If you’re looking for a full body workout that engages all the major muscle groups, this one is for you. Based on military-style fitness training, inspiration for this full body workout has been taken from the Royal Marines Fitness Manual.
So, expect a tough yet rewarding exercise experience that tests multiple components of fitness.
full body workout benefits
The Royal Marines produce some of the physically fittest soldiers in the world. To emerge successful from ‘Commando’ training requires strength, muscle endurance, and bucket loads of cardio stamina. (As well as cast-iron mental resolve.)
Yet, to develop their legendary fitness, Royal Marnie training is comprised mostly of simple exercises – running and calisthenics.
Because this full body workout draws off this austere training ethos, it requires minimal equipment. All you need is a stretch of grass, a few distance markers, and a stopwatch.
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Calisthenics – or body weight exercises – are by many trainers regarded as inferior to resistance exercises. Weightlifting is prioritised because it’s seen as a more effective method of building strength and size. And while this is true to an extent, calisthenics forges a functional fitness that static weightlifting cannot.
Including calisthenics in your workouts broadens the training dynamic while also promoting a number of coveted physical outcomes.
In addition to promoting enviable muscular endurance, body weight exercises can help cultivate a more natural-looking physique. Press-ups, pull-ups, and burpees enhance muscle definition and density without that unsightly bulkiness.
No Royal Marine workout (or full body workout for that matter) is complete without cardio. It’s not uncommon for exercisers to neglect cardio training. Perhaps this is because they forget that much of the cardio-respiratory system is comprised of muscle and thus, like biceps, pectorals, and abs, must be stimulated as well.
But cardio training does much more than engaging the heart, diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and myriad smooth muscles that assist the flow of blood through the vascular system.
According to the NHS (2022), cardio exercise ‘helps to protect and maintain heart, lung and circulatory health thereby reducing your risk of ill health as well as enhancing your mental health and wellbeing and helping you to maintain a healthy body weight.’
Because cardio exercise forms the foundation of this full body workout, you can expect to enjoy some of the fitness benefits listed below.
full-body workout benefits summarised
Engages the major muscle groups
Improves physical functionality
Enhances aerobic capacity
Improves full body fitness
Sharpens muscle tonality
Encourages weight loss
Is accessible to a wide audience as minimal equipment or technical exercise expertise is required to complete this full body workout
How to do this workout
Before you tackle this workout it’s important to warm-up first. As Watson reminds us in Physical fitness & Athletic Performance, ‘A warm-up of an appropriate nature enhances physical performance’ while also reducing injury risk. An appropriate warm-up has been provided below.
First, at your local park or on a flat stretch of ground, mark out from a start point four distances: 25, 50, 75, and 100-metres. Depending on your current aerobic fitness levels, you can of course either reduce or increase the distance to suit.
Standing at the start point, the four markers should recede out to your front. When warm and ready, you’ll perform 10 reps of the first calisthenics exercise, press-ups. Concluding the reps immediately sprint to the first marker (25-metres).
Here you have two options. You can either sprint or take a slow jog back to the start point. The moment you cross the line drop down and perform another set of 10 press-ups. But this time sprint to the second marker (50-metres). Continue until you have sprinted all four distances.
That’s one round completed. You now have four rounds left before finishing the full set. To complete the second round, progress through the press-up-to-sprint pairing performing 8 reps as opposed to 10. Continue on until you have worked your way down the repetition ladder: 10, 8, 6, 4, 2.
At this point, you can either take a rest or go straight into the next set.
On completion of one full ladder – which is comprised of 20 body weight and 20 sprint sets – you will have performed 120 repetitions and sprinted 1250-metres (and slow jogged 1250-metres).
Full body workout key points
Before starting the workout ensure to warm up well first.
From the start point, mark out four distances spaced 25-metres apart.
Using the grid below, proceed to progress through the calisthenics and sprint pairings.
When you have completed one round, either take a short rest or move on to the next. Continue like this until you have completed the full set.
There are four sets in total to work through.
If you manage to complete all four sets you will have performed a grand total of 480 repetitions, sprinted 5000-metres, and jogged 5000-metres.
Remember, though, that is the advanced workout. If you are a beginner set your sights on completing just one set. Intermediates could aim for two.
2-minutes of mobility exercises: joint rotations at the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles
3-minutes slow jogging
Calisthenics pyramid: 1 up to 5 reps press-ups into burpees
3-minutes running (increase the pace)
Calisthenics pyramid: 1 up to 5 reps press-ups into burpees
Fully body workout plan
How to modify this full body workout
One of the great things about this full body workout is that there are loads of modification options.
For example, if you wanted to shift the emphasis more on muscular endurance as opposed to cardio, you could increase the rep range while decreasing the sprint distances.
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Make this a full body gym workout
The final modification I am going to suggest is substituting the cardio exercise. If you don’t have access to a 100-metre-long stretch of grass, you can still participate in this workout. The sprint intervals can be replaced with any number of different aerobic exercises – such as rowing, cycling, skipping, and even swimming.
Changing the cardio exercise enables you to complete this workout at the gym. Performing the sprint intervals on a rowing machine or stationary bike, for example, would make for a highly engaging workout.
All I would say is that when replacing the sprints, ensure to adjust the distance of the substituted cardio exercise. By that I mean, if you replaced running with cycling, you’d have to increase the interval distances. If not the intervals will be too short and you won’t feel the benefits.
Enjoyed this workout?
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