Full Body Strength and Principles of Workout Design

author - melissa witmer strength and conditioning

Here is an example of a simplified full body strength workout that appears early in The Ultimate Athlete Project programming.

In addition to providing you with a workout you can do today, this session provides examples of a few tricks you can use in your own workout design.

This workout includes:

  • Combination of single limb and bilateral exercises
  • Balance of knee dominant, hip dominant, push, and pull
  • Prehab and stability exercises for injury prevention


The Workout

 A1. DB Split Squat

This is a single leg knee dominant exercise.

  • keep your chest tall and shoulders back
  • as you descend, shoulders and hips should stay in in a line (don't lean forward)
  • hips should go straight down and straigh up.
  • you should have approximately 90 degree angle for both knees
  • back knee should come close, but not touch, the ground

A2. Cable Pull Through

A bilateral hip dominant exercise. We use this exercise early in our UAP programming because it helps train your hip hinge movement pattern. The cable column pulls your hips back. This movement pattern is what you'll use on any deadlift variation.

  • feet are slightly wider than should width. knees are bent about 10 degrees.
  • reach back between your legs with the rope attachement.
  • use your glutes to push your hips forward and stand up.

B1. Semi Supinated Chin Up

Bilateral pulling exercise. Pull-up and Chin-up variations are great for shoulder stability as well. We often use holds at the top of the movement to increase the time under tension for the small muscles of the shoulder. Here Kira is using a band for assistance. A great option if your gym does not have an assisted pull up machine. 

  • "semi supinated" means that your palms are facing one another. If you do not have a bar that allows for this, use a supinated grip (palms toward you)
  • keep your chest up. queeze shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.
  • If you do not have an assisted chinup machine, you can use a lat pulldown instead.

B2. One-Arm Semi-sup' Grip Incline DB Bench

Here we have a unilateral pushing exercise. The single arm bench also provides a challenge to core stability as you have to fight the force of rotation.

  • Hold a dumbbell only in one hand while performing this exercise.
  • Engage the core to resist rotation.

Injury Risk Reduction

These last two exercises are about injury prevention. The hip raise to bridge not only helps with glute activation but also provides and eccentric hamstring exercises which is excellent for hamstring health.

The Bow and arrow targets the supraspinatus which helps with shoulder stability. Shoulder stability is an important part of keeping your shoulders healthy.

C1. Stability Ball Hip Raise to Bridge

  • squeeze the glutes to get the hips off the floor
  • keeping the glutes tight, bring the ball in toward you forming a 90 degree andle of the knees

C2. Bow and Arrow

  • if you imagine an archer, you will naturally do this exercise correctly
  • stand up tall
  • keep the elbow of the pulling arm up
  • squeeze the shoulder blades together during the iso hold


The Protocol: The simplest way to do this workout is to do 3 sets of each exercise for 8-10 repetitions.  

Pro tip: If space and equipment allow, alternate between A1 and A2 exercises, then move on to the B exercises. This allows you to rest some muscle fiber units while you are working others, again allowing for more work to be done in less time. If you cannot do it this way, simply doing the exercises in the order listed will be fine.

Pro tip 2: Having a mix is single limb and bilateral work allows for the workouts to be done in a reasonable amount of time (vs putting all single limb work on the same day). For the second full body workout of the week we have a squat variation as the bilateral move and the single leg movement is a hip dominant exercise.


Enjoy the workout! Comment below if you have any questions!

Thanks to Emily, Kira, and Zack for demontrating the exercises in this workout!

For a professionally designed program, sign up for The Ultimate Athlete Project!  The UAP provides more than just workouts, it will tell you exactly what to do from now until the most important tournament of your season. Learn more about The Ultimate Athlete Project here.

Just want more workouts? Check our my Five Workouts for Ultimate series. It's completely free, practical, and educational. Enjoy!