Benefits of a Full-Body Workout Program

Saves Time

Probably the biggest positive about training your entire body at once is that your gym frequency decreases to around two to three times every seven days. Plus, you’ll only be spending an hour in the gym for each session. Build muscle with only three to four hours of gym time during a week? You betcha. It’s all about the quality of your sessions, not the quantity.

Boosts Your Cardiovascular System

Squeezing a solid 2 to 4 sets per body part into a 60-minute workout session gets your cardiovascular system up to speed in a hurry!

Rules for Full-Body Workouts

1) Train Once Every 2 or 3 Days

Easy enough, right? The beauty of only training with weights every few days is that the days in between full-body workouts can be used to add a few cardio sessions instead of relying on ineffective cardio tacked on at the end of a workout.

2) Lift Heavy

Many athletes who try full-body workouts get trapped into training lighter than they usually would in order to conserve energy for body parts that come later in their routine. The truth is, if you’re not training heavy, you’re not going to make optimal progress, no matter what program you’re on. Keep your weights as heavy as you can. The conserving of energy for the body parts you train at the end of your workout is addressed in point number six.

3) Perform one exercise per muscle group

This one is pretty easy to follow, but is still very important. Using basic, heavy exercises that enable you to lift the most weight means that you don’t have to do more than one exercise per body part. For chest, do the bench press or incline bench press. For back, choose bent-over rows or chin-ups. For legs, nothing beats the squat. All of these movements allow you to move heavy weights and overload the muscles without performing endless exercises. Once you’ve chosen your exercises, plan your routines so that you’re doing 2 to 4 sets of each exercise for 10 to 12 repetitions.

4) Keep your workout to an hour or less

When you’re planning your workouts, remember that resistance training affects your natural musclebuilding hormones and adjust accordingly. Lots of big compound exercises will help boost your natural testosterone levels; however, long workouts also boost levels of the catabolic hormone cortisol. Keeping your workouts fairly brief but still intense is ideal for getting the best of both worlds. Sticking to 60 minutes or less is a good rule of thumb.

5) Consume a post-workout shake immediately after training

During full-body workouts, large amounts of glycogen are used to fuel your exertions, so it’s important that you replenish your glycogen stores as soon as possible after training. Replenishing your glycogen right after training jump-starts the recovery process. Conversely, not taking advantage of this crucial time can slow your results significantly. Think of it as filling up the gas tank on your car after a long drive.

6) Change the order of your workouts

Training chest first for every full-body workout is doing a disservice to the rest of your physique’s symmetry. What seems to work better for ensuring your three major body parts get equal attention is alternating between doing chest, back, and legs first in your three workouts a week. Don’t always leave abs or calves for last, though!
Below is a list of exercises to help get you started. They’re split into two sections: one for large body parts, the other for small ones. The exercises are listed in order of effectiveness for each body part.

Sample One-Week Full-Body Workout Schedule
Day 1: Full body (Chest, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, abs, legs, calves)
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Full body (Legs, calves, back, abs, shoulders, chest, biceps, triceps)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Full body (Back, chest, legs, triceps, biceps, calves, shoulders, abs)
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Rest
Large Body Part Exercises Small Body Part Exercises

Back

Bent-Over Barbell Rows
Pull-Ups
Seated Cable Rows

Biceps

Standing Barbell Curls
Alternate Dumbell Curls
Preacher Curls

Chest

Bench Presses
Incline Barbell Presses
Dumbell Presses

Triceps

Parallel-Bar Dips
Lying Dumbell Triceps Extensions
Pushdowns

Shoulders

Dumbell Presses
Behind-the-Neck Presses
Upright Rows

Calves

Standing Calf Raises
Seated Calf Raises
Donkey Calf Raises

Legs

Squats
Leg Presses
Hack Squats

Abs

Hanging Leg Raises
Decline-Bench Crunches
Rope Crunches

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