Ultimate Total Body Workout

A High Volume Strength Challenge

In today’s article, I want to share with you a fast and furious training session you can implement into your routine today.

I like to use this style, and specifically this workout, with my clients and myself when we want to hit a high amount of volume with our strength training. Volume is essentially the total amount of work that you accomplish, and it’s usually calculated by the weight and reps that are completed.

This is the type of training that you don’t need to necessarily do every session because it’s quite taxing on the muscles and the nervous system. Use it every few weeks to give the body a new stimulus. Make sure to complete a full warm up and stretch out after.

Spend some time specifically stretching your shoulders, pecs and lats after the high volume upper body work and stretch your hamstrings, quads and hips to help you recover from the work done on your squat sets.

I’ll give you the layout of the training session first, and then I’ll describe exactly how to set it up.


A. Barbell Back Squat or Kettlebell or Dumbbell Goblet Squat 4×20
(rest 120 seconds between sets)

B1. TRX Body Rows or Smith Machine Inverted Body Rows 3 x 20, 15, 10*
B2. Push-ups 3 x 20, 15, 10*
*These are done in a ladder fashion, completing 20, then 15, then 10.

C. Tabata** Battling Ropes (or Medicine Ball Slams, if you don’t have access to ropes)
**Tabata is :20 work followed by :10 rest for 8 total sets.


Ultimate Total Body Workout - A High Volume Strength Challenge


“A” Set

Your “A” set of squats will be the exact protocol that I described in my article last week BREATHING SQUATS. You will find a weight that you can complete 15 repetitions of your squats and that 15th rep is very taxing, without losing form. You’ll push through the last 5, taking a 5 to 15 second break at the top of each squat.

Once you complete one set, rest 120 seconds. You will complete 4 total sets. This is extremely taxing for the legs as well as the nervous system, so if you find yourself breaking down on your form, stick with 3 sets.

Ultimate Total Body Workout - A High Volume Strength Challenge

“B” Set

After your squats, you’ll move to the ladder format of Body Rows and Push-ups. You will complete 20 body rows and 20 push-ups, then take a short break and complete 15 of each. After another brief rest, you will complete 10 reps of each exercise.

With your 20 reps of body rows, you may angle your body higher, because you want to complete the set without stopping. When you set up for your 15 and 10 rep sets, you can angle your body a little lower under the TRX or bar.

Try to complete all sets of push-ups on your toes. Maintain full body tension and squeeze your legs and abs as you return to the starting position of each rep. You can read about how to get more awesome at push-ups here.

Rest for 2 minutes after you complete your last set of upper body work.

Ultimate Total Body Workout - A High Volume Strength Challenge

“C” Set

Your final station is a Tabata circuit on the Battling Ropes. Use any rope pattern that you like, just try to mix it up for each set. Perform 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 sets, a total of four minutes. This negative rest protocol will help improve your conditioning as well as push your body to burn more fat post-workout due to the metabolic demands. If you don’t have access to battling ropes, use a medicine ball and perform overhead slams.

Ultimate Total Body Workout - A High Volume Strength Challenge


As I mentioned earlier, this is a very tough session and if you are just starting out or getting back into training, start out with 2 sets of breathing squats, take longer rests in between your sets of upper body ladder work and use a :10/:20 protocol for your battling ropes.

Give this workout a try and leave a comment to let me know how it goes.

For more Challenge Workouts from Callie, check out:

The Pyramid Workout
The EDT Workout
The Diamond Challenge Workout
The 100s Challenge Workout

Callie Durbrow

Callie Durbrow is the owner of Durbrow Performance Training and the author of Strong and Sexy in 25 Minutes.

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