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In the golden era of bodybuilding before steroids entered the scene workouts consisted of full body workouts 3 times a week. This type of workout gave enough time to recover between workouts. If you're natural you need this time for your muscles and nervous system to recover properly. So why did training frequency change in the mid 50's and onward? Anabolic steroid use began which allowed for quicker recovery between workouts and greater gains. Magazines also began to push more supplement use and gyms also benefitted from people working out more often as this would increase sale of protein, carb and energy drinks from daily gym attendees. The magazines often dismiss these classic physiques of the past by saying it was all good genetics. The facts are we all have genetics which may favor a certain level of growth and if they could build a great physique without the use of drugs then so can you. So how do I begin this 3 day a week full body workout? 

According to Steve Reeves a full body workout should be done in this order:

  1. Deltoids
  2. Pectorals (chest)
  3. Lats (mid and upper back)
  4. Biceps
  5. Triceps
  6. Quadriceps (front thighs)
  7. Hamstrings (back of legs)
  8. Calves
  9. Lower Back
  10. Abdominals (midsection)
  11. Neck

Below is a sample workout. You can change certain exercises for those which work best for you such as flat bench fly for incline bench flys. Monday's hyper extensions can be skipped if you feel they may affect your upcoming dead lifts for Wednesday. Beginners can leave out bicep, tricep and calf workouts and focus on the compound movements instead until they're at an intermediate level. So modify it so it works best for you.
 

Monday

Exercise Sets Reps
Upright Rows 3 8-12
Bench Press 3

8-12

Lat Pull-Downs 3

8-12

Barbell Curls 3

8-12

Tricep Push-Downs 3

8-12

Squats 3

8-12

Lying Down Leg Curls 3

8-12

Calf Raises 2-3

12-15

Hyper extension 1-2

12-15

Sit-Ups 2-3 30


Beginners should only do 1 set per exercise for at least 6 months. Then take 1 week off and then return to working out but now do 2 sets per exercise. After another 6 months take a week off and then return to working out but now do 3 sets per exercise.

 

Wednesday

Exercise Sets Reps
Behind The Neck Shoulder Press 3 8-12
Incline Press 3

8-12

Bent Over Rows 3

8-12

Incline Bench Curls 3

8-12

Lying Tricep Extensions 3

8-12

Dead Lifts 3

8-12

Calf Raises 2-3

12-15

Leg Raises 2-3

30

Shrugs 1

12-15

 

 

Friday

Exercise Sets Reps
Lying Lateral Raises 3 8-12
Flat Dumbbell Flys 3

8-12

Straight Arm Dumbbell Pull-Overs 3

8-12

Preacher Curls 3

8-12

Tricep Kick Backs 3

8-12

Front Squat or Hack Squat 3

8-12

Lying Leg Curls 3

8-12

Calf Raises 2-3

12-15

Sit-Ups 2-3

30

As always before starting any new exercise program, it is important that you consult your physician. This is a must if you have any serious medical conditions or if you are taking medication. Get your doctor's consent before you begin.