If you’re looking for a basic full-body workout that will hit your major muscle groups without taking up hours of your time, then this is a great one to try. This workout is made up of just ten exercises, and can be completed in less than an hour.

How to do a full-body workout

A workout of this format simply involves using your whole body during your training session!

You will use most or all of your major muscle groups—preferably more than once—so that all parts of your body get involved.

The following workout is designed to challenge your entire body and serves as an easy and effective introduction to working out in this way. This should be considered as a basic introduction, and if you’re looking for a more structured plan, then please reach out to me for a custom workout plan.

Although this is intended to be a gym-based workout, you can also do it at home with a set of dumbbells, a barbell, and a weight bench. When you’re working out at home, then it’s useful to use adjustable equipment. This is because it will cost less in the long run and will take up less space in your home. 

Full-Body Workout

for Beginners

(Gym-Based)

I recommend that you always leave 48 hours in between doing this workout each time. Do not do this routine any more regularly than this as your muscles need time to recover if they are to strengthen and grow.

For each exercise, choose a weight that allows you to complete the allocated rep range, but so that it becomes fairly challenging towards the end. If you can easily complete all of the sets for each exercise, then you need to increase the weight that you’re using.

Click here to download a PDF version of this workout.

First Exercise: Standing Alternating Dumbbell Press

Target Area: Shoulders

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in either hand at the sides of your shoulders. Your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle with your palms facing forwards and your back straight. Fully extend one arm up towards the ceiling (but don’t lock your elbows) and hold the weight for a moment at the top before returning to the start position. Repeat on the alternate arm. This is one rep.

Set 1: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 2: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 3: Rep range 8 – 12

Rest for 60 seconds in between sets

Second Exercise: Standing Dumbbell Diagonal Raise

Target Area: Shoulders

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing straight ahead. Keep your knees slightly bent and engage your core muscles. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand directly in front of your left hip, with your thumb close to your body. Keep your arm straight as you raise it diagonally across the body to bring the dumbbell up towards the ceiling. Hold at the top for a moment before returning to the start position. This is one rep.

Once you’ve completed one set of 8 – 12 reps with the right arm, repeat with the left arm.

Set 1: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 2: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 3: Rep range 8 – 12

Rest for 60 seconds in between sets.

Third Exercise: Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

Target Area: Chest

Position the bench to approximately a 30 degree angle, lie your body flat on the bench and take a dumbbell in either hand. Hold the dumbbells by your chest with your elbows at a 90 degree angle and palms facing forwards. Your forearms should be perpendicular to the floor. Push the dumbbells up towards the ceiling, hold at the top for a moment, and then return back to the start position. This is one rep.

Set 1: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 2: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 3: Rep range 8 – 12

Rest for 60 seconds in between sets.

Fourth Exercise: Dumbbell Flyes

Target Area: Chest

Take a dumbbell in each hand and lie on a flat bench. Position the weights directly above your chest with your palms facing each other and then push them up towards the ceiling. Your arms should be straight but don’t lock your elbows. Keeping a slight arch in the elbows, bring the weights down to either side of your body until your arms are parallel to the ground. Squeeze your pecs and bring your arms slowly back to the start position. This is one rep.

Set 1: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 2: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 3: Rep range 8 – 12

Rest for 60 seconds in between sets.

Fifth Exercise: Standing Hammer Curls

Target Area: Biceps

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Take a dumbbell in each hand and hold them down at your sides with your palms facing each other. Keep your upper arms still as you bring the dumbbells up to shoulder level. Squeeze your biceps at the top and then slowly bring your arms back to the start position. This is one rep.

Set 1: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 2: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 3: Rep range 8 – 12

Rest for 60 seconds in between sets.

Sixth Exercise: Dumbbell Upright Row

Target Area: Shoulders

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Take a dumbbell in each hand and hold them down at either side with your palms facing backwards. Contract your shoulders and bring your elbows up and wide until your shoulders can’t contract upwards any further. Pause for a moment and then bring the weights back down to the starting position. This is one rep.

Set 1: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 2: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 3: Rep range 8 – 12

Rest for 60 seconds in between sets.

Seventh Exercise: Bent Over Barbell Row

Target Area: Middle Back

Place a barbell on the ground in front of you and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and hinge at the hips to bring your torso forwards—this should be to the point of not quite being parallel to the ground, but almost. Keep your back straight and your butt out. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip and bring it straight up towards your torso. You can then straighten your arms again to lower the barbell. This is one rep.

Set 1: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 2: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 3: Rep range 8 – 12

Rest for 60 seconds in between sets.

Eighth Exercise: Weighted Lunges

Target Area: Quadriceps

Stand in a neutral stance with a dumbbell in either hand at your sides. Take a large stride forwards with the right leg, and then bring your body down so that both knees are at a 90 degree angle. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. Your right knee should be over your right heel, with your right shin almost perpendicular to the floor. Hold yourself here for a moment before pushing through the right heel to return to the starting position. Repeat on the left leg. This is one rep.

Set 1: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 2: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 3: Rep range 8 – 12

Rest for 60 seconds in between sets.

Ninth Exercise: Tricep Dips

Target Area: Triceps

Stand in front of a bench, facing away from it, then lower your body down to grip the side of the bench, with your hands just wider than hip-width apart. Your fingers should be pointing in the direction of your body. Walk your feet forwards so your legs are straight out in front of you. Bend at the elbows to lower your body down towards the floor, pause for a moment close to the ground, and then straighten your arms to bring your body back up. This is one rep.

Set 1: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 2: Rep range 8 – 12

Set 3: Rep range 8 – 12

Rest for 60 seconds in between sets.

Tenth Exercise: Plank

Target Area: Core

To get into plank position, come down onto all fours with your palms flat on the floor directly underneath your shoulders. Hold yourself in press up position. Keep your gaze on the floor just in front of your hands and keep your back straight. You may also choose to hold the plank position on your forearms instead of on your hands.

Hold a plank for as long as you can to end the workout.

That’s it – you’re done lifting for today!

Make sure you stretch your entire body before you get back to your day.

Any questions? Head over to my contact page to send me an email and you’ll usually receive a response within 24 hours.

What are the benefits of a doing a full-body workout?

If you don’t have a lot of time to spend training individual muscle groups, then a full-body workout is a great choice. This type of workout is an efficient way to train all the large muscle groups in one go, as well as many of the smaller ones, but this isn’t the only reason to do it.

The benefits of doing a full-body workout are numerous.

First of all, this is a very time-efficient way to train. When you can hit all of your major muscle groups in one go, then this may leave you with more time for other fitness-based activities. This also naturally leaves you with more time to do things that aren’t exercise-related at all, if that’s your preference!

Secondly, because they don’t have to take a long time, full-body workouts can be easily incorporated into your busy schedule. If you only have one or two evenings a week that you can dedicate to doing some exercise, then you’ll likely want to prioritise this format over hitting just one or two muscle groups.

Training your entire body in one go is a great way to develop foundational strength in all areas of your body. This might be particularly helpful for someone who is new to exercise. This is because it allows them to develop their base level of fitness before moving onto a more specialised workout plan.

Do I need gym equipment to do a full-body workout?

Although it is beneficial to have gym equipment when you’re working out, there’s no reason that this would be considered essential.

There are ways to train your entire body without ever purchasing any fitness equipment. However, if you do want to use weights and other things, then this can of course be beneficial for your progress.

If you are going to purchase equipment for your fitness training, then you might want to invest in:

  • Dumbbells
  • Adjustable dumbbells
  • A barbell
  • A weight bench
  • A skipping rope

Why do a full-body workout?

In my opinion, a full-body workout routine is a great idea for those who are just getting started in the gym. It enables you to engage your whole body in one session and will usually include mainly compound movements. The benefit to utilising compound movements instead of isolation exercises is (arguably) that they require more energy, burn more calories, and build better all-round strength.

Should I do a workout every day?

If you’re doing full-body workouts, then it’s definitely not necessary to train every day. In fact, it’s better to train two or three times a week or every other day.

By resting in between your sessions, you can give your muscles enough time to recover. Taking this time to rest is essential as it helps your body to recover and your muscles to grow.

Why are full-body workouts better than working in individual muscle groups?

Why spend several days training each muscle group if you can get the same, or even better, results in one session?

When you’re following a schedule that consists of individual training days (such as leg day, chest day, etc.) there’s chance that you’re not recovering enough in between sets. By doing a full-body workout a few times a week you increase muscular recovery, which will in turn allow you to work harder in future sessions.

Even with limited equipment (or no equipment at all) you can create a fantastic workout. You might not think this is true, but the fact is by combining bodyweight exercises you can get a great and challenging workout.

There are many different ways to set up this type of routine. This means it’s easier to mix up your exercises, which will prevent plateauing and boredom!

Your cardiovascular health also stands to benefit when you exercise in this way. Since you’re training more than one muscle group at a time, your heart will have to work harder to provide all the muscles with oxygen.

Will full-body workouts help with weight loss?

Incorporating full-body workouts into your routine is a great way to help with weight loss.

Increasing muscle mass over time will improve your metabolism, which means you’ll also burn more calories during rest.

If you’re looking to lose weight and are following a calorie-deficit diet, you’ll have lower levels of recovery reserves. By only training a few days a week, you’ll still get those muscle gains while also not asking too much of your body in terms of recovery.

Full-body workouts also maximize calorie burn during training. By targeting all the major muscle groups in one session, you put extra strain on the body. Your muscles require more oxygen and more energy, which is a very efficient way to burn more calories.

Will full-body workouts help with building muscle?

Full-body workouts are great if you’re looking to tone up and build muscle. All muscle groups benefit, and this allows you to get a balanced body in terms of strength. Doing this type of workout is a great way to build muscle if you’re short on time and want to train efficiently.

Can I do a full-body workout with dumbbells only?

Absolutely! You can use any equipment that you have available and still create an effective plan!

That’s all for now!

If you want to talk about your workout routine, or have questions about any of the points raised in this post, then you can reach me via email anytime.

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