Russ Howe PTI workout programs

If you want more fat loss, switch to full body training!


This article:

6 min read

The cat is out of the bag: full body training is awesome for fat loss and muscle growth!

If you’ve done either of my Classic Full Body or Figure Of 8 programs then you already know I’m a big fan of full body training, but most people in gyms are still blissfully unaware of the massive benefits it offers.

In this post I’m going to run you through why most of my clients take the full body approach, and show you what a team of researchers from New Zealand found when they compared the fat loss and muscle building benefits of full body workouts versus the more traditional approach of training 1-2 muscles per workout.

Let’s break it down…

Table of Contents

is full body training good to lose weight

Full Body Training For Fat Loss & Muscle Growth!

A team of researchers from Auckland University of Technology recently set out to compare the differences between a traditional three day split and full body workouts.

They worked with experienced rugby union players, and had one group of trainees following full body workouts while another group used a traditional three day split where the full body is trained over the course of three workouts. The key factor is that both groups performed the exact same total number of sets for each muscle group. The exercises used were leg press, barbell squats, lying leg curls, calf raise, bench press, bent-over barbell row, wide-grip lat pulldown, shoulder press, and biceps curls.

When they published the results in the Biology of Sport they confirmed that the trainees who used full body workouts burned significantly more body fat (losing a whopping 6% body fat!) versus the trainees using the three day split (2% fat loss). (1)

Interestingly, both groups had similar gains in size and strength too!

The researchers also believed that the more experienced and stronger a trainee was, the BETTER the results they saw, suggesting that experienced lifters can still benefit from switching to a full body program (such as Classic Full Body) from time to time.

Take a look below:

is full body training better for fat loss

are full body workouts good for fat loss

What About Recovery & Training Volume?

Whenever I speak to people who are unsure about full body training, they ask two questions:

  • Will each muscle get enough volume to grow?
  • Will my muscles be able to recover if I train them every day?

The answer to both questions is YES, but I understand the concern.

You see, the reason people worry about these two specific things is because most people have never followed a properly structured full body program before.

When you use a science-based training plan, such as Classic Full Body, the total amount of volume each muscle gets is no less than it would be during a typical training split.

For example, in my Classic Full Body program you’ll train chest for 7 sets on Monday followed by 2-3 sets on most other days, giving you 15 sets in total. Meanwhile, if we look at a program which follows a traditional “bro split” (for example my Classic Size plan) we can see that you have one big chest workout on Tueday (15 sets) and then don’t hit it again until the following week.

This is the same thing done in two different ways.

However, applying full body training also allows you to tap into the fat loss benefits explained above while still giving you enough total volume to create maximum muscle growth! (2)

russ howe pti classic size vs classic full body

Now let’s talk about recovery time.

A lot of so-called “experts” out there claim a muscle needs 2-3 days of complete rest after a workout in order to grow.


It actually depends on what type of training you did.

For example, if you performed a high volume chest session (15+ sets) then it’s definitely worth giving this muscle a few days to recover before training it again, but that’s not the case if you are only hitting it with 2-7 sets. It would be unnecessary to take so much recovery time because the muscle is nowhere near as fatigued.

This means you can hit it more often…

… and that brings us to another hidden benefit of full body training, which I call “spreading the load”.

This is a useful strategy for people who haven’t trained (hard) in a while, and it also has some interesting performance benefits.

For instance; 45 minutes into a chest workout most people are just spinning their wheels, but by attacking the muscle with smaller bursts several times over the week you never reach that point. Instead you feel fresh for every single exercise, enabling you to train with greater intensity without ever straying over the line where your effort drops off (see below). (3)

Russ Howe PTI Classic Full Body

Oh, it gets even better!

The ability to spread the load means you can train a muscle with greater frequency, and this is where things get REALLY INTERESTING!

When we train a muscle our body reponds by sending signals which begin the recovery process and spike hypertrophy. It appears that performing multiple workouts (and therefore creating multiple spikes) is superior for muscle growth.

In a 2019 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a team of scientists from Norway compared the effects of increased training frequency on a group of powerlifters with one group of trainees performing three long sessions per week and another group of trainees performing six shorter sessions per week (total volume was the same).

What they found was nuts – increased training frequency saw a 10% boost in muscle mass! (4)

10% is an excellent improvement, but perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the participants in this study were athletes! The margin for improvement gets finer the more experienced a lifter is, so WOWZA.

Put simply; full body training and high frequency ROCKS!


  1. Crewther B. T., et al. The effects of two equal-volume training protocols upon strength, body composition and salivary hormones in male rugby union players. Biol. Sport (2016).
  2. Hammarström D., et al. Benefits of higher resistance-training volume are related to ribosome biogenesis. J Physiol (2020).
  3. Schoenfeld B. J., et al. Influence of Resistance Training Frequency on Muscular Adaptations in Well-Trained Men. J Strength Cond Res (2015).
  4. Raastad T., et al. Powerlifters improved strength and muscular adaptations to a greater extent when equal total training volume was divided into 6 compared to 3 training sessions per week. Book of abstracts, 17th annual conference of the ECSS (2012).

Who Is Russ Howe PTI?

russ howe pti

As featured in Men’s Fitness magazine and voted in the world’s top 50 fat loss coaches by HuffPost, Russ is among the UK’s most subscribed personal trainers with 105,223 men and women receiving his free weekly fitness tips e-mail.

In the gym, clients range from busy parents, to models, to athletes and actresses. Russ also worked alongside the UK government for 8 years in a venture combating childhood obesity in England.

Outside of the gym, he’s a proud Dad to three young lads.

You can receive free tips by joining the e-mail list above, or you can hit the big button below to unlock full workout programs!


Response to “Full Body Training For Fat Loss & Muscle Growth”

  1. Richie avatar

    This had rubber stamped so much of what I’ve been advocating for years to clients n people in the gym!

    Cheers Russ 💪🏽

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

russ howe pti programs

Grab a membership to have access to all training programs, diet plans, supplement research and the famous Daily Trainer workouts from Russ!

Click here to see more.

russ howe pti musclefood live clean

I’ve partnered with Musclefood to make meal prep easier than ever. Tell ’em your calorie goal and they’ll send your entire diet to your door. Bosh!

Click here to see more.

  • How To Get In Photoshoot Shape In 2 Months

    In this article I’m going to give you a quick and easy nutrition plan you can use to whip yourself into photoshoot shape in just 8 short weeks.

    Click Here To Read

  • The Rules To Ripped

    These ten tips will help you to lay the foundations of a rock solid body transformation. I call them “The Rules To Ripped”.

    Click Here To Read


    What is the best pre workout of 2020? Don’t waste your money – it’s time for The Russ List 2020, my yearly breakdown of the best pre workout supplements!

    Click Here To Read

  • How To Make Your Own Pre Workout Supplement

    Want to learn how to make your own pre workout from scratch? This guide teaches you the four ingredients you’ll need.

    Click Here To Read

  • Adapt Nutrition Pre Train X Review

    Adapt Nutrition have produced one of the best pre-workouts of the year in Pre Train X. Here’s the official review.

    Click Here To Read

  • How To Use Periodization For Better Results

    Proper periodization is the difference between a good workout program and a great workout program.

    Click Here To Read

  • How Much Volume Do You Need For Muscle Growth?

    Explode your results by hitting each muscle group with the correct amount of volume to grow.

    Click Here To Read

  • Did You Spot These 4 Easter Eggs?

    There are several little Easter eggs built into which most readers never notice.

    Click Here To Read

  • Why Arnold Is Still The Best Bodybuilder

    Many people are hailing Chris Bumstead as the greatest bodybuilder of all time. Here’s my take on why Arnold is still #1.

    Click Here To Read

  • Creatine Myths Busted!

    There are many myths surrounding creatine and it’s potential side effects. This article addresses them one by one.

    Click Here To Read

  • Eating Fat Won’t Make You Fat

    Fat was demonized in the 1980s and is still misunderstood today. Here’s the science on optimizing your fat intake for results.

    Click Here To Read

  • Eat More Protein For Muscle Growth

    How much protein should you eat per day to build muscle? More than most people do. Here’s the lowdown on protein requirements for athletes.

    Click Here To Read