The Best Science-Based Full Body Workout for Growth

A full body workout is the best workout split if you want to grow your strength and muscles, whatever training level you’re at. These workouts allow you to optimise both your recovery and training frequency during the week while also saving time, since you’ll only need to do three workouts each week. 

Nevertheless, its’s important to be sure you’re adequately targeting all the key muscle groups for every workout you do to maximise the benefits of full body workouts. With this in mind, here is a full body exercise plan that will ensure you get the complete workout you need every time. 

1.Barbell Bench Presses

Your first exercise should be barbell bench presses. These are your primary chest exercises. 

2.Barbell Back Squats

These lower body exercises are your second step before you move onto upper body movements. This exercise helps to optimise your performance and recovery, working out your glutes and quadriceps effectively. 


Your first upper body exercise, pull-ups, will also work out your back. You’ll be working your lats primarily, but also the scapular stabilisers and shoulders. Initially, you can start with 10 to 12 pull-ups then progress by holding a weight between the feet or wearing a weight belt. If you struggle with pull-ups at first, you can do band assisted pull-ups instead.

4.Lying Hamstring Dumbbell Curls

You’re going to give your upper body a rest by moving onto your lower body again with lying hamstring curls. Hold a weight between the feet to control the weight during each rep.

5.Standing Overhead Presses

Your final major compound movement during this workout is the standing overhead barbell press. This exercise works the shoulders, developing your strength in your upper body. The primary muscles you’re using are the triceps, serratus anterior, and anterior deltoids. 

Accessory Additional Exercises 

Once you’ve completed the primary exercises, you can move onto accessory exercises which will minimise muscle imbalances. 

These include: 

Face Pulls 

This movement helps improve your posture and shoulder health, and will balance the pulling reps, working the lower and mid traps and rear delts as well as the rotator cuff muscles. You can do this exercise either standing or kneeling, but keeping your elbows high then driving them backwards when you pull the rope to your face is essential. It’s best to use lighter weights so you can focus on ensuring the correct muscles are being activated. 

Drag Curls

This biceps exercise targets the outer head of your biceps. You can use a barbell or weighted bar, lifting it as close as you can to the front of your body, driving your elbows behind your body then lowering it in the same way. Again, a lighter weight is best until you’ve perfected the movement. 

An Overview Of Reps And Sets

Barbell bench presses – 6-10 reps and 3-4 sets

Barbell back squats – 6-10 reps and 3-4 sets

Pull-Ups – 6-10 reps and 3-4 sets

Lying hamstring dumbbell curls – 10-15 reps and 3-4 sets

Standing Overhead Presses – 6-10 reps and 3-4 sets

Face Pulls – 10-15 reps and 3-4 sets 

Drag Curls – 8-10 reps and 3-4 sets 

You should also add some abs and calves exercises into your accessory movements. 

As a complete beginner to weight lifting, you should stick to doing only the primary compound movements at first, and stay to the lower end of the sets range for each exercise. Over time, you can add more weight and volume. 

An Alternative Full Body Workout 

If you’d like to alternate the above workout with something a little different, here is a second full body workout backed up by science that you may want to try. 

1: Deadlift

Conventional deadlifts are ideal but you can experiment with different variations if you prefer. This exercises help to develop the hamstrings in a balanced way while minimising any risks of injury. 

2: Incline Dumbbell Presses

This is the primary chest movement for the workout, emphasising the upper chest and pecs. Choose an angle of 30-56 degrees to achieve optimal upper chest activation. 

3: Chest Supported Row

This is the workout’s primary back movement, working the muscles of the upper back effectively as well as the rhomboids and traps in the mid-back area.

4: Bulgarian Split Squats

This exercise works the glutes and quadriceps as well as the hamstrings. Focus on using the front leg to push up while avoiding pushing upwards with your back leg. If you’re struggling to balance, keep the back foot on a low platform then increase the height gradually until you’re able to balance safely on the bench.

5.Dumbbell Lateral Raises

You’ll be targeting your mid delt or lateral deltoid here. If you prefer to switch up the dumbbells for chest supports, cables, or kettlebells, that’s ideal too, allowing you to use different resistance curves. 

6: Incline Dumbbell Kickbacks

This accessory movement focuses on the triceps. Set the incline to around 30 degrees and keep the elbows locked by your sides and the arms parallel with the body while you do each rep. 

7: High to Low Cable Flies

Finally, high to low cable crossovers put emphases on your lower chest. Make sure your elbows are locked in position for each rep and cross over your hands at their bottom position so you can achieve better horizontal adduction and activate your chest fibres to the max. 

Your Alternative Workout Run Down 

Your alternative workout should look like this: 

Barbell Deadlifts – 6-10 reps and 3-4 sets 

Incline Dumbbell Presses – 6-12 reps and 3-4 sets 

Bulgarian Split Squats – 6-10 reps and 3-4 sets 

Chest Supported Rows – 6-12 reps and 3-4 sets 

Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 10-15 reps and 3-4 sets 

Incline Dumbbell Kickbacks: 10-15 reps and 3-4 sets 

High to Low Chest Cable Flies: 10-15 reps and 3-4 sets 

If you follow these two workout plans, you should find that your whole body can enjoy a complete workout every session. You’ll see the benefits for all your muscles in no time, optimising each workout to the max. 

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