My Body Beast training schedule has been on pause for the last week, as my girlfriend and I took some time out to head over the border to Radnorshire in Wales, grab a few horses and some maps from Free Rein HQ and hack out across the Welsh countryside, just the two of us stopping at farm houses for food and lodgings along the way.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, to make sure you keep making gains and stay on the long-term path to fitness, you need to take two months off every year. This was one of my rest weeks, breaking away from the daily grind and heading into the hills.
If you aim to workout consistently for ten months of the year, then give yourself some down time, you accept that fitness isn’t all-or-nothing and you’re more likely to stick with it for life.
Before we left for our holiday on horseback I’d just completed the ‘Block 1: Build’ section of the Huge Beast schedule, so now I’m back in the game I decided to kick start my body into action with a session of the Beast Total Body workout. This is my review.
Beast Total Body, as the name suggests, works all your muscle groups in one 39-minute hardcore session.
This workout is all about circuit sets, to get as many exercises into the session as possible and get your blood moving from muscle group to muscle group to generate an aerobic element to the workout as well.
All sets are high rep range throughout the Beast Total Body session, pegged at 15 reps, with Sagi Kalev pushing me through the poundage with his usual jibes and jokes.
I dive in with the usual very short warmup session – less than 1.5 minutes – of jogging, arm circles, walk to plank and then more jogging. That’s all there is.
Total Body Circuit Set #1
The first circuit we’re working back, chest, quads and abs, all at 15 reps:
- Pull Up
- Push Up
Then repeat the circuit for round 2. With Sagi’s advice ringing in my ears from the first round – “Go as hard as you can for 15 reps. If it’s too easy, next time you go up” – I add a few more plates onto the Orbus adjustable dumbbells as I go into my second set of squats.
The exercises are coming thick and fast in this workout and there’s no hanging around as I move into the second set of Body Beast exercises.
Total Body Circuit Set #2
Whereas circuit number one was mainly bodyweight exercises, the session is now shifting more towards the dumbbells, though still targeting the back, chest, quads and abs, all still at 15 reps:
- Incline Press
- Bent Over Row
- Reverse Alternating Lunge
- Plank Twist-Twist
As the workout session is moving quickly, I’m glad of my set of adjustable dumbbells, which allows me to make superfast changes to the weight that I’m lifting, so I’m able to keep up with Sagi and the gang, as he says:
“I am more concerned about how you do it than how much you lift, because you can always go back and lift more weights if you make sure you write it down! RIGHT!?”
I do not enjoy the reverse alternating lunge, it’s an exercise that really does blast my legs and is nothing short of arduous. Not quite as bad as the ones that are done stepping on and off the bench in the Build: Legs session, but still excruciating.
The great thing about it is that I know it just has to be working, so I dig in and grind out the reps. Unfortunately, on my second set I mx out at ten reps and can’t push any further. That’s one that I need to beat the next time I do this Beast: Total Body session.
Then on to the plank twist-twist, which is an odd, fun exercise that works the core.
Sagi cuts in here and tells me:
“We’re making sure we strengthen the core of the body, because you know what? That’s the connection from upper body to lower body. If you don’t have a strong core then you can’t connect. You can’t get results. You’re gonna get hurt and we don’t want that!’”
Repeat this circuit and then we’re on to the next.
Total Body Circuit Set #3
Here we’re moving into a full on weights set, using dumbbells for each of the four exercises, with very little rest in between.
This time we’re also bringing the shoulders into play, with a circuit set that runs like this:
- 1, 1, 2 Military Press
- Post Delt Raise
- Stiff Leg Deadlift
- Russian Twist
The 1, 1, 2 military press involves sitting on the bench and raising one arm, then the other, then both, which is one rep. So effectively I’m doing 45 reps in total on this exercise. It definitely gets the delts burning.
From there, straight into the post delt raise to hit the shoulders even more, then get the blood rushing to the hamstrings with a set of stiff leg deadlifts.
The key to the stiff leg deadlifts is to maintain perfect form. Your back needs to stay straight throughout the exercise and your shoulders need to be pushed back.
This exercise can easily cause a back injury if you push too hard with poor form and weights that are too heavy. Keep it tight and maintain the form.
Then into the Russian twist, which involves sitting on the floor with a light weight and twisting your torso from side to side to work those upper abdominals and obliques.
You’ve guessed it, once the circuit is complete we dive straight in for another round, but I up the weight this time around, as I felt I could do more on the first session.
Total Body Circuit Set #4
Here we are, the final circuit set, where we’re moving onto the smaller muscle groups: the biceps, triceps and calves, with a bit more core work thrown in to blast the body and keep me growing:
- Bicep Curl
- Tricep Extension Kickback
- Calf Raise
- Side Forearm Plank
Bicep curls are the usual, both arms together, seated on the bench. From there, we’re straight into the tricep extension, using the bench to hold onto with one arm as the other arm performs the exercise.
I like the feeling of muscle isolation that the kickback gives. I can really feel my tricep working and squeezing.
Five years ago I shattered the humerus bone in my upper left arm while snowboarding on a snow park in Austria, so anything that I can do to really isolate that tricep muscle and strengthen up the arm is great with me.
After these kickbacks I can really feel all that scar tissue stretching out and the blood pumping through the tissue just feels great.
Then we’re onto the calf raises. With no use of the bench to keep me steady, I rest the weights on my shoulders and grind out the 15 reps. As the weights are held at head height, this exercise also is a bit of a full body workout in itself.
The onto the side forearm plank, which involves a very strange side plank pose where I lean on my elbow and put the other hand on my head while moving my hips from left to right.
Sagi jumps in with another few comments:
“’Watch it. You wanna look good in your bathing suit? Then this is what you do. Pose! Hold it! I look good!”
And then to one of his workout buddies:
“Are you gonna make those faces in the pool? Try not to. And the noises, keep it at home.”
Another circuit set repeat and we’re complete.
Cooldown And Concluding Thoughts
The cooldown session is as brief as usual, with around two minutes of stretching. As always, I throw a few more of my own stretches in, to give my body a little more chance of recovery. Doing Shaun T’s Insanity Workout for nine weeks before I started Body Beast taught me a lot about stretching and cooldowns, so I use bits of Shaun’s advice to try to ward off as much of the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) as possible.
From start to end, this session is fast-paced. I had a little bit of trouble keeping up at times. If I didn’t have my adjustable dumbbells then I would have had no chance.
This is definitely a great workout to do if you’ve been off the Body Beast routine for a few days. It shocks your whole body and gets it working again.
Now I’m all warmed up and back into the groove after my horse riding, I’m going to dive right back into the Body Beast session and start ‘Block 2: Bulk’. I’ll let you know how I get on in a future post.
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Excellent article on total body.
Do u think this is good as a stand alone/only routine?
Any suggestions appreciated.
Thanks for the comment. Total Body is a great Body Beast workout and definitely useful for giving your body a shakeup.
The only concern I’d have with just doing this session and not mixing in any different sessions is the rep range. Total Body just focuses on 15 reps for all exercises. As a result, you’re not working all your different muscle fibre types to full capacity (Type I, Type IIa and Type IIb). Depending on your genetic distribution of each type of muscle fibre, you could be missing out on gains by just doing this workout and no other.
Better to mix in some other workout routines as well, with different rep ranges. Though you could definitely use Total Body as your main training session. Another thing you could do is alter the Total Body rep range, say do one TB session at 15 reps, the next session at 12 and the third session at 9. When you hit the fourth session, cycle back.
My girlfriend is getting me the Body Beast program as a gift.
Problem is that I take a Martial Arts class twice weekly and those workouts run about 45 minute each.
If I do the BB workouts in the morning and rest in the evenings except for my Wend/Sat MA class will I still make decent gains?
Not looking to beast up just add some muscle and improve physique.
Looked at P980X, but it’s too long and the X3 stuff doesn’t seem to address strength and muscle adequetely.
Thank you for your suggestions.
Sorry for the delay, did you get the Body Beast program in the end? You should definitely still get decent gains with your two martial arts classes each week. What martial art are you studying? The most important thing is to be committed to getting the right fuel into your body. Eat clean and eat a lot, this should give you the bedrock that you need to really dig in and make hose gains. P90X could still have too much of a cardio bias if you’re also doing martial arts. Give the beast a try!
I just finished a round of Body Beast and started second round. Now on Bulk Phase…I am really bulking up and my goal is to get lean and defined. Is it okay if I skip bulk phase this time and do Beast Total Body workout for maintenance? How many times a week should I do this? Please help. Thank you bunches.
Great work, well done on your journey with the Beast! It sounds like you could definitely skip the bulk phase or mix it up a bit to reach your goals. I found total body workout a great session and with the 15 rep sets it should help with your quest for definition.
As total body is hitting all your muscle groups each time, I’d say you don’t want to do this more than 3 – 4 times a week, otherwise you’re going to be over-training. Another thing to think about is whether you’re going to get bored just doing the same session each time. The most important thing is that you stick with the programme and don’t stagnate.
Good luck, and let me know how you get on.
Thanks in advance for input.
Training in Krav Mega M,W,F.
Going to do Total Body on Tues and Lucky 7 Thurs.
Sun Complete Rest
Think I can gain muscle with these two workouts?
My Krav class is 45 min and also doubles as my sole cardio work.
I look forward to seeing your response.
Wow! Krav Maga can be brutal on the body, good work. The combination of Total Body and Lucky 7 is a good one. As you’ve probably gathered, you’re hitting the fast twitch and slow twitch muscles, because of the different rep ranges. This should stimulate your muscle fibres and get you gaining. Make sure you don’t get bored and stagnate, mix it up when you need to. Good luck! Let me know how you get on.
I prefer full body workout.
Will this routine build muscle?
Which is better this or lucky 7?
Should I do this 2 or 3 days weekly?
Thanks in advance for your response and help.
Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been on a horseback holiday the last week or so, in the middle of nowhere heading from farm to farm.
Full body training can be great for gains, but it is possible to over-train and also when you get to a point where you want to specialise and focus on specific muscle groups to improve any proportion, that’s when specialisation comes into its own.
But, full body workouts are, no doubt, a blast.
Beast Lucky 7 is definitely a great workout. even though it’s only 22 minutes long, it is going to pump your body in a crazy way. The great thing about it is that the rep ranges are low, so you will be accessing your fast twitch muscle fibres – the ones that give you the most bulk. 7 sets of exercises performed 7 times each is going to be harsh.
I found total body workout a great session, but with the 15 rep sets you may not be slapping on as much bulk. However, everyone is different, and if you have more slow twitch muscles than fast twitch, the total body workout could see you growing.
As you’re hitting all your muscle groups each time, I’d say you don’t want to do either of these sessions more than 3 – 4 times a week, otherwise you’re going to be over-training.
I’d suggest maybe mixing it up and doing some lucky 7, but also some of the total body. If you want to get big, fast, then do more lucky 7 than total body. Perhaps three sessions of Lucky 7 to one session of total body.
Make sure you eat right too, that’s more than 50% of the battle. Eat clean and eat lots. Oh, and don;t get stale. If it starts to feel boring, mix it up. Do something different. And remember to take breaks. At least one week off in every two months. You should really aim to take 2 months off every year, spread out across the year. That way you will keep gaining and not quit.
Good luck, and let me know how you get on, Josh!!!
I’m more into full body workouts.
How does Body Beast Total Body compare to P90X3 Incinerator?
Thinking of doing TB on Monday and Incinerator Thursday.
Two alternate days cardio and stretch with a few rest days.
Any suggestions welcome!