Welcome to Classic Full Body! If you’re looking for a program to help you get bigger, stronger and leaner in the next 8 weeks, you just found it. Eagle-eyed website members might regognize it has a similar name to my popular Classic Size plan, and you’d be right! As the name suggests, Classic Full Body…

classic full body Russ Howe PTI

Written by Russ Howe PTI, and most recently updated 1 day ago.

12 min read

Welcome to Classic Full Body!

If you’re looking for a program to help you get bigger, stronger and leaner in the next 8 weeks, you just found it.

Eagle-eyed website members might regognize it has a similar name to my popular Classic Size plan, and you’d be right! As the name suggests, Classic Full Body is a brand new take on the original which combines the benefits of full body training alongside an already solid routine.

That means you’ll be training every muscle group in each workout, a sure-fire way to unlock excellent results!

As always, I highly recommend reading the full program overview before starting the plan to get a feel for what you’ll be doing, but here’s a quick overview:

  • 8 weeks.
  • 5 workouts per week.
  • Full body workouts.
  • Excellent for both muscle growth & fat loss.
  • Very useful if you’re new to the gym or haven’t trained (hard) for a while.
  • You’ll be using Rest Pause sets and Dropsets to unlock maximum results in super quick time.

classic full body program


People often underestimate the effectiveness of full body workouts.

The lower volume each muscle receives in each workout makes it perfect if you’re new to the gym, or haven’t trained for a while, and that’s not all – it’s tremendous for hypertrophy and fat loss!

A 2016 study published in Biology of Sport had two groups of male trainees training performing either full body three times per week or a traditional three day split (where the full body is trained over the course of three workouts). Participants hit the same total volume for each muscle group for four weeks, but the full body trainees lost significantly more body fat (dropping a crazy 6% body fat!) versus the three day split trainees (2% drop in body fat). (1)

Training with increased frequency (i.e. hitting muscles with small workouts every day as opposed to one big day) also has interesting hypertrophy benefits. We explored those benefits in my Biceps Boom program, and we will do it again in Classic Full Body!

A 2012 study from Norway had one group of powerlifters performing squats, deadlifts and bench press three times per week, and another group of powerlifters performing the same exercises and the same total volume but over SIX workouts (more workouts, but half the volume in each session). This 12 week study discovered that the second group, the guys who trained with more frequency, increased muscle mass 10% more than the other group! (2)

Those are insane results, but what’s perhaps MOST interesting about these findings is that the participants in both of these studies weren’t comparing their results versus sedentary people but against people who were training hard.

Simply put; full body training rocks!



Periodization is the foundation of your training program.

It is the structure which dictates how many reps, how many sets, and which exercises we should use to unlock the best possible results in the fastest possible time.

There are several different forms of periodization we can apply to our training program to boost results (depending on the goal of the program), and we will be using the reverse linear periodization model here. This is FANTASTIC for strength and hypertrophy – so it’s a perfect fit for Classic Full Body.

So why is it so effective?

Well, one of the best ways to build muscle is to increase the weight you lift over the course of several weeks and months. This is called progressive overload. This form of periodization MAXIMIZES RESULTS in this regard by allowing us to gradually decrease our rep ranges week by week, leading to heavier weights being lifted and amazing gains in size and strength! (3)

It looks like this:

classic linear periodization for building muscle

Of course, it’s not just about training hard – it’s about training smart.

You will be training with 15 reps per set in week 1, 12 reps per set in week 2, 8 reps per set in week 3, and 6 reps per set in week 4 – then re-running the journey with a new bunch of exercises to provide a fresh stimulus for your muscles. This is done deliberately, because there are some fantastic hypertrophy benefits waiting to be had with higher rep ranges and lighter weights, and by structuring our training this way we can unlock those results and lay a solid foundation of strength on our way to the heavier stuff later in the program.

It allows you to reap the results of multiple training styles without ever hanging around in one zone long enough to allow negative adaptations to occur (progress won’t “get stuck”). It also provides you with constant variety, which is great! (4, 5)

full body workout program


Whenever I speak to people who don’t use full body training, they have two concerns:

  1. Will each muscle receive enough volume to grow?
  2. Will each muscle receive enough recovery time?

These concerns are understandable, because the majority of people have never actually followed a properly structured full body training plan before.

However, you needn’t worry about any of that with Classic Full Body! Like every program on russhowepti.com, this beast has been structured to give you amazing results in the fastest timeframe.

With regards to recovery time, one of the adaptations we must make for full body training is reducing the amount of work each muscle receives per workout. Instead of performing a monstrous leg workout, you will be hitting your legs with 2-7 sets. This makes recovery a non-issue.

As for the total volume each muscle receives, you have nothing to worry about.

If we take a look at the original Classic Size program which uses a more traditional training split we can see that the chest receives 15 sets of work on Tuesday and isn’t trained again until the following week. Classic Full Body provides the exact same volume in a different format – 7 sets of chest on Monday, 2 sets every other day.

russ howe pti classic size vs classic full body

This was imperative when creating the program, because research shows we can maximize hypertrophy by hitting a muscle with 12-18 sets per week. So the only difference here is that you’ll do it across 5 workouts rather than all in one day, which some research suggests is EVEN BETTER FOR RESULTS! Every muscle group lands in this so-called “sweet spot” for muscle growth, with chest (15), back (15), shoulders (15), traps (13), biceps (15), triceps (15), abs (15), legs (15), and calves (15).

This enables you to attack each body part with the precise amount of volume to maximize gains, without ever straying over the point where intensity begins to drop and training becomes less productive. (6)

Take a look at the graph below. “X” marks the spot!

classic full body

full body workout plan


A debate has raged in the fitness world for decades about whether you should train a muscle “to failure” for better results.

I sit somewhere in the middle ground between yes and no.

You see, if you do not train a muscle to failure (i.e. you go too light and don’t challenge yourself at all) you won’t build anywhere near as much muscle. However, if you go to failure on every set you’ll be wiped out 15 minutes into your session.

So my advice is to balance your approach for maximum results. Training a muscle to failure has been shown to improve muscle protein synthesis by as much as 60% so it’s definitely something we should be doing, but we need to do it properly to see maximum results. (7, 8, 9)

As a guide, the last third of your set should be challenging – so if your rep target is 12 then the last four reps should be difficult. Most exercises will have you performing at least two sets, so I recommend using your first set to test the waters, then go heavier on the next set if you can.

full body workouts to build muscle


Muscle busters are every bit as cool as they sound.

These techniques will be performed after the final set of every exercise, and are a sure-fire way to guarantee you took the target muscle all the way to FAILURE.

We will be using Rest Pause and Dropsets – both methods are highly effective for boosting hypertrophy! (10, 11)

Here’s a quick overview of how they work in the gym:

  • Rest Pause
    After completion of your final set, take a 10 second rest then go back in and squeeze our 3-4 extra reps at the same weight. Sounds nuts, but the body can recover by as much as 30% in just ten seconds and these additional reps can add up to some excellent results over the course of a few weeks!

  • Dropset
    After completion of your final set, reduce the weight by about 20% and immediately continue squeezing out repetitions until you reach failure. See if you can get 10-15 more reps in total.

full body workout program


As with every program on russhowepti.com, there are NO RESTRICTIONS with how you use this program.

If you look at the chart above you can see an example of how I would run it. I like to use a 3/1/2/1 approach (3 days of training, 1 recovery day, 2 days of training, 1 recovery day) because it spaces our non-training days in a manner which allows us to train at close to 100% in every workout.

However, life doesn’t always work that way!

If this schedule is not doable for you, just work through the program at your own pace. You will still complete the full plan, it’ll just take longer to finish.

classic full body diet plan


A lot of people in gyms “wing it” with their diet and never achieve the body they want.

They don’t know if they’re eating the right number of calories, they aren’t sure if they’re getting enough protein per day for maximum results… and they’re unhappy with their results!

I don’t like that approach!

I leave no stone unturned when designing programs to help russhowepti.com members get in shape, and I do the same with nutrition plans because, trust me, it’s just as important! (12)

Classic Full Body comes with TWO diet plans, just choose the one which matches your training goal whether it is gaining size and strength, or fat loss.

During weeks 1/2 you will eat…


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