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Building muscle is no mean achievement. No pain, no gain is the rule of the game. Unfortunately, there are so many misconceptions surrounding gaining muscle that it becomes discouraging. After spending countless hours at the gym, you quit and sadly watch the fat build up. Your friend has been following this workout plan that has made him so lean.
You cannot help but envy his 6 pack. Maybe a workout plan is too hard for you. Why not try a full body workout? It allows you to work hard, but in less time. Below we look at the benefits of working every muscle group in your body, some general guidelines, some routines for mass, compound workouts, great workouts for your entire body, and even advanced ones.
Benefits of a full body workout
An ideal workout for your entire body ensures maximum muscle contraction with heavy weights and allows for full recovery. There is never overtraining leading to burnout. Let’s delve into the benefits:
When you work your entire body, you reduce the frequency of your workouts. You only need to train 2 to 3 days a week. The emphasis is on the quality, not the quantity. Each session is about an hour, which translates to 3 to 4 hours of exercise a week. That is a manageable option for many people.
b) Builds the cardiovascular system
When you do 2 to 4 sets for every muscle group in a one-hour workout session, you do your cardiovascular system a lot of justice.
General guidelines for a full body workout
a) Heavy lifting
Don’t lift lighter weights in a bid to conserve energy for other body parts in your routine. You need to lift heavy from the outset for optimal progress.
b) Do not work out for more than an hour
Resistance training will affect your natural muscle building hormones. Big compound exercises boost your natural levels of testosterone. If you work out too long, a hormone called cortisol will be produced. This hormone breaks down muscles, which means you will have wasted time doing all the hard work.
c) Proper workout order
You should never train the chest first. The best approach is to alternate between the chest, legs, and back during your full body workout. Abs or calves should not necessarily be stimulated last.
d) Train every 2 to 3 days
Training every 2 to 3 days allows for some cardio in between the intense workouts where you work your entire body. This makes the cardio even more effective when compared to what you do at the end of every workout.
e) One exercise for every muscle group
If you are lifting heavy from the onset, you need not do different exercises for the same body part. The muscles will already be overloaded.
f) Post workout nutrition
You need to replenish the glycogen that you have used during your workout. In fact, this is the first step to recovery.
Some full body workouts
It may be difficult to recommend a particular workout. The best approach that we can use here is learning from the best. Some of the fitness legends actually trained using routines that stimulated the entire body. Some people like Reg Park, George Eiferman, and Leroy Colbert all used this approach.
George Eiferman was an actor and stuntman. He was also a Mr. Universe winner. He trained high school students on physical training. Let’s look at his routine, which is classified among the great full body workouts:3 sets of 7 to 10 reps:
- Bench Press
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise
- Cheating One-Arm Row
- Dumbbell Concentration Curl
- Side Bend
- Hack Squat
- Dumbbell Fly
- Alternate Dumbbell Press
- Cheating Barbell Curl
- Dumbbell Wrist Curl
- Sit up
He was known as the split king. He began with the full body routine, and he recommends it as a perfect place to start. Why not look at his full body compound workout commonly referred to as “the golden six”? 4 sets of 10 reps
- Barbell Squat
- Wide grip barbell bench press
- Barbell curl
- Chin-up 3 sets (do as many reps as you can)
- Behind-the-neck overhead press (4 sets of 10 reps)
As you may note Arnold’s workout is simple and straightforward. He recommended doing the workout 3 days a week, with rest days in between.
Colbert only trained the full body. He did 6 sets per body part, going against the norm – 3 in his time. His workout is the ultimate full body workout routine for mass. Most people gain about 16 pounds of lean bodyweight when following this workout. Unlike most workouts, Colbert pushed it to the limit. He recommended training your body daily.
- 6 to 10 reps per set. If you manage 10 reps for every set, increase your weights.
- Do a minimum of 6 sets per body part.
- The order matters: do not train the chest immediately after the triceps, or the biceps after the back. The best order is: triceps, biceps, chest, back, thighs and shoulders, finishing with the calves.
- Do 42 sets in total, 6 sets per muscle group
- Get a list of workouts for every muscle group
- Do 2 exercises per day
- Keep increasing the weights
- Rest as much as possible (a minute of rest in between sets)
- Proper nutrition is key
- Each session should be a maximum of 70 minutes
This is classified among the advanced full body workouts. It has a very interesting progression approach. It involves 8 sets of 8 reps per body part during every session. Like Colbert’s the order matters. Start by training your weakest body parts first. The progression involves reducing the rest time. You begin with a minute’s rest in between sets and reduce by 5 seconds.
Your starting weight should be 60% of the 8 rep maximum. Reduce your rest time to between 15 and 30 seconds. Add weight and begin again. Keep progressing for 6 to 8 weeks. You may find that you are starting with 100% of your max, and only resting for 15 to 30 seconds. Despite this being an advanced workout, where you do a lot more in less time, it is surprisingly easy on the joints. Try different exercises for the different workouts.
All in All
Full body workouts are a great option for those people who find it hard to follow workout routines. They are ideal if you are pressed for time, yet want to build mass. You work hard for a shorter time. All you need to do is take the workout routine that best suits you, among the above discussed. Make it your own, and follow the guidelines to the letter.