StrengthLog’s Full-Body Hypertrophy is a full-body program. Full-body training might just be the most time-efficient way to structure your workouts if you have two or three days a week at your disposal to spend in the gym.
After a workout, you add new muscle protein as a result of your efforts for about 24 hours. That process is called muscle protein synthesis. If you train two or three times per week, it’s probably a good idea to stimulate muscle protein synthesis as often as you can.
Using a split routine under such circumstances only trains each muscle once a week. By using a full-body workout routine, you can keep muscle protein synthesis elevated all week long, even with a limited number of sessions per week. This leads to increased muscle growth – also known as hypertrophy.
Introducing StrengthLog’s Full-Body Hypertrophy
In this program, you rotate between three different full-body workouts. One is based almost entirely on compound exercises, focusing on heavy weights and low reps. The second workout is also based on compound exercises but introduces more isolation work into the mix. The third and last workout of the week is the pump workout. You’ll leave the gym with bursting sleeves, ready for the weekend.
The week as a whole gives you a complete program for your entire body, trains each muscle group in a very effective manner, activating all muscle fibers, and gives you a varied, and, hopefully, fun series of workouts.
StrengthLog’s Full-Body Hypertrophy is not a program for absolute beginners. If you are just starting in the gym, we suggest our Beginner Barbell Program or the Full Body 2 Days/Week programs. The latter is also a great choice for more advanced lifters who don’t have time to dedicate more than two days a week to the gym. You can find both programs in your StrengthLog app.
This program has a higher training volume than those two programs and will tax your ability to recover a bit more. We recommend that you have a certain amount of training experience before taking it on.
Training Days and Rest Days
The basic premise of StrengthLog’s Full-Body Hypertrophy is for you to train three times per week, on alternating days, and with a day of rest in between workouts. If your life and schedule require you to miss a workout now and then, it’s no cause for alarm. This is a flexible program, with high enough a training frequency that an extra day of rest now and then makes no difference in the long run.
Which weekdays should you train? That’s entirely up to you. You can adjust and plan your training week to suit your individual life and everyday schedule. Let’s say you want your weekend off from training. Easy: just hit the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If you want or need any other training schedule, that’s fine, too. Also, every week doesn’t have to look the same. You can train three days one week, then three different days the next. Just try to squeeze in a day of rest in between workouts.
StrengthLog’s Full-Body Hypertrophy: Two Days Per Week Instead of Three
If you want to train two days per week instead of the default three, you can do that. In that case, we suggest you keep Workout 1 as a foundation every week, then pick either Workout 2 or Workout 3 to supplement it. Pick whichever you enjoy the most. Switch them around from week to week if you want.
It’s always a good idea to base your training on basic, compound exercises. By keeping Workout 1 in your weekly rotation, you train heavy every week, even if you only have two training days at your disposal. Also, this makes it easier to track your progress from week to week. If you constantly switch up all three workouts, keeping track of your progress becomes way harder.
Intensity and Failure
Perform the sets in the first workout with as heavy a weight as possible without sacrificing your form. Don’t take them to the point where you fail the last repetition. The last rep should be a struggle, but not impossible, to complete. Lift the weight in an explosive but controlled manner, and lower it a bit slower and with full control of the movement.
During the second and third workouts, the focus is on focus. Focus on keeping a good so-called mind-muscle connection, that is. You should still try to increase the weights when you can but always go for the feel in the proper muscles throughout the sets. Keep tension in your muscles, and don’t sacrifice that feeling for more weight, if more weight means sloppier form. Especially during the third workout, try to squeeze the muscle during the movement and feel it working.
You don’t need to reach muscular failure in your sets in order to stimulate muscle hypertrophy. When you reach the point where you think “I can’t do another rep without sacrificing form and focus” – that’s when you terminate the set. You can go to failure now and then if you want. That’s fine, just don’t do it all the time. It’s also a good idea to limit sets to failure to isolation work. Regularly going to failure in heavy compound exercises in a full-body program like this, can severely tax your ability to recover in time for your next workout.
During your first month of StrengthLog’s Full-Body Hypertrophy, don’t stray from the number of suggested sets. Once past the first month, you can add one set per exercise, if you feel that you recover fine from your workouts. This small increase in your training volume gives your muscles a small but significant extra stimulus to grow. However, each set you add gives your less and less extra effect. This is called diminishing returns. Adding some extra volume offers significant benefits. Adding even more volume means less benefit with every added set. Training volume is one of the most important factors for muscle growth, but there is a limit. Also, more training requires more or better recovery.
Don’t feel like you have to increase your training volume. If you don’t have time or energy for more, or if you just don’t want a higher training volume, you still get good results over time, as long as you add weight to the bar when you can and keep your training intensity up.
Shoot for the number of reps recommended in the program. However, keep in mind that the recommended number of reps means just that: recommended. If the program calls for eight reps and you can only do seven, that’s fine. Simply lower the weight a bit next set or next workout. If you underestimated yourself and do more than eight, that’s great. Then it’s time to increase the weight.
When you can do the recommended number of reps two workouts in a row, increase the weight you use in that exercise. By doing so, you adapt to the program by growing bigger and stronger. If you keep using the same weights forever, you’re not telling your body that it needs to improve.
However, you don’t need to increase the weight every week or even every month. In the long run, as you grow more experienced, doing so becomes hard or impossible. As a beginner, you might be able to add more weight every workout, but sooner or later that becomes a slow and gradual process.
Also, you don’t need to increase the weight a lot each time you increase it. Be sure it’s still the intended muscles doing the work. You want to stay in control of the weights, not have the weights control your movements.
Add a couple of the smallest plates in the gym to the bar, pick the next pair of dumbbells up the rack, or increase the weight of the stack on the machine by one increment.
Choosing the Proper Weight
When it’s time to select which weight to use for an exercise for the first time, just guesstimate how much you need to reach the recommended amount of reps. You can use the previously mentioned “the last rep should be a struggle, but not impossible” statement as a guideline.
If you happen to pick too heavy a weight and don’t reach the recommended amount of reps, it’s no biggie. You simply adjust it in your next set or your next workout. You don’t have to perform the exact number of reps the program tells you every time. The important thing is that you challenge your muscles. That’s what makes them grow bigger and stronger over time.
If the program calls for a lower number of repetitions set by set, this means you should increase the weight a bit. This type of training is called pyramid training.
StrengthLog’s Full-Body Hypertrophy: The Program
This is what the program itself looks like:
- Squat: 8, 6, 4, 4 reps (increase the weight the second and fourth sets)
- Bench Press: 8, 6,4 reps (increase the weight every set)
- Barbell Row: 8, 6, 4 reps (increase the weight every set)
- Overhead Press (alternate exercise: Push Press): 8, 6, 4 reps (increase the weight every set)
- Romanian Deadlift (alternate exercise: Stiff-Legged Deadlift): 8, 6 reps (increase the weight the second set)
- Close-Grip Bench Press (alternate exercise: Bar Dip): 2 x 8 reps
- Barbell Curl: 8, 6 reps (increase the weight the second set)
- Hanging Leg Raise (alternate exercise: Hanging Knee Raise): 3 x max reps (do as many reps as you can!)
- Deadlift: 8, 6, 6 reps (increase the weight the second set)
- Incline Bench Press: 3 x 10 reps
- Lat Pulldown With Pronated Grip: 3 x 10 reps
- Leg Press: 3 x 10 reps
- Lying Leg Curl (alternate exercise: Seated Leg Curl): 2 x 10 reps
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 10 reps
- Barbell Lying Triceps Extension: 2 x 10 reps
- Hammer Curl: 2 x 10 reps
- Cable Crunch (alternate exercise: Machine Crunch): 2 x 10 reps
- Barbell Lunge (alternate exercise: Dumbbell Lunge): 3 x 12 reps per leg
- Leg Extension: 2 x 15 reps
- Standing Cable Chest Fly (alternate exercise: Dumbbell Chest Fly): 3 x 12 reps
- Dumbbell Row: 3 x 12 reps
- Lying Leg Curl (alternate exercise: Seated Leg Curl): 15, 12, 12 reps (increase the weight the second set)
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3 x 12 reps
- Tricep Pushdown With Bar: 3 x 12 reps
- Barbell Preacher Curl (alternate exercise: Dumbbell Preacher Curl): 3 x 12 reps
- Kneeling Ab Wheel Roll-Out: 2 x max reps (do as many reps as you can!)
- Plank: 1 x max time (keep going for as long as you can!)
Benefits of Full-Body Workouts
Full-body routines such as this have stood the test of time, and have been implemented by bodybuilders and athletes looking to grow bigger and stronger since the ’60s.
Full-body workouts have several benefits, the most noteworthy being:
- Frequent stimulus. By training each muscle every time you’re in the gym, you stimulate muscle hypertrophy many times per week. This puts your body in a constantly growing state.
- Cardiorespiratory fitness. Full-body workouts can be hard, especially when you are not used to them. But keep at it, and you will find that not only your muscle size and strength improves on the program, but so do your fitness level and energy.
- Clarity in exercise choice. When you’re tasked with training your whole body within one workout, you are forced to focus on the exercises that give you the most bang for your buck. Thus, this program by design compels you to focus on what’s important, and forget what’s not.
- More off days. Sure, the price you pay is the effort you must put out during the workouts. But what you gain, besides your newfound size and power, are more free days at your leisure. This enables you to combine world-class training with other obligations, such as school, work, or family.
Good luck with your continued training, and your results!