You want to build muscle mass, but you only have limited time per week to work out properly? Not a problem at all. You don't have to lift 7 times per week to get the results you want. Just make the best out of the time you have.
There are seemingly endless exercises out there and I know which are the best for a full body workout.
Basically, the 'best' exercises are easy-to-learn, target multiple muscle groups, give you physical strength and muscle tone. You don't need fancy equipment, belts or other stuff, just keep it simple.
Aim to do this full body workout 3 times a week. If you can do it only 2 times per week, that's totally fine. If you are able to train more than 3 times per week, I would recommend to try a different split system, like push/pull/legs or upper/lower.
Here are me 5 favourites when it comes to full body splits.
Well performed squats should always be part of your weekly exercise routine, in my opinion. They are not only muscle-building, but also balance bettering.
Squats target not only your legs, but also your bum, core and back muscles.
Plus, they improve your flexibility. You have to move your body through a full range of motion. That's why you're not only building strength, but also increase flexibility in your ankles and hips.
It's very functional to be able to perform a proper squat, because it's an exercise that you'll most likely perform in your every day life (when you pick up a pen or tying up your shoes for example).
Squatting is just one if the best functional exercises you can do. Especially for ladies, to get a nice round, hard behind!
Go at least to parallel, so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Go deeper if you have the mobility and healthy knees.
A deadlift is the ultimate old-school exercise and also one of the best exercises to build your overall strength, because it's a compound exercise.
The wrong technique can cause serious back injuries, make sure to have a proper form. With a correct form, the deadlift will strengthen your lower back, calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, core and even your forearms.
Focus on a straight back, when lifting the barbell off the ground and bring it up to your thighs using your whole body. Stand upright, your arms straight with the weight hanging in front of your hips.
3. Pull up
Another pretty popular, but recently more often neglected exercise is the pull up. Pull ups are a so called "closed chain exercise". Those have been proven to improve your overall strength, incorporate larger amounts of muscle mass and out less stress on the joints.
Performing a pull up is a very natural movement. Your body is designed to move against gravity. Using your own body weight challenges your muscles and joints to work against the gravity of earth. This is the purest form of functional strength.
The best thing about them: you can perform them nearly everywhere. In every park, at every gym or on the playground. And if you get stronger, you can easily add weight using a dumbbell.
If your goal is to improve your strength, increase your muscle size and general fitness, the bench press is one of the best exercise for your upper body. But don't let it be the only movement in your program!
Widely known as a "chest" exercise, it's clearly underrated. When you bench properly, you're using your shoulders, triceps, forearms, lats, pecs, traps, as well as your lower back hips and legs. That's why it's a full body movement.
Think a moment about it. While you're benching, your not just lying there. Your entire body is working. Your lats are engaged, back, hips and legs are tight and stabilising your body.
Make sure to keep your arms in a 45 degree ankle, go down until the barbell touches your chest, slow controlled movements, no bouncing and keep your feet push into the ground. No feet-on-the-bench-action!
As a relatively small compound movement, they will focus on your triceps, but also improve the strength in your chest and shoulders.
If you're unfamiliar, the dip is performed by using your hands to support your full body weight, lowering your upper body in a controlled motion down, and returning to the start position. You can see a proper dip performed in the video down below, as well as a deadlift, squat and bench press.
It's one of my favourite exercises since for while now, because you don't really need equipment. With a little bit creativity, you can perform a dip anywhere - kitchen chairs, playground, fallen tree - you don't need dip bars.
6. Military press
I'm honest with you: I hate-love the military press, aka shoulder press.
Looking to build strong, defined shoulders, chest and arms, while working the rest of your body as well? Military press it is.
By pressing weights over your head, you'll improve deficiencies in your overall upper body, which will also help you improving other exercises, such as bench press, rows and pull ups.
Performing the military press in a standing position, it will help you to develop your core more, stabilise the muscles in your trunk and helps to improve imbalance in your back.
Perform it on a bench, to have more stability in your back and core, if you want to focus more on the shoulders and less on the compound effect.
Here's the aforementioned video, including almost all the exercises from this post, including the military/shoulder press.
Especially if you're just starting with your fitness journey, a full body workout 3 times per week will be very beneficial. Since you train all muscles, you need the other days off, to recover from the workouts.
But if you're going to make progress down the road, you might want to switch it up at some point and try other splits.
Let me known in the comment section below which exercises you like the most and which not!
Happy gains :)