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Workout For A Balanced Body

Updated on May 31, 2015

Why Have A Balanced Body?

Having a balanced body doesn’t just mean having a nice physique, it means having a functional body.

And like I always repeat in every post, having a functional body increases your ability to move without restriction.

An Example:

For example, If your pectorals are much stronger than your back you are going to have postural problems, injuries and your performance will be reduced.

Quite simply because of the muscle imbalance that you’ve just created. If you look at the guys at the gym who workout mainly the front of their body like their abs and pecs, you’ll see that many times they will have rounded shoulders.

If you have rounded shoulders there will be less space for your pecs to develop. Look at the guys with massive chests, they almost always have their shoulders far back in the socket with good posture.

The muscles in the back are strong enough in this person. Esthetics and performance a lot of the time go hand in hand.

I will give you a set of exercises that will give you the balanced physique you have been dreaming of.


What type of workout do I need?

Your overall weight training program should be comprised of exercises from EVERY movement pattern. If it isn’t, it means you’re missing something and failing to properly train your entire body.

The type of workout you are going to do is called agonist antagonist muscle workout. You work opposing muscle groups back to back (without rest aka superset). Chest and then back or triceps and biceps etc…

Agonist/antagonist training ensures that you’re doing enough work for both sides of the body for better muscular balance.

I think to have a balanced physique you need to do big compound movements with weights AND also do bodyweight exercises so that you get the best of both worlds.

You are going to workout 3 times a week.


  • A horizontal push/pull day
  • A leg day
  • A vertical push/pull day



Day 1: Horizontal Push/Pull


On your first day you will be mainly working the chest and back. Start by doing variations of rows as the “horizontal pull exercise” and push ups as the “horizontal push exercise”.

(A1, B1, C1 = horizontal push exercises) (A2, B2, C2 = horizontal pull exercise)

This is from the “T Nation” website. This is your day 1 workout. Do the exercises in pairs. Do exercises A1 and A2 together (superset), rest and than repeat 5 times (sets). Pass to B1/B2 and do the same till you get to the end of the workout with C1 and C2.

Hit the rep range indicated, reaching FAILURE in those rep ranges is the key. Adjust the weight or resistance so that when you get to 8 reps, or whatever is your goal, you can’t do 9 reps with good form.

  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Rep speed = 4 seconds coming down, 2 seconds coming up


This video shows Brandon Carter doing a horizontal pull and push exercise back to back:

Day 2: Legs


The two best leg exercises are probably the squat and the deadlift and they are not just a great leg exercise but a total body exercise in themselves. Both work the whole leg but the squat focuses more on the quads and the deadlift more on the hamstrings and butt. One works more the front of the leg (Anterior chain) while the other more on the back of the leg (Posterior chain). That's why they are in way opposed to each other.

(A1, B = anterior chain) (A2, C = posterior chain)


Superset A1 and A2, rest and then repeat 5 times. When you are finished do the same with B and C. Make sure you adjust the weight to hit the desired rep range. The number of reps means you should hit FAILURE in that particular rep range.

  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Rep speed = 4 seconds down, 2 seconds up


Here you have a list of exercises with and without weights:


Day 3: Vertical Push/Pull


Here you will be mainly working the shoulders and lats. The best exercises are variations of pull ups and dips. They are one of the most complete exercises out there.

(A1, B1, C1 = Vertical push exercise) (A2, B2, C2 = Vertical pull exercise)


Like in the two previous days, do exercises A1 and A2 together (superset), rest and then repeat 5 times. Pass to B1/B2 and do the same etc…

Hit the rep range indicated, FAILURE in those rep ranges is the key. You want to reach your limit every time.

  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Rep speed = 4 seconds coming down, 2 seconds coming up


Here’s a list of bodyweight exercises:


And here a list of exercises with weights:


Rep Speed

  • Slower rep speed = Muscle mass
  • Faster rep speed = Strength and power

You have to switch it up from time to time so that your muscles don’t get used to anything and to not get bored.

To have a good combination of strength, speed, power, endurance and muscle mass you should vary the rep speed.

Examples of rep speeds:

  • 5 seconds up, 5 seconds down
  • 2 seconds up, 4 seconds down
  • 1 second up, 2 seconds down

For more rep speed ideas check out this article


Rest Time

  • Shorter rest time = muscle mass
  • Longer rest time = strength and power

You want to alternate rest times as well to keep your body guessing and keep progressing. The same principles apply.

examples of rest times

  • 30 to 90 seconds = Muscle mass
  • 3 to 5 minutes = Strength


Here’s an interesting video about the subject and how you can play with these different parameters:

What About The Core And Cardio?

  • Core circuit training
  • In the morning on an empty stomach

One has to understand that circuit training is designed to provide a happy medium between strength and aerobic training.

The core tends to respond better to higher reps so the best type of workout is HIIT cardio.

HIIT cardio is a type of cardio that will burn all of your fat and maintain muscle at the same time. For best results do it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

Example:

  1. jump rope or sprints – 1 minute
  2. Mountain climbers – 1 minute
  3. Rest 30 seconds
  4. Repeat 5 times

Be Careful Of Overtraining

  • Rest for one week every month
  • Boredom, tiredness, lack of motivation are signs that you need to change


If you train intensely for too long, your nervous system will exhaust itself and you will stop making progress and you’ll be more vulnerable to injury.

Listen to your body! If you lack motivation and can’t maintain your usual intensity in training that doesn’t mean you are weak that means you have to change something. Maybe you need to change exercises, your rest time, rep speed or finally just rest for a while.

The intelligent thing to do is to rest for a week once a month. Don’t worry you won’t get smaller, actually you might get bigger because you are giving your muscles the time to recuperate and grow stronger.

The best advice I can give is to listen to your body and don’t interpret boredom, tiredness etc…as a lack of manhood or will power.

Think of it this way, you have those sensations because your body is trying to help you achieve your goals by telling you that what you are doing isn’t working anymore. It’s telling you to CHANGE something for better results.

How to put this all together?

  1. Do the 3 day workout above
  2. HIIT cardio on an empty stomach first thing in the morning 3 times a week
  3. Rest 1 week every two months
  4. Change parameters regularly (ex: rep speed, rest time, type of exercises etc..)


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