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One-Hour Full Body Workout

By Adam Hunsaker

As a full time trainer, I see all types of clients with all kinds of schedules. I’ve found that some of my clients don’t have the 90-180 minutes that a select few individuals have for the gym. Numerous responsibilities or just general fatigue from a hectic work day keep them from enjoying that luxury. And I completely get it.

Knowing that, I’ve created this full-body workout to help you get in and out of the gym in one-hour flat. I’ve also included some warm-up guidance that should keep you injury free.

We attack this full body workout from the bottom up, starting with the largest muscle groups first and hitting the finishing details immediately after.

How often should I perform this workout?

This workout will be extremely effective if done 2-3 times per week, depending on how fast you recover. The major factors that affect recovery are nutrition, sleep, individual ability levels - as well as the parameters of a training program (volume, frequency, and intensity) and how they are implemented on an individual basis.

The workout is just as effective for both male and female trainees and needs no deviations or accommodations based on sex whatsoever. Deviations can be made, however, if the gym is busy, or if you’re unable to correctly perform the movement(s).

What’s the difference between full-body and split training?

It wouldn’t be correct to say a full-body workout is less effective than a split training routine (ie. one body part a day). It’s simply a matter of available time. If you can only make it to the gym 2-3 days a week, you’ll need to develop an efficient routine that fits your schedule. Wouldn’t it make sense to commit yourself to a routine you can actually complete rather than setting yourself up for failure with a split body routine that takes more time than you have?

Someone with more time looking for a larger approach to their training may consider using a split training routine that hits different groups every workout in a scheduled rotation. As with any exercise routine, you'll want to allow a period of weeks with good compliance/adherence to notice results. I highly recommend pairing solid nutrition with this for maximum benefits as well as adequate sleep every day. Don't neglect drinking a ton of water daily as well (minimum 1 oz. per/lb. of bodyweight).

Training Schedule

Feel free to shift these days as your schedule dictates. Just be sure to preserve the rest day intervals in between each workout.

Sunday : Full body workout
Monday : Rest day or cardio/conditioning/mobility
Tuesday : Full body workout
Wednesday : Rest day or cardio/conditioning/mobility
Thursday : Rest day or or cardio/conditioning/mobility
Friday : Full body workout
Saturday : Off

Warm-Up Routine (done prior to workout for 10 min. )

Here are some videos for your reference if you are not familiar with these exercises.

Super Squat Mobility

Ankle Dorsiflexion

Hip Extension Mobility

Thoracic Spine Mobility/Front Rack Mobility

Shoulder Internal/External Rotation

Take the time to learn these warmups, and you’ll clearly notice the benefits that come from doing them. These are general ones I selected, but you can branch out once you start to see what works for you. The point is to simply warm your muscles and prepare them for the activity you’re about to engage in.

The Full Body Workout

Exercise Sets Repetitions

Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat

4

Pyramid

Set 1 = 12

Set 2 = 10

Set 3 = 8

Set 4 = 6

Barbell Romanian Deadlift

4

Pyramid

Set 1 = 12

Set 2 = 10

Set 3 = 8

Set 4 = 6

Smith Machine Hip Thrust

3

All Sets = Up to 20reps

Standing Snatch-Grip Barbell Pin Press

4

Pyramid

Set 1 = 12

Set 2 = 10

Set 3 = 8

Set 4 = 6

Neutral Grip Pull-Up

4

Until Failure

Incline BB Bench Press (Very high/steep incline bench)

4

Pyramid

Set 1 = 12

Set 2 = 10

Set 3 = 8

Set 4 = 6

Machine Preacher Curl

3

All Sets = Up to 15reps

Dips

3

All Sets = Up to 15reps

AB Crunch/Sit Up

3

All Sets = Up to 15reps

Notes/Legend:

  • Pyramid (training method) = begin with less weight during the first set (12) and gradually increase to your max weight in the last set (6).
  • Till Failure = perform as many repetitions as you can until your form starts to suffer.
  • Rest periods should be intuitive based on your ability level, and ability to recover in between sets. Push the pace, but in a realistic effort that’s equivalent to your ability. Find your sweet spots.
  • Feel free to perform a low weight warm up set on every exercise to dial in the movement you’re about to perform.

 

Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat

Targeted Muscle Groups : Quads, Glutes, Calves, Hip Abductors

I chose this exercise because its harder to execute. Yes harder, but you’ll be able to squat better by doing this unilateral lift.

Many people label barbell squats, a variation of this exercise, as the end all be all of leg work, but due to user error, they’re often performed improperly. The basic squat is not a requirement or even necessarily better than this one.

How to Perform the Exercise:

  1. Get into a split position, aka lunge stance, with upright and neutral spinal position.
  2. Next, elevate your back foot on a squat stand or bench that's just below the height of your knees from the floor. Your lead leg should be a few feet from the bench behind you (this is relative to each individual based on femur length/height/etc.).
  3. Lower your body until your upper leg is parallel to the floor, driving upwards with your knee out over your 2nd toe and in line with your foot.
  4. Repeat.

Your breathing pattern should reflect your movement. Exhale at the start of each rep and inhale as you rise to your starting position again.

Barbell Romanian Deadlift

Targeted Muscle Groups : Hamstrings, Glutes, Erector Spinae (Lower Back) Middle and Upper Back, Trapezius, Forearms

It’s always important to strengthen the posterior chain, as it tends to be a weak link in many lifters, and this exercise is definitely good for that.

How to Perform the Exercise:

  1. Grab the barbell just outside shoulder width grip, and take desired stance width. (This can be anything from feet together to sumo stance. Narrower stance are more hamstring dominant and wider ones tend to create more abduction making the glutes fire a bit more.)
  2. With a soft, or slightly bent knee, bend over into hip extension keeping the bar close to your body (over the middle of your foot) and trying to hinge at the hips while limiting hip flexion (knee bend). Make sure to keep a neutral spine position with no rounding or excessive arching. You can set the safety pins on a rack to help you control your range of motion as your ability allows.
  3. Push your hips forward and engage the pulling portion of the lift finishing standing straight up and down with glutes flexed and full extension - not hyperextension.
  4. Repeat.

Smith Machine Hip Thrust

Targeted Muscle Groups : Gluteus Maximus (the upper glute muscle), Gluteus Medius (the lower glute muscle), Quads, Hamstrings

Booty is all the rage these days for the ladies, but don’t skip this one just because you’re a guy. This is one of my foundational lifts for men and women in all my programs. The thrust is a must!

How to Perform the Exercise:

  1. Position a bench parallel to the smith machine bar and the proper distance so the bar contacts your upper quad and hip crease area (This is relative to the size of each person.) You want a bench that’s 14-16 inches in height and will also want to use a hip thrust pad for comfort which is a must for heavier lifting on this exercise.
  2. Position your feet at a distance where the top of your hip thrust creates a vertical shin position. Start with feet hip width and point toes either straight forward, or slightly outward. You can experiment a bit to find which way gives you the best glute activation.
  3. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, push hips upward without jerking the weight to create motion. Push hips to full extension keeping a neutral spine and squeezing the glutes into a full contraction. Do not over extend the lower back.
  4. Keep your neck in a fairly neutral position as well to eliminate neck cramps or discomfort.
  5. Repeat.

Standing Barbell Pin Press Behind the Head

Targeted Muscle Groups : Shoulders (front, medial, and rear), Triceps, Trapezius, Serratus Anterior

I chose this exercise because it engages muscles that are commonly neglected, and yes it’s safe when you have the proper mobility for it - see mobility suggestions above. Also, the other presses in this workout are on the anterior side, so it’s nice to mix it up with this one to tap into some other muscles. This is a full body workout after all.

How to Perform the Exercise:

  1. Set the safety pins on a power rack so they sit slightly above shoulder height. The barbell will start and finish on the pins as both a safety and a guide for range of motion. Your grip on the bar should be very wide (snatch position) and make sure the bar starts behind your head on the pins.
  2. Take an athletic (shoulder width) stance and big breath of air to create full body tension. Pull your hands out towards the collars of the bar, while gripping tightly to create even more tension in your mid/upper back.
  3. Press the bar straight up and into the full overhead position letting your air out at the peak of the press only, and not during the lift.
  4. Repeat

Neutral Grip (palms facing each other) Pull-Up

Targeted Muscle Groups : Lats, Trapezius, Thoracic Erector Spinae, Rhomboids, Biceps, External Obliques

Here, we’re going a step further with the neutral grip. Why? It’s simply more anatomically friendly and can be used on a lot of major movements to help eliminate joint/ligament damage.

How to Perform the Exercise:

  1. Using a pull up bar or an assisted machine, take a neutral grip position (palms facing towards each other) with spacing wider that shoulder width. Lower to the bottom into a full hanging position.
  2. Breath and brace your body, then initiate pull motion by cueing a locked in scapula and driving into the lats while not flaring out your elbows. Make sure to lead with your chest by raising it up at the bar while dropping your shoulders back.
  3. Pull up into full contraction and make sure you can hold each rep for 1 second before lowering. Make sure to slowly lower yourself back to starting position and pause at the bottom of each rep as well. Be sure to exhale at the peak of each pull and repeat breathing process each time. One rep is one breath.
  4. Repeat.

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Targeted Muscle Groups : Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

You may be wondering why a regular flat bench exercise isn’t included in this workout - well, this one will do just fine as a replacement, trust me.

How to Perform the Exercise:

  1. Use an adjustable bench and put it into a high incline position (approx. 60-70 degrees). It will seem steep, but that’s what we want here. You’ll likely have to use a power rack to be able to load and unload the lift to perform it safely and efficiently.
  2. Take a wide grip on the bar outside of shoulder width and lift off the rack. Be sure you place your feet firmly on the floor and move your legs away from your body to create more leverage and body tension.
  3. Lower the bar so it stops right in front of your chin, making sure to keep your elbows right underneath the bar and not behind it, so you’re able to press vertically with some efficiency. I often have to correct the elbow position in training scenarios with people, so pay extra attention to that detail.  
  4. Breathe in and hold until each rep is back into the top of the press position, then exhale.
  5. Repeat

Machine Preacher Curl

Targeted Muscle Groups : Biceps, Forearms

Using a slow and controlled negative on this, as well as most lifts really, will prove to bring more progression as it’s half the rep and equally as important as the positives.

How to Perform the Exercise:  

  1. Use a preacher curl machine and adjust seat height so you can keep your upper arm parallel and stuck to the support pad through the entire range of the exercise.
  2. Slowly lower the weight into a fully straightened arm position, pause a second, then pull into to bicep until your reach peak contraction - make sure your arm doesn’t leave that pad as I mentioned above.
  3. Repeat.

Dips

Targeted Muscle Groups : Triceps, Front Delts, Chest

Use your bodyweight or the assisted dip setup that most gyms provide. I like to place a bench behind the person so they can rear elevate their feet, bringing their body into a better position over the movement as opposed to a straight up and down body position. By doing this, you’re essentially making the movement similar in nature to that of a decline press, but with a neutral grip position

How to Perform the Exercise:  

  1. . Start by breathing in and holding tight, before you lower into the bottom of the dip. Your elbows should track in line with your wrists, and you’ll want to avoid flaring your elbows out as such with most presses. Lower slowly with a short pause in the bottom, and explosively press back to the top finishing with an exhale at the top.

Abdominal Crunch/Sit up

Targeted Muscle Groups : Abdominals (Rectus abdominis)

This exercise for the core is so simple in nature, but extremely effective when done properly.

How to Perform the Exercise:  

  1. Start by grabbing an ab mat and placing it under your lumbar spine (lower back) from the floor or flat bench position.
  2. Next, you’ll take in a deep breath and pull your shoulders towards hips with your abs with as much range as possible.
  3. At the top of this, exhale and keep abs contracted/tense.
  4. Lower slowly and repeat until you have a six pack - but seriously, these will do the trick, trust me.

How to Properly Track Your Progress

  1. Keep a workout log to track your lifts
  2. Take photos of yourself and waking bodyweight weekly for reference of progress
  3. Track your nutrition using macros or meal plan structure

 


Artist Bio:

Adam Hunsaker is the CEO of Alpha Elite Physiques, a personal training company that’s built its reputation on a proven track record and visible improvement in all their clients.

Adam brings tens of thousands of hours of training expertise to every session and a promise to each client that enables them to attain the body or level of fitness they desire.

View his training plans or head over to his site for more info.

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