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Full Body Conditioning Workout

A fitness trainer completing a full body conditioning workout.

This full body conditioning workout will engage every aspect of your fitness. From strength to stamina, this single sweat session delivers a week’s worth of training in just 60-minutes.

The workout achieves these results because it’s comprised of big compound exercises and cardio HIIT blasts.

Basically, many of the best exercises have been bundled together to bring you a full body conditioning workout. One that delivers a host of health and fitness benefits.

But before we get into the workout, I’ve answered a few frequently asked questions for those new to full body conditioning training.

What does body conditioning do?

The aim of full body conditioning training is to engage multiple components of fitness simultaneously. In addition, as the name implies, the entire body is involved in the workout in some way.

Typically, when people exercise, they focus on a single area of their body – biceps – or an element of their fitness – cardio. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with training like this. However, when the body is compartmentalised, to exercise each compartment requires multiple workouts.

As well as being inefficient, this approach can easily result in the neglect of entire muscle groups and body systems. (Who isn’t guilty of skipping leg day or the weekly aerobic sweat sesh?) We are reminded in Physical Fitness & Athletic Performance that the ‘adherence to one method of training – and especially to one system of training – for a prolonged period can […] result in diminished and insignificant gains.’

In contrast, a conditioning workout activates the entire body in equal measure. That is, no one compartment is given priority treatment as the body is trained as a single unit.

What are full body workout exercises?

While there is no set-in-stone list of full body workout exercises, some are certainly better than others for promoting fitness conditioning. For example, compound movements are superior to isolation exercises. This is because ‘compound, or multi-joint, exercises cause greatest stimulation of the muscle fibres,’ (The Complete Guide to Strength Training).

Furthermore, multi-joint exercises involve one or more major muscle groups. Meaning that, by selecting bent-over rows instead of biceps curls, for example, you will engage a far broader range of muscles.

Not convinced? See the following exercise descriptions from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The New Encyclopaedia Of Modern Bodybuilding:

Biceps curls

Purpose of exercise: to engage the medial and lateral head of the biceps. Curls also engage the forearms. (That’s two muscles.)

Bent-over barbell row

Purpose of exercise: to engage the muscles of the upper back which includes the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, infraspinatus, trapezius, and erector spinae. Barbell rows also engage the posterior deltoid, biceps and forearms. (That’s eight muscles.)

In addition to including compound movements in your body conditioning workouts, you can also incorporate cardio exercises as well. Whereas resistance exercises develop muscular strength and endurance, CV stimulates the heart and respiratory system. It’s this combination of ‘training systems’ that makes conditioning workouts so effective.

Does full body workout burn fat?

In addition to engaging the main components of fitness, full body conditioning workouts are calorie hungry. The combination of cardio and compound exercises activates the major body systems – heart and lungs – and the major muscle groups – legs and back.

The fat-burning effectiveness of conditioning workouts can be further increased by training at high intensities. In the workout below, you will be exercising non-stop for 60-minutes as you pit yourself against the fitness challenges. Thus, at the end of an hour, you’ll be soaked through with sweaty satisfaction having torched a ton of fat.

But full body workouts can confer many other benefits besides burning fat. If you can find a permanent place in your training regime for this workout, here’s a list of some of the benefits you could bag:

Increased functional strength
Enhanced muscle endurance
Improved cardio capacity
Improved body composition
Sharper muscle tonality
Increased full body fitness conditioning

How to do this full body conditioning workout

The workout is split into three distinct sections. Each section is comprised of a 10-minute cardio exercise and a 10-minute resistance repetition pyramid. Your objective is to achieve the best possible score in the time allotted.

This objective is clear-cut for the cardio exercises: when you start the 10-minute run, row, and skip, try to accrue as many metres and ‘turns’ of the rope as possible before the timer stops.

While the objective remains the same, the process for the resistance progression pyramids is slightly different. After completing one repetition on the three exercises, you are to go back to the first but now perform two reps. How far up the repetition pyramid can you climb in 10-minutes?

Full body conditioning workout key points

  • Complete the whole-body warm-up prior to starting the workout.

  • Tackle each 10-minute segment before moving to the next exercise in line.

  • The moment the time runs out, ensure to make a note of your score.

  • Continue in this fashion until you have a score for all six exercises.

Warm up

  • 5-minutes rowing – maintain a light- to moderate-intensity pace

  • 1 up to 5 reps press-ups into burpees

  • 3-minutes rowing – maintain a moderate-intensity pace

  • 1 up to 5 reps alternate arm kettlebell clean to press (use a light bell)

  • 2-minutes rowing – maintain a high-intensity pace

  • 1 up to 5 reps barbell deadlifts to bent-over rows (use a light bar)

  • 1-minute row – relaxed pace

Full-body conditioning workout hints and tips

Any of the exercises in the workout can be changed. Beginners might not yet possess the confidence to perform complex exercises such as barbell deadlifts or kettlebell cleans. If this were the case, the beginner could replace either exercise with a simpler variation. But if our hypothetical beginner desired to complete the workout as per the plan, instead of removing exercises they could reduce the loads.

If you plan to push yourself, you’d be wise to consider the resistance loads before undertaking the workout. I only mention this because, starting the first series of resistance exercises with a heavy barbell, will almost certainly slow your progression up the pyramid. It’s fine to begin heavy but it’s sensible to have a few lighter plates ready for when fatigue sets in – and, trust me, it does surprisingly quickly.

Remember, high intensity is not a prerequisite of conditioning training. That is, you don’t have to attack this workout as you would this HIIT Circuit. Your current fitness levels and exercise experience will largely determine how hard you can train.

Splitting the three sections into training intensity zones would work well. For example, maintain a low intensity during the run and barbell exercises. This could constitute an extended warm-up. Move up the gears to medium intensity for the row and kettlebell complex. And, finally, go full throttle for the skipping and bodyweight trio.

Related: Best Skipping Rope

My personal experiences of this workout

I imagine this could be an enjoyable workout if completed at a sensible intensity. However, I completed it with a team of training sadists and so it turned into a hellish competition. Here’s how I organised the competition.

I recruited six participants to ‘test run’ a ‘fun’ and ‘exciting’ full body conditioning workout. On a large whiteboard, I penned a grid that featured the exercises. Opposite the exercises, I left six spaces in which each participant could write their scores.

Prior to starting the workout, I assigned each participant an exercise. Before setting a 10-minute countdown timer, I informed the group that they had but two objectives. First, ensure to make a note of your score and, as soon as the timer stops, write that score on the whiteboard. Second, train as though your eternal soul depends on it.

To support the second objective, I factored in a 25-burpee punishment for those who failed to achieve the top score. Suffice it to say, what initially started out as a bit of fun soon turned serious as we fought tooth and nail to avoid incurring additional exercise. From the first to the final minute, everyone put their all into the workout.

Related: Ready to try this Boxing Conditioning Workout?


Enjoyed this workout?

Get your hands on 70 more with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Volume 2.

This full body conditioning workout concludes with the Hungry4Fitness book of circuits and workouts volume 2. This image shows the Hungry4Fitness book of circuits and workouts volume two. Inside the image it identifies the key features of the book which include: Over 70 fully customisable circuits and workouts suitable for all levels of fitness and ability; 4-Week Functional Fitness Training Programme; How to create your own circuits and workouts including essential training principles; Key exercise explanations and tutorials; A complete guide to fitness testing; The 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge; CrossFit-style training sessions including EMOM, AMRAP, and HIIT workouts; An illustrated, step-by-step guide to stretching.


Full-body conditioning workout concludes with blog author bio:  In this text box it says: As we are very interested in user experience here at Hungry4Fitness, we would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance! Blog Author: Adam Priest, former Royal Marines Commando, is a personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast.

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