Why I Switched From Conjugate To Full Body

May 22, 2023

For years I’ve written about the Conjugate method paired with aerobic methods as an incredible way to train for general fitness for everyday athletes. Fast forward to the present day and I still think this is the case, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve felt the need for more flexibility in my own training in the sense that not every session is a given when you have young kids and responsibilities.

This has facilitated to switching my own approach to full-body training (FBT) and the results over the last year have been some of the best I’ve experienced (in the past I would actually use FBT for three months out of the year usually from October - New Years and then use a CXC approach the rest of the year.)

Interestingly enough, this style of training has been one that resonates with my following as many of the people I attract are much like myself: kids, lots of weekend responsibilities, and a high training age. 

But with a shift in training comes many questions. Things like:

“Can I get jacked with FBT?”
“Can I get stronger with FBT?”
“Will I lose muscle?”

Can you get jacked with full-body training? For sure - just ask any elite bodybuilders from the 60s/70s (did you know most trained using a FB split!? - search Reg Park if you think I’m kidding!) 

Can you get strong with FB training? Without a doubt! 

You’ll be less sore allowing you to push the intensity harder in each session from full body sessions.

You’ll also be able to build motor patterns because you’re exposed to the foundational movement patterns more frequently (highly beneficial to counteract poor daily postures.)

Furthermore, I often find with people with higher training ages, their response to less overall volume and more frequency is noticeable right away. The old adage of “less is more” is the case when it comes to training 9/10 times!

Reasons To Train Full Body

FBT sessions encompass training all 5 foundational movements in each session so your sessions are incredibly efficient and effective.

FBT is great for people that want to:

  • Maximize their time. If you get busy at different times of the year you need a training plan that is flexible, not rigid.
  • Improve mobility. You’ll be training all of the foundational movements in each session so you’ll be consistently improving overall mobility.
  • Improve body composition. More frequency will allow for improved lagging muscle groups.
  • Clean up nagging aches & pains. FB sessions are great for cleaning up faulty movement patterns.
  • Have fun! FB sessions will make you feel like you accomplished and a lot are generally a lot of fun!
  • Counteract daily postures with more exposure to the foundational patterns. It’s no mystery that we spend way too much time sitting or o our iPhones. 

What does the programming look like?

There are many directions you can take here, but here’s one way I’ve found works well:

  • Prioritizing one main strength lifts each day (3 total strength sessions) with full recovery between sets
  • Utilizing tried & true aerobic methods to bridge the gap between sessions (2 sessions)
  • Use 4 exercise circuits for accessory work. These allow for longer bouts of recovery as you’ll have rested 3:00 before returning to the first movement but are incredibly time efficient.

Here’s what 5 days of programming could look like:

Full Body Sample 5-Day Program

Day 1: FB Strength Work
1a. Front Front: 10, 8, 6. Rest 60s.
1b. Reaching Deadbug: 3 x 8-10 each. Rest 2:00
2a. Neutral Pull-up: 4 x 6. Rest 45s.
2b. Single arm DB Push Press: 4 x 6 each. Rest 45s.
2c. Glute Ham Raises: 4 x 6. Rest 45s.
2d. Farmer Carry: 4 x 100 ft. Rest 45s. 

Day 2: Aerobic Conditioning
5 Rounds of with a weighted vest:
25 Air Squats
100 ft. OH Carry on right
20 Calorie Ski Erg
100 ft. OH Carry on left
15 Calorie Air Bike
Rest 2:00

End with 30 minutes of conversational cyclical work.

Day 3: FB Strength Work
1a. Floor Press: 10, 8, 6. Rest 60s.
1b. Banded Pulldowns: 3 x 15-20. Rest 2:00
2a. 1-Arm Meadows Landmine Rows: 3 x 8-10 each. Rest 45s.
2b. Lateral Lunges: 3 x 8-10 each. Rest 45s.
2c. Single Arm KB Swing: 3 x 8-10 each. Rest 45s.
2d. Landmine Rotation: 3 x 8-10 each. Rest 45s.

Day 4: Aerobic Conditioning
30 Minute Jog
20 Minute Air Bike
10 Minute Ski Erg
At a conversational pace ie. 60-70% of MHR.

Day 5: FB Strength Work
1a. Speed Trap Bar Deadlift: 5 x 5 @60% of 1RM. Rest 45s.
1b. Plyo Push-ups: 5 x 5. Rest 45s.
2a. Hamburger Squat: 3 x 12-15. Rest 45s.
2b. Lat Pulldowns: 3 x 12-15. Rest 45s.
2c. Ring Dips: 3 x 12-15. Rest 45s.
2d. GHD Side Sit-up: 3 x 12-15 each. Rest 45s.


In closing, if you’ve gotten to a point where you have fallen out of alignment with your training, give Full Body Training a try. At first, you’ll likely the volume is not high enough, but give it a full 8 weeks to make an honest assessment - you may be surprised with the results!