Fitness enthusiast performing a full body workout

Full Body Training

When you’re working out, you may decide to do full body training exercises rather than splitting your routine between working on different areas and muscle groups. Here, we take a look at what full body workouts involve and whether they’re a good idea. 

What Are Full Body Workouts?

Full body workouts are training sessions that hit all of the body’s major muscle groups including the chest, back, legs, shoulders, abs, and arms. Rather than training splits that involve performing multiple exercises to work on a single muscle group, you do less movements for every muscle group, hitting each one with a more balanced approach. 

What Are The Advantages Of Full Body Workouts?

If you do full body workouts, it won’t matter so much if you have to miss one training session. Every session involves you working on all of your muscle groups, so if you have to skip a single session it doesn’t have such an impact on your overall fitness level. 

You also need to commit less time to your workouts. If you do a full body workout each day, you won’t achieve optimal results since it’s important to have some rest time between workouts to allow the muscles to recuperate. Therefore, you only require around three workout sessions each week, taking alternate days off. 

If you’d like to burn calories more quickly, a full body workout will maximise your calorie burn. As you use your whole body in a single training session your heart rate gets a greater boost than if you were only working on your triceps and chest, for example. Every workout burns maximum calories, which is a major advantage if weight loss is your goal. 

If you do full body workouts you don’t focus intensely on a single area of your body. As the exercises you do are spread out and balanced you require less recovery time in between your workouts. As you can have an entire rest day in between workouts your body will have sufficient time for recovery and repair and that ensures you stay in better overall health. 

Although a full body workout is more stressful on your body, your body eventually adapts to the load, allowing you to become fitter, working out far more efficiently, which is a great benefit in the long run. 

Are There Any Disadvantages Of Full Body Workouts?

Although full body workouts offer many benefits, they have some drawbacks too. 

It’s more difficult to target a specific muscle group when doing full body workouts, so you won’t see change as quickly as you could if you followed a programme that involved exercising only certain groups on each day. 

However, it’s key to remember that even when visible changes only appear slowly, they’re still happening. It can be tempting to quit or believe the program isn’t doing what it should but trust the process. You’ll soon see the benefits of being consistent with your gym schedule. 

Another drawback of full body workouts is that you won’t focus so completely on your weak spots. With fewer exercises that are isolated in one area, you cannot easily focus on spots that require more improvement. Full body workouts are also more stressful on your body. You do a larger number of compound movements that affect several muscle groups simultaneously, and this works your body much harder.

How Often Should I Do A Full Body Workout?

You shouldn’t do full body workouts every single day. All of the muscles are stimulated in a single session and that means that a daily workout regime gives them too little recovery time. A three-day programme is ideal with a day in between each workout for recuperation. 

Which Exercises Are Best For Full Body Workouts?

Compound movements are the best kinds of exercises to add into full body workouts. These include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and overhead presses. Bear in mind, though, that you should do fewer exercises than you would in a body-split exercise programme. 

Supersets are a great addition to a full body workout as they help you manage your gym time efficiently without overworking your muscles. Circuits are also a good addition to your workout, using two paired exercises that use different groups of muscles. 

Should I Do Full Body Workouts?

Not everyone should try full body workouts. However, if you have a very busy lifestyle, they could work well for you. When you have little time to spend in the gym, full body workouts save you time and make working out more manageable. If you’re keen to develop your general fitness level rather than focus on specific bodybuilding or strength-focused goals, full body workouts are also ideal for you.  

If full body workouts aren’t ideal for you, you could try a body part split that focuses on a single body part each day. You’ll need to do five or six training sessions, covering a single body part every time. 

Another popular training split is the push/pull/leg split. This categorises every exercise either as a pushing movement, a pulling movement, or an exercise for the legs. The reason for doing this split type is that you’re able to work the same set of muscles continuously in a single session in order to stimulate them further. 

A final option is the lower and upper split which is typically spread over four days – two on the upper and two on the lower body. This type of programme is appealing as it enables you to focus your attention on one half of the body during your session while also having rest days planned in between to allow for recovery. 

Full body workouts are an effective and popular way of training, but it isn’t the right choice for everyone and it isn’t something that you should do every single day. If you want to achieve the best possible result from a full body workout you should only exercise two to three days per week, giving yourself a full rest day in between to allow for a complete recovery.

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