Bodybuilding Legend John Grimek’s Full Body Workout Routine

John Grimek’s full-body workout program

The full-body training program presented below was published by Grimek after his retirement from competitive bodybuilding and is based on a limited number of compound exercises, but also has a range of single-joint isolation exercises. This program also uses the now very common 3×10 workout protocol, and Grimek was on one of its first-ever proponents:


Bench Press: 3 sets x 10 reps

Chin-Ups/Pull-Downs: 3 sets x 10 reps

Overhead Press: 3 sets x 10 reps

Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets x 10 reps

Squats: 3 sets x 10 reps

Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets x 10 reps



Incline Barbell Press: 3 sets x 10 reps

Barbell Row/Dumbbell Row: 3 sets x 10 reps

Shrugs: 3 sets x 10 reps

Single-Arm Preacher Curl: 3 sets x 10 reps

Leg Curl: 3 sets x 10 reps

Abs: 1 set x 50 reps



Chin-Ups/Pull-Downs: 3 sets x 10 reps

Overhead Press: 3 sets x 10 reps

Incline Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets x 10 reps

Front Squats: 3 sets x 10 reps

Stiff-Legged Deadlift: 3 sets x 10 reps


Important notes


This full-body program should be done only 3 days a week, which will allow you to optimally recover and grow during the rest days. Remember, one of the pillars of bodybuilding is that you allow your body to properly recover because it is during the recovery phase that muscle growth occurs. That’s why you need to train hard and then give yourself some resting time to grow.


Don’t rest too much between sets and keep the training intensity high. Grimek suggested that lifters rest between 45 seconds to 1 minute between sets and between 2-3 minutes between different exercises.

Execution form

Good form is essential and Grimek was a huge proponent of keeping good form. All repetitions should be done in a slow and controlled manner and you should keep doing reps until you can no longer maintain a good execution form. Swinging, bouncing or jerking the bar or the dumbbell will only hinder your progress.


As with any other bodybuilding program, diet is just as (if not more) important as what you’re doing in the gym. If you want to do the same thing Golden era-lifters did, you should fuel your training by consuming large amounts of red meat, whole milk, eggs, honey, nuts, and fruits.

Final thoughts

You may think that this is a somewhat outdated or oversimplified training program, and yet, results speak for themselves. Hundreds of people have tried these old-school full-body routines and they have found them to be the most effective thing they have tried. By training hard on the basic compound exercises and getting lots of rest and clean, healthy food, you will gain muscle size and strength rapidly, the same way lifters those days, long before s******s entered the sport. As Grimek himself said when asked what advice he could give to beginner lifters, all one needs to do is: “Train regularly 2-3 days a week and add weight to the bar whenever you can handle and get lots of rest, eat clean food and drink lots of water.”

That’s why there’s no need to over-complicate things, just keep them as simple as possible. We should keep in mind that every single title-winning bodybuilder training in the era before s*****d use built their bodies by using the aforementioned principles. Additionally, the good thing about this full-body routine is that it’s a lot more doable, or shall we say, achievable compared to other Golden era full-body programs that have also been published. For example, many of Steve Reeves’ full-body routines, had over 40 sets, which might be a lot for someone who isn’t a professional bodybuilder. With the routine presented here, you will be doing between 16-18 sets in one training session, which would usually take you around an hour to complete.


John Gimek’s full body workout program is extremely effective for building muscle mass, gaining strength and sculpting a well-proportioned and functional physique. If you have been doing a standard body part split routine for some time now (these programs are typically used by pro bodybuilders who are taking anabolic s******s) and still struggle to see noticeable results, why not give this program a try and see how it works for you. If you eat well, sleep well and get lots of rest it is guaranteed that you’ll see great gains following this routine.


  1. TruthTeller63
    • F&P Admin

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