A Generic Full-Body Workout Routine

Full Body Workout

There are about 8,675,309 workout routines that you can try. One of the most effective types of routines I have found in the first 14 years of my training career is total body training. A full-body workout will stimulate all of your muscle chains sufficiently to elicit a powerful physiological response.

The Principles of Total Body Training

  • Train every muscle group 3 times per week.
  • Select one exercise per muscle group, per day.
  • Hit each muscle group from a different angle or intensity in each workout.
  • Never go to absolute failure on any exercise; leave one rep in the bank, except sometimes on the last set.
  • Keep workouts under one hour, not counting warm-ups and stretching.
  • Change everything up after two months.

Why Might This Be the Most Effective Form of Training?

  • High frequency (how often you train any given muscle) means more chances to recover and grow stronger/bigger.
  • Low daily stimulus (# of exercises and sets per day for any given muscle) lowers your chances of overtraining.
  • Avoiding training to failure also lowers the chances of overtraining.
  • Hitting muscles from all angles each week strengthens stabilizers and is proactive injury prevention.
  • Avoid muscle adaptation by changing up the whole routine after 2 months.

Let’s take a few minutes to example one of the better full-body workout routines I’ve written. The next time you want to change up your routine, try this for a month or two.

So What is the Full Body Workout Already?

I will outline a basic full body workout routine to follow in a 7 day period, but it can also be shortened to a 6 day period just as long as you see no signs of overtraining.

Your warm-up strategy: Please spend 5-10 minutes warming up your body with some cardio and some light weight lifting. This is your opportunity to do some shoulder rotations and non-hyperextending back extensions to warm up those areas that are prone to injury. For any given compound exercise, you decide if you want to include an initial warm-up set. I recommend it, but for a sissy exercise like bicep curls, for example, you don’t really need to do a warm-up set.

Your weight/rep strategy: The first set should be a warm-up if necessary. Middle sets should increase by 10-20% depending on how you feel. The fourth set should be 100% of the max for the given rep range. For example, if I can bench 100 lbs x 5 reps, I would do sets of 50 x 5, 80 x 5, 90 x 5, and 100 x 5. Once I set a new 5 rep personal record (PR) I would add the smallest amount of weight possible the next time I did that exercise.

Most gyms have 2.5 lb plates, so next week I would use 105 lbs as my finishing weight on that exercise. This is called a linear progression. Again, if the rep range is 5, you should be finishing with a weight you can get for 5, but not a weight that causes you to struggle to get 4.

Your exercise selection strategy: Given three workouts a week for each muscle, you must choose three exercises for each muscle group. You should choose one compound exercise and two assistance exercises. The assistance exercises should focus on bringing up weak points, fixing muscle imbalances, or breaking through a sticking point. This strategy was inspired by a training philosophy called the conjugate method.

Your exercise execution strategy: The first exercise of the full body workout should be done solo, as it is the most important exercise of the day. Rest for a minute or two between sets. All subsequent exercises should be done in groups of two. This is sometimes called a superset. Rest for a minute or two after each superset.

The Full Body Routine

Please note, for women, it might be advisable to use 4×8-10 rep sets rather than the 5×5.

Day 1

a) Quads Barbell back squats
reps: 5/5/5/5/5
b1) Chest – Incline dumbbell press
reps: 7/7/7/7
b2) Calves – Standing calf press
reps: 7/7/7/7
c1) Hamstrings – Stiff leg deadlifts
reps: 7/7/7
c2) Abs – (Weighted) decline sit-ups
reps: 7/7/7
d1) Back – (Weighted) wide grip pull-ups
reps: 10/10/10
d2) Shoulders – Seated dumbbell shoulder press
reps: 10/10/10
e1) Stretch all your muscles for 10 minutes while sipping your post-workout drink.
e2) If you are still within your 60-minute workout and have gas left in the tank, do a tricep extension of your choice for 2 sets of 5 reps, or as many diamond push-ups as you can do.

Day 2

Off or light cardio or core training.

Day 3

a) Chest Flat bench press
reps: 5/5/5/5/5
b1) Quads – Step ups onto a bench or box holding dumbbells
reps: 7/7/7/7
b2) Abs – Lying leg raises, get your lower back and butt off the floor, try to touch the ceiling with your toes
reps: 20/20/20/20
c1) Back/Hamstrings – Standing bent over dumbbell rows
reps: 7/7/7
c2) Calves – Seated calf raises
reps: 7/7/7
d1) Shoulders – Standing dumbbell raises to the side
reps: 10/10/10
d2) Biceps – Standing alternating dumbbell curls
reps: 10/10/10
e1) Stretch all your muscles for 10 minutes while sipping your post-workout drink.
e2) If you are still within your 60-minute full body workout window and have gas left in the tank, do a hamstring curl machine for 2 sets of 5 reps, or lock your heels under something with the instep of your foot facing down and, starting with your thighs perpendicular to the floor, lower your upper body forward and down a couple degrees then use your hamstrings to pull it back up. I’ll have to see if I can find a picture of this somewhere.

Day 4

Off or light cardio or core training.

Day 5

a) Hamstrings Deadlifts
reps: 5/5/5/5/5
b1) Shoulders – Standing overhead shoulder press
reps: 7/7/7/7
b2) Abs – Standing side bends holding dumbbells
reps: 7/7/7/7
c1) Quads – Alternating barbell lunges
reps: 7/7/7
c2) Triceps/Chest – Decline close grip bench
reps: 7/7/7
d1) Back/Biceps – (Weighted) close grip chin-ups
reps: 10/10/10
d2) Calves – One leg standing calf raises on a 2-inch block or plate holding a dumbbell
reps: 10/10/10
e1) Stretch all your muscles for 10 minutes while sipping your post-workout drink.
e2) If you are still within your 60-minute workout and have gas left in the tank, do two sets of clapping pushups.

Day 6 and Day 7

Off or light cardio or core training. Take at least ONE of these days completely off.

That’s it! Please take this full body workout routine with a grain of salt. It is not a perfect one-size-fits-all solution for everybody or every schedule. For example, you might need to skip the last group (e) of exercises if you run out of time or if your body tells you to take a break. This will not ruin everything.

Feel free to change up the exercises if you think you know what appropriate replacements would be. This is just a guide for those who have never experienced total body training before.  If you want to personalize your workout around your body type and fitness level, consider talking to a certified personal trainer as they will be able to create a custom fitness routine for you.

This workout should only be done for 2 months max before you either try a different workout, specialize for a certain muscle group, or completely overhaul the exercises and reps.

Final Thoughts

If I have helped or inspired you, please leave me a message so that I can tell if anyone is actually reading my posts. Good luck!

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339 Responses to “A Generic Full-Body Workout Routine”

  1. hey steve. i’m searchin for a routine.. I am 25 years old.. 150 pounds… 5ft9” tall. I have a free weights set. a treadmill and a pully weights machine… what do u recommend I do to build ah little muscle while also being ripped? I would NOT wanna cross 160 in weight

  2. Thanks for the information. I've been doing split routines and I was told TBW would be better for me.

  3. This is an excellent work out routine and i deffinately would recommend it to anyone looking for proper advice.

  4. this is awesome-i have been working out 20 yrs and ya hit the nail on the head-for anyone wanting to advance-this is a great piece to the pie-happy-holidays-godbless.

  5. Steve,
    I am about to get into the last two week of this workout. I would like to continue with it but I would like to know what do you mean by total overhaul after 2 months. Should I respect the muscle group and change the exercises? what do I have to do with the reps?
    Thank you!

  6. Been looking for a total body workout to do for a while but have been somewhat lost…thanks for the guide–gonna try it just 2 days a week to start with cardio in between–I take a weight class on Saturdays too. πŸ™‚

  7. Hello, just to say that my husband and I have just completed our first week of this workout and found it very good although its difficult doing the supersets as our gym is rather busy and its hard to find the weights that we want to use as we’re increasing the weight with each set. What I did want to ask you though is if you have any tips on a substite exercise for the chin ups as neither myself or my husband can do even one! so we just tend to skip this exercise so I was wondering if there was something else we could do to build our strength up so we can eventually do at least one?!

    • You should use a combination of heavy supinated (reverse grip/palms facing you) pull downs, assisted chin ups, and negative chin ups. Assisted chin ups means you would use one of those assisted pull ups devices, and negative chin ups means you would jump or otherwise get help to the top of the chin up position, hold yourself up at the top for a second, then lower yourself down to a count of 4. Try to do 5 reps.

  8. Hi Steve,
    I need to change my full body workout routine, then i found the one you posted, which looks very interesting. I plan to try it out.
    However i have a question. I’m used to doing full body routines, but i usually use 3 sets and 10 reps, except for abs. The weight load are basically constant during each excerzize. In your routine, you have different sets and reps, also you advice linear progression and never excerzize to failure.
    I would appriciate if you could explain the difference between the way i’m used to doing it, and any benefits of your way.

    • I use fewer reps because I prefer for both me and my clients to focus on strength, speed, power, and density, rather than bulk. 10 reps is more for bodybuilding, while 1-5 reps is best for strength gains and for maintaining muscle during a fat loss phase. You can exercise to failure, but I don’t recommend it for anything other than the last set of each exercise, and even then you should stop at or just before failure, but not beyond failure.

  9. hi,
    i m an amateur, 19 and wanted to know if this workout is good for me?
    Also, which is best whole body or split, (i want to gain weight, i m just 56kg nd 5’10)?

  10. Hi Steve, I have been looking for a good full body program to put on muscle mass. This looks good and pretty self explanatory. I was wondering about thee 2 month time limit. Is that just to keep the body guessing or is it because after 2 months a split routine is better? Everyone on line seems to shun full body routines but I like it so far. Just wondering if they are worth sticking with for more long term goals. Thanks

    • Purely for muscle gains, a split upper/lower body routine seems to be best. Check out the Werewolf Training routine for a great example that works for everyone.

  11. Hey Steve, trying this program because I’ve just worked out with any kind of direction. The barbells I have access to are the curved ones that look kinda like a W, can I do effective squats with them or do I need actual barbells?

    • I don’t know of anyone who uses an EZ bar for squatting. I don’t like the sound of it, don’t recommend it, but it might work. Use a straight Olympic barbell if you can.

  12. Hey Steve,

    I’ve been doing the Generic Total Body Routine for a month and two weeks and wanted to thank you for having it on your site. In the past, I have been plagued by a lingering knee and shoulder injury. But after deciding to make the commitment to workout and see it through by going slow, I’ve finally started to feel stronger and healthier. I’m looking forward to the next routine.
    Thanks again.

  13. I have worked out with weights for several years. Worked out with young women that were at risk with great results. Went back to college and did what I told the girls not to do, stop working out! I have been back at the gym with a four day split routine I have been very frustrated with painful knees at the gym and in general. Squats are painful stopped leg extensions all together. Then I found this site. I am running out the door to get the things I need to try squats again. I actually printed this out. I have read and reread this entire article. With every thing out there to read {and believe me Ive read alot}, your information and the way it has been presented has been a life saver for me. I will continue to look to you for advice. Thank you for your talents and God given gifts in presenting information. You have truly impacted my life, my health and no doubt many others. Thank You Linda

    • Sweet! Thanks for the props and good luck with your training. I’ve written a bit about injuries so you should look around the site for different articles dealing with leg training.

  14. I have been following many tips online on muscle building, but just cant build up muscle mass πŸ™
    will be trying your method and let u guys know the result in a couple of months later…

  15. It’s been 5 months that I have followed the daily routine strategy so far I got the best result, I’m planning to continue this for the rest of the year and planned to share these routine to my friends. I haven’t gotten a chance to say thank you for sharing this effective routine here and I’m very glad that I have executed it well.

  16. Hey Steve,

    I’ve just started this workout today and I’ve gotta say it was tough but rewarding.

    I have a question though. Regarding the deadlifts and squats, the gym I’m a member at only has Smith machines (no truly free weight benches). Are these machines ok to use for deadlifts and squats? I’ve never done these exercises before but the motion seemed fluid and didn’t seem to strain anything (I watched quite a few videos on proper form before doing these exercises). A response would be great!

    Thank you for creating this site. It’s a great resource.

    • Never ever deadlift in a smith machine. Flat out, don’t do it. You will get hurt.

      Squatting in a smith machine is a little less dangerous, but you will never learn how to squat properly in a smith machine. If you ever have to transition to real free weights, you will have to start over from scratch to learn real barbell squats. Get a new gym.

      • Alright, looking for a new gym. I’d rather get into compound exercises the right way rather than risk lack luster results or injury. The gym I’m at doesn’t really cater to people who are interested in weight lifting.

        Looks like the free weight transition will commence earlier than I thought!

        Thanks for the response, Steve.

  17. this website had definetly changed my life. I follow your warewolf training program and I thank you so much for it.

    • just wanted to say i am a 42 year old male that is about 60lbs over weight and have not wored out for about 22 years. i have been trying to find a program that can help me. this looks like it. now i can put my new gym membership to use. the only question i have is how much weight should i use for these exercises?

  18. I like this routine. I’ve been trying to find something to begin with that doesn’t include machines and I can do this routine at home with my free weights. Awesome!

    • You should be able to find that in my Best Back Exercises post. Find it under Best Exercises in the top menu bar.

  19. Great article I was going to tell you that the only difference was that I was doing my abs the same day as cardio…but I saw a response to Sunny and i do the same with the exception I also do cardio on Saturday. Now I know at least that I am doing the correct training.

    Mon:- Back & Traps, Hamstring specific leg training & Calves, Biceps
    Tues:- Cardio & Abs
    Wed:- Chest & Triceps
    Thur:- Cardio & Abs
    Fri:- Quad specific leg training & Calves, Shoulders
    Sat/Sun:- Rest

  20. Hi,

    Figure I’d leave a message to say I read this and I’m gonna give it a shot ! Thanks for the suggestions


  21. I have been using a Military Style Workout to get all round fitness. I find it is good for beginners, and you scale up for elite atheltes. Good solid basic exercises to buiold core strength and stamina.

  22. Hi there,

    I just started day one of your workout. I have always done a 3-day rotation workout so a full body routine is new to me. Although I had to make some modifications because I’m working out in my home gym, I really enjoyed day one. I think I need to lift heavier weights, though because I didn’t really feel it afterwards they way I’m used to feeling my workouts.

    Thanks for the information!

  23. Whats up Steve? I’ve been working out steadily for about 2 years now, I’m getting stronger on nearly every muscle group that I lift however I have yet to gain weight. I’ve weighed roughly 165 to 168 for a little over a year now and I would think that as I became stronger I would gain weight but it hasn’t been the case. Any thoughts as to why, or suggestions to help with weight gain? And I can’t really afford supplements so If you have any advice without the use of them that’d be great.

    • Eat more food and use a slightly higher rep range. 8-12 reps will usually make you bigger and 1-7 reps will tend to make you stronger.

  24. I have just started working out over the past two weeks and your website has been an incredible help! I just wanted to say thanks for all your great advice! Also, do you have any suggestions for pre and post workout supplements?

    • Pre-workout should be some complex carbs and BCAAs. Post-workout should be a supplement like Biotest Surge or 2 glasses of fat free chocolate milk with more BCAAs.

  25. Hi Steve

    I have recently started working out about 3 months before. My age is 23. I have worked out before when i was 21 for about 1 year. i thing which i noticed then and now also is that i get descent results with chest and lower body but it is the Arms which do not tend to get results even if i work really hard. I have 13 inch arms and would really like to increase them to atleast 15″. Please advice as to how can i get descent results for arms and what kind of exercise should i do for Arms as this time i am sure i will continue with working out for some time.

    • Focus more on triceps than on biceps, since triceps are 2/3 of your arm mass. Use a combination of heavy exercises in the 3-5 rep range and lighter exercise in the 8-12 rep range.

      • Thanks for the info
        Steve is it possible to achieve good muscle mass with just 100% whey protein and natural protein sources or things like MASS GAINER or CREATINE? My workout routine prepared by my trainer is
        Mon:- Cardio & Abs
        Tue:- Shoulders and Legs
        Wed:- Back & Bisceps
        Thr:- Chest & Triceps
        Fri:- Cardio & Abs
        Sat/Sun:- Rest

        Please give your opinion about this workout. I have been following your website for a while now and really like it.

        • I don’t want to knock your trainer, but I’d rather see a program structured like this:

          Mon:- Cardio & Abs
          Tue:- Back & Biceps
          Wed:- Shoulders and Legs
          Thur:- Cardio & Abs
          Fri:- Chest & Triceps
          Sat/Sun:- Rest

          This gives you some rest on Thursday so you can perform maximally on Friday, rather than lifting for 3 days straight.

          You could also try:

          Mon:- Back & Traps, Hamstring specific leg training & Calves, Biceps
          Tues:- Cardio & Abs
          Wed:- Chest & Triceps
          Thur:- Cardio & Abs
          Fri:- Quad specific leg training & Calves, Shoulders
          Sat/Sun:- Rest

          This way you get every other day off from intense lifting, and you get to hit your legs twice in a week, which is always good for full body growth.

          • Thanks Steve for the reply, i will surely talk to my Trainer to work something out.
            Steve about my first question. Are Mass Gainers or stuff like Creatine necessary for good muscle mass or Whey Protein and natural proteins can do the trick.

  26. I have work out for many months ago and because i am an
    ectomorph is really hard for me to gain muscle, so for now i won’t start the werewolf training and will use the workout for beginners for some muscle

  27. Hey Steve I’m just starting on your workout and I love it, but I was wondering if you could give me a few nutrition tips as far as what to eat.when to eat what not to eat etc. I wanna use this workout to its full potential and I kno nutrition is pretty important especially when first starting.

      • I really want to gain muscle and lose weight. I’m not overweight just have extra fat that I’m wanting to get rid of so I’m adding on running a mile or more every three days. But yeah I really just want to gain a lot of muscle mainly

  28. hey steve. i just started this workout routine today and really liked it. good work on that, with that being said, i read your hiit article which was well explained that you could overtrain. so my question is can i do hiit on the stationary bike while doing this routine in my off days?

    • I think you could give it a try. You might find it beneficial to take a day off before your most intense leg training day, or to scale down the direct leg training during your lifting sessions. Ultimately though it should work well.

  29. Hi first off I’d like to say that this is an amazing routine and I would love to give it a shot. But I also h r a couple o questions. Currently I am 6′ tall an weigh about 205lbs. My BMI is probably around the 26-28% range. I am trying to build muscle while losing fat.
    My current routine consists of an upper body day( arms, shoulders, chest and upper back). Lower body ( quads , hams, calves and Glutes). And a core day ( abs, obliques, lower back). I don’t have a sry schedule so I kind of just perform the exercises depending on how I’m feeling. I usually get all 3 within a weeks time but sometimes I’ll squeeze in 4-5. I don’t ever do lower body and core within a day of eachother as the recovery from one muscle group will make me perform weaker then the other. All my workouts start off with a 10 minute warm up and end with about 15-20 minutes of high intensity cardio. Being either sprints, fast pace jogs for 2 minutes with 1 minute rest. Or intervals on an elliptical, cycle, treadmill or stepmachine.

    I have also supplemented my workouts with a whey protein shake after the gym. And taking creatine daily. As I have said before I have not been consistent with my workouts but I really have not seen any gains or losses throughout the course of three months. It wasn’t untill I did some research that I discovered fat loss+muscle gain pretty mug counteract eachother. Could that be why I was stuck in a rut. Any suggestions? I also train in Judo/Ju Jitsu twice a week and the conditioning and bodyweight exercises can leave me pretty winded as well.

    I ideally want to be at around 180-185 pounds. Seeing as I feel I am not strong enough to compete in the heavier weight classes, I know that lifting and gaining muscle mass would help with this issue as well. Thanks

    • Sorry just realized that post would probably have been better posted on a forum. I was just wondering if the full body routine could be applied to someone trying to lose weight and gain muscle, While also training in judo twice a week.

  30. I have used this program with great success! I am a basketball player with no consistent weight room exp. and I have seen awesome results using this. My squat when I started was 155 and I was shaky and was relying on my knees to control too much. I now squat 225×5 and use my hips to control the movement. This program is fantastic and I plan to use it for another month! Please post another one, preferably something more sport specific!The only thing I would suggest would be to take off doing RDL and DL in the same week, instead put like a glute ham raise or kettlebell swing! I understand that this is a cookie cutter program but its very solid. I would love to have a more customized athletic specific routine but I dont have the means to buy a training e-book at the moment. I can give u all my stats in detail so we can find something more tailored for me. Ive ran this program by several good sources and they all liked it and asked me about where I got it. Thank you!

    • I’d like you to keep in touch with me and let me know how your training is going. Maybe we could work out a custom plan, but like the e-book, it’s going to cost ya.

  31. Respested Sir:
    i have a good look nd height of 5’9, nice body shape but
    i want to decrese my weast i-e 34″ ,what diet and exercise i do to gain weast of 32″,
    i will unpatiently wait for ur reply sir
    im very thankfull to you fr ur supreeme suggestion

  32. Steve,

    I am NOT a personal trainer, but I have been lifting for a long time. I have some people that I work with that come to the gym in the mornings when I am there and I have taken 2 “under my wing”. Not like that is saying much, but I am trying to help. ANYWAY, I am using this workout to start a lady on a full-body, 4 day a week split. Any suggestions?

  33. Hey Steve,
    I’ve been doing this routine pretty religiously for a a couple of months and have actually noticed some pretty good gains especially in the legs and chest. My one area of concern is in my arms and shoulders. I’m 6’5″ and have really long arms. My shoulders and biceps never seem to gain much in the department of size and strenghth.Tri’s are just fine. Any recommendations? Also i’ve been using milk with my post workout protein shake but was curious if switching to water would maybe help in the fat loss category a bit more. Lastly, tart cherry concentrate? I’ve heard the anti inflammatory properties are noticable and its high in natural melatonin which i have read can increase growth hormone. Just wondering.Thanks Steve!

  34. Any recommendation regarding increasing the pull ups intensity, I’ve been tried a lot man but still I can’t do more than 4 reps.


    • It all depends on you… if you give 100% on each training, and if you eat right, you will see real gains in just a matter of time.

    • I designed the routine that way for a reason. If you change it, I can’t guarantee results. Do what you need to do for you though, and let me know how it turns out.

  35. Hey Steve, thanks for this site I really appreciate the time you put into it. I am looking to build endurance. I am planning a week long backpacking excursion in 6 weeks, and I would like to lose extra weight (less to carry) and gain strength and endurance. I am already in decent shape and my BMI is around 18%, I would like to drop that to about 15%. Should I do something like the weight loss routine, or should I keep doing what I’m doing – walking, with hills and sprints added in and weight training 3 days p/week. I guess what I am asking, is will the cardio part of the weight loss routine give me the endurance that I need? Thanks!!! April

    • I’d like to see you do some extra cardio to prepare for your trip. Even though you will be walking a lot on your trip, I don’t see any reason to actually use walking in your training, unless you’re walking with added weight. Stick to the high intensity stuff, but definitely don’t focus on building muscle. Keep it heavy and do your high intensity cardio, but stay away from the 10-15 rep range as it tends to build muscle rather than anything else.

  36. Hi Steve
    Congrats on your website, Love it.
    I really like that training and will start it as soon as possible. I was wondering, if I want to gain more weight how much sets and reps do I need to do?
    Also I have a little fat in the abdominal section, to fix this I know I need to watch my diet but I was wondering if I should do HIIT cardio on days of cardio?
    Thank you.

    • You should choose either muscle gain or fat loss. HIIT can be done on endurance cardio days. There are routines on Project Swole specifically designed for whatever you want to do.

  37. Steve,
    I just wanted to say thanks, since i stumbled onto this website about 8 months ago i have made drastic improvements in every category. i started at 195lbs. with a combined bench, dead lift, and squat total of around 600lbs. Now im 157 lbs. @ 7% body fat with a combined total of about 900lbs! I’ve definitely been spreading the word about this site, thanks again!

    • Great gains Pete! Keep it up! Thanks also for spreading the word buddy. I know we’ll get even more people around here once I can get the forum up.

  38. Hi Steve,
    looks like an awesome training, I will try this as soon as possible. I have been working out for the last 4 year and have reached a maximum. I am 6 feet 2 inch and 180lbs, I’ve been stuck at that weight for the last 2 years. My goal is to be 190lbs. I was wondering what kind of rep and sets should I do?
    I am also trying to get rid of a little fat on the abdominal section, would I need HIIT on my cardio time?
    Thank you.

  39. Steve,
    I’m a 30 something female and have been doing this routine for a few months now and was wondering what changes you would make to re-vamp it. I really enjoy the supersets, but am not sure what the appropriate replacements would be. Thanks!

  40. Well i couldnt find my last post so I’ll jut assume you moved it or something and I’ll repost here just so i can find it

    Well I do a basis weekly routine and I would like some input on if i should modify it or keep as it is.

    ok here it is

    Monday. Biceps= Hammer curls, 30 pounds 3 reps
    Tuesday. Abs=level and incline crunches, 3 reps at least thirty each
    Wednesday. Upper Chest= inclined bench press, 3 reps inner and outer chest
    Thursday. Forearm/ Calves, Unknown
    Friday. Triceps= Skullcrushers and other, 3 reps each 25 pounds(other) 75 Skull crusher
    Saturday. Lower chest= bench press, 3 reps 90
    Sunday. Back and shoulder=pull ups and Military Press, 3 reps of 60 pounds

  41. Hey Steve, I really need some help
    Im 16 years old and I really want to gain mass and get toned, because i’m skinny at the moment. Ive been goin to the gym for a while, and ive been lifting but i started to realize ive only been doin my upper body, and if i continue this im going to end up with an unbalanced physique. Im planning on using your workout schedule. my only concern is that ive heard that its not good to work a bunch of different muscles on the same day and that you should isolate the muscle groups and work different muscles each day. I wanted to know if this is the case or can you actually work a bunch of different muscles in one day and will you see the same kind of results as if you isolated them?

  42. Hi there, getting back into the swing of training again after a long spell due to working long hours (7 yrs mining trades) and now in poor shape but now back at the gym and loving it and having great results,
    Have been doing a power routine but was looking for a good total body and have used your example as a template as follows :

    Total Body Conditioning workout 3 weeks light weights 1 week heavy, increasing progress for a total of 8 weeks – train hard ,sweat a lot, loose body fat & gain muscle……..
    Workout #1
    a) Quads – Barbell back squats
    reps: 5/5/5/5/5
    b1) Chest – Incline dumbbell press
    reps: 7/7/7/7
    b2) Calves – Standing calf press
    reps: 7/7/7/7
    c1) Hamstrings – Stiff leg deadlifts
    reps: 7/7/7
    c2) Abs – (Weighted) decline sit ups
    reps: 7/7/7
    d1) Back – seated rows or wide grip lat pulldowns
    reps: 10/10/10/6
    d2) Shoulders – Seated dumbbell shoulder press
    reps: 10/10/10 extra – tricep extentions 2 sets of 5 reps.
    Workout #2
    a) Chest – Flat bench press
    reps: 5/5/5/5/5
    b1) Quads – Step ups onto a bench or box holding dumbbells
    reps: 7/7/7/7
    b2) Abs – Lying leg raises, get your lower back and butt off the floor, try to touch the ceiling with your toes
    reps: 20/20/20/20
    c1) Back/Hamstrings – Standing bent over dumbbell rows
    reps: 7/7/7
    c2) Calves – Seated calf raises
    reps: 7/7/7
    d1) Shoulders – Standing dumbbell raises to the side
    reps: 10/10/10
    d2) Biceps – preacher curls or dumbbell curls
    reps: 10/10/10/10 extra – hamstring curl machine for 2 sets of 5 reps.
    Workout #3
    a) Hamstrings – Deadlifts
    reps: 5/5/5/5/5
    b1) Shoulders – Standing overhead shoulder press
    reps: 7/7/7/7
    b2) Abs – Crunches
    reps: 20/20/20/20/20
    c1) Quads – Alternating barbell lunges
    reps: 7/7/7
    c2) Triceps/Chest – Dumbbell pullovers
    reps: 7/7/7
    d1) Back/Biceps – close grip chin-ups or T bar rows
    reps: 10/10/10
    d2) Calves – One leg standing calf raise on a 2 inch block or plate holding a dumbbell
    reps: 10/10/10 extra – tricep cable pushdowns for 2 sets of 5 reps.

    Day 1 – workout #1 Day 2 off or light cardio -row, run, ride, swim
    Day 3 – workout # Day 4 off or light cardio
    Day 5 – workout # Day 6-7 off or light cardio

    This workout allows me to use the equipment in the gym on busy nights and make adjustments around them, I have made some of the changes to add some of my favorite exercises ( that give me good results as well) I would appreciate any comments or variations you may suggest…..

  43. Hi there. I’m a 20 year old with only 2 weeks experience of bodybuilding, can I follow this routine? Btw, I have a lot of experience in bodyweight training and my slow pushup max is 60 at the moment.
    Great website. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks. This is a good program, but the Werewolf Training routines are even better. Or the updated full body workout routines for fat loss – one for men, one for women.

  44. Steve, what are your thoughts on lifting twice a day with the full body workout routine? lookin to gain size. i dont have a consistant spotter so doing traditional heavy weight low rep sets is difficult.

    • James. I’ve been doing this workout for a while now and it is a great workout that will get you results if you stay consistent and are smart about your diet.

  45. Hiya Steve……. ive been doing a 5 day split program for about 4 years now. I always change up the exercises to keep it fresh, do supersets/pyramids ect now and then but i feel as though im not adding as much muscle mass as i would like.
    Will this full body routine help with that as im looking for a good change and never tryed a full body. My aim is basically to get bigger and bigger and put on as much mass as i can as ive always been a slim guy and im hoping a full body workout will help with that.

  46. Hi, very pleased with this article. Is it possible to have a much more general version of this workout plan? Almost like a training-wheel plan for those not quite ready for the whole deal(me). I go every other day and I like to do 45 min of cardio before lifting as I am trying to lose weight. So I only have been doing around 3 different lifts after cardio each time. Any thoughts? Thanks

  47. Hey! What an amazing site, thank you so much πŸ™‚
    My question is: Do you have any recommendations for people who don’t have money for a gym membership or access to barbells/machines? I have some resistance bands, an 8 lb medicine ball, and 10/15/20 lb dumbbells but unfortunately that is all.
    Thanks again.

  48. Thanks Steve. I guess i should have been more specific with my question. Is it okay to do the above routine in conjunction with heavy weight training? I do lifting three days a week and the above routine three days a week. I feel good, but don’t want to over-train.

  49. Hey Steve. I was hoping you could point me in the direction of a good all dumbbell workout. I’m on vacation from college in Europe and only have a mediocre weight bench (bowflex 3.1) and adjustable dumbbells (120 lbs of weights in all – not anywhere near my max). Other than a routine do you think I can actually make some gains with this or should i invest in more weights/other equipment. would join a gym but here in london theyre crazy expensive for short term contracts. Thanks for your help

  50. […] There are about 956,586 workout routines that you can try. One of the most effective types of routines I have found in my first 14 years of training is total body training. […]

  51. Hey Steve. I’m baaaaccccckkkk.:)

    Since my last post I’ve now graduated to kb snatches. So, my routine cardio routine has changed a bit. It’s now as followed.

    10 circuits of the following:

    100 rope jumps
    10 snatches right and left side (20 total)
    20 pushups on Bosu ball.

    Rest as needed.

    I’m using a 16 KG KB and feel it’s time to move up, but I want to make sure I get the main lifts down before doing so. I wish I would’ve discovered the KB a while ago because along with this routine and an increaase in veggies, eating yogurt, and doing TB workouts X’s 3 the stomach is FINALLY going away.

    I just want your opinion on the above routine and make sure I’m not over doing it.

    • That sounds pretty sweet Gary. I think you should stick with it and increase the intensity whenever you can!

  52. Steve. Thanks for your replies. I’ve recently noticed that since I’ve basically stopped doing iso moves and concentrate on compounds that I am getting stronger and getting more definition, even at the ripe old age of 43. Is that coincidence? I think not.

    Also, trying to shed more belly fat by picking up the intensity (supersets) and have been doing s circuit routine on cardio days and have finally moved away from the monotony of the machines and “fat burning zone.”

    This is my routine. Tell me what you think.

    100 rope jumps
    15-20 pushups on Bosu ball
    20 KB swins with 16 KG KB. (A bit light for me)

    Occasionally, I will substitue the KB swings with 10 burpees.

    I do ten circuits and try to limit my rest to 60-90 seconds between circuits. My endurance is really improving each week and I do this three days a week between lifting sessions of course.

    The most satisfying part is the amount of people that come up and tell me what a great workout it is. I even had one trainer call me a “Ball of fire” the other day. πŸ™‚

  53. Steve,
    Im trying to fit some high intensity road cycling into my full body workout routine in place of light cardio on non lifting days. What should i do to try and minimize muscle fatique and possible loss? i am currently intaking roughly 2000 cals with a target weight of 165-170, I realize this is a question with a lot of variables, I just want to avoid injury through over training.

    • Just eat enough calories and make sure you rest every 4th or 5th day, or at least take off one full day a week. I’d really need to know a lot more about your training, diet, and lifestyle to make a better recommendation, but I don’t really see too much of a problem with what you want to do.

  54. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the post. I am going to start this amazing workout from tomorrow. I have been isolating muscles for the past few years and I guess its time to change. I am trying to tone/define my upper body muscles(back, chest, arms, shoulders) and bulk/gain lower body muscles (thighs, butt and calves) what modifications do you recommend in terms of reps.

    Thanks for your time and valuable support.

    — Krishna

    • OK, I answered your question. Go back and check. I’ve been really busy in life and haven’t had that much time to answer questions or even to write new content. Hell, I haven’t checked my email in a week and now I’m scared to even login. =(

    • Don’t miss a workout. Push yourself with max intensity. Failure is all mental.
      Diet is worth 75% of your progress; training is 15%; lifestyle is 10%.

  55. Fantastic submit once again mate. I believe you’ve hit the nail about the head there. It does not ought to be challenging yet mose men and women fail to recognize the basics.

  56. Hi Steve,
    I have been lifting since over 2 years now and have made some gains (Chest 42 inches) But my arms are too small (14.5 inches). I know about 1.5g /kg bodyweight and similar protein and carb requirements. Kindly suggest me a workout schedule to increase my arms. Also, tell me whether body p[art per day for 5 days a week is a good workout program or not?

    • If you want to get bigger you should follow Werewolf Training for muscle gains for about 2 months, then strength gains for 2 months. I don’t like the 1 muscle per day split, instead I prefer full body workouts or an upper/lower body split.

  57. Hey Steve. I think you missed my last question. Probably because I replied to your answer and it’s in blue. Thanks for taking the time to help us. It really is appreciated.

  58. I have been working our for a few months now. I usually work my way up to three sets of 10 with a weight. Once that is achieved I then increase the weight and do less reps and more sets. I occasionally hit plateaus where i can not seem to achieve my goal of three sets of ten. Do you think i should just change my excersise or increase the weight (assuming I am not lifting anything to heavy or that will cause injury).

    • There are about a million ways to break through a plateau. Try trying in the 5 rep range for a month. Try switching exercises for a month. Try a whole new routine for a month.

  59. Hey Steve, I was wondering if anything would need to be adjusted if i was only able to do this workout twice a week. I’ll be working out on Mondays and Thursdays consistently.


  60. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for all the useful tips.
    I’m 24 yrs old.
    height: 1.80
    weight: 215
    Starting gym tomorrow, and in need of a routine. Increasing mass and burning fat. I’m into gaining a lot of more weight, but with mass.
    What you recommend.
    Thanks in advance.
    Sorry my english is not very good.

  61. Hey Steve. Still following your awesome TB workout. I’ve been using the pyramid 12 10 8 6 rep range but I am ready to change it up.

    Should I go with the same weight when doing exercises (not the same weight for all exrecises)? For example: When doing the DB flat bench chest press. If I grab 80 LB DB’s for 7 or 8 reps, should I stay at that weight for the following sets and then the following week try to increase the weight?

    Also, I’ve been doing the follwoing exercises for a while now and was wondering if it is okay to replace them with the exercises next to those I’ve been doing.

    Been doing-Replace with?
    Wide grip pullups-Lat Pulldowns?
    Close grip pullups-Close grip pulldowns?
    Bent over BB rows-Cable rows?

    Thanks again

    • I don’t like the way you want to replace free weights with cable exercises. Try this:
      Replace wide grip pullups with medium grip pullups. Replace close grip pullups with chin ups. Replace bent over BB rows with single arm DB rows.

      • Thanks Steve. What about weight? I’ve been pyramiding up in weight each set for each exercise using reps of 12 10 8 6. I am just starting a superset routine. Should I just pick a weight and stick with it for all sets? Obviously, I’m not using the same weight for all exercises.

        • If you want to do something like 5×5, then pick a weight and stick with it for all sets. Sometimes I get great results from doing 3×5 where the first set is a feeler set… it’s hard but I could probably get at least 8 reps with the weight, but I stop at five. Second set is a work set where I get 5 with a weight I might be able to get 6 for. Final set is the work set where you push it and try to get 5 reps with a weight that you can normally only get 4 with. Once you hit 5, it’s time to move up in weight for the next workout.

  62. Hi, i have been training unguided for a while now as im still waiting for my gym instructor to get back to me about my routine… typical.
    anyway im currently doing:
    20 mins warmup & stretching
    4 set of 8 reps of max benching with free weights -sunday wed fri
    4 sets of 8 reps of max tricep work on bench -sunday wed fri
    4 sets of 8 reps of bicep curls with free weights max – sunday wed fri
    4 sets of 8 reps with bar max – sunday wednesday friday
    4 sets of 8 reps on shoulders max – tuesday friday
    4 sets of 8 reps on lats max – monday thursday
    4 sets of 8 reps on chest max – monday thursday

    is this too much or too little?
    3 sets of 30 reps on abs – everyday
    4 sets of 8 reps on legs – monday & thursday
    15 mins running and rowing every other day

  63. I just discovered your blog and I can’t stop reading it. I’ve gotten back into training, and I’m going to be implementing this type of training immediately to revitalize my program. Thanks!

  64. Steve, I have been on biggest looser club program and have lost so far about 27lb but I think I hit a plateau as I have not been able to loose any weight since end of January. I do mainly cardio in the gym and on class of TB. Would you recommend your program mentioned above for me to kick the weight lose back again?

  65. Hi Steve,
    I love your website, thank you so much for all the great info.

    I have had good success with the 3×5 program and most recently the werewolf muscle gain program. However, I need to do some training for some upcoming races, nothing too crazy just some 5K and 10K’s but I need to be running many miles a week in preparation. I love lifting weights too but I don’t want to get burned out and I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the gym if I am going to be spending most of my calories on cardio/running. Is there a program you can recommend that would allow me to do plenty of running but mix some good strength training so I don’t lose the muscle I have and also help me trim things up a bit?

    • I think you need a solid full body routine that you can use twice a week to maintain your muscle mass. Also, I really think you should take a look at Tabata training. In a study by Dr. Tabata, he showed that Tabata interval training out-performed endurance cardio training for endurance cardio events. I’m not kidding. Please don’t run for hours on end to train for your races, when you could use a more efficient form of training that will also help you burn fat and maintain muscle WAY better than endurance cardio.

  66. Hey Steve, i just looked at your Routine. I’m 16 and im hoping to bulk up and get More muscle mass without bulking up for hockey. Would you say this is a good workout for that? Lately ive been doing daily workouts.
    Monday: Chest/Triceps
    Tuesday: Legs
    Thursday: Abs
    Friday: Back/Biceps
    I haven’t seen a lot of progress with that though, and my weight is still 165 and im 6’1. Ive stayed at that weight for that past month.

    • Try the Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains routine. Seems to me like you need a different split, a different workout altogether, and you definitely need to eat more if you are 6’1 and only 165#. After you focus on muscle gains for 2-3 months, switch to strength gains for 2-3 months and then let me know where you stand.

      • Hey Steve its Ryan, So i took your advice, and ive been doing that for the past 2 months, ive been trying to eat more. and with that, ive started noticing im getting a little bit of love handles. Do you have any idea what i can do to stop them from coming out? everything else is fine, ive noticed a lot of improvement, and i’m now up to 178. But i don’t want these love handles to come out anymore.

        • Eat a little less for a while and add some high intensity cardio exercises to your weekly routine. Consider doing 30 minutes of strength training and 15-20 minutes of HIIT or HIRT training 3-4 times a week.

  67. i train 3 days a week, my program is day 1, chest, shoulder, day 2 off , day 3 , back biceps day 4 legs and triceps abs, day 5 off, and i notice i don’t gain mass as much as i did before,, i want to try this routine, but will this work for hardgainers?

  68. My back’s left bone pops out more than right one.I overtrained my left shoulder.SO is there any exercise that can help me even both of them?

  69. Hey Steve. Me again. πŸ™‚

    When it’s time to switch the routine I plan on staying with TB workouts. When I do “switch” do I just switch the exercises? For example I’ve been doing the bent-over BB row and now I’ll switch to bent-over single arm DB rows??

    I guess what I’m asking is, can I stay with TB workouts as long as I choose different exercises for each body part that I wasn’t previously doing?


    • Yeah just keep changing up the exercises, # of reps, # of sets, rest intervals, add or subtract super-sets, prioritize a lagging muscle group, etc… there are lots of ways you can change up your routine.

  70. Hey Steve. Would you recommend heavy weights and lower reps or lighter weights and higher reps approach to fat loss?

    • I prefer a heavy weight / lower rep approach to fat loss, as this is the best way to maintain muscle mass and strength while prioritizing fat loss.

  71. Steve,

    I am in good shape, I workout regularly, I guess I am more of a fitness lifter, lifting more for balance and health. I run more than anything and play competitive team sports. My question is, I am trying to increase my vertical. I am having trouble sorting through the thousands of people that contradict thosands of other people. Your website is awesome and I agree with everything your posting, so I thought I would come here. I dont wanna do all plyos. So, I have been mixing max weight 2-3 reps max of leg excercises 1-2x a week. and doing plyos (air alert style) 1-2x a week. I am just not sure if I am approaching this well or not. I am not really seeing any results yet on my vertical but I have only been doing this workout routine for approx. 1.5 months. Thanks in advance for sharing your expertise. Again I dig the site. Thanks.

  72. I’m an idiot. So sorry. Thanks.

    Again, love, love, love your routine. Iso moves bore the heck out of me and this is why I like the compound movements. My overall goal is overall fitness and nice physique. The only problem area I have left is the dreaded stubborn lower belly. πŸ™

  73. Hey steve, im 21 years old, 5 ‘8’ 176lbs. Its safe to say i have a decent upper body (muscle), but need to work on stubborn fat around the core. I also have average thighs and poor calve muscle. In addition to that I follow a diet plan (weight loss). My goal is to tone up the upper body and gain muscle in the necessary parts. I’m looking forward to weigh 150 lbs. Your workout plan seems very helpful, but is it the right plan to reach my goals? Your advice has been very helpful. Thanks

    • Replace the ab training in Full Body Fat Loss Training with additional quad and calf training.

      Then replace the HIIT routines on days 2, 4, and 6, with this abdominal HIRT routine from Werewolf Training for Strength Gains:

      A 20 minute abdominal HIRT routine.

      Start by warming up with 5 minutes of non-stop kickboxing combinations. End the workout with 3 minutes of moderate kickboxing.

      Perform the abdominal circuit twice for 5 minutes without rest. Attempt to complete the required reps for each set before moving onto the next exercise. When you finish the last exercise, start at the top again until your time is up.

      Take a 2 minute rest between the kickboxing warm-up, ab circuit 1, ab circuit 2, and the kickboxing cool-down.

      a) Windshield wipers (or Russian twist holding a medicine ball if you can’t handle it) – 10 wipes or twists
      b) Situps with medicine ball on chest – 20 sit ups
      c) Ab wheel roll outs to the left, straight, right, repeat – 15 roll outs (5 at each angle)
      d) Jumping squat thrusts – 10 thrusts

      Cool down and stretch.

  74. can you help me outline a HIIT/HIRT session? a little confused on what i should be doing during those routines. i read both articles, and understand their purpose, but just need help outlining what exactly I should be doing. Thanks again for taking the time to respond

    • HIIT is alternating short bursts of max effort with a longer interval of medium effort. Sprint or Row as hard as possible for 30 seconds, then Jog or Row at moderate intensity for 90 seconds. Do this 5 times. Take a 2 minute water break. Repeat the sprints/rows again. 2 minute water break. Repeat sprints/rows. 2 minute cool down. Stretch for 5 minutes. That is a 40 minute all-encompassing HIIT routine.

      HIRT can be almost any resistance training session where you move from exercise to exercise without rest, trying to complete more reps or weight than you did previously, in a set amount of time. An example could be a total body circuit where you do 20 reps of each exercise for bench, squat, rows, military press, deadlift, pullups, and dips, all with a set weight, and see how many circuits you can complete in 10 minutes.

  75. Hi Steve,

    I’m roughly 150 lbs at 5’5. I have I a lot of thighs and I’ve recently got a slight belly. I want to burn off might thighs and stomach still cut up everywhere else. What do you advise with my workouts and diet if possible?

  76. steve,
    i am a 24 yr old 6’2″ 225lbs male. i have been lifting for a few years on and off. about 6 months ago i started lifting again 5-6 days a week fairly hard. i did 8 weeks of combo lifting (chest/tris one day, bi/back another, and shoulders/legs another) after that i am in my current routine of each muscle group a different day. i have tried only one supplement and currently use it frequently (dark matter) i am really trying to get more definition and tone up a bit. i have a large frame, and am just trying to firm it all up. i try to eat 3-4 times a day with a lot of complex carbs, fruits, veggies etc. i seem to stay stuck in the same shape minus bulking up a little bit bc of the lifting. any suggestions?

    • The simple rule of losing fat is this: if you want to lose fat then you should eat less calories than you burn in a day and use fat burning cardio to help. Try including 2 HIIT and/or HIRT sessions each week. Set a goal weight and multiply that by 12 to figure out how many calories you need to eat in a day to get down to that weight.

  77. Steve,

    Absolutely love the routine.

    I am a big proponent of TB workouts for many reasons and one is that they keep me from being bored like splits do.

    I built my own TB routine and I’m happy to say that many of your exercises are already in my routine .

    I decided to add the decline close grip bench, but I found it extremely awkward. Could I do dumbbell flys as a replacement or would you recommend another exercise such as close grip pushups with feet elevated. I really want to hit the chest hard all three days.

    Also, is it okay if I use the 12 10 8 6 rep range for each exercise?

    Thanks so much.

    • Switch to the close grip push ups. 12/10/8/6 is fine if that’s what works for you, but it seems like you’d be tired by the time you reach 8 and 6, so you will be sacrificing strength gains if you do this.

  78. Hi Steve,

    I’m an 18 year old male. 150 pounds and 5’11”

    I am quite skinny and am looking to bulk up my upper body and strengthen my legs. I have never really done any proper weight work but am prepared to put the effort in!

    What kind of plan should I do and how often? I’m a student so I can’t really afford the extra supplements is this a problem?

    Would be great if you could let me know what I should be doing!


  79. Steve-

    A one quick question. My main goal is to have a lean body and flat stomach. I do not have a belly but my stomach is not flat either.I have been doing gym for quite sometime now, but its those last inches around my stomach that refuse to go. My question is will this plan help me get a flat stomach and possibly 4/6 packs. Any diet restrictions etc that i should consider?

  80. Thanks for the reply Steve, I think I understand your thinking a little better now concerning the reps, sets, and rotation of exercises. I had another question for you: how many max’s should you attempt to find in one sitting? I would assume that all your muscle groups would gradually start fatiguing leading to inaccurate (lower) max’s compared to what you could have actually achieved from the beginning? Also, if you have 3 different exercises for the same muscle group should each of those exercise’s max be tested on completely separate days? Thank You!

    • Mike: It’s OK to occasionally attempt to set 1 rm PRs on multiple exercises in a day. In powerlifting competitions they sometimes attempt squat, bench, and deadlift all on the same day. You will perform better if you split them up though.

  81. Hi Steve, in your Workout Routine you cycle through different exercises for the same muscle groups, yet sometimes the rep & set numbers vary. For example, you list quad “step-ups” at 7/7/7/7, but quad “barbell lunges” at 7/7/7. Now, I know that more reps with less weight is better for toning while fewer reps with more weight is better for mass, but I was wondering, what reasoning do you use to determine the rep & set count for any given exercise? How do I make the distinction between doing 3, 4, or 5 sets – or is it truly just arbitrary?

    • Mike: I want you to go heavier on the initial focus exercises and prefer 5 sets for optimal stimulation with the heavier weights. For the rest of the workout I want you to decrease the weight and the number of sets, but increase the number of reps, so as to hit different muscle groups with different rep/set protocols on different days. Lighter weights don’t need as many sets to achieve the desired effect, plus you are typically training smaller muscle groups as the workout progress, and the additional volume of doing 5 sets of everything would be too much for your body long term. It is not arbitrary at all – I base my exercises, sets, reps, everything on past experience with my own personal growth, achievements my friends and clients have made, and thousands of hours of reading.

  82. Hey Steve,

    Let me start off by saying I enjoy reading all of your insightful work out information. It has definitely helped my workout routines.

    I had a question as to whether I am completing an effective routine or not. I feel as though it I am, considering I see gains. I do switch it up as well.

    My most common routine is
    Day 1 – Chest and Tris
    Day 2 – Back and Bis
    Day 3 – Cardio
    Day 4 – Shoulders / Legs
    Day 5 – Cardio
    Day 6 – OFF or Cardio
    Day 7 – Start all over

    I find hitting muscle groups really hard once a week or so and letting them rest the rest of the week with good food and nutrition gets me stronger and desired results. I have read your full body routine and I have never tried working each muscle group three times a week. If I am happy with my routine, should I change it up? Thanks!

    • Christos: If you are happy with your routine and you are making progress, still with your program. When you plateau or get bored, change it up.

  83. hi i do heavy lifting my light and midweight routine is 6 sets of 15 or sometimes as many sets as needed to reach 90 reps in all on every body part excercise. i lift 203 but im trying to gain some mass and look ripped any ideas?

  84. Hey Steve. I’m not sure if this is the right place to put this, but I’ve been trying to find the right workout for me. I’m 5 11′ and only weigh about 135lbs. I’m trying to gain mass. I’ve checked out the werewolf workout and did one cycle of it and it actually helped a lot. I really saw results from it, but right now I have knee injury so on some leg exercises, I would skip and if my knees were really bad on a certain day, I would just skip the leg workout for that day. But now I’m planning to hit the gym, but it’s a small one, packed, and very limited on the equipments so I won’t be able to do things related with barbells much except for bench presses, but they do have a variety of machines. So I came across this workout routine since I believe I can replace the hamstring and quads with curl machines. So I was wondering if I should try this routine or continue with the werewolf. And if you have any other advice that can help on my workout, it will be greatly appreciated =]

  85. Chris: Search YouTube for proper exercise demos, or check to see if the exercise is listed on one of my Top 5 Best Exercises posts.

    Cameron: HIIT is cardio. Are you also doing endurance cardio in addition to HIIT? I guess that’s fine if you want to waste your time. Instead, try a double HIIT session or toss in a short HIRT routine. In all cases except when you are training for marathons or triathlons, HIIT is always better than endurance cardio to accomplish your cardiovascular or fat loss goals.

  86. Steve: After a week of my version of this routine I have begun to agree with you about having sunday off lol but I can honestly say that this version will blast through a plateu πŸ˜€ and I am watching calories and trying to get good protein, also (and this is no big deal) but on non weight days I am doing cardio AND HIIT πŸ™‚ the formatting changed and made it look as if im saying HIIT is my cardio. Thank you so much for reviewing my changes to the routine, I am new to the fitness world, but your website has taught me so very much.

  87. Do you have any charts available to show positioning for the exercises? I love the workout and want to begin tomorrow, but there are some excersises i’m not sure how to position my body for. Also, if it helps, I’m 31 out of shape, not fat, 6’1″ and 208 lbs. I have a little gut but nothing that cant be worked with with cycling situps or a little light cardio

  88. Steve: Love the website. I added some cardio and HIIT to the full body workout to maximize weight loss, whatcha think?

    Day 1: Monday
    Quads – Barbell back squats
    reps: 5/5/5/5/5
    Chest – Incline dumbbell press
    reps: 7/7/7/7
    Calves – Standing calf press
    reps: 7/7/7/7
    Hamstrings – Stiff leg deadlifts
    reps: 7/7/7
    Abs – (Weighted) decline sit ups
    reps: 7/7/7
    Back – (Weighted) wide grip pull-ups
    reps: 10/10/10
    Shoulders – Seated dumbbell shoulder press
    reps: 10/10/10

    Day 2: Tuesday
    Cardio HIIT

    Day 3: Wednesday
    Chest – Flat bench press
    reps: 5/5/5/5/5
    Quads – Step ups onto a bench or box holding dumbbells
    reps: 7/7/7/7
    Abs – Lying leg raises
    reps: 20/20/20/20
    Back/Hamstrings – Standing bent over dumbbell rows
    reps: 7/7/7
    Calves – Seated calf raises
    reps: 7/7/7
    Shoulders – Standing dumbbell raises to the side
    reps: 10/10/10
    Biceps – Standing alternating dumbbell curls
    reps: 10/10/10

    Day 4: Thursday
    Cardio HIIT

    Day 5:
    Hamstrings – Deadlifts
    reps: 5/5/5/5/5
    Shoulders – Standing overhead shoulder press
    reps: 7/7/7/7
    Abs – Standing side bends holding dumbbells
    reps: 7/7/7/7
    Quads – Alternating barbell lunges
    reps: 7/7/7
    Triceps/Chest – Decline close grip bench
    reps: 7/7/7
    Back/Biceps – (Weighted) close grip chin-ups
    reps: 10/10/10
    Calves – One leg standing calf raise
    reps: 10/10/10

    Day 6: Saturday
    Cardio HIIT

    Day 7: Sunday
    Light Cardio

    (formatting got a little screwy when i pasted it sorry) I realize this is alot of cardio and HIIT but im on a plateu and im trying to get the last 15lb’s off

    • Cameron: I would like to see Day 7 say “no training” or “completely off”, but otherwise I guess I don’t see a problem with that. Hopefully your HIIT workouts don’t go longer than 20-30 minutes, because I could see the possibility of overtraining here. I think you might consider refining your diet rather than increasing your workout, if you want to lose more fat. This workout is definitely the upper limit in terms of volume, in my opinion, so if it doesn’t work the way you want, I say focus on decreasing calories and carbs, targeting those carbs around workouts, and increasing protein to 1 gram per lb of bodyweight.

      Also, I am going to post this routine as a separate post for others to use when they want a full body routine that also burns fat with HIIT cardio.

  89. Steve: I stumbled onto this website a little over a month ago. I decided to try the full body workout for the first time. I’ve seen more gains (especially in my chest & back) in the past month that I’ve seen in 15 yrs of lifting. I love the 5 best exercise articles also. This is the best weighttraing website that I’ve seen. Long live Project Swole!

  90. Hello Steve,
    This information is a great help. I was wondering if there was a catalouge I can buy or any suggestions on where I should buy one; Which basically explains the name of the exercises along with pictures as examples of the different exercises you gave above on your website. Thank you.

    • Richard: You can find examples of most of these exercises on YouTube. I realize I need to upload examples of every exercise I talk about. Just another task that I have to make time for.

  91. Steve-
    Hope you are doing well; I just wanted to check in real quick… I can complete the routine in under 30 minutes [not including the 10 minutes of stretching afterward]. Is this okay? I have a tendency to be a little extreme and hope I am not compromising my workout. I work out regularly and have good form so I am just wondering if the rest in the routine is necessary [I have found that without rest, obviously I get my heart-rate going pretty well, thus getting a better workout]?

  92. steve, i am a senior in high school trying to get in shape for sprinting on my high school track and field team. i have been looking online for a full body lifting program to start on. i would love to run in college and i focus most of my energy and talent on the hurdles. i have had some experience lifting weights over my high school carreer but not enough to know what to do for all of my muscle groups. would your workout be right for me?

  93. Hi Steve,

    I’m a beginner at weight training and I’ve started to get real serious about getting fit. I used to live a very sedentary(sic?) lifestyle. For the past couple of months i’ve been consistently going to the gym. I’ve normally focused on using the machines since I didn’t know any better, but when I found this, it has helped me a lot! (Thanks BTW)

    Anyway, I’m currently at around 20% body fat, and hoping to drop it a couple more percentage. I don’t have a lot of muscle mass, so I’m using this routine to gain those muscles. But since I also do have a lot of fat, I’m doing cardio after this routine. Normally, the cycling class at the gym I work out on. Do you think that’s advisable? should I just focus on doing this routine instead?

    My schedule only permits me to go to the gym every other day, so the lifting this day, cardio the next wouldn’t work out for me.

  94. I was just wondering, after i finished my workout plans and i get the amount of muscle I want, what can i do to keep my muscle at that size and just get more cut? whats it called when you want to just get more cut and skinnier with more muscle definition

  95. Hey Steve,

    Thanks much,.. I am an absolute beginner and haven’t used gym equipment before. However I warm up a bit and then follow your routines.. They seem very helpful, I am unsure of any breathing techniques. In general.. I tend to breathe in while exertion and breathe out while relaxing, for each cycle.. that works!

  96. Steve, I have been going to the gym and doing somewhat regular PT (army) for about 5 years now. I recently broke my foot and had a shoulder injury, and have recovered 90% (probably the most that I will). I am looking for muscle endurance, fat burning and true overall fitness. I just started reading this page and wondered what you would suggest. I go to the gym with my wife M/W/F and still do PT with the unit 3-5 days a week. Thanks for your time. Jim

    • Jim: I recommend 2-3 days a week of full body strength training, 1-2 days of HIRT, and 1-2 HIIT workouts each week. Almost any combination of those (3 strength, 2 HIRT, and 2 HIIT is overkill) would be great for you.

  97. Hey Steve

    I think its brill how you write back to people!

    Anyway, am 150 pound, 5’6, female, aged 18.
    I currently go the gym 3 times a week but i mainly do cardio such as 15min on cycle machines 10 mins on treadmill climber and 5 mins on the step machine.

    My main aim is to loose weight another stone (14lb) is it worth me doing this routine to tone up, or should i wait for the extra 14 pounds to be shed?

    thanks! charl

    • Charl: You will probably lose the fat you want to lose sooner if you start weight training. However, you might not lose the ‘weight‘ you want to lose. Why? Because you haven’t been lifting, so if you start lifting you are bound to gain 5 pounds of muscle mass within your first 2-4 months of training. No, you won’t get bulky, so please put that excuse out of your head. You will only get harder, denser, and more ‘toned’ if you start lifting. Besides, the added muscle mass will accelerate your overall metabolism, which means you will burn fat faster even if you are sleeping or sitting around. Weight training is a vital fat loss tool.

  98. Steve,

    you asked me to remind you about posting your own version of a complete warm-up/cool-down program for before and after lifting. It would be great to see.

    Hope you’re having a fun holiday.

  99. Steve, I am training for a marathon so need to run 3 days a week but want to integrate weight training to build muscle to increase my metabolism to help lose weight. So I need to lose about 50 lbs and train for a marathon so how would you work your weight training into that. I currently lift twice a week and run the other days.

    • Shawn: Your best bet would be to focus on integrating HIRT workouts into your endurance cardio training, along with one heavy strength training routine each week. It might look something like:
      day 1: marathon training
      day 2: 45 minutes of HIRT training
      day 3: marathon training
      day 4: off
      day 5: 45 minutes of heavy strength training
      day 6: marathon training
      day 7: off

  100. This workout looks great! I may try this one. I do have one question about this workout versus the one I am currently doing. Currently, I work one muscle group each day (Chest/Monday, Back/Tuesday, Abs/Wednesday, Shoulders/Thursday, Arms/Friday) In addition, I run 2-4 miles after each workout, and take Sundays off. My question is, which is the better workout for building a little muscle and cutting fat? I want to be sure I am on the right track here. Great article, and I appreciate any help you can give me!

  101. Steve,

    Just wanted to let you know how much your routine has helped me. Before, I was doing just 4 – 5 days of cardio w/ diet to lose weight, which is my main goal. But once the gains from that slowed down, I started your weight lifting routine and it has kick-started my weight loss once again. I do the workouts now M/W/F, with light cardio on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and have now lost more than 20 pounds in a few months. So thanks for this, it’s really really fun, and it was a great way to get back into the gym to hit the iron.

    • Patrick: I am so glad the generic full body routine is working for you. Hopefully when you get sick of that, you will have some other great workout routine options here at Project Swole.

  102. hi quick question. when you say D1) D2) or c1) c2) do you mean that i should those 2 exercises as a superset or just regular?

  103. This looks really interesting, i am looking forward to trying this, starting tomorrow, will give you an update in a months time as to how it goes.

    In regards to 5×5 – bench press, how much of a delay would you recommend between each set?

    Thank you heaps for your helpful workout tips!

  104. Steve,

    For the bench press of 5/5/5/5/5, do you recommend going up in weight for each new set? Or do an amount of weight you can do 5 times and attempt to do that on all the sets?


    • Rob: Pick a weight slightly less than you can normally do 5 times, and try to complete 5×5 with that weight. The first 2 sets will seem easy but by sets 4 and 5 you will understand why 5×5 is tough.

  105. Hello Steve..I am following your this full body routine..but i am not able to develop lattes and increase my waist.
    1 please tell me excercises to increase size of lattes and waist.
    2My weight is 61kg and height is 5’10”.My gym coach is instructing me to do excercise 5 days a week and only one body part in one work out..I am confused please suggest what is right according to height and weight.

    please suggest me some very good plan so that i can gain weight fast and effectively please
    Thanks Steve

    • cafee: When you say you want to increase the size of your lattes, are you talking lats (back muscles)? If so, you can build them up with rows, pull ups, and chin ups, but you gotta go heavy. Try some 5-8 rep sets once in a while.

      You can either listen to your gym coach or follow the full body routine that everyone on Project Swole seems to love. Either way if you train smart you will make gains. I just don’t see a 5 day split being anywhere near as effective as 3 full body workouts a week with a HIIT routine thrown in.

  106. Steve,

    Seriously, thanks for taking the time out of your day to reply to our posts, I am not just saying that to sound grateful, I really mean it. I have been up and down on the scale from 220lbs to as much as 295lbs. I know this is not healthy but I’ve always had the problem with taking one too many days off from the gym, compounding it with eating junk in excess then just not going in for a week and it snowballs. Reading your reply on my post inspires me because the “werewolf” workout is awesome and it seems right on to what I was looking for. I was not going to go to the gym tonight because I had a 10 hour work day but of course I’m pumped now. I tend to do 30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week on workout days so should I decrease that to 25 or maybe 20 max and increase the intensity? I weigh in around 295 and want to get down to 185 in about a year but my goal is to first get that first 10 lbs off and I’m not in that much of a rush where i’ll set myself back by doing an hour of cardio everyday like i see some people doing, i understand its a lifestyle and a process. I also use gncs amplified wheybolic protein which is 20 grams of protein per scoop but it seems when i take in too much protein (1gram per lb) i get bloated and feel like ive gained a lot of body fat. any other suggestions?

  107. Steve,

    I workout 4 days a week normally, and I do use the split method. I have seem extremely great results before but my obvious problem is control what I eat. Anyhow, I started getting serious again and I’m the kind of person that is more serious when I do cardio and weight training as I am ok with taking a little bit longer to build muscle. I really just wanted to know, what is the BEST method to put on lean muscle MASS. I do want to get toned but that will come later. My goal now is to put on mass and lose weight in the process which I know will happen naturally. I feel I get great results when working a specific muscle group 3 or 4 times on its designated day, but I will confess I often go till failure on all my workouts. Also, how do I put mass on my rear delts and triceps? I would consider myself an experienced weight lifter.

  108. Anthony: If it is still working, you are not overtraining. You either could be genetically gifted to respond to such an intense workload, or perhaps you will start overtraining eventually and have to back off for a while. Either way, make the best of it while it’s still working.

  109. Pete: Start by taking a week off for active recovery. Then switch to a full body routine for 2 weeks. Then do 2-a-days for one week. Then back to a full body routine for 2 more weeks. Then take another active recovery week. Let me know how far you’ve put that plateau behind you after those 6 weeks.

  110. John: First of all, I refuse to take any credit for my workout routines being ‘better’ than anything Chad Waterbury writes. That being said, I’m glad you are experiencing great results.

    As for changing the routine, I recommend changing up everything. You can change the exercises used in the full body workout routine, or you can change to a new routine all together. Try the Project Swole 3×5 routine if you like, or try a HIIT/HIRT routine for a while… especially for fat loss in the new year. Maybe you could focus on full body training with 20 rep sets for a month, or try to maximize strength on the front squat. It really is totally up to you.

    I do realize sometimes people just want to have a routine they can follow to a T. In that case, I am working on some new routines for you to try, which I can hopefully publish sometime in December and January 2010.

  111. Steve, thanks a million for all of the great lists and advice. I’m loving the full body workout.

    I’m wondering if you’ve ever considered doing a list about the best warmup/stretching exercises, or just laying out a good warmup/stretching routine. So much of what I see about this subject is contradictory or not comprehensive.

    Thanks for all the helpful stuff.

    • Harley: So you are looking for a Best Warmup Routine or Best Stretching Routine post? I will do my best. If you don’t see it soon, please remind me.

  112. Steve,

    My wife and I had been working out with Chad Waterbury’s Total Body Training in the past, and we liked it. However, we really like yours more. It has a little more variety, and really focuses on getting stronger on the big lifts like squats, deadlifts and chest press. Have you thought about a follow up program for this, or do you suggest one? I know I could tweak this one by changing some of the exercises and reps, but I wanted to know your opinion. And, what do we do about the big compound exercises like the squats? Do we change that to another exercise, or just change rep/set schemes? Thanks for any information.

  113. Steve,

    I am 24 years old, about 178 lbs, and have been working out consistantly for about 3 1/2 months. I have been using a full body routine 3 to 4 nights a week, and doin light cardio 1 to 3 nights a week. Although i am fairly satisfied with my gains, i feel im stuck at a plateu. Will a full body routine allow me to push through this plateu on its own in time? should i continue my routine but hit the gym twice a day for a few weeks to push through? Or completely revamp my training style?

  114. Hi Steve, thanks for the good articles on your site like full body workout, top 5 exercises and all. I am going gym for past 7 months (worked with trainer as well for 6 months). I am 25yr, 65kg and 5.5″
    There is a fat on my chest and abdomen sides. I know for sides, i have to do lot of cardio to remove it but i dont understand how to get rid of the fat on the chest. it looks bad as well (fat on boy’s chest) πŸ™
    Even I am doing weights + interval cardio exercises for 7 month but i hardly see any reduction in fat on chest (i do see some reduction on sides).
    can you pls advise what kind of exercises i should do?
    Thanks in advance. Regards.

    • AKP, I’m sorry to say this is a problem that has only two solutions:

      1) Keep perfecting your diet and training in order to lose more fat. When your body fat gets low enough, the chest fat will mostly go away. But then you have to maintain a low bodyfat to keep the man boobs away.
      2) Surgery.

      I’ve been fighting this battle my whole life. Sorry that there is no easy answer.

  115. How do you know when ur body is over training? i work out 6 days a week for the past two months and evry one has noticed i have gotten bigger. i do not ever feel any pain or abnormal fatigue in my muscles. it seems its working and i noticed my strength go up. a workout week is: day1-chest, tri; day2-back, bi; day3-legs, shoulders; day4-rest; and continue the cycle by changing up exercises. i do 4 sets of 5 reps for the bigger muscle groups and occasionally do 3 sets of 8 reps for others. if its workin am i over training?

  116. Hey, i will start this program next week. Ive been training for about 2 years but i can seem to be able to gain weight. Are the sets good in this training or should i modifie to gain some weight ?

    Thanks for the site, it is great and provides excelent information !!!

  117. Steve,

    Thanks so much for responding and I think that writing a post about overtraining is a great idea- we could all learn from it.

    Again, thank you and I’ll be keeping an eye open for the overtraining post:-)


  118. Sanja: I didn’t approve your comment because I’ve been thinking about writing a post about overtraining, so I was waiting to approve it until I wrote that post. Sorry for the delay.

    In any case, some signs of overtraining include lethargy, chronic soreness, insomnia, elevated resting pulse rate, and lack of motivation. I will expand on that shortly.

    I highly recommend taking a week off from the gym now and then. It should be an active recovery week that includes some form of low intensity exercise, but definitely not heavy weight training, and probably avoid HIIT cardio at that time as well.

  119. Steve,

    I posted a question for you several days ago, but it has never returned from “approval”?


    Started the workout yesterday and finally managed to brake the plateau. Wanted to say “Thank you” for the great workout and an awesome website!

  120. Hello steve love your site I am 5’7 female 166lbs. I’m tryna tone and go down to 140lbs. I started at 213lbs and I am scared of getting flabby. I still have body fat and I’m confused as to how many times I week I should lift weights? How long should I do cardio? And should I completely avoid carbs. I need to shred fat please help!
    P.s only took about 5 months to lose the weight

  121. steve: i have just completed my first week of the full body training .I was just wondering , i have very lean physique , except that i have a ponch (not much) but its is certainly not flat .I wanted ur advise to concentrate on a little bit on the mass ,should i do anything dofferent or do u feel this routine take care of mass as well .Please advise me on this .thanks in advance

    • Arjun: To gain mass you should follow this program for 3 months to build your strength up, then switch to a slightly higher rep routine for 3 months where you will use 10 rep sets to induce hypertrophy instead of 5-7 rep sets, then switch back to a 5 rep routine for 3 months to increase the density of your new muscle mass. Of course, this might not work for you depending on your physiology. What I gave you is, at best, just a guess at what might help you gain mass.

  122. Steve,

    When you say “…it can also be shortened to a 6 day period just as long as you see no signs of over-training” what are the signs of over- training? Also, what is your take on taking a one week completely off from the gym every now and then?

  123. Hey Steve ,
    Am a beginner .I am going to start training from today and this site has been the inspiration behind it ..Thanks a lot

  124. Thanks for the response, love your site. Could you help me with two more questions? For incline presses I’ve heard people say you must put your bench at a 45 degree angle while others have told me a 30 is fine. What do you recommend?
    Also I’ve read that it’s a very smart decision to take a week or two off every 2-3 months. I dont’ feel burnt out at all but I’m only 4 months in and have much to learn so any thoughts? Thanks

    • Scott: Both 30 and 45 degrees for the incline press is fine. So are 25, 35, 40, and even 50. You can spend 4-6 weeks working one angle, switch for 4-6 weeks, the switch again or switch back. It is good to work your muscles from a wide variety of angles; it prevents complete adaptation and works the stabilizers to a greater degree.

  125. Hey Steve,

    First off I would like to thank you for the plethora of information you have provided, and am hoping you could give me a little more. Right now I am 285lbs and my main goal is to drop body fat. I know my way around a weight room, but most of my workout days are spent with a few hours of pretty competitive basketball, soccer, or racquetball. My question is do you think a I could benefit from a full body workout a couple of days a week, and would I be risking injury following up one of these full body workouts the next day with a couple hours of sports.


    • Elias: Honestly, I’d lift 3 days a week and do the sports on off days. You should be able to get in much better shape that way.

  126. Steve,
    You said that its hard to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. So what should I do first, lose the fat or try to gain muscle. Which should take precedence?

    Thank you,

    • Larry: I usually recommend people to lose fat first, then bulk up slowly. Studies have proven that when you have excess bodyfat your body tends to store more calories as adipose tissue. I know this sounds counter intuitive, but I have read several studies on this. Your best bulking phase will come after a fat loss phase.

  127. I’m just finishing two months of your generic total body workout and plan on switching to your 3×5 approach. On my last benching day I couldn’t get my final rep on the fifth set at 205 lbs. I would hate to waste a couple weeks figuring out what my ideal weight would be now transitioning into doing 3×5 with the same weight. Question, in your experience do you know of any type of calculators that can roughly estimate something like this? Example, I can barely do 205 for 5 reps so how much should I decrease to get 5 reps for 3 sets. Thanks.

    • Scott: I’d try a 10% decrease to start. 185 seems sensible. It should only take you that initial week to figure out what you should be using for all 3 sets.

  128. Hey Steve,
    I took the supplement CellMass for a few months and it seemed to improve my strength a decent amount, yet when I stopped taking it, I lost some muscle mass… (water?) Any way, what would be the #1 muscle gainer that you would suggest?

    • Ian: food, protein powder, and then maybe Xtend – a BCAA supplement. Then if you still want more, perhaps NO Xplode or creatine.

  129. Mark: you are not too young to do these workouts, but you better be careful. I would rather see you use PERFECT form and less weight than to hurt yourself by jumping into a workout that includes squats, deadlifts, and overhead press without knowing full well what to do. Just please make sure you know what you are doing. That being said, 14 is a great age to start teaching your body to be fit. By building a solid base through your adolescence, you are setting yourself up to be strong and muscular for the rest of your life.

  130. Is it true that we loose sugar during work outs. It is my assumption that as we get wetting while work out, we should intake sugar in any form during work out, pls suggest?

  131. Steve,
    What does the 5/5/5/5/5 exactly mean? And are we supposed to do all of these workouts every workout day? Because it says to pick 3 for each muscle. Thanks!and also I’m 14. Is it safe for me to do these workouts? Thankyou!

    • Mark: each 5 is the number of reps and the backslash separates the sets. Therefore, 5/5/5/5/5 means 5 sets of 5 reps; 10/10/10 would mean 3 sets of 10 reps. Knowwhatimean?

  132. i have a question about supplements
    i know that nutrition is very important but i was wondering what pre and post workout drinks will help boost muscle gain
    i’ve heard of a line known as bsn products but their loaded with chemicals and i don’t know whether its safe to be introducing that into my body

    nonetheless your routine is great

  133. Hey Steve, your site is awesome.
    I am a skinny guy and would like to gain some weight. The thing is, I play soccer so I do cardio all the time. Does this mean that my weight lifting won’t do much because I am also doing a lot of cardio? I’m 16 yrs old, 5’8 and 130 soaking wet.
    Also: Have you done any articles on stretching? I am still trying to get a good dynamic stretching routine to do as a warm up before soccer and a good static stretching routine to do to increase flexibility.
    Thanks a bunch


  135. Steve,

    One more thing. Is the super sets much more effective than say if I do 4 sets of bench then 4 sets squats and then 3 sets biceps. Are you saying for muscle doing 1 set bench then 1 set biceps until both set are done is better. I read super sets should be used sparingly. Is this a prefference?

  136. Steve,

    First off very good site, very informative. I am 33 5-11 170lbs. I just went from a split where I was doing 30 min low int cardio after the work out. I have been enjoying the full body I feel I get more out of it. I am trying to maintain the muscle I have and get more ripped toned. Should I keep doing a low int cardio session after my work out or should I move to HIIT or some sort of other interval training on the off days. I always read cardio after lifting or in the am is the best. So will I still burn fat doing cardio on the off days? Help!!

  137. Steve, I appreciate all of this helpful info. One question though…
    Why so many days off? I feel, as though, Im not getting anything done. I ask because I know you know better and your the expert. I would commit to the days off if I believed they were beneficial.

    • Ian: the days off are for recovery. Since you are working your full body every other day, it only makes sense to give each body part 48 hours to recover from weight training. I don’t have a problem with you adding conditioning training on the off days, I just don’t think you should be lifting weights on those days, or if you do they should be light weights with a focus on conditioning and you should not take your sets to failure. KnowwhatImean?

  138. gday steve im about to go back to full body it seems to work best for me after the 2 mths and i change to different routine can i change back to the full body again after 2mths and i deadlift 140 kilo 6 reps 3 sets is 3 times a week to much at that weight and rep thanks top site just found it

    • Dave Davis, your comment doesn’t make much sense. In the future you might want to try using capital letters, full words, and punctuation. I will try to answer your question (was there a question?) the same way you asked it.

      gday dave i think u shuld go back 2 full body after 2 mths and deadlift 5 reps 3 sets its not to much if u push urself u will grow

      Thanks for the comments!


  140. Why should females do twice as many reps with lighter weight? Isn’t this kind of “toning” exercise long outdated?

    • You are somewhat right Sarah. In my experience, females generally respond better to slightly higher reps. I think twice as many reps might be over kill for some of those exercises. I will change that point to reflect a more appropriate rep range for women.

  141. Hi Steve,

    It took some digging to find your website. I’m not trying to steer anybody away from your site, but I had been using the full body workout found at Answer Fitness (https://www.answerfitness.com/150/full-body-workout-plan-workout-routines/) since it was the first thing that came up through Google when I typed in “full body workout.”

    I liked that routine, but I’ve been at it for just short of 2 months and was looking to switch. I did your day 1 yesterday but felt that I moved through it too quickly (only 45 minutes). Not sure if I’m not resting enough between sets or what.

    I did have some questions at least on day 1: is 3 sets of 7 decline situps that effective, and is 2 sets of 5 tricep extensions that effective as well? I almost felt like I didn’t get anything out of them.

    Thanks for your input.

  142. hi
    i just have few questions.. to start of i would like to know is this routine better than training a certain muscle each day eg. chest ?
    second i wanted to know how many times a week should a certain muscle group be trained ? and what is the suitable amount of sets and reps for each muscle group in one workout?
    with regards

    • mohammed: The answers to these questions depend on your goals.
      1) For almost all goals except bodybuilding, I recommend full body training rather than a daily split.
      2) You can train most muscle groups 3-4 times a week as long as you keep the total volume low for each workout. But some muscles like calves, abs, and forearms can be trained nearly every day.
      3) For sets and reps, it depends entirely on your goals:
      Strength: 5-7 sets of 1-5 reps
      Size: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
      Endurance: 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps

  143. Thanks for all of your tips and I really enjoyed your top 5 best workouts for each muscle.
    I wish I would have found this earlier as there is some crappy advice out there.

    I am a beginner I would imagine as I have only been lifting for 7 weeks. After seeing great results during weeks 4-6 I am feeling burned out and hitting my first plateau.
    I had been basically doing a total body workout 3x a week doing 3×8 sets for everything with the same weight each set.(that’s what me and a friend did in college)

    Would you recommend going to the 3×5 approach program you mention or try to follow this Generic Total Body Workout? And as follow ups to that question, the 3×5 would be the same as I have been doing with the same weight per set, just fewer reps, correct?
    And for the Total Body posted here, for benching for example, using a 1 rep bench max calc, if I max out at 213, I would do something like sets that consist of warmup, 95, 145, 165, 185 all for 5 reps I think. So for something like standing barbell curls, if I’m used to doing 75lb, 3×8, can I use a 1 rep max calculator to determine my different weights to use each set for biceps or are those meant more for squats and bench. Could you give me an example for one of the three set exercises?

    Thanks a lot, I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to put this info out there.

  144. Steve:
    Thanks for your guidance and insight. I recently joined Gold’s Gym and they have a lot of cable and other kind of machines. Why do u recommend free weights vs using cable machines? For example, a machine to do tricep extension or seated dips or even seated barbell curls does focus on the particular muscle group and i feel the burn. So why are they not effective?

    Also, can you please comment on my routine: (Mon, Wed and Fri)

    1) Bench, Dumbell Press and Incline/decline press for chest

    2) Military press, Barbell upright rows and dumbbell side raise for shoulders

    3) Bent over barbell, pullups and seated rows for back

    4) Barbell curls, Dumbell curls and close grip chin up for biceps,

    5) Skull crusher, Dips and Push down cable machine for triceps

    6) dumbbell wrist curl, reverse curl and wrist curl again for forearms

    7) Hanging leg raises, floor crunches and crunches on exercise ball for abs

    8) Machine leg press, squats and leg press for quad,

    9) standing calf raise, donkey calf and seated calf extension for calf

    10) Stiff leg deadlifts and back extension (based on energy level left)

    I do about 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps and i try to take less then a minute break. Is there something you would like to correct/add.

  145. Steve, if I want to load up my legs on the 3rd day (Friday) of a total body routine, is it too stressful on my system to do both squats and deadlifts on the same day?

    • RJ: Probably not. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. I have done squats and deadlifts on the same day many times.

  146. Steve:

    I have been working out for almost two months and i have lot some inches and also toned my body. I want to follow your advice and change up my routine to wake up my muscle but what do u mean by changing it up? Should i do different exercises for different muscle that i haven’t done before or should it do more reps or should i change from dumbell exercises to smith machines or cable machines?

    • Raina: I definitely don’t mean to change from free weights to machines unless it’s just for 1 or 2 active recovery weeks. You can change the number of sets and reps, for example change from 3 sets of 10 to 5 sets of 5. You can change angles, for example swap flat bench for incline bench. You can change equipment, but I don’t mean switching to machines, I mean switch from barbells to dumbbells, or odd objects like sandbags and kettlebells. You can change exercises altogether, for example swapping skullcrushers for overhead tricep extension. Use my top 5 best exercises posts to find great exercise ideas.

  147. Thanks for the workout. I’ve needed a new one for awhile and this is exactly the kind of guidance I was looking for. Again, thanks.

  148. Hey, really enjoying the full body routine.
    Feeling great, seeing small changes even after
    three weeks, love the supersets keeps the intensity up, great routine will stick to it
    for as long as possible.

  149. def a beginner in gym trying to lose weight. needed a guideline and found it, thank u. have been doing 10 min warm up on treadmill and 30 min weight loss on elliptical. should i not do as much time on three work out days? also climb ladders all day at work. dont want to kill myself but want to get in shape. thanks!

    • john: That sounds fine to me. At some point I’d like to see you switch to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions on off days and eliminate the cardio machines completely, but you might not be ready for that quite yet.

  150. Hi Steve,

    I posted some comments awhile back and wanted to let you know the program i talked about is amazing my goals are being met and passed. thanks for the advice to…ok i have a friend that does gymnastics and he is very good but he wants to get better. He needs to control his body weight much easier. What do you recommend doing to be able to do things like Barilla and Hannibal (they are his idols and if you dont them look them up on youtube) besides just endless amounts of pull ups and push ups.Thanks Kyle

    • Kyle: Sounds like your friend needs to continue with his gymnastics training and just practice constantly. If he can’t handle the bodyweight movements he needs to either get stronger or lose body fat. Full body exercises will be best for him, with TONS of core work. I don’t think I have any better advice than his gymnastics instructors could give him.

  151. Imran:
    Thanks for the props. This workout routine can be done by a beginner, and in fact should be done by a beginner. By subjecting a beginning weight lifter’s body to frequent full body workouts, that person should see even greater “beginner’s gains” than one would normally see. Plus, we are using mainly compound exercises for this routine, which will force the body to quickly grow a solid foundation for future training.

    I think you should definitely follow this program for at least 2 months then let me know how you feel.

  152. oh yeah steve, is it possible to come up with my own training programme with the best exercise for each part of the body(the 5-best exercises articles that you have posted up)?

    • anthony:
      Yes. That’s what is great about articles like that; you can mix and match them to come up with your own unique programs. Trial and error will help you determine which exercises work best in one program.

  153. anthony:
    For this particular routine I advocate 5 sets for the big exercise of the day, 4 sets for the second biggest, and 3 sets for all the rest. No need to overtrain the smaller muscle groups.

  154. Andy:
    I think surfing would be great any day of the week regardless of when you lift. If you want to get super-technical I suppose it would be best to surf on Saturday in order to let your body recover on Sunday, so you can start your routine again on Monday.

  155. Wow – awesome article! I’ve been looking all over for some ideas for a full body routine and am definitely going to start on this.

    One question. I usually surf at least one day over the weekend. Which day would be best so as not to interfere with this routine?

  156. 2 more question. sorry lol

    the calve raises. can i swap those with leg press calf raises?

    and on the decline close grip bench. does it HAVE to be close grip? or can i just do decline dumbbell bench?(i like those alot better :p

    • jared:
      You can pretty much swap any calf raise exercises around. Typically I would exchange a straight leg calf raise for another straight leg calf raise; ditto for the seated calf raises. Those two variations work slightly different muscles.

      Decline close grip is meant to hit the triceps really hard. Decline dumbbell bench is more for the chest. Swap them if you want, but at the sacrifice of some direct triceps work.

    • jared:
      If you can do 2 or 3 pull ups, you should definitely do them. Clearly you can benefit from some additional sets of assisted pull ups to speed up your back strength, but I would definitely say you should get on the bar at least once a week to do any many bodyweight reps as you can get.

  157. also the chin ups. i have poor upper body strength.
    can i do close grip pull downs until i reach enough strength to do chin ups? just wondern

    • You should do assisted pull ups if possible, decreasing the assistance every workout until you can do at least 1 full pull up with bodyweight. Pull downs are for sissies.

  158. hey steve.
    i’m looking at starting this routine!
    THANK you so much for posting one. i have spent the last few days looking for something like this. i plan on starting this routine on Monday(to get a proper week started and my 2 day off are weekends) but after i try it i will get back to you on how it went


  159. Dear Steve, i was just wondering if circuit training meanining doing 1 set of everything and continue to the next set or if doing an exercise at one time(finish 5 sets of bench at a go, then continue to the next exercise) is better? what do you think?

    • anthony: Circuit training is moving from one station to the next without rest. Once you have finished 1 set of each exercise, you have completed 1 circuit. I think this can be an OK way to condition (lose fat), but not a great way to gain strength or size, and not the optimal way to lose fat. Circuit training with weights or machines ranks somewhere between endurance training and intense resistance training (anaerobic exercise like weightlifting). I think I will write an article on this.

  160. Hi Steve – Best workout routine i have searched on the net, just one question – can this be done by a beginner. I was working out over 2 year ago for only 12 months, havent been working for over 11 months getting back into it and have been going to the gym 3 – 5 days a week. Do you think it would be okay for a beginner or do you have other suggestions, thanks in advance for you reply.

  161. Steve,
    I really like the program you have outlined above. I am currently trying to get back into lifting weights after tearing some cartilage in my shoulder about a year ago. My doctor told me that it was O.K. for me to lift weights, but he did not really specify what type of lifts/reps I should do or shouldn’t do for that matter. I was wondering if you could provide any insight on whether or not I should change up your program or not. Thanks a lot for the help.

    • Brian: I would definitely use higher reps on exercises that involve the shoulders, but just until you feel you are back to full strength. The shoulders can be very unstable and you want them at maximum health before you start lifting really heavy. 10 rep sets maybe for the first month, then 8 rep sets if you feel up to it, then some 5 rep sets to start to rebuild your strength. Eventually you should be able to max out with single and doubles again if you want.

  162. Thanks for the reply Steve I really appreciate it. But I was thinking because I also wanted to do this full-body routine. Do you think I could combine the full-body routine and the Health Habits Power routine? Would it be ok to do full body strength day on Monday and then Wednesday do full body speed and so on?

  163. Steve
    I like the programme you have provided here and will definitely give it a go. I am 47 yrs old and really am very conscious of my over large ‘man breasts’. I wear baggy clothes to hide or cover them. I so want to lose the excess weight I have put on over the last five years. I am currently 125kg and would like to drift back down to 88/90kg, is this ideal for me?. I am 5’10”. I hope you can help. Cheers.

    • Marcus: that sounds feasible to me. Having excess fat in your chest is very humiliating to a man. I know because I store an excessive amount of fat in my chest when my bodyfat gets too high. Since my teens I have been looking for a way to optimize fat loss in the chest area, but it just can’t be done. You are going to have to just lose fat from your entire body while also building muscle in your chest and shoulders to help ‘lift’ that whole area.

  164. Steve,

    I have been working out with a trainer for about a year and when I started I was at 180lbs and had a pretty big gut and I am now down to 159lbs. The problem is I still have the gut, even though it is much smaller. I look much better, but I am not satisfied because I want to have a six back. I know it will take a lot of time and patience, but I was wondering if you knew of some stuff that I could do.

    What do you recommend here?

  165. Hi Steve
    I am going to the 10th grade next year and this summer I wanted to get stronger and quicker because I play baseball, soccer, and football. We work out with our team but we have no instruction :(. I have read some articles about increasing power (strength + speed = power) and I read it wasnt good to do this type of lifting until you were an expierenced lifter. Is this true? And what do you feel I should do? I currently max bench 170 squat 275 and can do 12 unweighted pull ups. The info I read from was from https://healthhabits.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/power-strength-training/

    • Kyle:
      I do enjoy the Health Habits blog and have read that article. It is a decent article for a beginning speed-strength routine. He builds on the ideals of dynamic effort and maximal effort training popularized by powerlifting expert Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell club. If I were you, I would try this routine twice, for a total of 12 weeks. At that point, or at some point along the way, I suggest you learn how to perform Olympic lifts with impeccable form. Of paramount importance are power cleans, hang cleans, clean and press, and power snatch. Those lifts (especially the cleans) will be of utmost importance for you to excel at football. For baseball you should focus on developing a rock solid core, specifically with rotational drills. For soccer I highly recommend you use High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to increase your speed and leg strength through interval sprints.

  166. I’m looking to start a full body program mainly because I have a little less time in the week to workout and also because I want to build up my muscle endurance for Martial Arts Training. I was noticing that you have on the first day, first exercise 5/5/5/5/5 – to clear it up that simply means 5 reps per set for 5 sets? How do go about completing them all? Do you go through all the exercises 1 set at a time then start over and so forth? And with all these sets is it really possible to complete in less than an hour?

    • Josh:
      1) 5×5 is 5 sets of 5 reps
      2) You go about completing them by just doing it. Maybe you can’t get 5×5, but you should be able to get 5/5/5/4/3 at least. But strive for 5×5 so you can add weight the following week.
      3) One exercise at a time, unless the supersets are involved, in which case it’s 2 exercises at a time.
      4) This workout can usually be done in a hour. Limit rest between sets and don’t sit around talking to other gym goers.

  167. Matt:
    The sauna, eh? I believe the sauna would be best anytime other than right after a workout. Perhaps the next day would be best. Be sure to hydrate though, since all the sauna really does is make you sweat.

  168. Kevin:
    Awesome! When you are ready to switch it up after 2 months, you can switch it up any way you want. Come back here and find a new workout like maybe 3×5 or switch every in the workout to something new. Check out my Top 5 Best Exercises posts for ideas on exercise variations for each muscle group.

  169. RJ: Sounds like you’re getting a bit of exercise every day. I like your plan with basketball and softball on Tu/Th, especially since softball is a pretty tame sport. Try to hit your legs hardest on Friday and you can avoid any interactions with basketball. Sounds good to me.

  170. Hi gonna start the workout monday. My main focus is losing weight not really fat all over just big beer belly. Id like to add sauna sessions into the workout when should i do them on weight training days or off days? I know ive read that 2-3 days a week of sauna is all u need is that true and if so like i said on what days?

  171. I just started this workout this week. I’ve heard great things about these full body workouts. I just have a quick question, when you say change it up after two months, do you mean change it up to a different work out (I.E. going back to 2 muscle workouts per day), or change up the workouts by doing different excercies for the full body workout, then the ones that are shown in your workout?

  172. thanks for the article, Steve. I have been thinking of switching to a total body routine, but have a couple questions. I’ve been lifting for many years, so I’m not a beginner. I’m currently on a pretty comfortable split, but it’s getting stale and I’m not hitting each muscle as frequently as I want to.

    my question is, how do you work other activities into your routine and still give the proper time for recovery? for instance, I play basketball on tuesdays and softball on thursdays, and try to do something on the weekends if I can. if I go to a M-W-F routine, that doesn’t leave much time for recovery. any thoughts?

  173. Thanks for the quick response! I just re-read the structure of the workout. Now I get it. haha. Sorry. Thanks again!

  174. Tony:
    This is not bad. This is what I do for almost every exercise of every workout. Rarely do I start 1 exercise, rest, do it again, rest, do it again, stop. Usually it’s exercise a, minimal rest, exercise b, 90 seconds rest, exercise a, minimal rest, exercise b, 90 secs. Know what I mean?

  175. Thanks for the article Steve! I was wondering if it is possible to have sets in a different area of focus in between other sets. Does that make sense? For example, I would do one arm tricep extensions, then I would take a quick 5 second breather then do dumbbell shrugs, then I’d rest for 2 minutes. I only do 2 sets each but I do this for a few other workouts too. Is this bad?

  176. Tim:
    My point about the 7/7/7/7 for chest on day 1, is that since you are doing 5, 5 rep sets for squats, I opted not to tax the nervous system with more 5 rep sets. This way you can use a bit lighter weight and focus on 7 rep sets for the rest of your routine.

    For a full body routine I usually prefer not to do the same number of reps for the same muscles all 3 days in a row. This is why you’ll see sets of 5, 7, and 10 all throughout the week.

    By all means, experiment if you like. Do 5 rep sets for everything if you want, or make the difference between rep goals even larger by doing 3 reps on day 1, 8 reps on day 2, and 15 reps on day 3.

  177. Steve,
    Just a couple of clarifications needed. You talk about the,say, 5 rep max and performing lifts at certain percentages of this max. I get that, now in the generic total body workout routine, you have on Day 1 Chest: 7/7/7/7, so what is the reasoning behind that 7 rep cycle, or like in Back: 10/10/10 versus the 5 rep cycle you talked about in the article portion?

  178. Steve,

    Excellent article!

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


    I have been working out with a trainer for the past seven months and I have went from 23.1% body fat to 19.3%. In the past three weeks I have seen some great results by dropping almost 2%. Unfortunately, I have not given it 100% like I would like because I sometimes have cookies, shakes and junk food, but it’s time for me to stop the nonsense.

    Started at 174lb and now down to 160lb, but I still have a gut. Even though I have lost five inches off my waist I want to have six pack abs.

    Do you have any recommendations for me?

  179. Steve,

    I have to be able to do 40 push ups, 40 sit ups and run 2 mil. in two weeks. I’m out of shape. Do I spend the next 2 weeks working only on running, sit ups and push ups?

  180. Schuyler:
    You should do both. It is very important not to confuse the importance of endurance training versus high intensity interval training (HIIT) for fat loss. Basically you want to avoid endurance training and opt only for HIIT.

    That being said, here is what I would do:

    Follow the program outlined above, but never do the exercises outlined in the e2 sections. Then make sure you are doing your HIIT on the two off days (days 2 and 4). I would suggest joining an extreme cardio class; I choose extreme kickboxing. Your other options are interval training on cardio machines at the gym, interval bike riding, interval sprints, interval stair sprints, or high intensity circuit training. Please do yourself a favor and take the two days off on the weekend. You should do this for a month before taking an active recovery week, then repeat.

    What is an active recovery week?

    Do the regular 3 day weight training workout, but feel free to change up the exercises, or do something else fun. Scale the weights back so that you are not lifting to failure at all. Active recovery means you are letting your body heal and adapt to the 5-day-per-week high intensity training that you just did for the last month.

  181. Hello I found this guide really helpful and i just want to know about the cardio thing.

    I’m not fat or really thin im just in the middle. Maybe a little above the middle. But i just want to know should i do this program or should i do a cardio program then do this?

  182. Roger:
    In my opinion, you should do a full body routine as often as possible. Use machines if you have to, but also try to work in bodyweight exercises if your only other options are machines.

    One leg squats
    Split squats
    Pull ups with weight
    Push ups with clap
    Tricep dips off a bench or chair

    Hopefully you can see where I’m going with this. Best of luck.

  183. I’m currently deployed, and trying to find a good routine to lose some fat and be in better shape for when I come home. We have a small gym in the basement, but not a lot of options when it comes to machines and supplements. I think I will try a variation of this routine, since I never know when I’ll have time for the gym and might have more time off some days and no time others. Any suggestions, Steve? Thanks.

  184. Pat:
    Yes please skip the cardio if you are not looking to lose fat. Just remember that it is always a good idea to make sure your cardiovascular system is healthy, so it might be good for you to implement some sort of interval sprints (or other HIIT), a free weight complex of some sort, or do some 20 rep squat sets each week. Best of luck.

  185. i am only out for building i dont care about loosing fat , cause im a skinny guy , so can I do this type of workout and skip cardio?

  186. These two are very important:

    – “Keep workouts under one hour, not counting warm ups and stretching.”

    And you see it many times people working out for about 2 hours, thinking that the more they working out the more they will gain or lose…not knowing that at the point they are in a catabolic state.

    – Change everything up after two months.

    Change is always good…it will wake you and your muscles again.

  187. Maggie:
    The only thing I would recommend is to double the reps specified in the program for at least the first month. Since you are an intermediate, you could sort of start with twice as many reps and work your way down to the actual number of reps prescribed over the course of the two month. Just increase weight and drop reps by 1-3 each week.

  188. This looks really interesting. I’m going to try it starting tomorrow. One question, would you recommend anything different for a 130lb 5’5″ woman? I’m not a beginner, more like intermediate. I can bench 80lbs.

  189. This is a great article. I am an believer in total body workouts which I believe are better than the boring 3 day muscle split routines.

  190. It is very difficult to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. It can be done, but you end up either building the muscle very very slowly or losing the fat very very slowly. Typically we need to focus on either building muscle OR losing fat over any time interval.

    Therefore I recommend that if you are trying to build muscle, do light cardio on off days. If you are trying to lose fat, do heavy cardio on off days, but don’t expect to build much muscle.

    You will also need to offset the additional workload with extra food, water, and rest. I also don’t recommend lifting with high intensity and doing high intensity cardio for 5 days in a row. This will quickly lead to overtraining and possibly injury.

  191. Great article!

    Love the lifting exercise selection!

    Question–why only “light” cardio on off days? If we are trying to lose fat while building muscle, shouldn’t we do heavy cardio on our off days to maximize the fat loss? Can we negate potential muscle loss by maintaining adequate levels of protein intake?

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