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The Best Full-Body Muscle Workout

Pack on serious size with this quick full-body workout.

101 Best Workouts of All Time is the ultimate answer to the question "What workout should I do?" No matter what equipment you have available, from a fully stocked supergym to a pair of mismatched dumbbells in your garage, or nothing but your body weight alone, you can build muscle, lose fat, and sculpt the physique you've always wanted.

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Full-body workouts sound like they would take a long time. But when you boil down the exercises you need to perform in order to cover every area, there are only three you need to be concerned with—a push, a pull, and a squat. This is the ultimate in minimalism and works superbly for beginners or people who are short on time.

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HOW IT WORKS

Any kind of pressing exercise will train your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Any pulling movement (a row or chinup variation) recruits your back, rear delts, biceps, and forearms. Squatting movements (and deadlifts, which aren’t quite a squat but require all the same muscles) take care of the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Even your calves get some stimulation as they help to stabilize your squat. Your abs, of course, get worked on all these movement patterns, provided they’re done with free weights rather than machines, and work to brace your spine throughout. The workout at right contains everything you need to put on size fast—a squat, press, and pullup—done with heavy weights, and you should be able to wrap it up within 45 minutes.

BEGIN WORKOUT [page 2] 

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THE WORKOUT [Option A]

Complete all five sets for the squat and then perform the overhead press and weighted pullup in alternating fashion. That is, complete a set of the press, rest, then do a set of the pullup, rest again, and repeat until you’ve finished all five sets for each.

1. SQUAT
Sets:
5 Reps: Rest: 120 sec.

Set up in a squat rack or cage. Grasp the bar as far apart as is comfortable and step under it. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and nudge the bar out of the rack. Step back and stand with your feet shoulder width and your toes turned slightly outward. Take a deep breath and bend your hips back and then bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can without losing the arch in your lower back. Push your knees outward as you descend. Extend your hips to come back up, continuing to push your knees outward.

2A. OVERHEAD PRESS
Sets:
5 Reps: 5 Rest: 60 sec.

Set the bar up in a squat rack or cage and grasp it just outside shoulder width. Take the bar off the rack and hold it at shoulderlevel with your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Squeeze the bar and brace your abs. Press the bar overhead, pushing your head forward and shrugging your traps as the bar passes your face.

2B. WEIGHTED PULLUP
Sets:
5 Reps: 5 Rest: 90 sec.
Attach a weighted belt to your waist, hold a dumbbell between your feet, or if you can’t complete your reps with weight, use body weight alone. Hang from a pullup bar with hands just outside shoulder width. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.

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