A raw, full-body six-week workout that will get your body rock solid.
By Sarah L. Chadwell, NASM-CPT
Want to get jacked and lean super fast? Get back to basics with a full-body, push-pull split workout. With this plan, you execute a targeted exercise for each muscle which results in building muscle evenly across your body, helping you build your best physique ever. In addition, you’re working each muscle twice per week so your body won’t have a chance to rest and get soft. This is your challenge: Go back to basics and complete this full-body, push-pull split for the next six weeks and watch your gains accumulate, your overall strength get boosted, your recovery rates increase, and be amazed as your body morphs into a lean, mean machine!
[ART DIRECTION: PLEASE SET THIS UP AS A CHART]
Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, Traps, Triceps, & Abdominals
EXERCISE SETS REPS
Bench Press 3 8-10
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 8-10
Overhead Press 3 8-10
Upright Row 3 8-10
Shrug 3 8-10
Close Grip Bench Press 3 8-10
Triceps Kickback 3 8-10
Double Crunch 3 12-15
Day 2: Back, Biceps, & Legs
EXERCISE SETS REPS
Wide Grip Pulldown 3 8-10
Seated Cable Row 3 8-10
Pull-Up 3 12-20
Standing Curl 3 8-10
Dumbbell Squat 3 8-10
Leg Press 3 8-10
Deadlift 3 8-10
Calf Raise Machine 3 8-10
Before You Begin
As you can see, this well-designed, full-body plan is split into two days of work, a day of pushing exercises and a day of pulling exercises combined with legs. Each workout will take about 60 minutes to complete. You should complete the workout twice a week with one rest day in between.
Why use this push-pull split? At the end of the five days, you’ll hit all of your major muscle groups twice, using as many compound exercises as possible. Each time you lift, your muscles will have time to recover and they’ll be rested and fresh. This helps you take advantage of higher volume training for each muscle group at an increased frequency. It also reduces the effect of fatigue of smaller muscles. Lessened fatigue allows you to maintain high intensity lifting each time you work the targeted muscles.
Throughout the six-week period of using this split, you can also take advantage of utilizing different variations of each exercise to keep your workouts challenging. This workout schedule is efficient and yields amazing results – fast!
[ART NOTE: EXERCISES BEGIN HERE. PLEASE KEEP ALL THE MOVES FOR DAY ONE TOGETHER AND ALL THE MOVES FOR DAY TWO TOGETHER. THE ORDER WITHIN DAY ONE OR DAY TWO ISN’T THAT IMPORTANT (IT’S PREFERRED, BUT NOT NECESSARY IF YOU NEED TO MOVE THEM AROUND TO FIT). YOU’LL VERY LIKELY NOT GET ALL EXERCISES SHOT, SO SOME WON’T HAVE PICTURES, WHICH IS TOTALLY OK. YOU ALSO DON’T HAVE TO RUN ALL THE MOVES THEY DO SHOOT. PACE IT YOUR WAY, TRY TO BE AS EVEN AS POSSIBLE (DON’T GIVE DAY ONE 3 PAGES AND DAY TWO 1 AND A HALF PAGES). -MDM]
DAY 1: Pressing Muscles Exercises
Primary Muscles Targeted: Chest and Triceps
Lie on the bench. Grab the bar with an overhand shoulder-width apart grip. Keep tension throughout your upper body by pushing your chest outward and your shoulder blades downward. Plant your feet on the floor. Unrack the weight and position it directly over your sternum. Lower the weight to your chest keeping your wrists and elbows aligned throughout the movement. Drive the bar back to the starting position to begin your next repetition.
Incline Dumbbell Press
Primary Muscle Targeted: Upper Chest
Drive two dumbbells directly upwards from a seated position. Lower the weights so they’re in line with your upper pecs and above your armpits. Press the dumbbells back to the starting position and begin the next repetition.
Primary Muscles Targeted: Shoulders, Upper Back, and Triceps
Pre-load a bar inside of a power rack or outside of a power rack if it’s not tall enough. Grab the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Step up to the bar so that it’s just above your clavicle. Remove the bar from the rack and take two steps backward. If you are in proper position, your elbows will be pointing down and your forearms will be vertical. From this position, drive the barbell straight over your head. In a controlled fashion, lower it back to the clavicle to begin the next repetition.
Primary Muscles Targeted: Side Shoulder and Traps
Grab a barbell with an overhand grip slightly less than shoulder-width apart. The bar should be resting on your thighs, arms extended, and there should be a slight bend in your elbows. Using the sides of your shoulders, lift the bar keeping it close to your torso. Your elbows will rise at your sides. At this point, the bar will be just below your chin. Pause at the top of the motion. Lower the bar slowly to the starting position in a controlled manner and begin the next repetition.
Primary Muscles Targeted: Upper Traps and Middle Back
Grab two dumbbells and let them hang at your sides. Shrug your shoulders. Move them straight up as high as you can go. Pretend that you are trying to brush the bottom of your ears with your shoulders. Don’t bend your elbows. Squeeze and hold for a second at the top of the movement.
In a controlled fashion, lower the weights straight to your starting position.
Close Grip Bench Press
Primary Muscles Targeted: Triceps, Inner Chest, and Shoulders
Lie on the bench. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip narrower than shoulder-width apart. Keep tension throughout your upper body by pushing your chest outward and your shoulder blades downward. Plant your feet on the floor. Unrack the weight and position it directly over your sternum. Lower the weight to your chest keeping your wrists and elbows aligned throughout the movement. Drive the bar back to the starting position.
Primary Muscles Targeted: Triceps
Grab a pair of dumbbells. Hold one in each hand with your palms facing each other. Keeping your back straight, hinge forward at the hips to about a 45-degree angle. Maintain a slight bend in your knees. When you begin the movement, keep your head and neck aligned with your back. Don’t look down. Your upper arms should remain close to your torso because the movement will be occurring using your elbows, which should stay close to your waist. To start, form a 90-degree angle between your forearm and upper arm. The top of the dumbbells will be close to your shoulders. Keeping your upper arms still, use your triceps to push the dumbbells back until you reach full extension. Pause at the end of the movement and then slowly return to the starting position.
Primary Muscles Targeted: Upper and Lower Abdominals
Lie on your back. Raise your knees to a 90-degree angle. Put your hands behind your head and lift your shoulders off the floor. Squeeze your abdominals while you lift your head and knees toward your chest simultaneously.
Day 2: Pulling Muscles and Legs Exercises
Wide Grip Pulldown
Primary Muscle Targeted: Lats
Grab the bar with an overhand grip that’s wider than shoulder-width apart. Lean back slightly, push your chest outward and make sure your legs are locked securely under the stabilizing bar. In a controlled, medium-paced manner, pull the bar down toward your chest and squeeze your lats. Hold for a two count and then slowly move back to starting position.
Seated Cable Row
Primary Muscles Targeted: Lats, Middle Back, Traps, Erector Spinae, Rear Delts, and Biceps
You can use a V-bar, lat bar, or many other attachments for this exercise depending on your focus. Sit down on the machine. Put your feet on the platform and keep a slight bend in your knees. Grab the attachment handles. Pull back until you’re sitting at a 90-degree angle. Push your chest out. Keep your torso stationary as you pull the handles back towards your belly button. Hold at the end of the movement for a two count. Slowly move back into the starting position.
Primary Muscle Targeted: Lats
With a wider than shoulder-width grip, grab the bar and hang from it with your arms at full extension and knees bent enough that your feet are off the floor. Pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar. Lower yourself back to where your arms reach full extension before starting the next repetition.
Primary Muscle Targeted: Biceps
Grab a set of dumbbells and stand up straight holding them at your sides. Rotate your palms to face forward. Your elbows should remain close to your torso. Keep your upper arms stationary as you curl the weights upward by contracting your biceps. The movement should occur at your elbow joints. Pull the weights up until your biceps are fully contracted. The dumbbells should be at your shoulder level. Hold for a two count at the top of the movement. Then lower the dumbbells back to the starting position in a controlled manner.
Primary Muscles Targeted: Quads, Hips, Hamstrings, and Glutes
Stand up straight holding a pair of dumbbells. Your palms should be facing the sides of your legs. Your legs should be shoulder-width apart. You can point your toes out slightly if you need to. Keep your head up. Maintain a straight back and a neutral spine. Brace your core. Lower your torso by bending at your knees and pushing your hips back. Continue to lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your hands should stay next to your sides at all times. Push through your heels as you rise back into starting position.
Primary Muscle Targeted: Quads
Sit in the seat and place your legs on the platform about shoulder-width apart. Push up slightly so that you can release the safeties. Lower your knees toward your chest until they’re bent at a 90-degree angle. Press up. When you finish the set, relock the safeties.
Primary Muscles Targeted: Back, Legs, and Glutes
Load a barbell on the floor. Get in a shoulder-width stance in front of the bar. Grab the bar just to the outside of your legs. Bend at the hips at about a 90-degree angle. Pull the bar up, keeping it close to your body while maintaining a neutral position with your back. Once you’re at a full standing position, the bar will be at mid-thigh height. Lock your hips and knees. Lower the bar at a controlled pace.
Calf Raise Machine
Primary Muscles Targeted: Calves
Sit on the machine placing your toes near the lower portion of the platform. Your heels will not be on the platform. Be sure that you place your lower thighs securely under the stabilizing pad. Slightly lift the lever by placing force on your toes, thereby raising your heels and then release the safety lever. Begin by lowering your heels. Bend at your ankles until your calves are fully extended. Raise your heels by extending your ankles as high as you can go. Your calves should contract. Hold at the top of the motion for a two count and then return to starting position.