The Armstrong 360 Workout: A Whole-Body Fitness Routine

“Lots of people exercise but aren’t really fit for much.”

What does that mean? Well, runners have good cardiovascular endurance but are often weak. Weight trainers are strong but lack speed and cardiovascular endurance. People who do a lot of bodyweight training have great muscular stamina but may lack brute strength. Almost every fitness program or workout routine contains holes which means users seldom develop all-round fitness.

This program is different

Built around simple exercises and logical workout routines, if you follow these guidelines you’ll develop strength, muscular endurance, explosive speed and muscular stamina in just three workouts a week. Using powerful exercises like deadlifts, push-ups and sprinting, you will not only develop real-world fitness that will make virtually every physical task a whole lot easier, you’ll look as good as you feel – just like an athlete.

Start each workout with a light warm up such as jogging or jumping rope plus a few minutes of dynamic stretching for the muscles you are about to use.

Week One of the
Armstrong 360 Workout Routine

Workout one – Strength

Strength

  1. Squats – 3 sets of 8 reps
  2. Bench press – 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Deadlifts – 3 sets 8 reps

Warm up by performing sets of 8 reps of squats. Start light and add a little weight set by set until the 8 reps becomes challenging and you feel that you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank. Keep the reps the same and do 2 more sets to total 3 sets with this working weight. Repeat this process for all three exercises. Rest 2 minutes between sets.

Workout two – Bodyweight endurance

atlas-statue-nyc-endurance

  1. Push-ups – 3 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)
  2. Pull-ups – 5 x maximum effort sets
  3. 3-way plank – 3 sets 20 seconds left side/front/right side planks

Workout three – Sprinting

runner-sprinting-statue

Start each sprinting workout with 5-10 minutes of light jogging, high knee running on the spot, butt-kicks and bodyweight squats and lunges. Take as long as necessary between sprints for your breathing rate to return more or less to normal. Walk rather than sit or lie down to speed up your recovery. Do not sprint flat out but, instead, try to find the fastest speed you can sustain for the entire distance.

  1. 3 x 100 yards
  2. 3 x 50 yards
    Total 450 yards

Workout one – Strength

  1. Squats – 4 sets of 6 reps
  2. Bench press – 4 sets of 6 reps
  3. Deadlifts – 4 sets of 6 reps

Warm up by performing sets of 6 reps of squats. Start light and add a little weight set by set until the 6 reps becomes challenging and you feel that you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank. Keep the reps the same and do 3 more sets to total 4 sets with this working weight. Repeat this process for all three exercises. Rest 2 minutes between sets.

Workout two – Bodyweight endurance

  1. Push-ups – 3 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)
  2. Pull-ups – Pyramid Day
  3. 3-way plank – 4 sets 20 seconds left side/front/right side planks

Workout three – Sprinting

Start each sprinting workout with 5-10 minutes of light jogging, high knee running on the spot, butt-kicks and bodyweight squats and lunges. Take as long as necessary between sprints for your breathing rate to return more or less to normal. Walk rather than sit or lie down to speed up your recovery. Do not sprint flat out but, instead, try to find the fastest speed you can sustain for the entire distance.

  1. 4 x 100 yards
  2. 4 x 50 yards
    Total 600 yards


Workout one – Strength

  1. Squats – 5 sets of 4 reps
  2. Bench press – 5 sets of 4 reps
  3. Deadlifts – 5 sets of 4 reps

Warm up by performing sets of 4 reps of squats. Start light and add a little weight set by set until the 4 reps becomes challenging and you feel that you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank. Keep the reps the same and do 4 more sets to total 5 sets with this working weight. Repeat this process for all three exercises. Rest 3 minutes between sets.

Workout two – Bodyweight endurance

  1. Push-ups – 3 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)
  2. Pull-ups – 3 sets overhand grip, 3 sets underhand grip, 3 sets wide grip
  3. 3-way plank – 3 sets 30 seconds left side/front/right side planks

Workout three – Sprinting

Start each sprinting workout with 5-10 minutes of light jogging, high knee running on the spot, butt-kicks and bodyweight squats and lunges. Take as long as necessary between sprints for your breathing rate to return more or less to normal. Walk rather than sit or lie down to speed up your recovery. Do not sprint flat out but, instead, try to find the fastest speed you can sustain for the entire distance.

  1. 5 x 100 yards
  2. 5 x 50 yards
    Total 750 yards


Workout one – Strength

  1. Squats – 6 sets of 2 reps
  2. Bench press – 6 sets of 2 reps
  3. Deadlifts – 6 sets of 2 reps

Warm up by performing sets of 2 reps of squats. Start light and add a little weight set by set until the 2 reps becomes challenging and you feel that you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank. Keep the reps the same and do 5 more sets to total 6 sets with this working weight. Repeat this process for all three exercises. Rest 3 minutes between sets.

Workout two – Bodyweight endurance

  1. Push-ups – 3 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)
  2. Pull-ups – Maximum number of training sets
  3. 3-way plank – 4 sets 30 seconds left side/front/right side planks

Workout three – Sprinting

Start each sprinting workout with 5-10 minutes of light jogging, high knee running on the spot, butt-kicks and bodyweight squats and lunges. Take as long as necessary between sprints for your breathing rate to return more or less to normal. Walk rather than sit or lie down to speed up your recovery. Do not sprint flat out but, instead, try to find the fastest speed you can sustain for the entire distance.

  1. 2 x 150 yards
  2. 2 x 100 yards
  3. 4 x 50 yards
    Total 700 yards


Workout one – Strength

  1. 2-count pause squats – 3 sets of 8 reps
  2. 2-count pause bench press – 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Deficit deadlifts – 3 sets of 8 reps

Warm up by performing sets of 8 reps of squats. Start light and add a little weight set by set until the 8 reps becomes challenging and you feel that you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank. Keep the reps the same and do 2 more sets to total 3 sets with this working weight. Repeat this process for all three exercises. Rest 2 minutes between sets.

Workout two – Bodyweight endurance

  1. Push-ups – 3 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)
  2. Pull-ups – 5 x maximum effort sets
  3. 3-way plank – 3 sets 40 seconds left side/front/right side planks

Workout three – Sprinting

Start each sprinting workout with 5-10 minutes of light jogging, high knee running on the spot, butt-kicks and bodyweight squats and lunges. Take as long as necessary between sprints for your breathing rate to return more or less to normal. Walk rather than sit or lie down to speed up your recovery. Do not sprint flat out but, instead, try to find the fastest speed you can sustain for the entire distance.

  1. 3 x 150 yards
  2. 3 x 100 yards
  3. 3 x 50 yards
    Total 900 yards


Workout one – Strength

  1. 2-count pause squats – 4 sets of 6 reps
  2. 2-count pause bench press – 4 sets of 6 reps
  3. Deficit deadlifts – 4 sets of 6 reps

Warm up by performing sets of 6 reps of squats. Start light and add a little weight set by set until the 6 reps becomes challenging and you feel that you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank. Keep the reps the same and do 3 more sets to total 4 sets with this working weight. Repeat this process for all three exercises. Rest 2 minutes between sets.

Workout two – Bodyweight endurance

  1. Push-ups – 3 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)
  2. Pull-ups – Pyramid Day
  3. 3-way plank – 4 sets 40 seconds left side/front/right side planks

Workout three – Sprinting

Start each sprinting workout with 5-10 minutes of light jogging, high knee running on the spot, butt-kicks and bodyweight squats and lunges. Take as long as necessary between sprints for your breathing rate to return more or less to normal. Walk rather than sit or lie down to speed up your recovery. Do not sprint flat out but, instead, try to find the fastest speed you can sustain for the entire distance.

  1. 2 x 200 yards
  2. 3 x 100 yards
  3. 4 x 50 yards
    Total 900 yards


Workout one – Strength

  1. 2-count pause squats – 5 sets of 4 reps
  2. 2-count pause bench press – 5 sets of 4 reps
  3. Deficit deadlifts – 5 sets of 4 reps

Warm up by performing sets of 4 reps of squats. Start light and add a little weight set by set until the 4 reps becomes challenging and you feel that you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank. Keep the reps the same and do 4 more sets to total 5 sets with this working weight. Repeat this process for all three exercises. Rest 3 minutes between sets.

Workout two – Bodyweight endurance

  1. Push-ups – 3 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)
  2. Pull-ups – 3 sets overhand grip, 3 sets underhand grip, 3 sets wide grip
  3. 3-way plank – 3 sets 50 seconds left side/front/right side planks

Workout three – Sprinting

Start each sprinting workout with 5-10 minutes of light jogging, high knee running on the spot, butt-kicks and bodyweight squats and lunges. Take as long as necessary between sprints for your breathing rate to return more or less to normal. Walk rather than sit or lie down to speed up your recovery. Do not sprint flat out but, instead, try to find the fastest speed you can sustain for the entire distance.

  1. 3 x 200 yards
  2. 3 x 100 yards
  3. 3 x 50 yards
    Total 1050 yards


Workout one – Strength

  1. 2-count pause squats – 6 sets of 2 reps
  2. 2-count pause bench press – 6 sets of 2 reps
  3. Deficit deadlifts – 6 sets of 2 reps

Warm up by performing sets of 2 reps of squats. Start light and add a little weight set by set until the 2 reps becomes challenging and you feel that you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank. Keep the reps the same and do 5 more sets to total 6 sets with this working weight. Repeat this process for all three exercises. Rest 3 minutes between sets.

Workout two – Bodyweight endurance

  1. Push-ups – 3 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)
  2. Pull-ups – Maximum number of training sets
  3. 3-way plank – 4 sets 20 seconds left side/front/right side planks

Workout three – Sprinting

Start each sprinting workout with 5-10 minutes of light jogging, high knee running on the spot, butt-kicks and bodyweight squats and lunges. Take as long as necessary between sprints for your breathing rate to return more or less to normal. Walk rather than sit or lie down to speed up your recovery. Do not sprint flat out but, instead, try to find the fastest speed you can sustain for the entire distance.

  1. 1 x 400 yards
  2. 2 x 200 yards
  3. 4 x 100 yards
    Total 1200 yards

Printable Tracker

Get a clean printable tracker for each week here.

Exercise Instructions

Squat

Set the barbell in the squat rack at mid-chest level. Too high and you’ll have to rise up on tip toes to walk it out the rack. Too low and you’ll have to squat it up and out of the rack, wasting precious energy.  Grab the bar with an overhand slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Wrap your thumbs around the bar and hold it tight. Duck under the bar and position your upper back under the bar. Make sure the bar is not resting on your neck but is low across your shoulders. This position should negate the need to pad the bar in any way. If it hurts your neck, the bar is too high.

Inhale, lift your chest and pull the bar firmly down onto your upper back. Try to keep your wrists straight and your elbows pushed slightly forwards. Stand up and un-rack the bar. Take a step back so you are clear of the catching hooks. Place your feet at least shoulder-width apart. The taller you are, the wider your feet will need to be. Turn your feet out slightly so they are set to a “five to one” position. Lift your chest again and inhale deeply. Reset your upper back so that your entire upper body feels tight. You are now ready to squat!

Initiate your descent by pushing your hips backwards. As your hips move back, bend your knees and try to push your knees apart. Imagine you are trying to spread the floor with your feet. Keep your chest up, your upper body tight and your core braced. Descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor. To check this, your hip crease should be level with your knee. Keep your lower back tightly arched and never rounded. Imagine you are trying to squat down between your feet. Don’t pause at the bottom but, instead, make the transition from downward movement to upward movement dynamic and strong. Push your hips upwards, drive down through your feet, keep your chest up and extend your knees. Do not lift your head as this will simply rob you of much of your pushing power. Stand all the way up until you are back in the starting position and then repeat.

It is common practice when squatting to inhale as you descend and then exhale as you ascend. This is fine until the weight begins to get heavy. Once you are lifting more substantial weights it will become necessary to breathe between repetitions as exhaling will reduce the intra-abdominal pressure necessary for lumbar support. For now though, just remember to keep breathing.

For paused squats – hold the bottom position for a count of two while keeping your body tight.

Bench press

With the barbell supported by the catching hooks on your bench, lie down so that your eyes are directly beneath the bar.

Place your feet flat on the floor so that your shins are vertical and your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart. This foot position will help make you more stable and thus better able to press the weight without any undue wobbling. Push your toes into the fronts of your shoes to activate the muscles in your legs and press your feet down into the floor. Although the bench press is an upper body exercise, you’ll be using your entire body to brace your torso in position.

With your legs braced, keep your butt pressed firmly into the bench and then arch your lower back. A strong arch will help raise your chest toward the ceiling and subsequently reduce the distance the bar has to travel. Press your upper back firmly into the bench and shrug your shoulder blades back and down. By activating your upper back muscles, you provide a rock-steady platform from which to work.

Reach up and grasp the bar. You should only need to lift the bar a few inches to take it clear of the hooks. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart so that, at the bottom of the movement, your forearms are vertical. Wrap your fingers and thumbs around the bar and grip it tightly. Do not use a thumb-less grip as it increases your risk of dropping the bar. Gripping the bar tightly will activate the muscles in your forearms that stabilize your wrists – imagine you are trying to leave fingerprints in the bar! Also, try to rotate your hands outward. Although impossible, this action helps fire up your lats which provide a shelf of support for your shoulders.

Un-rack the bar and then hold it directly over your shoulders. Reset your lower back arch and shoulders and remember to press your feet down intro the floor. Note the position of the bar in relation to the ceiling – this is your start and finish position for each and every repetition. Make a conscious effort to return the bar to this spot at the end of each rep. Take a big breath in.

Bend your arms and lower the bar down toward the highest point of your chest. The descent of the bar should be controlled but not super-slow. As you lower the bar, your elbows should tuck slightly down and in towards your torso. This slight elbow tucking action takes stress off of your shoulders. It is not a good idea to keep your upper arms out at 90 degrees to your body. Although this may slightly increase the involvement of your pecs, it places your shoulders in a mechanically disadvantageous position which can lead to both short-term and long-term injuries.

Let the bar lightly touch your chest. Imagine there is a plate of glass resting on your chest and while you want to touch it, you mustn’t break it. Without pausing, drive the bar up and off your chest. Try to lift the bar faster than you lowered it. As the weights get heavier this will become impossible but if you try to do this, you are less likely to get stuck with the bar across your chest. Push the bar all the way back up to the starting position and then exhale. Inhale, reset your arch and upper back and perform another repetition.

The action of inhaling between reps performs a couple of functions. Firstly, by inflating your chest, you reduce the distance the bar has to travel which protects your shoulder joint from hyper extension. Secondly, inhalation increases intra-abdominal pressure which helps keep your spine stable. While the bench is supporting your body, intra-abdominal pressure supports your spine and ensures that the tension in your legs and force generated by your arms are not “lost” in your midsection.

On completion of your set and with the weight held over your chest and arms fully extended, push the bar back to the catching hooks. Do not try to complete your least rep and simultaneously push the bar back onto the hooks. If you fail to lock out your arms you may miss the hooks and be in the unenviable position of having a barbell crashing down towards your forehead. Press up, lock out and then re-rack.

For paused bench press – hold the bottom position with the bar just off your chest for a count of two while keeping your body tight.

Deadlift

With your barbell raised to around mid-shin height, stand in the middle of the bar. Move your feet so that they are around hip-width apart. Keep your feet parallel or, if preferred, turn them very slightly outward. The bar should be directly over the middle of your foot and around two inches from your shins. Lift your chest, arch your back slightly and pull your shoulders down and back. Remember this position as it is vital for successful deadlifting.

Lean forwards and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip. This means your palms should be facing your legs. A wider grip is not recommended as it merely increases the distance you have to lift the weight. Wrap your hands tightly around your bar and put your thumb on top of your first two fingers. This reinforces your grip and prevents slippage.

With straight arms, lift your chest, arch your lower back, pull your shoulders down and back and lower your hips below shoulder-height. Angle your head so that you are looking at the floor around three meters (10 feet) in front of you. Take a big lung full of air and get ready for blast-off. Take the slack out of the bar so that your entire body feels coiled like a spring ready to explode. Brace your abs and you are ready to go.

Without bending your arms, extend your knees and hips simultaneously. As you break the bar away from the floor, drive your hips forwards, continue extending your knees and stand up. It is essential that your hips do not rise faster than your shoulders. This increases the distance between the weight and your base of support which essentially places a greater load on your spine. Ideally, your shoulders should rise faster than your hips or, at the very least, the same speed. At the top of the movement make sure your knees are locked out and your hips extended. Pause for a second and admire the view!

Lowering the weight is easy enough as gravity is now your friend but it is essential you put the weight down with good technique to minimize your risk of injury. With your arms still straight, chest lifted and shoulders pulled down and back, push your hips back slightly and then bend your knees. Pushing your hips back first means the bar will miss your knees as you lower it to the ground. Control your descent but there is no need to go super-slow. Likewise, don’t merely drop it either. When the bar touches down, reset your grip and back position and then repeat.

In general, you should inhale as lift the weight and then exhale as you lower it however, once the weight gets heavy and you are working in the lower rep ranges, you will find it necessary to breathe between reps. This breathing pattern increases intra-abdominal pressure and lumbar support but also increases blood pressure. If you have any blood pressure issues, use lighter weights for this exercise and follow the inhale/raise, exhale/lower pattern of breathing.

For deficit deadlifts – stand on a 2-4” high platform e.g. 45 lbs bumper plates or an exercise step box.

3-way plank

Lie on your side with your hips and shoulders square and rest on your lowermost arm. Lift your hips and hold your body straight using your core muscles. Do not hold your breath. Look straight forward. After the prescribed time, roll onto your front and rest on both elbows with your forearms flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor so your body is straight. With tight abs, hold this position for the prescribed time. Finally, roll onto your other side and do another set of side planks. With all plank variations make sure you keep your feet, hips and shoulders perfectly aligned.

Thanks to the Team

Thank you to renowned New York artist Thomas Alberti for pro-bono graphic design work on the title logo.

Thank you to British Royal Marine and fitness trainer Patrick Dale for the workout program design.

Thank you to British Royal Marine and fitness trainer Patrick Dale for the workout program design.

Thank you to Solar Ultimate Nutrition and ISSA Master Trainer Jason Pierce for modelling and supporting the site!

Thank you to Solar Ultimate Nutrition and ISSA Master Trainer and Active Duty Marine Jason Pierce for modelling and supporting the site!