Workout of the Week: Intermediate Full Body Day

Pfc. Edgar Gonzalez, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, completes the arm extension push-up during the Army Combat Fitness Test Nov. 18, 2019, on Pershing Field at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Sgt. Inez Hammon/14th Public Affairs Detachment)

Getting to the weight room and arranging your exercises so you can get a quick but effective full body workout requires forethought. When doing full body days, do not neglect a warm-up that not only warms you up (body temperature) but also includes a large variety of movements prior to lifting or calisthenics exercises.

Here is a workout that we arranged this week for a beginner/intermediate group that wanted a session that could be completed in 30 to 45 minutes.

Here is how it goes:

Warm-up: push-up/Squats Pyramid 1-10 with 20m runs or 20 jumping jacks in between sets.

How to do the Pyramid Warm-up/Run:

  • 1 push-up/1 squat run 20m (or do 20 jumping jacks)
  • 2 push-ups/2 squats run 20m
  • 3 push-ups/3 squats run 20m... keep going up to 10 push-ups and 10 squats. Stop at 10 push-ups and 10 squats. This total of repetitions is 55 push-ups and 55 squats. If this process is too difficult, stop at 5 or 6 on the 1-10 pyramid. Repeat in reverse order to limit your repetitions to 25-36 as a warm-up if needed.

If necessary, resort to knee push-ups or half squats. Add a variety of push-ups with changes in the width of grip (wide, regular, close grip) or change the width of leg placement in squats. Add a lunge per leg or tow. Total Time: 5-10 minutes.

The Weight Room with Calisthenics Options if needed:

  • Repeat 2-3 times
  • Bench Press 5-10
  • DB rows 10 per arm
  • Step Ups on the bench 10 per leg

This classic Push/Pull/Leg combination is a quick circuit that keeps you close to your bench (if in a busy gym). If you have time and the pull-up bar is close, try a set of max pull-ups before the rows if you can do pull-ups. After the Push/Pull, step up and down on the bench with or without weights to keep the legs warm for the next set that is a leg/cardio focus. If you do not have a bench press, you can replace it with push-ups or military press (overhead press) with dumbbells. Total time: 10 minutes.

  • Repeat 3 times
  • Leg Press 10
  • Lunges 5-10 per leg
  • Easy Cardio 3 min

Mix in some legs into this workout, but also some cardio options. The goal here is to get the leg exercises done in less than two minutes -- then take a 3-minute break of short but intense cardio options (walk, jog, bike, elliptical, or rower). Total time: 15 minutes.

  • Repeat 4 times
  • Run 400m at goal pace or bike 2 min
  • DB bicep/military 10
  • DB shrugs 10
  • DB squats 10

If you can run, check your 400m times but keep it at goal mile pace. If you want to run an 8-minute mile, shoot for a 2-minute 400m (1/4 mile). Or bike at high intensity for 2 minutes. Then mix in a combination of exercises that work both the upper body and lower body in between runs or bike.

Cooldown bike or elliptical 10 min / stretch

This is just an easy 5-10 minute cardio cooldown that you can follow with a light stretch. If you have time (or you can save until later), do the following PT reset exercises:


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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