Full Body Workout: Benefits.

Kris 23
Full Body Workout: Benefits.

To begin, it’s important to note that there’s really only two main training routines that you can choose from, with the others only being variations of these. The first is a full body workout routine, where you go to the gym and hit your body with a variety of compound exercises (those working more than one muscle) and finish off with 1 or 2 isolation exercises (for a particular muscle group). The other is a split routine, which is the one you are most likely familiar with. This involves splitting your entire body’s muscle groups into workable days throughout the week (chest/tri on monday, legs wednesday, etc.).

For many people, the split routine is usually what they tackle upon hitting the gym. It’s very understandable, it’s most likely what their friends are doing, as the disparity in popularity between the two routines is rather large (not in terms of people involved with each, but the popularity in regards to what’s usually discussed). Well, I’m hoping to use this article to show you why this disparity should be equalized, at the very least. Full body workouts more than have their place in the gym, and they are especially great for beginners, so let’s discuss why they are beneficial and the advantages they provide.

1) You can hit the same body part multiple times a week – each time you work out, you can hit a body part because you’re dividing the time in the gym between exercises that hit each part of your body. Although you’re not doing exercise upon exercise of the same muscle group, you’re still able to hit it hard with a particular exercise, let it rest, and come back and do it again each and every time you’re in the gym. With a variety of interchangeable exercises for each muscle group, you can really tax your body every week.

2) You don’t have to go to the gym as often – some may see this as a setback, but I assure you that if you’re doing a good job picking out heavy compound movements for each full body workout you’re going to need the extra rest time you get with such a routine. Usually, Mon/Wed/Fri is a common 3-day schedule, but continuing constantly by going into Sunday and then Tuesday is also fine, if your body can survive the extra training sessions.

3) You get to hit your entire body each workout – this is a very important point. By doing full body workouts you are able to tax your entire body each and every time you hit the gym, allowing it to grow as a whole, which in turn makes sure that you grow proportionally so that you can achieve a solid physique. Many people on split routines train one body part like chest more often than legs or shoulders, and in the long term this often detracts from their overall look. A full body workout solves this problem.

Full body workouts are especially important for beginners, in another article where we discuss the Strength Training Beginner topic, we dive into why compound movements and strength training is extremely important for those just starting out with fitness. By being a new fish in the fitness pool, you need to get a hang of developing proper technique on your exercises, and without a doubt, increase your body’s ability to adapt to the newly present stress. By focusing on several compound exercises in one day in a full body workout, you are hitting your entire body’s muscle groups (which all need to grow stronger anyway) and making sure that you grow symmetrically by hitting every body part (let’s face it, most people ignore some body parts until they realize they look weird and then have to make up all that lost time).

Furthermore, by focusing on these large movements you are becoming functionally stronger (all throughout your body, not just in one particular part) and taxing your body so well it’s got no choice but to repair itself and get stronger. Add to that the fact that it’s going to make you hungry like a wolf, and you’ll see the progress take place. We all know that eating tons during this process is essential, and doing compound movements that hit your entire body each training session will tax your body enough for it to come crying for food automatically.

A full body workout is often ignored by those starting out, and by those who are so used to hearing about split routines as being the only way to train. The truth is quite different, however, and full body workouts certainly have their place. Some of the best results I’ve seen come from workouts that hit your entire body at once, each and every time you step into the gym. For more on a routine that really brings results, check out our Best Routine article. Not only is it a full body workout that relies on compound movements, but it really gives you a beating by taxing your body to its upper most limits. If you’d like to try it out, go ahead, it really gets the job done. For everybody else who wasn’t convinced before reading this article, I hope I’ve shed some light on why a full body workout can benefit you. If you’re bored of doing split routines, or you’re a recent gym enthusiast, give full body workouts a go, they’re certainly worth it. Check out this article for a list of the best exercises for each muscle group. Good Luck!

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  1. Ian September 17, 2011 at 12:11 am - Reply

    If you were to do “x” amount of compound exercises that by the end of the workout would work all muscles in your body which exercise would they be? I do a full body workout but I need to shorten the time spent lifting weights so I need to know the most important exercise to do that will keep me strong and in shape.

    • Kris September 19, 2011 at 12:20 am - Reply

      If you’re trying to limit the amount of time you spend lifting weights while doing a full body workout, your time would be best spent doing one major exercise per muscle group.

      For example, considering the major muscle groups you want to hit will be chest/shoulders/back/legs – that means you can do 4 solid compound exercises aimed at each target muscle group. (Remember, arms come in on all of these except for legs obviously. So unless you want to add a quick bicep/tricep exercise at the end alternating each workout between them that’s fine but not necessary).

      In regards to the 4 exercises, I’ll give you a few that you should pick from (but stay consistent):

      Do one of the following exercises for each muscle group each workout:
      Chest – Incline Dumbbell Press, Chest Dips
      Shoulders – Seated Dumbbell Press, Standing Overhead Barbell Press
      Back – Pullups, One Arm Dumbbell Rows (every other week for one of the days I’d suggest substituting deadlifts in as an alternate but not necessary if you’re not comfortable with them)
      Legs – Squats, Lunges

      Therefore, a sample workout may be:
      Chest Dips, Seated Dumbbell Press, Pullups, Squats

      3 sets of each, last set to failure. Once you can’t do another rep, do a few half-reps for complete muscle fatigue. Good Luck!

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