Athlean-X Full Body Workout

Athlean X is Jeff Cavaliere. My first exposure to him happened about three or four years ago seeing his ads and videos on YouTube. When I talked to John Meadows, he said, “Watch what Jeff does at Athlean X.” Meadows himself said, a lot of people hate on the guy but he is a really good dude. 

So I decided to give one of Jeff’s Athlean X workouts a try to see how it is laid out and how he does his programming. The workout I picked out to try is a dumbbell only workout described as a total body workout.

One thing I didn’t like right off the bat is that everything being done is three sets of six to eight reps. He does do a very good job of giving an alternative lift and providing rest periods. One thing I have struggled with in our content is saying do this and rest this much. This is something I am going to take from Jeff to improve our content at Garage Strength 

1. Dumbbell Clean Up & Over

This first movement, I had never done. It is prescribed incase someone only has one dumbbell. It’s like a kettlebell swing to the rack and then up and over the head to the opposite shoulder. Hit that for six reps and then I went and did the next movement right in succession.

2. Dumbbell Clean & Press

I did this movement holding a dumbbell in each hand. I hit a set of this and rested for ninety seconds before going and doing it again.

The Athlean X program started off with full body work and then caters back to target in on lower back and then just biceps and triceps at the end.


As a weightlifting coach, I do not like that Jeff says to stomp your feet on the clean. I don’t like foot stomping. It made me crinch. Regardless, the exercise movement got my heart rate up, had me breathing hard, and got me into the workout.

It’s not bad. It’s okay. I’d rather squat.


I’m not a huge fan of the dumbbell clean and press. Like I said, I’d rather squat. The dumbbell clean and press felt good. My hamstrings, my low back, quads a little bit, and shoulders felt good coming out.

3. Goblet Reverse Lunges Into Goblet Squat

My big question with this movement has to do with the programming specifying six reps. Which felt weird because there is three reps in each movement. I did left leg, right leg, and then the goblet squat. Thankfully Jeff does a really good job that is expected in the workout.


Now I’m not saying the workout is amazing. They are good for the general population to a point. In my opinion, we have better programs and workout at Garage Strength.


Jeff says that if I want to get big and stronger, I don’t want to get too narrow because I will get off balance and diminish my strength gains. Articulating that I should have that reverse lunge as wide as that goblet squat position is.

This movement is great after the dumbbell clean and press. The quads fired up and the abs could be felt working. Hit it up for the recommendeing sets before hitting the next exercise.


My quads lit up and I really enjoyed this movement.

4. Single Arm Dumbbell Row

Again, three sets of six to eight reps (with every single exercise), one of my big complaints. It is just a general row if only one dumbbell is available.


Now if I go one arm on each dumbbell, meaning I have two dumbbells, which I do, I got to do a dead row.

5. Dumbbell Dead Row

This movement is a little more legs. My legs at this point are already shook from the lunges and squats. My hamstrings are firing from the dumbbell clean and press as well.


So from a dead position with the dumbbells on the outside, similar to a trap bar position, I deadlift the dumbbells and finished off with a row. The notes on the programming said it is okay to use the lower back and the hamstrings a little more.

I decided to do three sets of this movement.

6. Dumbbell Floor Bench

At this point, my back was lit up, my lats felt good, and my shoulder felt pretty good as well. The alternative to the floor bench, if only having one dumbbell, had me going with a crush grip on the single dumbbell heads and press. I don’t really like that exercise unless I planned on doing a set of fifty and just blew up my triceps. So I just went right into the floor bench.


Athlean X does say six to eight reps, I thought ten to twelve reps was more appropriate for a pump. One problem I do have with dumbbell floor press is actually getting the dumbbells up with out a spot. It is a little cumbersome, especially when using weights for the strong, strong out there.

I think I did 18 reps because I didn’t want to put the dumbbells back on my quads. I like dumbbell floor bench as a finisher. It isn’t a movement that will get people stupid, stupid strong, but it will blast the triceps. I always recommend pausing at the bottom. Now if you struggle with a lock out in the bench, hit this movement up. I prefer using a barbell with a closer grip.

7. Dumbbell Lying Tricep Extension

I got a good pump from the dumbbell floor bench. I like the workout so far, but have some big criticisms.


Here I went into the dumbbell lying tricep extension. Athlean X doesn’t superset this, but I LOVE supersetting bize and trize. So I will do this bicep exercise that I never actually done.


But before that, the dumbbell lying tricep extension, which is stolen from C.T. Flecher, is just lying on the ground, reaching the dumbbells to the floor (don’t bounce), keeping the elbows in place, and to not use the lats too much while just trying to target the trize.


And this exercise, along with the next, Athlean X said hit it for ten to twelve reps. I always liked this movement for a variation to get the pump in the triceps going.

8. Weighted Curl

Athlean X talks about just doing standing dumbbell curls with two dumbbells, one in each hand. But what Athlean X points out, with a single dumbbell, with the hands flat having an open palm, which gives some grip work, I just curled the single dumbbel to my chin. I liked this movement, especially the open palm for some grip work.

Recap

My overall thought on Athlean X is that he comes across as a good dude. With that said, one of my criticisms is that he can be more creative with the sets and rep schemes. Still, I like the workout, especially that it is simple, free, and doable with one dumbbell. It targets the whole body and recommends some great exercises that can be done easily. On top of that, he is clear with his rep schemes, clear with his rest periods, and clear with how to execute the movements properly. Check out our Knees over Toes YouTube videof to see Dane go through one of his workouts!


With that being said, I want to see a Jeff Cavaliere verse Joel Seedman video on YouTube sometime soon.


DANE MILLER

Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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