A Total-Body Workout For The Gym

Kettlebell in a gym
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re an experienced gym-goer hitting the weights room for long sessions several times a week, the chances are you have a structured workout routine that targets different areas of the body with each session.

For most of us, however, a full-body workout is the smartest way to spend your time in the gym. The workout below is an ideal all-round workout for training key muscle groups all over the body, burn fat and generally get into great shape.

The workout involves doing four pairs of two exercises, so you run through all your sets of those two moves then continue to the next pair. All the exercises are compound movements that work multiple muscle groups at once as well as getting your heart pumping, so you’ll be burning fat while building muscle.

All in all it’s a highly efficient session for those looking to achieve as much as they can in a relatively short time in the gym. You’ll need a barbell, dumbbells and a kettlebell to complete the workout, plus a weight bench for the bench press.

1A Deadlift

Woman performs deadlift exercise

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Hold the bar with hands shoulder-width apart. Start with your arms straight and knees slightly bent. Keeping your chest up and your back straight, drive down through your heels and pull the bar up your legs, pushing your hips forwards to stand tall.

1B Dumbbell bench press

Man performs dumbbell bench press exercise

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Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding dumbbells with an overhand grip either side of your chest. Drive your feet hard into the floor and press the weights straight up, then lower them slowly to the start position.

2A Reverse lunge

Man performs lunge exercise with dumbbells

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Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Holding dumbbells in each hand, take a big step backwards, being sure you have your balance before lowering your back knee until it is just off the floor. Keep your back upright and your front knee in line with your front foot. Return to the start and repeat, alternating legs.

2B Military press

Man performs military press exercise

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Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Stand with your feet together holding the bar level with your shoulders. Brace your core and glutes to keep your balance and press the weights straight up so your biceps are close to your ears, then lower to the start.

3A Goblet squat

Woman performs goblet squat

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Sets 3 Reps 20 Rest 45sec

Hold the weight by the bell with the handle pointing down. Keep your chest up and knees wide as you lower into a squat until your elbows touch your legs, then drive back up to stand. 

3B One-arm row

Man performs dumbbell one-arm row exercise

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Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 45sec

Support your knee on the bench with the other leg planted wide for balance. Keep a natural arch in your back and your core braced. Keeping your elbow tucked in, lift the weight to the side of your chest. Pause and return slowly. Complete all reps on one side, then the other.

4A Good morning


(Image credit: unknown)

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Stand holding a barbell on the back of your shoulders, not your neck. Slowly bend forwards at your hips, keeping your legs and back straight. Bend until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then rise back to the start.

4B Kettlebell swing

Man performs kettlebell swing exercise

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and push the kettlebell off your body to start the swing. As you lower, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward, allowing the kettlebell to rise to head height.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.