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             FITNESS TIPS FOR 5/18/2004           

Full Body Workouts

A Timeless, Classic Workout                                           
By Greg Sushinsky    

We've probably all done this workout, or something like it.  
Maybe you began with it, or maybe you've returned to it, or 
maybe someday you will.  We all know it, like an old 
acquaintance, maybe even a friend, as it more than likely
 was responsible for some of our earliest muscle and 
strength gains.  So, yeah, it's an old, comfortable friend.  
It's the three days-a-week, whole body workout.  

Right now, you may think you're too advanced for that workout, 
even if at one time it did something for your muscle and 
strength, but before you stop reading and go away, you should 
realize that this workout is a foundation for all the other 
workouts you are doing or have ever done.  It is like the 
trunk of a great tree, and in the genealogy of workouts, all 
other workouts come from it, branch out from it.   Reviewing 
this seemingly dull standard workout may reveal some of 
the bodybuilding treasures it holds.  And these surprising 
treasures may also unlock better workouts for you now and 
in the future, which should mean more muscle and 
strength for you.  Can't afford to ignore that, can you?

Here is what the workout commonly looks like:

    Bench Press 1-3 sets, 8-12 reps
    Behind the Neck Press 1-3 sets, 8-12 reps
    Bentover Rows 1-3 sets, 8-12 reps
    Curls 1-3 sets, 8-12 reps
    Lying Tricep Extensions 1-3 sets, 8-12 reps
    Squats 1-3 sets, 8-12 reps
    Calf Raise 1-3 sets, 15-20 reps
    Crunches 1-3 sets,  8-12 reps

That's it.  Nothing more to it, is there?  You would do this workout 
three times a week on non-consecutive days, usually working 
up from the one set per bodypart/exercise to three eventually, 
adding weight over time in the weeks and months you use this 
workout, while the workout would take anywhere from a half 
hour to an hour-and-a-half to complete, depending on how it's 

Whatever workout you're doing grew from this, whether you 
realize it or not.  You probably at some point went into what 
are either variations of this workout, continuing to work out a 
limited number of days per week, or as most of us inevitably 
did, went off into split routines-sometimes sooner than we 
should-and continued to make progress (or not-something 
we'll get back to), and added, if not sets and reps, intensity,
weight, and so on.  So why even think about that original, 
beginner's workout?

Think of the progress you made.  Remember the whole body 
workout when it was your introduction into real working out.  
Your baptism of getting used to real sets and reps, feeling 
the lure of the iron for the first time, training in a systematic 
way, showing up for your workouts, increasing your efforts 
(if not always your results); you learned an enormous 
amount about working out, about yourself, and you probably 
made a larger percentage of your gains on that workout than 
on any other.  Oh, sure, you may think, that's just because 
you had so far to go.  Yet if you hadn't mastered that workout, 
you wouldn't have gone on to greater gains.

The whole body workout works for beginners not only because 
they are new to bodybuilding, as if they are fresh soil in which 
to plant the seeds of growing muscle, but because the workout 
itself has, like so many deceptively simple things, so much 
more to offer than it first appears.  What are some of these 

Benefits of the Full Body Routine 

1. Controlled Stress  
The three times weekly, one major/compound exercise per 
bodypart workout is one that tends to keep the possibilities 
of overtraining down.  Yes, while it's possible to overtrain 
on it, more easily for some trainees than others, it does not 
offer the more obvious pitfalls of excessive volume (less 
common in today's workouts, admittedly, than in the decades 
of the sixties, seventies, and eighties) but also it does 
not overload the trainee with, well, excessive overload.  
There are no single reps (1 RM), forced reps, partials, burns, 
power rack work, negatives, etc., and if the beginner is 
wisely trained by someone, training to failure is not allowed 
or encouraged at that stage.  So one reason the beginner 
grows and progresses is because he isn't overtrained.  And 
that's usually the main reason more advanced bodybuilders 
don't gain.

2. Productive Exercise Selection
Look what's included: Benches, squats, rows-basic, compound, 
productive stuff.  It's true there are some beginners who are 
so weak that they need remedial work and that even the 
compound exercises are too much for them, but this is rare,
usually confined to ultra-hard gainers or people with injuries 
or medical or other disabilities.  For them, remedial or
rehabilitation training would be necessary first.  But the 
beauty of the basic exercises is that they can, obviously, 
be adjusted to the strength level of the beginner, yet the 
trainee can learn good form and technique with repeated 
application, as opposed to trying to master the intricacies of 
some of the more complicated stuff we see and do in the gym. 
And trying to improve form or technique while using maximum 
weight/reps is not easy, nor recommended.  The exercise 
selection is also good for what it is not: it is not the 
peripheral stuff, or more accurately, exercises that will only 
or perhaps later have value after some of the basics are 
learned, even mastered.  

3. A Productive Rep Range
There are all kinds of rep schemes in bodybuilding, and 
almost all of them have some value, depending on their 
application.  Yet eight to twelve reps for muscle hypertrophy 
(i.e., increasing the mass or size of the muscle), would 
almost have to be considered a time-tested standard.  This 
rep range can be used to practice form and technique, 
while using moderate weights (not excessively heavy, which 
can cause injuries not only with beginners but with all of us),  
yet the trainee, though he is not killing himself /herself with 
effort, usually gains, sometimes substantially.  And it's not 
just because he or she is a  neophyte.  Look at the technique
 and the gradual progression (lately a wrongly scorned 
approach) of some recent beginner who's making gains,
 and you may want to apply some of what they're doing 
to your own supposedly super-advanced training.

4. Moderate Poundages   
The above rep range with a couple of sets lends itself to the 
use of moderate poundages.  The trainee grows and doesn't 
expend excessive effort doing so.  Now it's true after a 
time progress in exercise poundages will become more 
difficult, but why work your body with excessive effort if it's 
gaining as much or more with less effort?  This workout can 
teach us, or remind us, of that principle of efficient effort.  
Once a beginner is progressing, they are, in effect, making 
maximum progress without wasting any effort.  What most 
of us end up doing is expending more and more effort and
 energy for less and less in the way of results.  This whole 
body classic, on the other hand, is an efficient workout.

5. A Thorough Frequency
There are many frequencies, or times per week (or weeks) 
in which to work a lift or a muscle group, and many of these 
are productive, some being more productive at times than 
others, again depending on the specific need and individual 
abilities.  Three-times-a-week used to be standard for 
working the muscles, back in the age-old drug-free (or low 
dosage) days of the forties, fifties, and even the early sixties.  
While it is usually too often for more advanced trainees 
(though there are ways to make it work even then), and less 
and less frequent working of the muscle groups/lifts has 
been a decades-long trend (you can get good results or no 
results with very infrequent training), there is still a lot of 
value in training a muscle group three times a week. There 
are specific ways to do it successfully, and this workout 
contains them.  Return to the first point about controlled 
stress.  There is a synergy at play here.  All these factors, 
not just one, make it work.  If you were to add forced 
reps, or try to do max doubles or triples (which can work 
in other select bodybuilding, not just strength, 
workouts)-every workout, most bodybuilders would end up
quickly overtrained, probably injured, and not too happy.
6. Surprising  Versatility
Two things have given this workout a kind of bad name. One,
 it is seen as kind of a bland, plain vanilla, nothing workout, 
especially by advanced trainees.  We hope you're re-thinking 
that.  Two-and this has more merit-it's too rigid, doesn't give 
you enough options and alternatives.  There's some truth in 
that.  For example, when most of us felt we were outgrowing 
this workout, we started adding sets and reps, sometimes a 
lot, until we could no longer work our whole body in one 
workout.  Then we had to split the workout just to get through 
it and get out of the gym.  So we did.  But before you do that, 
you can-carefully-intensify it instead.  This doesn't mean 
adding every intensity technique you can think of, but you 
can, for example, include a lower rep, heavier set in squats, 
benches, rows, especially, or you can pick one of the three 
days and train heavy on one of the lifts while keeping your 
other work moderate.  These small  changes can add a lot 
and continue to coax gains when they otherwise would stall.  
You can also change the exercises somewhat; you can try 
exercise variations, for example include inclines, still a 
mass exercise yet one which will give more shape where 
usually needed, instead of benches, one or all of the 
workouts; you can change your squat style, doing parallels 
one day, Olympic high-bar squats another, front squats or 
leg presses or whatever other productive compound leg
exercise you can think of in still another.  Not enough 
bodybuilders (and lifters) exploit the potential of this 
style of variety in their workouts.  And although fewer 
still powerlifters and strength specialists seldom use the 
whole-body, three-day-a-week workout, some did in the 
past-Olympic lifters and even some early powerlifters.  
It's worth experimenting with, don't overlook it.

7. It's A Complete Workout  
With the combination of things you are doing, sets, reps, 
form, poundages, different (or the same exercises), 
you can keep within the framework of this 
three-times-a-week, whole body basic workout and 
extract great gains.  You can learn to get a pump 
(something almost forgotten, neglected, also scorned 
with today's heavy/intensity only mentality), you can 
gain strength and muscle and gradually progress to 
heavier weights with a minimal risk of injury, learn which 
exercises work best for you, improve your form and 
technique, (something also very lacking with many of 
today's bodybuilders, which holds back drug-free trainers' 
gains), and incorporate advanced techniques in a more 
measured, restrained way, which will also help you 
evaluate what works for you and what doesn't.  
So you can see now there are many great features to this 
common, standard workout.  And not just for beginners or 
intermediates, either.  Advanced bodybuilders can return 
to this workout as a refresher; it will be a different stress, 
and working the muscle groups more frequently yet not 
pounding them into absolute submission will not only be 
a tonic, a break from super-intensity, but it may promote 
gains, also.  Advanced bodybuilders can also cut out 
some of the junk exercises and sets they may have 
grown accustomed to using.  At the very least, they can 
even take a break from what are even normally productive, 
needed isolation exercises which they have overused.  
When they return to them later, those exercises will 
be more productive.      

This workout is concentrated enough to cause a renewal of 
focus, without the over-stress of some of the super-intensity 
workouts.  Three sets of eight fairly heavy reps of parallel 
squats, for example, performed with intense concentration, 
focus, in as nearly perfect form as you can manage, will be 
difficult in a different, though surprisingly productive way, 
than an all-out power, low-rep set, or max intensity set.  
Yes, it's an open secret, advanced men can gain muscle 
on this timeless, classic workout.

Who is the author & why should you listen to what he has to say?

Greg Sushinsky began as a stick-figure tall, skinny, 5í11" 
133-pounder, & tried the conventional training & hard gainer 
training of the time, which didnít work.  When he developed his 
own methods of training & eating, he eventually put on nearly 
100 pounds of mostly muscle, using natural, drug-free methods.  
He was able to powerlift & bodybuild, & continued his research 
on any and all methods that worked not just for him, but for other 
hard gainers. He is a much sought after writer & continues to 
train & teach his innovative principles today.
Visit his website 

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