Strength Workout | Build Whole Body Strength & Size

Introduction | Benefits of this strength workout | Just let me at it!

A woman completing a strength workout.

This strength workout has been designed to improve strength in all the major muscle groups. Built around big compound exercises, this strength workout also promises to develop size across the whole body.

Strength workout benefits

By regularly engaging in strength workouts, you stand to gain many health and fitness benefits. In addition to building strength, a beneficial attribute for many reasons, strength workouts can reduce injury risk, strengthen our bones, and improve sports performance.


Of course, to enjoy these benefits of strength training, and there are more besides, you have to aim to complete one to two strength workouts a week.


The strength workout below will help you on your way to achieving the minimum training dose. Moreover, we’ve designed this strength workout so that it can be changed and modified at the drop of hat.


So, if you’re new to strength training, this workout will give you an insight into how to organise strength exercises and structure the reps and sets. From there you can use the workout as a blueprint for developing your own strength sessions in the future.


Related: Strength Training | Everything You Need to Know


How to approach this strength workout

This workout is dedicated purely to strength development. Thus, between sets, it is advisable to take a substantial rest of 2 to 3-minutes. Long rest periods are important during strength training as the muscles are provided with adequate time to recover for the next lift. By doing so you will be able to lift more weight – which in turn can facilitate greater strength gains.


For this strength workout, sets are paired with a prespecified percentage of maximal lift. So, the first set, you will notice, features a higher rep range but a lower percentage of maximal lift when compared to those proceeding sets.


As the sets progress, reps decrease while percentages increase. Example:

This chart displays the percentages of 1 rep max each lift must be performed at for this strength workout.

Remember, the percentage of maximal lift pertains to your personal performance measures – and not an abstraction from a textbook. Consequently, this workout will yield the best results if you possess an understanding of your current 1 rep max. For without that information, you cannot calculate the prescribed percentages above.


Final point, the only aspect of this strength workout that changes is the exercises. The formula remains the same.

Key points of this strength workout

  • Warm-up well before you go Hercules!

  • You are focusing purely on developing strength. So, ensure to enforce substantial rest periods between sets.

  • Technique is always important, but arguably more so when the weights get bigger. Double down on your form and strictly observe correct lifting procedure: back straight; do not lockout weight-bearing joints; eyes fixed forward, and don’t forget to breathe baby.


Warm-up

Spend a solid 10-minutes warming up your entire body. I recommend 10-minutes of rowing or pushing and pulling on the cross-trainer. These cardio exercises warm the major muscle groups while also replicating the types of movements that feature in the workout.


Also, as part of the warm-up, complete one or two light technique lifts of each strength exercise prior to completing the sets.


Related: In this complete guide you'll discover the Importance of Warm ups and Cool downs

Strength workout

Deadlift

  • Stand in front of an Olympic barbell or, better still, inside a hex bar. The hex bar, a hexagonal steel structure, is specifically designed for deadlifting.

  • Assuming that you’re using an Olympic bar, grasp it by bending at the knees and not rounding at the back.

  • Ensure to take the strain before lifting: do not ‘snatch’ the bar off the floor.

  • Firing through the quadriceps, stand up ensuring to drive through with the hips. At the uppermost position, do not lean back. Just stand up nice and erect.

  • Return the bar under control.

Bent over row

  • The start of the bent over row is the top position of the deadlift.

  • Hinging at the hips, keeping the back straight, lower down until the bar is level with the top of the knees.

  • Eyes fixed forward, row the bar until it touches your stomach.

  • Lower under control.

Hang cleans

  • Again, as with the deadlift, the start of the hang clean is the top position of the deadlift.

  • To initiate the movement hinge forward slightly at the hips and using lower back, arm, and trapezius strength, clean the bar up to the shoulders.

  • The top position of the hang clean sees you at the start of the front squat: the bar ‘racked’ across the anterior deltoids.

  • If you’re using bumper plates drop the bar. If not, recover the movement under control.

Front squat

  • So, in the top position of the hang clean, the bar securely supported in the front rack, space your feet slightly over shoulder-width.

  • Keeping the back straight, eyes fixed forward, squat until a 90-degree angle forms behind the knees.

  • Pause momentarily then stand up out of the squat.

  • Do not lock the legs in the top position.

Push press

  • The bar is in the front rack position. Knees slightly bent; eyes fixed forward.

  • Taking a shallow dip at the knees, use quadriceps strength to get the bar moving.

  • Assist with the shoulders as the bar passes the chin – or thereabouts – and press the bar above your head.

  • Just before the elbows lockout, pause momentarily.

  • Using muscle contraction return the bar to the start position.

Strength workout hints and tips

  • To ensure that you get adequate rest between sets, consider setting a 2- or 3-minute countdown timer.

  • If you plan to attempt a 1 rep max for the final set, it is advisable to solicit the services of a spotter. It is dangerous to attempt a 1RM on certain exercises – such as squats and the push press – without support. Ideally, all lifts should be performed on an Olympic barbell clad in bumper plates. This way you can just ‘drop’ the bar if your strength deserts you.

  • For a video demonstration of this workout, follow the link: Barbell Complex for Strength and Muscular Endurance.


 

Related: Master these 11 Compound Exercises

 

Enjoyed this strength workout?

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Circuit training is one of the best forms of physical exercise for maintaining and increasing overall-fitness. A well designed circuit will provide a great cardiovascular workout, strengthening the heart and lungs in the process, whilst also improving muscle endurance and developing functional strength. This unique combination, of fat burning and muscle building, which singular exercises, such as running, cycling, swimming or weights cannot give, will help to sculpt a lean defined physique.


 

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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