Pull Workout

Primer

  • Standing banded hip thrusts
  • Banded glute bridge
  • Banded pull downs

First Moves

  • Pull-ups (assisted if necessary) 3×5
  • Rack pulls 3×5

Second Moves

  • Hip thrusts 3×8 to 12
  • Close-grip lat pulldown 3×8 to 12

Third Moves

  • Lying hamstring curl 3×12
  • Cable rotations 3×12

Day Three: Supersets

These supersets should be completed back to back, without a rest in between.

First Superset

  • Hack squat 3×8 to 12
  • Kettlebell deadlift 3×8 to 12

Second Superset

  • Dumbbell incline press 3×8 to 12
  • Bent-over row 3×8 to 12

Third Superset

  • Single-arm kneeling dumbbell press 3×12
  • Single-arm row 3×8 to 12

4-day Full Body Workout

The 4-day workout works in much the same way as the 3-day version, except this time each day will be devoted to either lower body or upper body exercises.

The 4-day Full Body Workout

Day One: Lower Body

Push Moves

  • Kettlebell rack squats 4×5
  • Leg press 3×6

Pull Moves

  • Deadlift 4×5
  • Rack RDL 3×6

Accessory Superset

  • Lying hamstring curl 3×8 to 12
  • Seated leg extension 3×8 to 12

Day Two: Upper Body

Push Moves

  • Bench press 4×5
  • Dumbbell press 3×6

Pull Moves

  • Pull-ups 4×5
  • Seated row 3×6

Accessory Superset

  • Incline bicep curl 3×8 to 12
  • Triceps push down 3×8 to 12

Day Three: Lower Body

Push Moves

  • Barbell glute bridge 3×8 to 12
  • Hack squat 3×8 to 12

Pull Moves

  • Split squat 3×8 to 12
  • SL RDL 3×8 to 12

Accessory Superset

  • Leg curl 3×8 to 12
  • Abs roll out 3×5 to 9

Day Four: Upper Body

Push Moves

  • Landmine press 3×8 to 12
  • Pendlay row 3×8 to 12

Pull Moves

  • Close-grip lat pulldown 3×8 to 12
  • Incline dumbbell press 3×8 to 12

Accessory Superset

  • Cable curl 3×8 to 12
  • Skull crusher 3×8 to 12
  • Pallof press 3×8 to 12

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Daniel Davies Daniel Davies is a staff writer at Men’s Health UK who has been reporting on sports science, fitness and culture for various publications for the past five years.

The full body workout routine is one of the most proven types of weight training programs of all time. It can work for most goals (building muscle, increasing strength, etc.) and experience levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced).

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about it (including the 2, 3, and 4-day versions of the full body split), and provide three free workout routines for you to use.

What Is A Full Body Workout Routine?

A full body workout routine is a strength training program built around training most or all of the entire body during each workout rather than splitting it up into different parts.

With other types of workouts, you might have an upper body day, or chest day, or arm day, or leg day, or back and biceps day, or push day, or something similar. But with a full body routine, every day is a “full body” day.

This means you’ll potentially be training the following muscle groups in each workout:

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Calves

This doesn’t mean you need to do multiple exercises for each individual body part in each session like you would with one of the other types of workouts I just mentioned.

In this context, you’d end up being in the gym for 3+ hours, which is excessive/crazy.

Instead, full body workouts take advantage of a higher training frequency (more about that shortly) and the fact that certain exercises (aka multi-joint compound exercises) target multiple body parts.

For example, the bench press is thought of as a chest exercise. But, it targets the shoulders and triceps as well. Similarly, most back exercises also target the biceps, shoulder pressing exercises also target the triceps, and many leg exercises target the quads, hamstrings, and/or glutes to some extent.

What Are The Benefits Of Full Body Training?

There are a handful of benefits to this style of training, but I consider these to be the three most significant:

  1. Simplicity.
    While no training split is really that complex (e.g. upper/lower, push/pull/legs, etc.), full body is pretty much as basic and straight-forward as it gets.
  2. Convenience and scheduling.
    The fact that there are only 2, 3, or 4 workouts per week and you can easily have the weekends off (or adjust it so you train on the weekends and have other days off instead) makes it convenient for most people to fit into their schedule.
  3. Higher training frequency.
    Depending on which version of the split is being used (more about that in a second), you’ll be able to train each muscle group, exercise, or movement pattern 2-4 times per week. Why does this matter? Because research (sources here and here) and real-world experience has shown that this frequency (i.e. twice per week or more) is likely more ideal for goals like building muscle and increasing strength than a once-per-week frequency, which is often the least effective.

The Full Body Split

As I’ve mentioned, there are a few different ways to schedule full body workouts over the course of the week. It can be done using a 2-day split, 3-day split, or 4-day split.

Let’s take a look at each of them right now…

The 3-Day Full Body Split

  1. Monday: Full Body
  2. Tuesday: off
  3. Wednesday: Full Body
  4. Thursday: off
  5. Friday: Full Body
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

This is what most people would consider to be the “classic” version of a full body routine. As you can see, it’s a 3-day split performed in an every-other-day format with two days off at the end.

Note that the exact days of the week you choose doesn’t matter at all as long as that same structure is kept intact.

The schedule shown above is probably the most common way of doing it, as many people prefer having the weekends off.

The 2-Day Full Body Split

  1. Monday: Full Body
  2. Tuesday: off
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Full Body
  5. Friday: off
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

The 2-day version is exactly like the 3-day version, but with 2 workouts instead of 3 (shocking, right?). Once again, the exact days you choose doesn’t matter as long as you ideally have 1-3 rest days between the workouts.

The 4-Day Full Body Split

Version 1

  1. Monday: Full Body
  2. Tuesday: Full Body
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Full Body
  5. Friday: Full Body
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

Version 2

  1. Monday: Full Body
  2. Tuesday: Full Body
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Full Body
  5. Friday: off
  6. Saturday: Full Body
  7. Sunday: off

Version 3

  1. Monday: Full Body
  2. Tuesday: off
  3. Wednesday: Full Body
  4. Thursday: Full Body
  5. Friday: off
  6. Saturday: Full Body
  7. Sunday: off

Above you’ll see three different variations of the 4-day full body split.

They all involve 4 workouts per week, but without ever training on more than two consecutive days. Yet again, the exact days you choose doesn’t matter as long as you maintain that same structure.

Which Version Of The Split Should You Use?

Here’s what I recommend…

  • 3-Day Version
    I consider the 3-day version to be the best choice for the majority of people doing full body workouts. It allows for an optimal frequency for the goals most people have, it will fit perfectly into most people’s schedules, and when designed correctly, it’s unlikely to be problematic for most people in terms of issues with recovery or overuse injuries.
  • 2-Day Version
    If you are only able to work out twice per week, this is the best choice for you. Simple as that.
  • 4-Day Version
    I rarely ever recommend this version. Why? Well, for starters, it’s the version with the most potential to be problematic from the perspective of recovery and overuse injuries. But, mostly, it’s just because this version tends to be the best option only for those who actually need to train each body part, exercise, or movement pattern this often, and that’s just not someone I encounter much. But if you happen to have a goal that does warrant this type of frequency, this version would be an option to consider.

Who Is A Full Body Workout Best For?

Like I mentioned earlier, full body training can work well for pretty much every goal and every experience level.

However, there’s a difference between something being a good option, and something being the best option.

So, with that in mind, who is a full body workout routine best for?

  1. Beginners with any goal.
    Regardless of whether you want to build muscle, gain strength, lose fat, or anything similar, if you’re a beginner (i.e. less than 6 months of consistent and intelligently programmed weight training), then a 3-day full body program is usually the best option for you. Why? Because at this early stage, the higher frequency (3 times per week) will allow you to make the fastest improvements in terms muscle and strength gains, as well as learning proper form, improving work capacity and volume tolerance, and just becoming good at weight training. This is why so many popular beginner programs (e.g. Starting Strength) are built around this split. My own beginner program (The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine) does the same.
  2. People who can only train twice per week.
    No matter what your goal or experience level is, if you can only manage to work out two times per week, the 2-day full body split is the only option for achieving a training frequency that’s higher than once per week. For this reason, it’s really the only split I recommend to people with a schedule like this who still want to make good progress. (I actually include a 2-day program inside Superior Muscle Growth that uses this version of the split for this very reason).
  3. People with a goal that warrants a higher training frequency.
    There are many different splits that will allow a person to train each body part, exercise, or movement pattern twice per week. But what if you have a goal that warrants training something as often as 3 or 4 times per week? For example, certain strength and performance oriented goals may fall into this category, as do certain muscle building goals where a specialization approach (i.e. emphasizing a specific body part by training it with more volume and/or frequency) is being used. In cases like this, the full body split is often the best option for achieving a frequency higher than twice per week.
  4. Anyone who simply prefers full body training over everything else.
    The key to getting the best results out of any type of workout routine is being consistent. And one of the keys to consistency is making your workouts as enjoyable as possible so they become something you actually want to do. For this reason, if you just happen to like full body training more than any other approach, then it may very well be the best option for you.

What About Everyone Else?

So, that would be the 4 groups of people who are typically best suited for using a full body routine.

But now you may be wondering… what about everyone else? Can full body training work for other people with other goals?

Absolutely!

Like I’ve mentioned a few times now, it can work for virtually every goal and every experience level as long as the overall program is designed correctly. There’s no question or doubt about that at all.

It’s just that, in some of those cases, full body training may not to be the best option. And the main example that comes to mind is…

Non-Beginners With The Goal Of Building Muscle

If you’re an intermediate or advanced trainee whose primary goal is to build muscle, a full body routine can certainly be an effective option.

However, I wouldn’t consider it the “best” option for most people fitting this description, and most of the coaches and trainers I know agree on this point.

Just look at how the vast majority of natural bodybuilders and physique/figure competitors train. It’s usually some variation of upper/lower, or push/pull/legs, or some kind of body part split.

Why is this, you ask?

1. Volume

At the top of the list of reasons would likely be training volume.

You see, there is an optimal amount of training volume (aka the amount of sets, reps, and exercises being done per muscle group) for stimulating muscle growth.

And when you’re training the entire body in each workout, it becomes really hard to get sufficient volume in for each muscle group without running into problems (e.g. insanely long workouts).

The higher frequency of a full body program certainly helps in this regard, as it allows you to spread the same optimal total weekly volume up over 3-4 workouts instead.

So, for example, instead of doing 6 sets twice per week for chest – a total of 12 sets for the week – you could do 4 sets 3 times per week or 3 sets 4 times per week (still 12 total sets done for the week).

The downside to approaching things this way is that there are other potential issues you may still run into. For example…

2. Fatigue And Performance Quality

Full body workouts are often more physically and mentally taxing than workouts which divide the body up in some way.

I mean, think about it. Which seems like it will be harder?

  1. A “pull” workout from a push/pull/legs routine, where you only train back and biceps. Or…
  2. A full body workout, where you might train quads, hamstrings, chest, and shoulders before even getting to back/biceps.

Obviously #2. But that’s just the nature of full body workouts.

And even when you reduce the volume per body part in each workout (and use the higher frequency to make up the difference and still get the same total weekly volume in), you still need to take into account the quality of that volume and your level of performance for body parts being trained in the second half of a full body workout.

For many people, it’s simply not going to go as well as it would if you were using some other split that allowed those body parts to be trained while you were in a less mentally/physically fatigued state.

3. Injury Issues

Muscles can recover pretty fast and handle higher training frequencies surprisingly well.

But joints and tendons? Not so much.

Granted, this sort of thing will vary by person based on a variety of factors (age, genetics, experience level, strength levels, injury history, etc.), but speaking from experience, the higher the training frequency, the more likely you’ll be to run into issues with overuse injuries.

Yup, even with all else (total weekly volume, exercise selection, rep ranges, etc.) being equal.

So if you compare doing 6 sets twice per week for a body part vs doing 4 sets 3 times per week or 3 sets 4 times per week for that same body part, the latter two approaches would come with a higher risk of joint or tendon issues.

4. The Additional Frequency Just Isn’t Needed

Like I mentioned earlier, the majority of the research we have looking at training frequency for muscle growth for intermediate/advanced trainees shows that training each body part twice per week is more effective than training each body part once per week.

Real-world experience supports this, too.

But is there any conclusive evidence showing that training each body part 3 or 4 times per week is more effective than twice per week for intermediate/advanced trainees with the goal of building muscle (and with all else being equal)?

Nope. (Sources here and here.)

So then, you have to ask yourself, what’s the benefit of training each body part 3-4 times per week in this case? Especially when you take into account the three potential issues listed above?

All I see are a few potential negatives with no real potential positives.

And for that reason, even though a full body routine can still definitely work well for intermediate and advanced trainees looking to build muscle, I don’t consider it to be the best option for that purpose.

But for everyone else, or anyone who just happens to prefer full body training, let’s take a look at some sample workouts…

3-Day Full Body Workout For Beginners

Workout A

  1. Squats: 3×8-10
  2. Bench Press: 3×8-10
  3. Rows: 3×8-10

Workout B

  1. Deadlifts: 3×6-8
  2. Pull-Ups or Lat Pull-Downs: 3×8-10
  3. Shoulder Press: 3×8-10

This is the basic beginner program that I recommend to beginners who are looking to build muscle/gain strength.

It’s uses the 3-day version of the full body split, although it only involves two different workouts: the A workout and the B workout. You simply alternate between them on each of the three training days so that you’re doing A-B-A one week and B-A-B the next. And so on.

(For additional details about this program and another version of it, check out The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine)

Also note that the numbers written after the exercise (like 3×8-10) represent the amount of sets and reps to do for that exercise. For example, 3×8-10 means 3 sets of 8-10 reps. And you can rest about 2 minutes between each set.

3-Day Full Body Workout For Intermediates

  1. Romanian Deadlift: 3×6-8
  2. Seated Cable Rows: 3×6-8
  3. Incline Dumbbell Press: 3×8-10
  4. Leg Press or Split Squats: 3×10-12
  5. Lateral Raises: 3×10-15
  6. Triceps Pushdowns: 3×10-15
  7. Standing Calf Raises: 4×6-10

This is a simple and effective full body routine aimed at intermediates with the primary goal of building muscle.

Just like the beginner routine we covered a minute ago, it also uses the 3-day version of the split in the same alternating A-B-A – B-A-B format.

Again note that the numbers written after the exercise (like 3×8-10) represent the amount of sets and reps to do for that exercise. For example, 3×8-10 means 3 sets of 8-10 reps. And you can rest about 2-3 minutes between sets of compound exercises, and 1-2 minutes between sets of isolation exercises.

2-Day Full Body Workout

This is a 2-day full body routine (which obviously uses the 2-day version of the split) that’s designed for pretty much anyone who is only able to train two times per week and still wants to make good muscle building progress.

Again note that the numbers written after the exercise (like 3×8-10) represent the amount of sets and reps to do for that exercise. For example, 3×8-10 means 3 sets of 8-10 reps. And you can rest about 2-3 minutes between sets of compound exercises, and 1-2 minutes between sets of isolation exercises.

What’s Next?

If you liked this article, you’ll also like…

  • The Push/Pull/Legs Workout And Split
  • The Upper/Lower Split
  • What Are The Best Workout Schedules And Splits?

3 Full Body Workouts For Cutting Body Fat!

Often full body workouts will be your best bet when you’re looking for intense fat loss because of the fact that they will allow you to workout with the greatest frequency, yet still have plenty of time left over to recover.

Since you are going to have a reduced calorie intake when working toward fat loss, this means fewer reserves left over to recover, making it even more important that you watch the total volume you are doing. If your workout includes a high number of sets, you are going to struggle to come back as strong with each session.

Designing a full body workout for cutting can be tricky for some people, especially if they are involved in any other types of exercise such as cardio or an outside sport. Since each full body workout will be working every muscle group in the body, you have to watch what form of exercise you will be doing the day after to make sure you’re not shorting yourself of the 48-hour recovery period.

Here are three different variations of full body workouts for cutting that you can make use of.

1. Low Volume Compound Workout

The following is essentially a reduced volume workout that targets muscle maintenance without much glycogen depletion.

If you’re utilizing a lower carbohydrate cutting diet, this will be the best approach to take since it won’t leave your muscles drained. You really must pay attention when doing your workouts to what type of diet you’re following. This will have a large influence on overall program design.

For the following set-up, your primary aim is to maintain the previous weight you had been using on the bar so you keep your strength level constant. Make a note that you will not get as large of a ‘muscle pump’ after this workout since it is in the lower rep range and uses fewer sets. Furthermore, when on a reduced carbohydrate diet it’s also expected that you’ll experience a decrease in muscle pump, so all factors working together may leave you a little flat.

Apart from the psychological issue of dealing with that, it will have no implication on the effectiveness of the program, so it’s not something you really need to worry about anyway.

Low Volume Workout 1 1 3 sets, 5-6 reps+ 5 more exercises

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Low Volume Workout 2 1 3 sets, 5-6 reps + 6 more exercises

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Alternate between these workouts either doing two or three workouts a week (using an ABA, BAB, ABA set-up). As long as you work each muscle group once every five days it should be enough of a frequency to still get good results and keep your lean body mass intact during the cut.

2. Depletion Full Body Workout

The second type of full body workout aimed for cutting is a workout to deplete all the muscle glycogen stores. These are effective when performed once in a while to really boost fat burning enzymes in the body and increase progress.

You typically will do these forms of cutting full-body workouts when you eat a diet that cycles carbohydrates in order to fully remove all the carbohydrates for the body. Then, when you immediately follow the depletion workout with a high-carbohydrate meal or meals, the muscles will suck these up and it would be more beneficial than if you hadn’t done the depletion workout at all.

When moving through the following full-body workout, decrease the total weight you are lifting due to the higher rep range called for.

When moving through the following full-body workout, decrease the total weight you are lifting due to the higher rep range called for.

In many instances, the full-body depletion workouts will only be completed once a week or even less frequently than that and are simply a means to help quicken the rate of progress throughout the cutting cycle.

When moving through the following full-body workout, decrease the total weight you are lifting due to the higher rep range called for. Aim to keep your rest periods on the shorter side to reap the most metabolic benefits.

Depletion Full Body Workout 1 2 sets, 10-15 reps + 12 more exercises

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  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you’re doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Also note that depending on the particular diet you’re using and how low in calories and carbohydrates it is, you may need to add a third set of most exercises. Typically the best manner to perform these workouts is by doing a circuit style type of set-up where you do one set of each and then proceed onto the next. Once you’ve completed one entire round of the circuit, then you go back and do a second and third if necessary.

3. Time-Pressed Full Body Workout

Finally, the last variation of a full body workout for cutting is for someone who is under greater time constraints and looking to get in and out of the gym as quickly as possible.

Short, yet intense workouts when following a cutting program tend to be quite effective because they won’t take as much out of you, allowing you to recover much better while consuming your low calorie diet.

Also, since many people are doing more cardio training while they are cutting, this helps to better balance this with your total time schedule if you can only make it to the gym three or four days a week.

Short, yet intense workouts when following a cutting program tend to be quite effective.

Short, yet intense workouts when following a cutting program tend to be quite effective.

If you performed the following workout a minimum of twice a week, that will still allow you plenty of time to get to the gym for the cardio sessions as well.

Keep in mind that this full-body workout will not burn a great number of calories, and from an exercise-fat-loss standpoint, that’s not the goal. Someone who follows this type of set-up should take steps to be absolutely sure that their diet is in line and will create a large enough calorie deficit that fat loss does in fact take place.

Time-Pressed Full Body Workout 1 2 sets, 6-8 reps + 6 more exercises

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So consider using these three different variations of cutting workouts. Complete one of these workouts 3 times per week the next time you want to lean down. When combined with a good diet program, they all can help you achieve top-level results.

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Free weight workouts

It’s not essential to use free weights in your training to bulk up and burn fat, but if you use them in the right way, it’s fair to say dumbbells, kettlebells and the barbell can make building muscle easier. However, it does have to be in the right way. It’s easy to overestimate your abilities when selecting the weight for your workouts – and it’s always better to get the form right with a lighter weight, or even no weight at all, than get pulled out of shape straining to lift a weight you’re not ready for.

The training plan below is a great way to get to grips with free weights. You’ll work with a barbell as well as dumbbells and kettlebells to challenge muscles all over your body, using foundational compound exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts, as well as targeting specific muscle groups with isolated moves like biceps curls.

Over the four weeks of the plan you’ll focus on movement patterns, rather than hitting certain muscle groups with your workouts. The first training session is built around pushing exercises, working the chest, quads, shoulders and triceps. Then in the second workout, you’ll do pulling moves, hitting your back, hamstrings and biceps. In the final workout, all the exercises involve rotating your body or resisting rotation.

By training in this way you’ll build all-over functional strength, becoming stronger and leaner in a way that brings benefits to everyday life and when playing sports, as well as improving your performance in the gym.

How to do it

Follow the sets, reps and rest instructions for each move to get the maximum benefit. Do each workout once a week for four weeks, aiming to increase the amount you lift each week – and make sure you note how much you lift in each session to track your progress and keep yourself motivated.

Workout 1: Push

1 Dumbbell bench press

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Why The week kicks off with a double header of everyone’s favourite move – the bench press. You start with the dumbbell version because you’ll go a bit lighter than with a barbell, and it’s better for warming up your shoulders because you have to work harder to stabilise the joint.

How Lie on a bench with your feet on the floor directly underneath your knees, holding the dumbbells above your chest. Lower them to your chest, then drive your feet hard into the floor and push the dumbbells back strongly to the start position.

2 Incline bench press

Sets 4 Reps 6 Rest 60-90sec

Why The incline version of the move puts a slightly different emphasis on your muscles, working the front shoulders a bit more than the flat version does. You’ll probably find you can’t lift quite as much weight because of this.

How Lie on a bench set at a 45˚ incline, holding a bar over your chest with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower the bar until it’s touching your chest, then press it back up.

3 Back squat

Sets 5 Time 5 Rest 90sec

Why The king of the legs moves works your entire lower body and, when you go really heavy, turns into a whole-body move as your entire upper body is recruited to control your torso and prevent your body from slumping. It’s a really useful, functional exercise so, if your mobility permits it, you’d be wise to make it a cornerstone of your training programme.

How Rest the bar on your back with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out slightly. Keep your spine in alignment by looking at a spot on the floor about two metres in front of you, then sit back and down as if you were aiming for a chair. Lower until your hip crease is below your knee. As you drive back up, keep your weight on your heels.

4 Overhead press

Sets 4 Reps 6-8 Rest 60sec

Why Lifting a heavy weight overhead will work your entire shoulder joint and will also improve your core and abdominal strength because those muscles need to be switched on to stabilise your spine.

How With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a bar on your upper chest, hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your abs, glutes and quads as you press the bar straight upwards. Pause at the top, then lower. You may find wrapping your thumbs around the same side as your fingers allows you to lift more weight.

5 Diamond press-up

Sets 4 Reps 6 Rest 60-90sec

Why This is a deceptively tough exercise. Moving your hands close together to form a diamond shape will put a lot more emphasis on your triceps. Don’t be surprise if you struggle to hit the rep count if you’re new to this exercise – just focus on maintaining good form.

How Get into a press-up position, placing your hands close together so your thumbs and index fingers touch. Keeping your body in a straight line with your abs braced, lower your torso until your chest is just above the floor, then press back up.

Workout 2: Pull

1 Snatch-grip deadlift

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Why Any form of deadlift is an excellent full-body exercise that focuses on the posterior chain (the muscles on the back of your body). We’ve gone for the snatch-grip version because the wider grip forces you to reduce the weight and you therefore won’t use up too much energy early in the workout. The next two moves are quite taxing so you want to keep a bit of energy in the tank.

How Hold a barbell with your hands roughly double shoulder-width apart. Push through your heels and keep your chest up as you drive forwards with your hips to lift the bar.

2 Romanian deadlift

Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 60-90sec

Why Like the previous move, this develops your glutes and hamstrings, areas that most men would benefit from strengthening. The movement is essentially a hip hinge and has a huge positive carry-over to everyday activity.

How Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell with an overhand grip just outside your thighs. With a slight bend in your knees, bend forwards from the hips and lower the bar down the front of your shins until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings. Push your hips forwards to reverse the move to the start.

3 Bent-over row

Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 60-90sec

Why By now your grip should be getting a bit fried but hang on in there for this first-class back-builder. Having a strong back will improve your posture, which will allow you to lift heavy weights safely and also reduce your chances of injury.

How Hold the bar with a shoulder-width grip, bending your knees slightly. Bend at the hips until your torso is at roughly a 45˚ angle to the floor. Pull the bar up to touch your sternum and then lower under control. If you’re moving your upper body to shift the bar, the weight’s too heavy.

4 Biceps curl

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60-90sec

Why You’ve done all of the worthy work. Now it’s time for a bit of guns glory. Don’t be tempted to go too heavy. – pick a weight that allows you to complete the reps with a slow eccentric (lowering) phase. And hey presto, you’ll be bursting out of your T-shirt in no time.

How Stand tall with your shoulders back and feet close together, holding a pair of dumbbells with palms facing forwards and hands just outside your hips. Keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides, curl the dumbbells up towards your chest, stopping just before your forearms reach vertical. Lower under control to return to the start position.

Workout 3: Rotation

1 Kettlebell walking lunge

Sets 3 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec

Why The lunge is an excellent exercise and this version is useful because it increases the co-ordination and stability challenge. You spend a significant amount of time on one leg so your body has to fight the force that are pulling it off balance and out of alignment.

How Start by standing upright with a dumbbell in each hand with plenty of space in front of you. Take a big stride forwards and simultaneously bend both knees until your rear knee is just above the floor. Ensure that your front knee is in line with your front foot and that your knee doesn’t travel in front of your mid-foot. Push through your front foot to stand upright then bring your back leg through to lunge forwards with that leg. Continue that pattern for the duration of the set.

2 Kettlebell windmill

Sets 2 Reps 8 each side Rest 60-90sec

Why This impressive-looking move is one of the most effective abs exercises you can do. It’ll also test your hamstring flexibility and shoulder stability, and it’s vital to concentrate during the entire rep. It’s a tough and technical move but if you persevere and put in the work you’ll be well rewarded.

How Press the kettlebell overhead, then lean your torso forwards and to one side so that your free hand travels down your leg. Keep your arm and back straight throughout. Turn your head at the bottom of the move so you can check that the kettlebell’s directly overhead. Reverse the movement to return to the top position.

3 Russian twist

Sets 3 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec

Why This is a much simpler side abs move than the windmill so we’re introducing it into the workout once you have already been fatigued. The key to getting this right is slowing it down, really controlling the movement and focusing the tension on your abdominals.

How Sit on the floor with your torso at a 45° angle to the floor and your knees bent. Hold a kettlebell by the handle with both hands then rotate to one side. Return to the middle and rotate to the other side, then return to the middle again to complete one rep. Once you can complete the reps with relative ease, raise your heels a few centimetres off the floor to increase the abs challenge.

4 Kettlebell Turkish get-up

Sets 3 Reps 5 each side Rest 60sec

Why This isn’t something you see the average person doing in a high-street gym, but it has wide-ranging benefits. Each rep involves about 20 seconds of continuous work so it’ll get your heart rate up. It’ll also build full-body strength and enhance your co-ordination and proprioception (your body’s ability to sense and react to its own position).

How Lie on your back with a kettlebell in one hand. Roll slightly away from it as you press it upwards, coming up to support yourself on your opposite forearm. From here, plant the foot on the same side as the kettlebell on the floor, and use it to take your weight as you sweep your other leg underneath you into a half-kneeling position. Stand up with the kettlebell overhead. Reverse the whole movement to go back to the floor.

Women full body workout

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