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Full Body Workout Plan

Hey guys,

I am pretty new to the workout arena and I hear people talk about volume and intensity. I am 6’1 190lbs and wanting to gain mass.

I decided to initiate a full body workout which I could do 4-5 days per week. I searched articles here and kind of created my own plan. Please review it and tell me what you think.

These are the exercises I will be doing. Most are 3 sets of 8, except for dips and situps.

-Bench Press
-Bicep Curl
-Leg Press
-Military Press
-Rows
-Leg Curl (Don’t know the official name… the one where you lay prone and curl your legs)
-Lat Pulldown
-Dips
-Calf Raises
-Sit Ups

I tried to involve every muscle group and focus more on some others which (maybe shallowly) I want to focus on. I’m not sure if this is too much, just enough, or what. I am already predicting responses along the lines of “No squats?? No deadlifts??!” In my mind (a newbie mind, admittedly) I’ve still hit all the muscle groups so is there still a problem?

Keep in mind I’m not asking for advice on myself or my personal goals, only if this would be an acceptable workout 4-5 days per week. If not, please modify or let me know how to improve it.

You could not maximize v & i with that workload. IMO

Cut back to 3 (maybe 4) workouts a week and bust your hump while you are there–ok maybe. You will need to consistantly rotate the order of your exercises with that workload or you will be seriously shorting the last few exercises consistantly.

But why skip deads? To me, they are the king. Why skip squats?, the queen, if your goal is mass?

If you are going to workout 5 days per week, that is way too much volume. I would start with 2 weeks of 15 reps of 1 set each to condition your joints and connective tissue to accept heavier loads with out injury. Then 1 week of 10 reps at 1 set each. Then 1 week of 10 reps and add 1 set of drop sets, aiming at 10 reps. Then 1 week of 5 reps and finally 1 week of 5 reps and add 1 set of drop sets aiming at 5-8 reps.

Unless you are juicing, you will quickly overtrain on this planned program. IMO, you need to cut back on volume AND frequency.

30 sets is a lot for one workout. Perhaps you could drop back to 2 sets per exercise. The first set will be good and hard and the second set will be a maximal effort. The magic of “3s” (3 sets per exercise) is overrated. You can run a mile or sprint 100 yds, but you can’t sprint a mile.

Another plan is to do one all-out set per exercise (after a brief warm-up). You could alternate between one all-out set of 8-12 reps or 2 sets of 5-6 per exercise.

Three times per week is plenty for full-body routines and may have to be dropped back to 2/week after a while, IF you keep them true full-body workouts. Only a very few can keep up with 3/week full-body as time goes by andf their strength increases.

If you insist on the 4 times per week, I suggest you split the workout into two head-to-toe workouts. When I say head-to-toe, I mean you will incorporate upper and lower body exercises in each workout, but not ALL muscles will be represented.

Mon/Thu
-Bench Press
-Rows
-Leg Curl
-Dips
-Calf Raises
ADD: Traps or Forearms exercise

Tue/Fri
-Lat Pulldown
-Bicep Curl
-Leg Press
-Military Press
-Sit Ups
ADD: Rear Delts and/or Rotary Cuff work

Rotate your exercises with new ones every 3-4 weeks. You can also rotate the order for different effects(legs first, bench and dips in rapid succession, etc.).

In time, you will want to bring in the Squats and Deads — unless you have an injury issue, there’s no way around them.

ALTERNATES
-Bench Press: Inclines, Flyes, DBs, Pec Deck
-Rows: One-Arm, T-Bar, Pulley, Hammer
-Leg Curl: Stiff-Leg Deadlifts, Duck Squats
-Dips: Triceps Extensions, Close-Grip Bench, Pushdowns
-Calf Raises: Seated, Donkeys,
-Lat Pulldown: Chins, Hammer High Rows, Pullovers (esp. machine POs)
-Bicep Curl: DBs, Preacher, Cable, Hammer
-Leg Press: SQUATS, Hack Squats, Front Squats, Leg Extensions
-Military Press: DB Press, Lateral Raises, Upright Rows, Behind-the-Neck
-Sit Ups: Crunches, Leg Raises, Rotary Torso

DON’T FORGET: Shrugs, Wrist Curls, Rear Delt Raises, Reverse Pec Deck (R. Delt, Traps, Mid-Back), “L” Raises

Wow great responses! I really appreciate your advice. I am going to adjust my routine now since it seems you all are in agreement.

Side question: What is a good workout for rear delts? Should I even worry about forearm exercises or will they get worked enough as secondary muscles in other lifts?

If you lift big, your forearms will get big. But I throw in a few forearm workouts as well (only because I want to beat my teacher, his forearms are sick). It isn’t a have to type of thing. I do the full body routine as well (3 days per week, allowing 48 hours of rest between each session).

I do all of the basic exercises:
Deadlift
Squats
Rows
Curls, Preachers, etc.
Dips, chins, etc.
Bench press
Trap/Sholder exercises…basically I hit every major muscle group (as you do).

I allow a mixture of 60-120 second rest between each set so my body never adapts, as well as change up the routine of my workouts everytime I hit the gym (so again, my body never adapts).

I think most of us just think to much about working out when it should be a simple thing. If you feel like you’re giving your muscle stress than you’re doing the right thing (I’m not talking about a little stress but not so much to where it gives you an injury).

Sometimes I even bring in a gatorade bottle with me for inbetween sets (I think I read this in one of Christian’s articles). And remember, drink your milk and eat A LOT. It’s better to overeat than undereat (I’d rather gain fat than waste an hour or two of my time in the gym).

[quote]daniel d wrote:
If you lift big, your forearms will get big. But I throw in a few forearm workouts as well (only because I want to beat my teacher, his forearms are sick). It isn’t a have to type of thing. I do the full body routine as well (3 days per week, allowing 48 hours of rest between each session).
[/quote]

Right on.

I find my forearms respond well if I do direct work for a while and then drop it for 2-3 weeks. Cycle it on and off.

While the forearms flexors (the meatiest part of your forearms) get a lot of work from DLs, Shrugs, and pulling movements, the forearm extensors (the top of your forearms) may be neglected. Most of my forearm work is reverse wrist curls and reverse curls — these two work excellently as a superset too. I throw in regular (palms-up) wrist curls every once in a while for a few weeks.

Try doing your forearm work at the end of your biggest pulling exercise day, as opposed to the opposite training day.

[quote]simon-hecubus wrote:
Unless you are juicing, you will quickly overtrain on this planned program. IMO, you need to cut back on volume AND frequency.

30 sets is a lot for one workout. Perhaps you could drop back to 2 sets per exercise. The first set will be good and hard and the second set will be a maximal effort. The magic of “3s” (3 sets per exercise) is overrated. You can run a mile or sprint 100 yds, but you can’t sprint a mile.

Another plan is to do one all-out set per exercise (after a brief warm-up). You could alternate between one all-out set of 8-12 reps or 2 sets of 5-6 per exercise.

Three times per week is plenty for full-body routines and may have to be dropped back to 2/week after a while, IF you keep them true full-body workouts. Only a very few can keep up with 3/week full-body as time goes by andf their strength increases.

If you insist on the 4 times per week, I suggest you split the workout into two head-to-toe workouts. When I say head-to-toe, I mean you will incorporate upper and lower body exercises in each workout, but not ALL muscles will be represented.

Mon/Thu
-Bench Press
-Rows
-Leg Curl
-Dips
-Calf Raises
ADD: Traps or Forearms exercise

Tue/Fri
-Lat Pulldown
-Bicep Curl
-Leg Press
-Military Press
-Sit Ups
ADD: Rear Delts and/or Rotary Cuff work

Rotate your exercises with new ones every 3-4 weeks. You can also rotate the order for different effects(legs first, bench and dips in rapid succession, etc.).

In time, you will want to bring in the Squats and Deads — unless you have an injury issue, there’s no way around them.

ALTERNATES
-Bench Press: Inclines, Flyes, DBs, Pec Deck
-Rows: One-Arm, T-Bar, Pulley, Hammer
-Leg Curl: Stiff-Leg Deadlifts, Duck Squats
-Dips: Triceps Extensions, Close-Grip Bench, Pushdowns
-Calf Raises: Seated, Donkeys,
-Lat Pulldown: Chins, Hammer High Rows, Pullovers (esp. machine POs)
-Bicep Curl: DBs, Preacher, Cable, Hammer
-Leg Press: SQUATS, Hack Squats, Front Squats, Leg Extensions
-Military Press: DB Press, Lateral Raises, Upright Rows, Behind-the-Neck
-Sit Ups: Crunches, Leg Raises, Rotary Torso

DON’T FORGET: Shrugs, Wrist Curls, Rear Delt Raises, Reverse Pec Deck (R. Delt, Traps, Mid-Back), “L” Raises[/quote]

He would be working every muscle group using your routine 4 days per week. Here is an example of 2 different full body routines using different exercise each workout. As this is for a 3 day per week program each workout is a full body workout.

Monday
Squat
Bench
Row
Lateral Raise
Bicep/Tricep

Wednesday
Dead Lift
Shoulder press
Pull Up/pull Down
Dips

Friday=Monday
Monday=Wednesday

Also alternate sets reps such as 10x3, 5x5,etc. You could get away doing the first 3 exercises only.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

[quote]pushharder wrote:
There is no reason, IMHO, for a relative newbie to get caught up in complicated routines with a zillion different isolation movements in them like some of those posted above. I am a Dan John convert. Keep it simple.

If you can’t or won’t squat and deadlift and chin then leg curls and pec decks and pull downs and bicep curls aint gonna do you any good when it comes to building mass.

I know. I’ve been there and done that. Get basic. Keep it simple. Work hard. Forget about isolation movements until you have enough muscle to isolate it.

It’s not that those exercises are “bad”. It’s just that they’re inefficient for mass building in a newbie.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.[/quote]

I’ll give my reasons for wanting to avoid squats and deadlift then. I know this is an open invitation to be flamed for being a pansy and I need to just suck it up and do it but…

Ok for deadlift, I have had so many people tell me not to do it. I did it for about 4 weeks. Did I injure myself? No. Am i really scared about injuring my back? Yes! I just figure there are safer exercises to work out the same muscles without the risk of injury.

For squats… well, I can’t put it any more plainly than I just don’t like the feel of doing them. Maybe its because I’m tall, maybe its because my legs are long, I don’t know - but when I squat down, even with very little weight, it is uncomfortable in my legs and back – and I’m not even going to parallel. I get the sudden intense feeling that if I went any lower, I’d be heading towards the floor… and that would be painful and embarassing :slight_smile:

So its not that I’m a big fan of isolation movements. I really like compound exercises. I just want to avoid those two, and so I try to make up for it with other exercises.

[quote]AggieJohn wrote:
pushharder wrote:
There is no reason, IMHO, for a relative newbie to get caught up in complicated routines with a zillion different isolation movements in them like some of those posted above. I am a Dan John convert. Keep it simple.

If you can’t or won’t squat and deadlift and chin then leg curls and pec decks and pull downs and bicep curls aint gonna do you any good when it comes to building mass.

I know. I’ve been there and done that. Get basic. Keep it simple. Work hard. Forget about isolation movements until you have enough muscle to isolate it.

It’s not that those exercises are “bad”. It’s just that they’re inefficient for mass building in a newbie.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’ll give my reasons for wanting to avoid squats and deadlift then. I know this is an open invitation to be flamed for being a pansy and I need to just suck it up and do it but…

Ok for deadlift, I have had so many people tell me not to do it. I did it for about 4 weeks. Did I injure myself? No. Am i really scared about injuring my back? Yes! I just figure there are safer exercises to work out the same muscles without the risk of injury.

For squats… well, I can’t put it any more plainly than I just don’t like the feel of doing them. Maybe its because I’m tall, maybe its because my legs are long, I don’t know - but when I squat down, even with very little weight, it is uncomfortable in my legs and back – and I’m not even going to parallel. I get the sudden intense feeling that if I went any lower, I’d be heading towards the floor… and that would be painful and embarassing :slight_smile:

So its not that I’m a big fan of isolation movements. I really like compound exercises. I just want to avoid those two, and so I try to make up for it with other exercises.[/quote]

Deadlifting is a dangerous as you make it. I personally think it is safer than a lot of exercises. Form is always the determining factor in how dangerous and exercise is.
The feeling you are getting from squating doesn’t sound abnormal. If you are weak and have never done the exercise with any cosistency then that is probably how you should feel. Can you even squat ATG without weight?
Instead of trying to find ways to avoid productive exercises spend the time to learn them and work them. You are on your own now!

Why not just start with one of the many programs that are designed for full body stimulation by Chad Waterbury, it only takes a simple click of the mouse a presto, there’s the plan.

[quote]AggieJohn wrote:
Ok for deadlift, I have had so many people tell me not to do it. I did it for about 4 weeks. Did I injure myself? No. Am i really scared about injuring my back? Yes! I just figure there are safer exercises to work out the same muscles without the risk of injury.[/quote]

If you don’t let your back round and you don’t jerk the weight out of the bottom position, your chance of getting injured are minimal.

With full deadlifts, be sure you initiate the movement with your leg (mainly your quads). With stiff-leg, it’s your hamstrings. Keep the back flat or slightly arched throughout.

Don’t worry what weight you’re at, but do try to increase it every week (even just a little).

[quote]For squats… well, I can’t put it any more plainly than I just don’t like the feel of doing them. Maybe its because I’m tall, maybe its because my legs are long, I don’t know - but when I squat down, even with very little weight, it is uncomfortable in my legs and back – and I’m not even going to parallel. I get the sudden intense feeling that if I went any lower, I’d be heading towards the floor… and that would be painful and embarassing :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Do leg presses for a few months to get your strength up. Hack squats (with a machine) are great for the quads and glutes. I actually prefer them to leg presses — at least the ones where your head is lower than your legs.

The “newborn deer effect” is common with squats. With time, strength, and confidence you’ll be fine. Don’t wait more than 2-3 months bring them on-line though, they stimulate the legs like no other exercise can.

[quote]pushharder wrote:
There is no reason, IMHO… [/quote]

I question that “H”.

[quote]…for a relative newbie to get caught up in complicated routines with a zillion different isolation movements in them like some of those posted above. I am a Dan John convert. Keep it simple.

If you can’t or won’t squat and deadlift and chin then leg curls and pec decks and pull downs and bicep curls aint gonna do you any good when it comes to building mass.
[/quote]

No one said anything about a zillion different movements.

Long-limbed people will have a problem stimulating certain bodyparts with a compound-only routine.

When they do benches, their triceps will give-out way before their pecs — this probably true of any presses. DB flyes and/or pec deck will help with that.

Leg curls are great to bring up the hams, which can usually be worked more often than the lower back (as in deadlft movements).

What’s the difference between a pulldown and a chin? Both are equal as mass builders AFAIC.

Curls are required because chins, rows, pulldowns are very inefficient ways of working the biceps.

Have you been a long-limbed guy? If you’re gaining on a compound-only routine you can’t be.

[quote]It’s not that those exercises are “bad”. It’s just that they’re inefficient for mass building in a newbie.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.[/quote]

I won’t argue that the basics are not crucially important. But they are NOT the be-all, end-all for most people.

The number of people professing a success “story” on compound-only workouts represent a very small percentage (the far right end of the bell curve).

My plan includes deadlifts and squats (no Smith machine involved). I started off borderline obese and at 49 last year I was headed toward a heart attack.
Well I’m 50 years old now and in the last year have lost about 40 pounds. I had survived kidney cancer (lost my right kidney) but lost the desire to take care of myself. Then last year, I kicked myself in the ass and decided to get into shape.
So here I am at 50 doing deadlifts and squats. Along with bench press they make up the foundation of your workout routine. Lastly, keep it simple, stupid. KISS. I think that in many ways I am stronger now than when I was a paratrooper in the 2/504th PIR/82nd Abn. Div. However, the endurance of youth though might not be attainable. That’s ok, keep working hard.

Hey simon–

The OP said he wants to gain mass. Compound ex. are the best answer. He didn’t say anything about wanting to be a bb’er.

He also mentioned his height, which unless he is built similar to an ape would not lend itself to your long drawn out long limbed…blah.

I see no problem with isolation exercises. But given the parameters of the OP–ie. reletively new to the game, height,weight,goals…etc…–compound is the answer here.

I would like to chime in as a “long-limbed” guy. I started lifting at 160 pounds and about 6-4, I’d say that qualifies!

Anyway, for me personally, I didn’t gain a damn thing until I started doing squats and deadlifts. The OP is way ahead of where I was when I started (and sadly for me not much lighter than I am to this day), but I agree that compound movements are a good way to go for getting bigger.

I would also urge him to give them another try, as like I said, I was way more long-limbed and skinny than him.

He’s 6’1". When did that become a circus show freak? I wouldn’t consider that too long limbed to do squats or deads…how many pro football player are over 6’ tall, and most of them spend the majority of their time on the big lifts.

However, if he refuses to squat or deadlift, I agree that some compound movement must replace them. There are a variety of leg press, squat press, hack squat, etc. Try them all and see which one feels the best. Avoid the smith machine…if you think regular squats feel awkward, wait till you try one on the smith.

Once you have gained a little strength, especially in the posterior chain, try adding some squats, and see if they feel a little more natural to you.

If you want to gain mass, you must include compound movements. You simply can not move enough weight to stimulate growth through isolation exercises only. I do believe that isolations absolutely have their place in a workout regimen, but do your compounds first.

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
The OP said he wants to gain mass. Compound ex. are the best answer. He didn’t say anything about wanting to be a bb’er.[/quote]

What good is mass if it’s not proportioned? To me, smaller but proportioned is better than a big blob.

Admittedly, I cannot speak for the OP. He may want to get big first and even it out later. I will semi-concede you point there.

I’ll accept that with a caveat, which I guess you missed as my main message: Compounds are the core answer, but not the entire answer.

If you do all compound all the time, you have two choices to avoid overtraining:

  1. Keep the number of exercises low.
  2. Round it out with 2-3 “isolation”* sets which stimulate other muscles w/o the overall CNS load.

[* I use the term isolation loosely. Pec deck involves f. delts, flyes involve biceps, pullovers work triceps and chest, etc.]

[quote]simon-hecubus wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
The OP said he wants to gain mass. Compound ex. are the best answer. He didn’t say anything about wanting to be a bb’er.

What good is mass if it’s not proportioned? To me, smaller but proportioned is better than a big blob.

Admittedly, I cannot speak for the OP. He may want to get big first and even it out later. I will semi-concede you point there.

I see no problem with isolation exercises. But given the parameters of the OP–ie. reletively new to the game, height,weight,goals…etc…–compound is the answer here.

I’ll accept that with a caveat, which I guess you missed as my main message: Compounds are the core answer, but not the entire answer.

If you do all compound all the time, you have two choices to avoid overtraining:

  1. Keep the number of exercises low.
  2. Round it out with 2-3 “isolation”* sets which stimulate other muscles w/o the overall CNS load.

[* I use the term isolation loosely. Pec deck involves f. delts, flyes involve biceps, pullovers work triceps and chest, etc.][/quote]

I’m not gonna battle you here. I will say you can be quite proportioned with the bulk of your work coming from compound lifts. There is a great deal of room between smaller and great big blob. And proportioned?? by who’s terms? Again, I can’t specifically say what the OP wants, but he asked for mass. Not symetry or aesthetics or proportion.

I reread all of your posts and you gave him a lot–A LOT–of iso moves to consider or add to his program. So, maybe it’s not me with the inferrence problem. Bottom line here, you will derive much more mass from a program heavily weighted in compound movements than you will one which favors iso’s.

*And pec deck barely qualifies as an exercise, let alone your desire to explain it to me.