• Dead-lifts (Traditional) 1x12
  • Barbell Squats 1x12
  • Lunges 1x12
  • Military Press 1x12
  • Upright Rows 1x12
  • Barbell Bench Press 1x12
  • Pull-ups 1x8
  • Barbell Curls 1x10
  • Dumbell French Press 1x10
  • Dips 1x8
  • Seated Calf Extensions 1x12
  • Crunches 1x12

I've always trained using split routines that work two or three muscles each day, I've had progress but not much on the side of muscle mass gain. I find this routine to be quite peculiar because it works the whole body 3 days a week (every other day), however I find it suspicious that only one set of each exercise is performed, my worry is that the muscle won't be stimulated enough to grow (assuming a proper nutrition of course).

Has anyone used a routine similar to this one and observed progress?,

or that has tried and had success with a routine with more basic exercises with more sets in each one? (similar to StrongLifts 5x5)

  • Where is this routinge from? Do they give a specific reason for doing one set of each?
    – user8119
    Jun 8, 2014 at 12:26
  • It is basically a variation of this one
    – Tristian
    Jun 9, 2014 at 0:20

2 Answers 2


Your training really depends on your goals. There are several factors that program writers have to consider:

  • Training effect: will this help you achieve goal X? In this case increase in muscle mass.
  • Recovery: how quickly can someone train again if they do this routine once. Or what can they do while the body is recovering from some earlier work.

As the person performing the work, there are some considerations that you have to ensure are correct to meet your goals:

  • Nutrition: are you eating in line with your goals? To gain mass you need to eat more than if you are trying to maintain mass or lose mass. However, you don't want to gain mass too quickly or most of it will be fat.
  • Sleep/Stress: these are flip sides of the same coin. The more external stress the less likely you'll be able to keep up with a tough program. The more sleep you can get the more you can do in the gym.

The full body routine you have can work, but it's not immediately obvious as to why. On the surface it's one set each in the 8-12 rep range which doesn't look like a lot of volume. However, there are 12 different exercises, so most of the major muscle groups are getting hit several times, but with different exercises.

  • Legs: squats, lunges, deadlifts, calf extensions
  • Back: deadlifts, pull-ups, squats
  • Triceps: french press, bench press, military press, triceps press
  • Biceps: pull-ups, barbell curls
  • Chest: bench press, pull-overs
  • Abs: pull-overs, crunches, deadlifts

If I missed any major muscle groups, I apologize. When I focus on hypertrophy work I'm only partially in bodybuilder mode and I think more in terms of what helps me perform better at my sports.

The routine has a combination of compound movements and isolation exercises. It's definitely designed with bodybuilders in mind. In order to make this work as well as possible, my recommendations are as follows:

  • Maximize your effort: These should be 8,10,12 rep maxes you are working with. Just stay with a weight until you feel confident you can push out all reps after adding weight.
  • Keep the training dense: Building mass is where you want to put a big stress on your body to force adaptation. You don't have to sprint from station to station, but don't sit on a bench for 10 minutes resting from your maxes. NOTE: this can affect your rep maxes for subsequent exercises.
  • Eat well: You want to gain about a pound every 3 weeks, but you also want to eat as healthy as possible. Muscles like carbs, so I would bias your diet more toward carbs than fat--but definitely at least get at least the minimum fat to keep your body happy.
  • Sleep well: Muscle building happens at night when you are asleep. Insufficient sleep undermines your efforts to build muscle more than anything else.

The routine you posted, as well as the one in the link you provided in the comments, take some ideas of High Intensity Training (HIT) to make single sets work.

The general idea behind HIT is going as hard as you can, often using intensity techniques. Once the set is done, you gave it your all and there's nothing more to do, so you move on to the next exercise. This gives you maximum results in minimum time, or so the pitch goes, but it's also very hard on your body and mind.

While I've heard from people making progress on such a routine I've never seen a full-body routine in that vein. Keep in mind, the purpose of HIT is to go as intense as possible, making recovery long and hard. A full body routine, however, is designed to be done 3 days a week, so recovery is only 48-72 hours.

With that said, it feels like a bit of both (HIT and full body), without utilizing the strengths of any one fully. I'd probably stick to a more conventional full-body routine, as I think it may be hard to make HIT intense enough to work and at the same time keep the frequency up (due to slow recovery).

Should you decide to give the proposed routine a try, though, I'd suggest researching HIT beforehand, as it's a completely different approach than normal weight training. The use of intensity techniques with HIT can be hard to do right and is very taxing both on your body and the central nervous system, so you should really know what you're doing.

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