Want to Be Efficient and Effective in the Gym? Do a Full-body, Strength-training Workout Three Times a Week.

Incorporating weight-lifting into your exercise routine is critical to avoiding muscle loss, preventing frailty and other chronic illnesses. Importantly, a consistent strength training routine gives you the best overall health results.  

What is a full-body workout?

“Full-body strength training are workouts designed to work the entire body. They can consist of actual full-body exercises or a combination of exercises for different body parts performed in a circuit,” said James M.A. Nicholson LMT, fitness trainer and Principal at Evolved-Fitness.

In other words, target more than one muscle group at once in each exercise.

What’s the difference between full- and split-body training? For example, squats are considered full-body because you are working more than just your lower body. At the same time you are firing up your quadriceps, calves and glutes, your core, back muscles and shoulders are at work. Push-ups are also a great example. Your core, upper and lower body are all engaged at once. On the other hand, split-body workouts target only one or two body parts per workout. Over the course of a week, one day is focused on legs, the following on chest/triceps exercises, another day on back/biceps.

What Are the Benefits of Total-Body Workouts?

  • Achieve greater fat loss: Research published in the journal of Biology of Sport reported that people who did full-body workouts three times per week lost more fat than those who did training splits. By targeting more than one muscle group at once, you will burn more calories, which in turn will burn more fat.
  • Build more muscle mass: By working all the muscle groups three times per week versus one or two times with split-body training, muscle protein synthesis occurs more frequently, which triggers muscle growth.
  • Gain more strength: Total-body workouts may also lead to greater strength. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that well-trained men who did full-body workouts had slightly greater muscle gains than those who followed split-body routines.
  • Efficiency: You can get more done in less time. Full-body workouts can be between 30 to 60 minutes. If you miss a session for some reason, you’ve at least worked all your major muscles once or twice.
  • Recovery time: You’ll have more time to recover between sessions than if you were working one muscle group every day. This helps your body build muscle and avoid fatigue.
  • Good for beginners: Some of the best full-body workouts are comprised of a handful of exercises that are generally easy to understand and follow. With time they also become easier to execute.
  • You can do full-body workouts from home: Equipment requirements for whole-body training are simple, so you could get your workouts done from home with some basic weights. No gym membership required.

Things to Consider

  • If you’re a beginner, it’s helpful to work with a personal trainer at first to ensure proper form that will help you avoid injury. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Change up the routine every two to three weeks to avoid plateauing and boredom.
  • Talk to your doctor before embarking on a new exercise routine to avoid injury.

Bottom Line

Strength training is critical to aging well and maintaining your independence as you get older. Regardless of your current fitness level, “full-body training workouts are time efficient … you can do it two to three times a week and receive a more than adequate physical response, improving strength, endurance, flexibility, and body composition,” said Nicholson.

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