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Whether you have just started your gym journey or have been hitting it for a while, the idea of grinding out sessions day in and day out just isn’t your idea of fun.
I hear you and completely get it. The frequency of our workouts is a struggle many of my clients have faced over my past decade as a personal trainer.
That’s why today I will be discussing the power of performing a full body workout every other day to help you maximize results.
I’ll share the 10 best exercises to include, beginner and advanced programs, and professional tips to smash your training goals.
So, let’s dive in.
What is a full body workout?
This allows you to train between three and four days per week with a scheduled rest day between sessions for adequate recovery.
Full Body VS. Split Workout
Choosing between a full body versus a split workout routine? There are many different factors that need to be considered including personal preference, training goals, and experience level.
Below is a list of these elements and how they vary between full and split workouts.
Full-body workouts are great if you are new to resistance training. They allow you to try a range of different exercises but in relatively low volume.
This will help you target each muscle group with one or two sets, introducing a new stimulus to your muscles without overdoing it.
There, you can put a greater focus on each muscle group and increase the total number of exercises.
Your availability to train is one of the biggest factors to take into consideration when choosing between full body or split workout.
This will determine how many days you are free to train, which can directly affect your ability to remain consistent and your overall results.
If you have limited training windows of two or three sessions per week, for example, a full-body program is best. It will allow you to target all muscle groups.
But if you have more than three days available for training, you may want to consider a split program. It’ll add a greater range of exercises and more variety to your training.
When choosing between full-body and split routine, factoring in your training goals is a must.
Let’s say you’re looking to start weight training or supplement your existing training outside of the gym with weights. You can only make it a couple of times per week. In this case, a full-body workout may be your best bet.
However, if you are wanting to pack on serious mass and increase your training volume, choose the split routine. A focus on each muscle group or movement should be your go-to.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to what training style works best for you.
If you like hitting all your muscles in one session and getting things done, then the full-body workout is for you.
But if you want to take a little more time with each muscle group and increase the number of exercises and sets, the split program is the way to go.
The choice comes down to the programming that helps you maintain your training and remain consistent on your way to achieving great results.
Can I do a full body workout every other day?
It is recommended that you have at least one day’s rest between full-body sessions to allow your body and muscles to recover.
While it is possible to hit a full body workout on back-to-back days, you will likely find your sore muscles and lower energy levels will reduce your performance.
Main Benefits of Exercising Full Body Every Other Day
Related: Hypertrophy Vs Strength Training
Performing a full-body workout every other day is a great way to begin resistance training in a time-efficient manner.
Here are the biggest benefits I see to performing full body workouts. It spells out exactly why this type of training might be your best chance at achieving great results.
Efficient Use of Time
Full body training is great for those who have fewer windows to train but still want to hit all their major muscle groups. This is what makes it a time-efficient alternative to split programming.
By targeting each muscle group with one to two exercises, every workout, you can promote muscle growth in just a few sessions per week.
The bottom line is that this means fewer sessions at the gym while still achieving great results.
Increased Calorie Burn
Full body training is a great way to increase the calories burned per session, as the sessions have a greater focus on large compound lifts.
Given that your full body session will consist of multiple large compound lifts, it is fair to say that you will have a greater total of calories burned per session.
Balanced Muscle Development
Full body training is excellent for creating balanced muscle development. You can design your program to have equal parts of each muscle group.
By evenly allocating exercises to each muscle group, you effectively maintain a healthy balance to increase muscle mass while maintaining quality mechanics and function.
Improved Functional Fitness
One of the great things about full body training is that you can program exercises that train the entire body.
Movements such as deadlifts, clean and jerks, and lunges with presses allow you to train a movement rather than a specific muscle.
This will help improve and condition your push and pull movements, which can improve your function outside of the gym, for sport or other recreational activities.
Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness
Scientific research shows that large compound lifts that use multiple joints are more efficient in improving maximal oxygen consumption.
Simply put, the more muscle and joints you use, the greater demand on your cardiovascular system, resulting in greater adaptations.
Time for Muscle Recovery
Performing a full body workout every other day is great for spacing out your training and allows you to prioritize recovery.
As previously mentioned, the body requires between 48-72 hours between resistance training sessions to help repair damaged muscle tissue and replenish energy stores.
Studies illustrate that up to 24 hours is required to restore glycogen, the muscle stored energy source.
During this time, muscle soreness will decrease, with evidence suggesting it can take between 24-72 hours.
By having regular rest days between sessions, you can ensure you are well rested, allowing you to continue performing at your peak.
Drawbacks of Exercising Full Body Every Other Day
With all of this talk about the amazing benefits of full-body training, we have to acknowledge the drawbacks.
Here are the biggest cons as I see them.
Longer Workout Sessions
Full-body training is great for hitting all your muscles in one go, but due to the number of exercises, sessions will be much longer in duration.
If your program consists of three leg exercises, two back, two chest, and two arms, that is a total of nine exercises.
Times that by three sets and you get 27 sets in total. With a one-minute break between each exercise, that is easily a 50-minute workout.
Now don’t get me wrong, 50 minutes is the perfect amount of time to be in the gym. However, if you want to add an extra exercise, not to mention your warm-up and stretch, it really begins to drag the session out.
Lack of Focus on Specific Muscles
Training your full body comes with the sacrifice of lacking training specificity.
What I mean by this is that while you can hit many muscle groups each session, you will be doing so with fewer exercises.
This lack of specificity makes each session more of a Jack of All Trades rather than a Master of One.
On the other hand, split routines help you to focus on a muscle group or part of the body and dedicate more exercises, sets, and reps to it.
Limited Training Volume
When we hit the gym, there is only so much time we can allocate to each session before it becomes unsustainable.
A good full-body workout should last between 45-60 minutes. This amount of time will afford you one to two exercises per muscle group.
The problem that many face is that if you want to increase the number of exercises and sets, this can blow out your 60-minute routine. That will likely make your sessions feel long and drawn out.
This is why many people adopt a split routine for a greater focus on each muscle group and increase training volume without the need to spend hours in the gym.
Plateau in Progression
The lack of focus on specific muscle groups and adequate training volume can result in plateaus.
However, as we progress, we will need to increase this stimulus to challenge the body for greater adaptation.
This can be difficult with a full-body program. As we learned, the addition of exercises, sets, and reps will draw out your program’s duration.
While it is doable to program a longer session, it may result in a decrease in consistency, affecting your overall results.
You will have regular or more frequent windows to rest, but you may find your energy levels dip if you are training particularly hard for the longer full-body sessions.
The feeling of full-body DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) multiple times per week can make those post-training days a real killer.
This can also be made worse if you choose to train on back-to-back days should other events in your schedule pop up.
No Back-To-Back Sessions
If you are performing a full body workout every other day, chances are you don’t really want to get into the gym on back-to-back days.
However, on the odd chance you might want to fit in an extra session, you do so with the risk of being extra sore and tired.
While it is not impossible to train the same workout two days in a row, your body will not have had the adequate amount of rest to repair and restore energy.
Training full body often means you are limited to your training days, and is why many opt-in for the split program set up.
This allows them to progress their training, while not doubling up on hitting the same muscle groups two days in a row.
10 Best Full Body Exercises to Include in Your EOD Workout Routine
Related: Do Squats Work Abs?
Now that we have covered the pros and cons of performing a full body workout it’s time to share the best 10 exercises to include in your program.
1. Goblet Squat
The goblet squat is a brilliant exercise for teaching correct squatting technique while gradually introducing weight.
This makes it perfect for beginners who want to start weight training for their legs.
How To Perform Goblet Squats
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the weight in front of your chest.
- Begin by leading back with your hips and lower toward the ground.
- Lower until your knees are bent at 90°, then push back up to the starting position. Repeat.
- Great for introducing weights to your squats
- Excellent for teaching correct squatting technique
- Keep elbows up for the duration of the squat, this will secure the weight and stop it from falling forward.
- Initiate each movement by unhinging the hips, this will help you maintain correct technique.
2. Back Squat
- Weight Plates
- Squat Rack
How To Perform Back Squats
- Step under the barbell and position the bar across the belly of your traps.
- Grab the bar with both hands and push up with your legs to take the weight of the bar.
- Take two steps back from the rack.
- Begin by unhinging your hips and lowering them down to the ground.
- Lower until your hips are parallel with the floor, then push back up to the starting position.
- Focus on breathing. Inhale and tense the core before lowering, and exhale as you push up.
- Hold onto the barbell tight, pull down into your traps, and squeeze your upper back. This will increase rigidity through the torso and improve control.
3. Walking Lunges
How To Perform Walking Lunges
- Standing, take a step forward with one foot so you are in a split stance.
- Lower the back knee directly down to the floor.
- Lower until your front knee is bent at 90°, then push back up.
- Have the rear foot step forward so that both feet are together.
- Alternate legs, walking forward for the rest of the set.
- Increases muscle mass
- Improves stability and balance
- When performing your walking lunge, drop the rear leg directly down toward the floor. This will create 90° angles for both knees.
- If you are new to the exercise, test range of motion with half reps. As you progress through the sets, begin to gradually lower to full range of motion.
4. Bench Press
- Weight Plates
- Bench Press
How To Perform the Bench Press
- Take a seat on the bench and lie back so that your eyes are directly below the bar.
- Grab the barbell just wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Push the bar up to take the weight and position it directly over your chest.
- Start by bending your elbows and lowering the bar down to your chest.
- Lower until your elbows are bent at 90°.
- Press the barbell back up to the starting position, repeat.
- Increases upper body strength
- Promotes growth for the chest, shoulders, and triceps
- When setting up, place your feet firmly on the floor and brace the core. This will create a solid foundation to lift from.
- Focus on breathing, inhaling as you lower and exhaling as you press.
5. Dumbbell Chest Press
The dumbbell chest press is a brilliant exercise for targeting the upper body. It allows you to build each side independently as they must push their own dumbbells.
How To Perform the Dumbbell Chest Press
- Sit down on the end of a bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand, resting them on your thighs.
- Lie back on the bench and immediately press the dumbbells up over your chest.
- Begin by bending your elbows and lower the dumbbells out toward your sides.
- Lower until your elbows are bent at 90°, then press back up to the starting position. Repeat.
- Concentrate on breathing, inhaling as you lower and exhaling as you press.
- Lower and press in a controlled movement and focus on pushing through the elbows. This will improve your ability to contract your chest.
6. Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press
The seated dumbbell overhead press is a simple and effective exercise for targeting the shoulders and triceps.
The seated position helps you remain stable, allowing you to focus on pushing serious weight.
- Seated Bench
How To Perform the Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press
- Sit down on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand resting on your thighs.
- Press dumbbells directly up over your head so they meet at the midline of your body.
- Begin by lowering the dumbbells out toward the sides until your elbows are bent at 90°.
- Once they reach this position, press back up overhead to the starting position. Repeat.
- Builds bigger shoulders
- Seated position allow for greater stability
- Keep the chest up and proud for the duration of the set. This will open up the shoulders and improve range of motion.
- If you are struggling with pressing overhead with your elbows back, angle them in 45°. This will decrease pressure on the shoulder joint and allow for a smoother range of motion.
7. Lat Pulldown
- Lat Pulldown
How To Perform Lat Pulldowns
- Sit down on the lat pulldown and position your knees under the pads.
- Reach up overhead and grab the bar just wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Tilt your torso back slightly to allow for the back to pass your head.
- Pull the bar down to your collarbone and squeeze your back muscles.
- Release the bar back to the starting position. Repeat.
- Increases muscle mass
- Great for developing a wide back
- Begin each movement by engaging the shoulder blades down toward the floor. This will draw focus to your target back muscles.
- Focus on pulling elbows back and down to the floor; this will improve your back contraction.
8. Seated Row
Seated rows are one of the best exercises for building upper body strength and improving function.
By targeting the back muscle, you will improve your posture, shoulder function, and upper body strength all at once.
- Seated Row
How To Perform the Seated Row
- Sit down on the seated row and place your feet on the angle platform in front of you.
- Lean forward and grab the handle, then push yourself back so your back is upright.
- Being by pulling shoulder blades back and then rowing the handle toward your belly button.
- Once the handle meets your body, release the cable back to the starting position.
- Increases upper body strength and size
- Improves posture
- Begin each movement by pulling shoulder blades together. This will engage your back muscles.
- When performing your row, pull back with your elbows. This will improve your ability to contract your back muscles.
9. Barbell Bicep Curl
Barbell biceps curls are the first of our isolation exercises and are great for rounding out our full-body workout.
This will add tone and definition to your arms and shoulders and help you develop a lean, athletic physique.
How To Perform Barbell Bicep Curls
- Stand holding a barbell in front of your thighs with an underhand grip.
- Curl the barbell up toward your shoulder until it is in line with your collarbone.
- Lower back down to the starting position. Repeat.
- Builds lean muscle mass
- Creates definition and separation of the shoulders and biceps
- When setting up for your curls, set feet shoulder-width apart and brace the core. This will improve stability and help you squeeze and contract your biceps.
- When performing your curl, pause and squeeze the bicep to increase contraction.
10. Rope Cable Tricep Pushdown
The rope cable tricep pushdown, much like the bicep curl, will help to define the back of your arm and build a lean upper body overall.
- Cable Machine
- Rope Attachment
How To Perform Rope Cable Tricep Pushdowns
- Set your cable machine to the highest point and attach the dual rope handle.
- Grab a rope in each hand directly in front of your face and place feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your elbows in position, extend your elbows and push the rope down to the floor.
- Push down until your elbows are at full extension, then release back up to the starting position. Repeat.
- Creates upper body definition
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Keep your elbows tucked at your sides for the entire set. This will help you isolate the triceps.
- Focus on breathing, exhaling as you push down and inhaling as you release back to the top.
The Best Full Body Workout Program Every Other Day
To help you put your new full-body program into practice, we have created workouts for both beginners and advanced lifters.
Below, you will find both workouts consisting of the exercises listed above, including sets, reps, and rest times.
The beginner program is based on a three-day per week training schedule, affording you four rest days per week.
The advanced program is a four-day per week schedule, which allows you to have a one-day break between sessions.
The advanced program contains a super set, which is highlighted. This will require you to perform the selected exercises back to back without rest.
Beginner Weekly Schedule
Beginner Full Body Workout Program (Duration 45 – 50 mins)
|Dumbbell Chest Press
|Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press
|Barbell Bicep Curls
|Rope Cable Tricep Pushdowns
Advanced Weekly Schedule
Advanced Full Body Workout Program (Duration 65 – 70 mins)
|Barbell Bicep Curls
|Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press
|Rope Cable Tricep Pushdowns
Best Nutrition for Workout and Non-Workout Days
Below we have our recommendation for workout day and non-workout day nutrition to help you give your body what it needs to perform at your peak.
Workout Day Nutrition
Your workout day nutrition can be slightly different from your non-workout days as you will be burning additional calories.
Carb cycling is a practice known in the lifting community that is said to improve performance by increasing your intake and energy levels for your upcoming session.
There is limited evidence to support these claims, with research suggesting that it does not in fact improve performance. However, a little extra fuel may still help you recover energy lost post workout.
Non-Workout Day Nutrition
For non-workout day nutrition, we recommend prioritizing protein and complex carbohydrate intake to help repair damaged muscle tissue and replenish glycogen stores.
If you are following the pattern of alternating training days and rest days, stocking up on protein and carbs between sessions is essential to giving your body the nutrients it needs to perform the following day.
Tips for Training Full Body Every Other Day
Performing an every other day full body workout is great for condensing your training and building lean muscle, but it takes more than going through the motions to get the job done.
Here are some professional training tips to help you maximize your results.
You have likely heard this before and it is no lie. Nutrition is the key to achieving great results in the gym!
Want to gain muscle? You need a calorie surplus.
Want to lose weight? You need to be in a calorie deficit.
Whatever your goal in the gym is, tracking your nutrition will help you achieve it.
To accurately track your nutrition we recommend using our advanced calorie and macronutrient calculator.
Just punch in your age, height, weight, gender and activity level to receive a precise daily calorie and macro breakdown.
When you are doing a full body workout every other day it is vital that you prioritize protein as a part of your diet.
Studies recommended 0.36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight to build lean muscle tissue.
Not only will this help you hit those protein goals, it will eliminate cravings and keep you fuller for longer.
When it comes to lifting and making gains in the gym, progressively overloading your body each session is essential to continuously building lean mass.
This can be done by incrementally increasing your weight, sets, or reps, ensuring you are getting bigger, better, and stronger with every session.
Record Your Progress
One of the best things you can do when training is recording your lifts and tracking your progress.
Actions such as taking photos, measurements, and logging your lifts will allow you to get a range of data to represent how far you have come.
These practices can be handy during long training blocks or when you think your numbers aren’t moving, allowing you to look back and reflect on your previous lifts and results.
This will help you take a step back and give you the much needed shift in perspective to keep pushing you forward.
Performing a full body workout every other day is a highly effective way to train and achieve our fitness goals.
The ability to target all our muscles in fewer sessions makes it a great alternative that can have incredible results.
While there may be limits to training volume and constraints on time, this can be easily remedied by expanding to split day training when you are ready to advance.
And if you are thinking about full body training, be sure to follow a schedule, track your nutrition, and prioritize protein.
Nail these three elements, and you will reach your goal in no time!
So, are you thinking about trying a full body workout? What is it about this type of training that has caught your eye?
Let us know in the comments.
Can you do a full body workout every other day?
Yes, you can do a full body workout every other day. However, it is not recommended training that way on back-to-back days as the body will not have had adequate time to rest and recover.
Between 48-72 hours rest between sessions is recommended for your body to repair damaged muscle tissue and replenish muscle energy stores.
Can you do full body workouts everyday?
You should not perform full body workouts every day as you will not be giving the body enough rest to repair damaged muscle tissue and recover energy.
While it is possible, you may be fighting through muscle soreness and fatigue, which will impair performance.
How often should I do full body workouts?
You can do full body workouts three or four times per week which will allow you enough rest between sessions.
Is it bad to do full body workouts everyday?
Yes, it is bad to do full body workouts every day. While it may not immediately result in negative effects, training like this over a prolonged period of time may result in overtraining. Overtraining involves a disinterest in training, fatigue, changes in mood, and injury.
Is it good to do full body workout every other day?
Yes, it is completely fine to train every other day as there is still a rest day in between sessions. One day of rest between sessions is enough time for the body to recover from exercise.
Is it better to do a full body workout every other day or split?
Choosing between full body and split workouts comes down to your training goals, experience level, and personal preference.
Many newcomers to the gym enjoy a full body session as it allows them to gradually begin weight training.
However, once the stimulus of one or two exercises per muscle group begins to plateau, this is when many opt-in for split programming. Splits let them increase the number of exercises, sets, and reps for greater growth.
Is a full body workout 3 times a week too much?
No, training full body three times per week is perfect for building lean muscle while giving the body enough time to rest and recover.
Are you supposed to workout everyday or every other day?
If you are performing a full body program you should aim to train every other day. If you are performing a split program it is possible to train on back-to-back days.