Body splits have been around since the dawn of bodybuilding. They remain a favored training framework among bros far and wide. Sometimes these workouts can be time-consuming and require you to train 5-6 days a week. This might be some lifting-lovers' dream schedule, but it's not everyone's reality.
Still, just because you can't devote a full two hours to beefing up your chest, arms, or legs in a single session isn't an excuse to skip the gym entirely. Whether you're looking to train less often and more efficiently, or just mix up your bread-and-butter split, a full-body approach can give you that satisfying burn and a body that still looks like you lift big.
This quickie circuit from Brandan Fokken will have you in and out of the gym fast. If you only go to the gym 2-3 times per week, Fokken recommends doing this workout every session. If you're a more frequent gym-goer, throw it in once a week or every other week.
Brandan Fokken's Full-Body Circuit Workout
Single-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl
With your triceps placed on top of the preacher bench and the dumbbell held at your shoulder, slowly lower the weight down until your arm is extended. Let your biceps fully stretch before curling the weight back up. Squeeze hard at the top and hold before performing the next rep.
Rope Triceps Pull-down
Grip the rope with your palms facing together and stand tall with your shoulders back. Keep your torso inclined slightly forward toward the weight stack. Your forearms should be parallel to the floor to start. Your elbows should remain locked in at your sides throughout the movement. Bring the rope down toward your upper thighs using your triceps. Finish with your arms fully extended. At this point, focus on the contraction. Slowly bring the weight back to start.
Place your feet about shoulder-width apart and high enough on the platform that your knees stay over your ankles and don't glide past your toes during reps. Fokken says to put enough weight on the machine to push your limits, but not so much that you can't complete all 10 reps on the second and third rounds of the circuit.
Do these on the leg press machine using the same weight as above. Before unracking the weight, place your toes on the bottom of the platform. Keep your knees slightly bent. Press up through your toes, pushing the weight up with the balls of your feet. Then, flex your foot back toward you, allowing a full stretch in the calves before you continue your next rep. Remember—calves grow with big weight and lots of reps.
Plate Front Raise
Standing tall with your shoulders pulled back, hold the plate on both sides. Raise it in front of you with straight arms. As soon as your arms are parallel to the ground, hold for a second. Return to the start position. Keep an easy tempo and stay strict on both halves of the rep.
Machine Chest Press
Plant your feet on the floor and sit up tall with your shoulder blades pulled back on the pad behind you. Keep your elbows somewhat tucked in. Flaring them up too much can cause strain on the shoulder joints. Push out forcefully and squeeze into your pecs for a one- or two-count before returning to start.
Bent-Over Rear Delt Fly
In the bent-over position, your knees should be slightly bent and your back flat. Start with your arms hanging straight down, dumbbells in hand and palms facing either in or out. Try both to see what works best for you! Raise the dumbbells out to your sides with a slight bend in your elbows. Go all the way until you feel a squeeze in your upper back.
Seated Cable Row
The key here is to keep your upper body rigid. Do not rock back and forth as you pull and extend. Sit up tall with your shoulders back and row directly into your midsection. Visualize pulling with your middle back. Don't let your arms do all the work.
Just because it uses only body weight doesn't mean the pull-up is an exercise to dismiss for building width! Set up with a wide grip and your arms extended, lats fully stretched. Engage your outer back and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull yourself up, elbows pointing in toward your lats. Your body should travel up in a straight line. No swinging! Use the assisted machine or bands if you can't perform 6-10 reps with body weight.
Abs need varying stimuli just like any other muscle. Break the cycle of your regular crunches and give this machine a try. Actively contract your abs as you pull your elbows toward your knees. Pick a challenging enough weight for 10 reps.
Squat to Arnold Press
Hold the dumbbells at your shoulders with your palms facing you, as if you just did a dumbbell curl. Perform a squat, making sure to stay upright. Your knees should track with your toes as you reach parallel. As soon as you hit the bottom of the squat, explode up and go right into an Arnold press, rotating the dumbbells out and up.