Are you looking for a training program that will maximize your time, improve mobility, and enhance body composition? You are not alone. Full Body Training (FBT) might be the right fit for you.

The more people I work with over the years, the more I have come to realize a few things:

  1. Most people need more frequency with the foundational movement patterns (squat, hinge, lunge, push, and pull) but less overall volume per session.
  2. Most cannot spend hours in the gym (most of the people I work with have roughly 200 minutes per week spent devoted to training which means training a body-part split is out for them.)
  3. Most people need flexibility in their lives, so their programming should be no different.

For years I have written about the Conjugate method paired with aerobic methods as an incredible way to train for general fitness for everyday athletes. Fast forward to the present day and I still think this is the case. However, as I have gotten older, I have felt the need for more flexibility in my own training, in the sense that not every session is a given when you have young kids and responsibilities. This has facilitated to switching my own approach to Full Body Training (FBT) and the results over the last year have been some of the best I have experienced!

Interestingly enough, this style of training has been one that resonates with my following as many of the people I attract are much like myself: they have kids, lots of weekend responsibilities, and are at a high training age. 

Questions about Full Body Training

But with a shift in training comes many questions. Things like:

“Can I get jacked with FBT?”
“Can I get stronger with FBT?”
“Will I lose muscle?”

Can you get jacked with full-body training? For sure - just ask any elite bodybuilders from the 60s/70s (did you know most trained using a FBT split!? - search Reg Park if you think I’m kidding!) 

Can you get strong with FBT training? Without a doubt! 

You will be less sore, which will allow you to push the intensity harder in each session from full body training sessions.

You will also be able to build motor patterns because you are exposed to the foundational movement patterns more frequently (highly beneficial to counteract poor daily postures.)

Furthermore, I often find with people with higher training ages, their response to lifting less overall volume and more frequency is noticeable right away. The old adage of “less is more” is the case when it comes to training nine out of ten times!

Reasons To Train Full Body

FBT sessions encompass training all five foundational movements in each session. With this training, your sessions are incredibly efficient and effective.

FBT is great for people that want to:

  • Maximize their time. If you get busy at different times of the year, you need a flexible training plan, not one that is rigid.
  • Improve mobility. You will be training all of the foundational movements in each session. Because of this, you will be consistently improving overall mobility.
  • Improve body composition. More frequency will allow for improved lagging muscle groups.
  • Clean up nagging aches and pains. FBT sessions are great for cleaning up faulty movement patterns.
  • Have fun! FBT sessions will make you feel like you accomplished something. As a bonus, a lot of these workouts are generally a ton of fun!
  • Counteract daily postures with more exposure to the foundational patterns. It is no mystery that we spend way too much time sitting or on our phones. 

What Does the Programming Look Like?

There are many directions you can take here, but here is one way I have found works well:

  • Prioritizing one main strength lift each day (three total strength sessions) with full recovery between sets
  • Utilizing tried and true aerobic methods to bridge the gap between sessions (two sessions)
  • Use four exercise circuits for accessory work. Four exercise circuits allow for longer bouts of recovery, as you will have rested three minutes before returning to the first movement, while also being incredibly time efficient (this is an idea I learned from Dr. Chad Waterbury in his book “Elite Physique” which I highly recommend buying).

Here is what five days of programming could look like:

Full Body Sample 5-Day Program

Day 1: FBT Strength Work

1. Zombie Front: 5 x 5 to a heavy 5. Rest 3:00
2a. 1-Arm Rows: 5 x 10 each. Rest 45s.
2b. Hip Thrust: 5 x 10. Rest 45s.
2c. DB Shoulder Press: 5 x 10. Rest 45s.
2d. Farmer Carry: 5 x 100 ft. Rest 45s.

Day 2: FBT Conditioning

5 Rounds of:

1a. Air Squats: 5 x 30s on/30s off
1b. Air Bike Sprint: 5 x 30s on/30s off
1c. Battle Ropes: 5 x 30s on/30s off
1d. Push-ups: 5 x 30s on/30s off
1e. Russian Kettlebell Swings: 5 x 30s on/30s off

Day 3: FBT Strength Work

1. Floor Press: 5 x 5 to a heavy 5. Rest 3:00
2a. Split Squat: 5 x 6 each. Rest 45s.
2b. Chin-up: 5 x 6. Rest 45s.
2c. Back Raise: 5 x 12. Rest 45s.
2d. Reverse Crunch: 5 x 12. Rest 45s.

Day 4: Aerobic Conditioning

30-40 minutes of steady-state cyclical work (bike, rower, treadmill) at Zone 2 (60-70% of MHR)

Day 5: FBT Strength Work

1. Speed Trap Bar Deadlift: 5 x 5 @60% of 1RM. Rest 90s.
2a. Ring Rows: 4 x 10. Rest 45s.
2b. Lateral Landmine Squat: 4 x 10 each. Rest 45s.
2c. Ring Dips: 4 x 10. Rest 45s.
2d. Ring Fallouts: 4 x 10. Rest 45s.

Try Full Body Training

In closing, if you have gotten to a point where you have fallen out of alignment with your training, give Full Body Training a try. At first, you will likely think the volume is not high enough, but give it a full eight weeks before you make a change to make an honest assessment - you may be surprised with the results!

Jason has been involved with the fitness industry for close to 17 years working with individuals and coaches. He is the owner of Jason Brown Coaching specializing in working with 35+ guys as well as providing education for strength and conditioning coaches to improve their programming. He has a Master's of Science degree in Exercise Science, is a CSCS, and is a Certified Special Strengths Coach through Westside Barbell.