Structuring full body workouts

Structuring workouts well, with just the right amount of intensity, volume and rest, as well as making the right split/exercise choices is a skill that can only be learnt from years of practice. With that in mind this, article aims to eliminate one area in which you might be making mistakes and explain to you how to best choose the exercises to include and/or exclude from full body workouts. In this way, I hope to ensure that you understand the backbone of your training sessions

Why should you be using a full body workout split?

Training the majority of the major muscle groups all in one session can be beneficial to:

– People training for weight/fat loss so that they may incorporate an element of cardio into their weight training and still have time for other forms of exercise.

– People who are limited to 3 or fewer training sessions per week (with any goal), so that they are able to target each part of the body more frequently. This prevents muscle groups from having too much time to recover.

– Athletes or sports players who want to match the demands of their sport within their training and also use power based movements which incorporate many different muscle groups at one time.

Understanding movement patterns

The first (main) thing to understand when designing a full body training session is the 6 main movement patterns and their muscle focuses. The 6 main patterns are: squat, hinge, lunge or split squat, push, pull and carrying. These may at first sound slightly alien to some of you, but when you see their muscle focuses it will make sense with how they form most of our training sessions.

The muscular focuses of these movement patterns are: quadriceps (squat and lunge patterns), hamstring/glute (hinge pattern), chest and shoulder (push movement patterns), back (pull movement patterns) and our core muscles (carrying patterns). Hopefully now you can see how these two subjects match up. Yes, of course, there are other muscle groups that we have but above are the main ones which need the most attention. Accessory exercises (written about in a previous blog of mine) can cover some of the other smaller muscle groups.

Once you have your head round these patterns and which muscle groups they primarily focus on, you can start to build a simple training programme.

Putting it all together

Most training programmes will have 6 weights based exercises in them. Of course there are some exceptions which have less and some people who are looking for decent fat loss results may have more due to adding cardio parts on to the end. All you need to do is pick one exercise from each of the focus points above.

For example we could pick incline bench press (chest and shoulders), walking lunges (quads), chin ups (back based muscle groups), prone curls (hamstrings) and single arm farmers carries (core based). This basic list gives you 5 out of the 6 exercises which potentially form a template for a full body session. You’ll notice that in this case we are missing one exercise, this is the open space for any prehab, rehab or other exercises which will focus on your own specific weaknesses – again, go back and read my blog on accessory exercises, it’ll fill this gap for you. Once you have lists of exercises which fit into each of the movement patterns you can then just select them easily to produce a basic plan.

Beyond the initial structure of a workout it becomes more complex and very much a process which is governed by an individual’s training goal/target. These parts include deciding on rep counts, weight intensities, rest times, tempos and so on. You are more than welcome to attempt putting those touches on a programme yourself however, for expert online coaching look no further than the Hybrid Performance online training app, which opens its doors again for the next intake very soon.

Get in touch for more information or go straight to the online training page here on the site for a 2 week free trial

Keep training,


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