The whole body 2x2 workout method

The whole body 2×2 workout method

In this blog post, I will describe a workout method that helped me in my own training. I call it the whole-body 2×2 workout method. This training method can be applied to beginners as well with a whole-body approach.

Here is how it works. So, in our personalised exercise programme, we will be targeting the same muscle group with two different angles, hence we will perform four sets with two sets from one exercise angle and two sets from another exercise angle. Let’s see an example below.

Target muscle group2 sets exercise #12 sets exercise #2
ChestDumbbell bench pressDumbbell flyes

This whole-body training method is suitable for people who want to lose weight as we are not producing the pump in our muscles like with traditional multiple sets from one exercise angle.

The principle is if you push the weight in one angle, you squeeze the weight in another angle, and you pull the weight in yet another angle. So, if you have two exercises, four sets in total, with a push effect, then this method will lose purpose and efficiency. Remember, only combine two exercises, targeting the same muscle group but from different angles.

For example, there are push, pull, or squeeze angles. An example of a push is the bench press, an example of a pull is a dumbbell bend-row, and an example of a squeeze is dumbbells fly. In our example above, the dumbbell bench press is a push angle, and the dumbbell fly is a squeeze angle. The angles are not limited to just these three mentioned above.

A little bit of science behind it

So what happens when we change the exercise angle? Simply stated, our muscle fibers get stressed in a different way signaling to our brain to enforce the new adaptations. In the same way, what do you do when you reach the training plateau? You change your training structure and your behaviors.

The goal with this whole body workout 2×2 method is to inspire muscle definition and lean body.

This system that I developed involves doing four sets with at least twelve repetitions, hence is not really for hypertrophy. With this approach, we want to chisel our body like a sculptor chisels his statue. We want to reduce instead of adding.

Repetitions and sets

Like I have mentioned previously, this training method involves doing four sets for each muscle group (2 sets from one exercise angle + 2 sets from another exercise angle). The number of repetitions depends on your goal. Usually, for muscle endurance and toning 12-20, for general endurance 20+. Our contributor Adonis wrote a specific blog post about the number of repetitions depending on a goal. So, keep your repetitions to 12 minimum.

What about the rest periods?

The rest periods between sets and exercises should be no more than 1 minute. During your rest period, take a sip of your water and take several deep breaths. Relax your muscles.

Take a look below at my own personalised whole body 2×2. Later I will give you a template to create your own whole body 2×2 workout.

Target muscle group2 sets exercise #12 sets exercise #2Reps per set
ChestDumbbells flat bench pressDumbbells flat bench fly14
BackDumbbells bend-over rowThe machine reverse fly14
ShouldersSeated Dumbbells PressSeated dumbbells side raise14
BicepsStanding Barbell curlsSeated dumbbell concentration curls14
TricepsNarrow grip push-upBarbell bend-over triceps extensions14
LegsSeated machine leg extensionsLying leg curls on a machine14
AbdominalsLeg raisesAbdominal crunches with 5kg weight behind the neck14
A sample 2×2 whole body workout

With this method, for the best results, keep the repetitions the same for 4 sets for each target muscle group. Let’s use an example above, if you do 12 reps for dumbbells flat bench press and 15 reps for dumbbells flat bench fly, you will have an unbalanced programme and consequences later on.

If you give this method a go, please have the same number of repetitions for each target muscle group. Ideally, have the same number of reps throughout the whole training programme.

What about the load?

For this method, I have found that the most optimal loads fall under 50 % of your 1 RM. Another maybe more practical approach is this: when you design your whole body 2×2 training programme, you pick your exercises and the fixed # of reps, now pick the load that you can lift for the fixed number of repetitions but not to failure. Leave approx 20 % of your lifting energy at the end.

As I promised, I am giving you the template where you can design your whole body 2×2 training programme. Warning: your whole body 2×2 workout needs to be completely personalised to you. I don’t know your injuries, your goals, preferences, or body composition. So this workout method template is only a general one that provides a training structure. Please take that in mind.


If you are tired of traditional multiset, superset, or interval workout method, this will serve you well to stress your muscles in a different way and inspire new adaptations. So, give it a go.

The famous martial artist, Bruce Lee once said,

There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

This is the way to go beyond your training plateau.

Until next week,

Damir Pervan, Founder and CEO of TrainChampion

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