Build Your Own HLM Full Body Workout

Looking for quality full body workout variations? This template system allows you to build hundreds and hundreds of effective training programs from the ground up.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Full Body
Beginner
3
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

When it comes to full body workouts, most involve the same old, same old structure and exercises. While these workouts are highly effective, I decided it was time to create a design structure that allowed trainees to play with some options without sacrificing effectiveness.

This is a "build your own" workout system. It is highly customizable and can literally generate hundreds upon hundreds of unique workout program variations that will help you to build muscle (and strength).

You will be given blocks of quality exercises to choose from. It won't matter which exercise you choose from each block, because this system makes it impossible to create an ineffective full body workout.

What is an HLM full body workout?

HLM stands for heavy, light and moderate training days. You will be lifting 3 times per week, using the following schedule:

  • Monday - Heavy training day
  • Wednesday - Light training day
  • Friday - Moderate training day

Heavy day. Heavy training days will focus on the use of primarily compound exercises and 5 rep sets.

Light day. Light training days will allow you to target muscle groups with isolation exercises, or less intense compound movements. You will have the freedom to choose from cable, machine or even bodyweight exercises. Most sets will work within the 12-15 rep range. Bodyweight work may involve timed sets, or sets for as many reps as possible.

Moderate day. You will be given the choice between compound movements and heavy hitting alternatives. Rep ranges will remain around 8-10 per set for most exercises.

An HLM approach varies rep ranges in an attempt to help stimulate as much hypertrophy (muscle growth) as possible. It also cycles intensity (heavy training), which should improve recovery and be somewhat easier on your joints over the long run.

Cable Curls

HLM full body template

Though a full body workout is designed to work the body in its entirety, exercise choices will be listed by muscle group for the sake of convenience. This isn't to imply that you need to worry about muscle groups when using compound exercises; you don't.

Focus on progressive overload first and foremost, and trust the process. Muscle groups will grow from overload and consistent effort. You don't need to "concentrate" on them for muscle to be built.

Here are the templates for each training day:

Monday - Heavy
Heavy Day Template
Bodypart Chart
Quads Heavy
Chest Heavy
Back Heavy
Shoulders Heavy
Biceps Moderate
Triceps Moderate
Calves * (optional) Moderate
Abs (optional) Moderate
Wednesday - Light
Light Day Template
Bodypart Chart
Quads Light
Chest Light
Back Light
Shoulders Light
Hamstrings * Light
Triceps Light
Biceps Light
Traps (optional) Moderate
Friday - Moderate
Moderate Day Template
Bodypart Chart
Quads Moderate
Chest Moderate
Back Moderate
Shoulders Moderate
Biceps Moderate
Triceps Moderate
Calves * (optional) Moderate
Abs (optional) Moderate

Note: If you need more hamstring work, insert a moderate hamstring exercise into Monday and Wednesday's workout in place of the calf exercise. Then, remove the hamstring exercise from Wednesday and train calves instead.

  • Monday - Hamstrings moderate
  • Wednesday - Calves moderate
  • Friday - Hamstrings moderate

Quad Exercises

Quad Exercises

Quad Exercises
Heavy Day Choices Sets Reps
Squats 3 5
Paused Squats 3 5
Front Squats 3 5
Box Squats 3 5
Zercher Squat 3 5
Light Day Choices Sets Reps
Goblet Squats 3 12-15
Leg Extensions 3 12-15
Dumbbell Lunge 3 12-15
Barbell Lunge 3 12-15
Barbell Step Ups 3 AMAP in 60 secs
Bulgarian Split Squat 3 12-15
Sissy Squat 3 12-15
Speed Squats (45-60 secs rest between sets) 6-8 2-3
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Squats 3 8-10
20 Rep Squats 1-2 20
Paused Squats 3 8-10
Overhead Squats 3 8-10
Leg Presses 3 15-20
Hack Squats 3 8-12
Jump Squats 3 8-10

Chest Exercises

Chest Exercises

Chest Exercises
Heavy Day Choices Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 5
Incline Bench Press 3 5
Floor Press 3 5
Decline Bench Press 3 5
Wide Grip Bench Press 3 5
Light Day Choices Sets Reps
Push Ups 3 AMAP in 60 secs
Wide Grip Push Ups 3 AMAP in 60 secs
Dips 3 AMAP in 60 secs
Dumbbell Flyes 3 12-15
Incline Dumbbell Flyes 3 12-15
Decline Dumbbell Flyes 3 12-15
Cable Crossovers 3 12-15
Machine Chest Press 3 12-15
Pec Dec 3 12-15
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 8-10
Incline Bench Press 3 8-10
Decline Bench Press 3 8-10
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 3 8-12
Dumbbell Decline Bench Press 3 8-12
Dumbbell Floor Press 3 8-12
Machine Bench Press 3 8-10
Weighted Dips 3 8-12

Back Exercises

Back Exercises

Back Exercises
Heavy Day Choices Sets Reps
Deadlifts 3 5
Low Rack Pulls 3 5
Deficit Deadlifts 3 5
Barbell Rows 3 5
Pendlay Rows 3 5
Yates Row 3 5
Light Day Choices Sets Reps
Seated Cable Rows 3 12-15
Lat Pull Downs 3 12-15
Pull Ups 3 AMAP in 60 secs
Inverted Rows 3 AMAP in 60 secs
Incline Bench Barbell Row 3 12-15
Machine Row 3 12-15
One Arm Cable Row 3 12-15
Yates Row 3 12-15
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Barbell Row 3 8-10
Pendlay Row 3 8-10
One Arm Dumbbell Rows 3 8-12
One Arm Dumbbell Rows 2 20-30
Seated Cable Rows 3 8-12
Weighted Pull Ups 3 8-12
Weighted Inverted Rows 3 8-12
Machine Row 3 8-12
Yates Row 3 8-10
Low Rack Pull 3 8-10

Shoulder Exercises

Shoulder Exercises

Shoulder Exercises
Heavy Day Choices Sets Reps
Military Press 3 5
Push Press 3 5
Seated Overhead Press 3 5
Seated Behind The Neck Press 3 5
Clean and Press 3 5
Light Day Choices Sets Reps
Upright Rows 3 12-15
Lateral Raise 3 12-15
Seated Lateral Raise 3 12-15
Cable Lateral Raise 3 12-15
Machine Lateral Raise 3 12-15
Bent Over Reverse Dumbbell Flyes 3 12-15
Front Dumbbell Raise 3 12-15
Front Plate Raise 3 12-15
Barbell Front Raise 3 12-15
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Seated Arnold Press 3 8-12
Standing Arnold Press 3 8-12
Seated Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
Standing Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
Seated One Arm Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
Military Press 3 8-10
Push Press  3 8-10
Seated Overhead Press 3 8-10
Seated Behind The Neck Press 3 8-10

Bicep Exercises

Bicep Exercises

Bicep Exercises
Light Day Choices Sets Reps
Concentration Curls 2 12-15
Cable Curls 2 12-15
One Arm Cable Curls 2 12-15
Machine Curl 2 12-15
Dumbbell Preacher Curl 2 12-15
Spider Curl 2 12-15
Zottman Curl 2 12-15
Barbell Curls 2 12-15
Standing Dumbbell Curls 2 12-15
Seated Dumbbell Curls 2 12-15
EZ Bar Curls 2 12-15
Preacher Curls 2 12-15
Hammer Curls 2 12-15
Barbell Drag Curls 2 12-15
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Barbell Curls 2 8-12
Chin Ups 2 AMAP in 60 secs
Standing Dumbbell Curls 2 8-12
Seated Dumbbell Curls 2 8-12
EZ Bar Curls 2 8-12
Preacher Curls 2 8-12
Hammer Curls 2 8-12
Barbell Drag Curl 2 8-12

Tricep Exercises

Tricep Exercises

Tricep Exercises
Light Day Choices Sets Reps
Dumbbell Kickbacks 2 12-15
Cable Tricep Extensions 2 12-15
Single Arm Cable Tricep Extensions 2 12-15
Diamond Push Ups 2 AMAP in 60 secs
Bench Dips 2 12-15
Cable Tricep Extensions w/Rope 2 12-15
French Press 2 12-15
Skullcrushers 2 12-15
High Pulley Overhead Tricep Extension 2 12-15
Incline Close Grip Bench Press 2 12-15
One Arm Seated Overhead Tricep Extension 2 12-15
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Close Grip Bench Press 2 8-10
Cable Tricep Extensions 2 8-12
Bench Dips 2 8-12
French Press 2 8-12
Skullcrushers 2 8-12
Incline Close Grip Bench Press 2 8-12
Two Arm Seated Overhead Tricep Extension 2 8-12

Calf Exercises

Calf Exercises

Calf Exercises
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raises 2-3 12-20
Leg Press Calf Raise 2-3 12-20
Single Leg Press Calf Raise 2-3 12-20
Machine Standing Calf Raise 2-3 12-20
Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise 2-3 AMAP in 60 secs
Donkey Calf Raise 2-3 AMAP in 60 secs
Hack Machine Calf Raises 2-3 12-20
Single Leg Standing Dumbbell Calf Raises 2-3 12-20

Abs Exercises

Abs Exercises
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Planks 2-3 60-120 sec
Side Planks (each side) 2-3 60-120 sec
Ab Wheel Rollouts 2-3 15-25
Cable Crunches 2-3 15-25
Weighted Sit Ups 2-3 15-25
Hanging Leg Raise 2-3 15-25
Hanging Knee Raise 2-3 15-25
Sit Ups 2-3 15-25
Floor Crunch 2-3 15-25
Wood Chop 2-3 15-25
Russian Twist 2-3 15-25

Traps Exercises

Traps Exercises
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Low Rack Pull and Power Shrug Combo 2-3 8-10
Power Shrugs 2-3 8-12
Barbell Shrugs 2-3 12-15
Dumbbell Shrugs 2-3 12-15
Cable Shrugs 2-3 12-15
Seated Dumbbell Shrugs 2-3 12-15
Smith Machine Shrugs 2-3 12-15

Hamstring Exercises

Hamstring Exercises
Light Day Choices Sets Reps
Leg Curls 2-3 12-15
Glute Ham Raise 2-3 12-15
Stiff Leg Deadlift 2-3 12-15
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 2-3 12-15
Moderate Day Choices Sets Reps
Good Mornings 2-3 8-10
Glute Ham Raise 2-3 8-12
Stiff Leg Deadlift 2-3 8-10
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 2-3 8-12
Reverse Hack Squat 2-3 8-10
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29 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 12/17/2014 - 19:00
Brana Carrisosa

Is this a good workout to also burn fat?

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Posted Thu, 11/20/2014 - 08:40
gorkal bell

Cross fit training is going to transform your body and your life in ways you cannot imagine. It is a combination of weightlifting power lifting, calisthenics, gymnastics, and sprints.

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Posted Fri, 08/08/2014 - 14:42
Jose

Do I do the 1st set of workouts first and then go to the next exercise once I'm done with the whole set. Or is it one set for each and repeat the next sets for all the workouts? I hope that made sense sorry if it didn't.

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Posted Sun, 08/03/2014 - 04:35
john

Hi i am just wonderingwhat kind of weight should be used on heavy / light and moderate days i am looking to start getting back to the gym. Thanks

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Posted Tue, 07/08/2014 - 04:15
Michael Spade

Is it ok if I take my rest time as 1min for between sets and 2mins between workouts?

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Posted Wed, 07/02/2014 - 01:26
Christopher

I'm looking to build muscle fast. I have an athletic build and want to know if I should do the workouts twice a day? one in the morning and afternoon for all three days?

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Posted Wed, 04/30/2014 - 14:43
Bob

Hi what if I want to do this program four days a week or on consecutive days like non tue we'd? Thx

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Posted Wed, 04/30/2014 - 14:41
Alex

Hi what if I want to do this program on consecutive days like Monday Tuesday Wednesday? Or four days a wrek thanks?

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Posted Mon, 05/26/2014 - 08:54
Sophie

Alex,

Its not really recommended if you're following a full body workout due to the stress it puts on your body - (remember you grow while you rest, not in the gym!) - but you could cycle the workout everyother day, so Week one would look like:
Mon: Heavy
Tues: Rest
Weds: Light
Thurs: Rest
Fri: Moderate
Sat: Rest
Sun: Heavy
(and then cycle the workout to follow on to Week 2:)
Mon: Rest
Tues: Light
Weds: Rest etc...

If you're insistant on wanting to train 4 days a week though, an upper/lower split may be a better option for you as it works your muscle groups twice per week under greater stress, eg more reps/sets but gives your muscles adequate time to recover between each workout.

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Posted Sat, 04/19/2014 - 13:24
Randy

Hi,
I am thinking of alternating workouts each week.for eg. this week i do squats,bench press,deadlifts,
the next week i do front squats,incline bench and barbell rows...rotate each week..feasible?

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Posted Tue, 04/08/2014 - 07:16
Matt

Hey i chosen and put togheter a full body workout with the exercises listed above, can you please take a look at it and tell me what you think, maybe tell me what i need to change or add so i can start doing it? thanks.

HEAVY DAY:

Squat 3x5
Bench press 3x5
Rows 3x5
Military press 3x5
Seated alternate curls 2x8-12
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 2x8-12

LIGHT DAY:

Dumbell lunges 3x12-15
Pec Dec 3x12
Pull ups 3x AMAP
cable side laterals 3x12
Bench dips 2x10-12

MODERATE DAY:

Leg press 3X15
dumbell incline bench press 3X8-12
seated cable rows 3x8-12
Dumbell shoulder press 3x8-12
chin ups 2x AMAP
triceps extensions 2X8-12

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Posted Mon, 04/07/2014 - 19:07
Hunter

How many exercises do I do for each muscle?

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Posted Mon, 04/07/2014 - 14:34
Hunter

How many work outs do you do for each body part each day?

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Posted Mon, 04/07/2014 - 10:08
Kyle

I'm just wondering what would be a good nutrition plan to have? I'm trying to get back into weight lifting.

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Posted Fri, 03/14/2014 - 14:02
Max

Hey Charlie, I would recommend 30-45 secs of rest time between each set, and 60-90 secs between each workout. This would allow your heart rate to stay generally consistent throughout the workout, and save you time in the gym.

Cheers!

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Posted Wed, 03/05/2014 - 15:06
Charlie

Steve, I really like this template and I am quite the beginner. My only question has to do with rest times. What should be my target rest times between sets and exercises for all workout days? Thanks!

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Posted Wed, 03/12/2014 - 15:13
Charlie

Anyone else, experienced please feel free to give me some direction. I've been hitting the gym hard and would like to know the answer?

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Posted Tue, 03/04/2014 - 09:42
Vincent

Hi Steve,

How do you progress on the heavy day's major exercises? Do you add 5 lbs each workout? My approach so far has been to add 5 lbs each workout until that gets to be too much, then switch to a more gradual 3 x 4-6 progression.

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Posted Mon, 02/24/2014 - 15:33
Yuri

If i can do more reps than the recommended , i supposed i have to add more weight ?

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Posted Mon, 02/24/2014 - 00:41
reumel

i noticed that theres no heavy choices for other body parts....

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Posted Fri, 02/21/2014 - 16:51
Vince

Steve,
Most workouts you i have ready you dont recommend doing squats and deadlifts on the same day. How come that is the case here?

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Posted Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:11
Ron

Hi Steve,

I love HLM workouts, and have been doing one for about a year (I got it from this site, actually). My questions are, 1. Can I do cardio on the in-between days (Tuesday and Thursday), and 2. Can I incorporate a half hour of heavy and speed bag work after the light and moderate days?

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Posted Sun, 02/16/2014 - 10:51
Cam

I plan on staying home and doing this using dumbells and my bench, but I was wondering if it would be better to do this workout or the dumbbell only workout you also have

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Posted Fri, 02/14/2014 - 23:33
kulchymark

Thanks for this work out was doing something along this line anyway but this makes more sense for me 50 + year old lfter thanks.

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Posted Sat, 02/08/2014 - 10:57
Darren

Hey Steve could you take a look at my full body workout and give me some pointers like add/remove exercises and increase/decrease sets and reps?
Monday 3x8
Squats
Decline bench press
Single arm linear jammer
Olympic t-bar row
Curl with ez bar
Close grip bench press
Weighted decline sit ups 3x10

Wednesday cardio
Exercise bike 20 minutes
Rowing machine 25 minutes

Friday week 1 4x4 week 2 4x5 week 3 4x6 then increase weight and start 4x4 again
Bench press
Deadlifting
Chin ups
Upright barbell row
Weighted dips with bench
Weighted decline sit ups 3x10
Fridays weights are pyramid style

The plan is to increase size and strength while looking after the heart, also I work out in my garage so I'm limited to certain exercises
Thanks in a advance.

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Posted Sat, 02/08/2014 - 08:28
Marc

Hey Steve,
this routine looks really cool. Thanks for the article !

I would like to ask you some questions:

You say this programm is for beginners. Well I weighttrain for several years now, but unfortunately I did not gain a great deal of muscle...I am pretty ripped an lean but I really want to build some muscle and strenght. I am a tall lanky, 23 year old guy. 6'4'' and 180lbs, ~10% bodyfat.
So I assume this programm would be pretty good for me.

What about hex bar deads ? I got one in my basement and would like to implement it into this routine, so I can do one session at home. Would hex bar deads be considered a leg exercise or a back exercise ?
Could I do some bodyweight exercises like one leg squats or pistol squats for legs on the light day ?

Thank you very much for the article and thanks in advance for your answer !

Greets from Germany

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Posted Tue, 03/04/2014 - 09:47
Vincent

Hey Marc,

How is your diet? Are you getting a good amount of protein, carbs, and fats (all clean sources, of course)?

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Posted Fri, 02/07/2014 - 18:30
Tariq

Dear Steve,
I like this article so much. I have a question. How many exercise per muscle group should I include?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 02/07/2014 - 22:56
Steven

The template is listed above. One choice per day.