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Is This A/B Full Body Split OK?


HI folks,
I’m about to start and seriously stick to a routine i have jumped from program to program or just had periods of not training at all so want to get back into it, I’d class myself as a beginner so thought full body workouts three times a week using a A/B split would be the best place start does this program look ok?

Squat 3 x 6
Overhead press 3 x 6
Pull ups (using resistance band until my reps/strength improve) 3 sets of undetermined reps
Push ups 3 x 8-12
Yates row 3 x 8
Drag curls 3 x 8
Face pulls 2 x 12
2 x abs/core exercise

Deadlift 3 x 6
Bench 3 x 6
Pull ups (as in workout A put in both workouts as its always a)n exercise ive wanted to improve at
Push ups 3 x 8-12
Lat pull down 3 x 8
Tricep extensions 3 x 8
Face pulls 2 x 12
2 x abs/core exercise

Is this too much, should i maybe drop the sets of the last two or three exercises to 2 sets and just do 3 sets on the big compound lifts?

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated


A big part of programming full body workouts is avoiding redundancy and maximizing training economy. That generally means one exercise per bodypart. So, right off the bat, I’d drop face pulls from one or both workouts. They’re a great exercise, but they’re the third back exercise you’re doing in each workout.

Throw the push-ups and pull-ups to the very start of each session, superset together because they work great that way. In Workout A, swap positions of the overhead press and Yates row (so it’s push-up/pull-up… squats… Yates row… overhead press). You’ll be going heavier with the Yates rows, and they work the bis a lot, so a little more space between them and the curls will be useful.

3x6 is an odd set/rep scheme. Not quite enough volume for size and not using quite enough weight for strength. I’d go 3x5 for the deads and 4x6 on the others.


Thanks for the quick reply Chris I appreciate the feedback. I’ll take your advice and see how I get on. I got the 6 reps from Michael Matthews bigger leaner stronger book. Would 3x5 or 4x5 be better do you think? Also I’ve read that just doing one set of deadlifts at 5 reps is beneficial as any more is taxing, would you agree with this for a beginner?


Looks pretty good brother! The other thing you might consider doing is a Push, Pull, Legs split. 2x a week. its still 6 days and I think the motions will feel a bit more natural from one day to the next instead of trying to do everything in the same day. Examples could be…

Back Squat 4x8
SLDL 4x10
Hip Thrust 4x12
Leg Extension 3x12-15
Hamstring Curl 3x12-15
Calf Raise 4x15

Bench Press 4x8
Overhead BB Press 4x10
Incline DB Press 3x10-12
Close Grip Bench 3x10-12
Lateral Raise 3x12-15
Tricep Pushdown 3x15

Deads 3x6
Bent Over Row 4x8
Lat Pulldown 3x15
BB Shrug 3x12
Face Pull 3x15
BB Curl 3x15

I didn’t put pull ups in there like you wanted, but they can easily be thrown into any day of your choosing. Best on pull days but would make a nice super-set on a push day as well.

I have personally found Push/ Pull days to be very effective for both strength and size gains because its different variations of the same motion so you get better at it throughout the workout, also because then you don’t feel like you are doing the same thing day after day. It just helps mix it up a bit. Hope this helps in your decision brother!


Thanks for the replies, my plan was to progress to a split once I’d improved my lifts a bit using a full body program. Also my knees aren’t what they used to be so I was wondering what people’s views were on Bulgarian split squats, could they be used to the same benefit as back squats, could I alternate between the two exercises or is it best to stay with the back squat?


This article talks more about different set/rep schemes. It all comes down to balancing the weight you’re using with training frequency and total volume (sets and reps). If building muscle is a goal, then 3x5 or 3x6 aren’t ideal because the muscles need a bit more work (more volume).

Depends on the overall program. Starting Strength “only” trains deadlifts for 1x5, but it has you squatting every workout and also doing power cleans during the week.

More classic 5x5 programs have squats and deadlifts call for doing squats and deads for 5x5 each, 3 days a week, and that program’s been around for nearly a century. So, no, doing more than 1x5 isn’t the worst thing in the world, depending on some variables.

Yep, totally fine.

The only people who have to train the back squat are competitive powerlifters. As long as you’re training the legs intelligently, there’s no problem making smart exercise choices that suit your abilities and physical restrictions. Ben Bruno, who’s had knee surgery himself, talks about Bulgarian split squats (a.k.a. rear foot elevated split squats) and some other options here.

Lee Boyce’s article today also talks about knee-safe leg training, and he’s recently wrapped up rehab from double knee surgery himself.


I hate to disagree with Chris, and most of what he said here is stuff I agree with, but I value face pulls more than he does. Not necessarily from a mass/strength building standpoint. They’re not going to make a big difference there. But from a shoulder health standpoint. Nothing else in your program has that kind of shoulder rotation involved. I actually do high rep face pulls at the end of each session, no matter what else I’m working. 2 or 3 sets of 10-20. Just a bunch. As far as training economy goes, you can use a really light weight, so you can knock these out in less than 5 minutes. So I don’t see that as being a real concern.

If you do decide to remove them from your program, it’s not the end of the world. I just happen to value them quite a bit, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it.


Agreed, face pulls and band pull aparts have done wonders for my shoulders that once used to click all the time. Pressing strength also went up as shoulder health improved, so win win.


Broseph, I’m a big fan of face pulls. But yeah, I was primarily speaking from a training economy perspective. Prehab-type work can definitely be important, but I don’t think it’s always necessary for everyone in every program.

For a beginner just getting into a consistent routine with no pre-existing issue that we know of, a basic well-designed full body approach is a good enough start. So doing pull-ups and rows and face pulls one session and pull-ups and pulldowns and face pulls in another session isn’t necessary. Doesn’t hurt, but isn’t necessary.

Plenty of ways to skin a cat, though, so no harm done. Except to the aforementioned cat.