8 Reasons Why Total Body Workouts Can Help You Optimise Muscle Growth And Burn Fat In A Fun, Time-Efficient Way.
You might think total body workouts are an ineffective way to achieve your body goals. Since time immemorial, you've been conditioned to believe hammering a specific body part into submission is the best (and only) way to train. But full body workouts can be one of the best workouts splits for building muscle and losing fat in a time-efficient way. Often requiring less overall time commitment than more traditional ways of training, they can be the perfect fit for your time-crunched schedule.
And in this article, you'll discover 8 reasons why a total body workout might be the simple, effective solution you've been searching for. And, if you stick around to the end of the article, you'll be able to grab a free 4 week beginner's training programme, designed around optimal total body workouts.
Not Sure If Total Body Workouts Are Effective?
Let's kill off any skepticism you may have with a little proof that total body workouts WORK.
Here's Chris, one of my online coaching clients. She joined the Lean Life Method and began her journey to a leaner, healthier life by combining total body workouts with a personalised nutrition programme. The pictures below show the progress she made in the first 9 weeks. And I think you'll agree, those full body workouts delivered pretty damn well.
You see, following the training programme of an IFBB Pro might sound like a good idea, but you're not an IFBB Pro. And your goals, lifestyle, and available time, are likely to be completely different. Therefore, trying to follow these programmes can feel like a chore and as if you're banging your head against a brick wall.
So let me guide you through the 8 reasons why you should ditch what you're doing right now and kickstart your training with total body workouts.
1. Learning Movement Patterns Through Repetition
"Becoming proficient in key movements is the foundation for future growth"
Almost every beginner should probably start-out with total body workouts. The gym is a new concept, with so much to figure out, that keeping your workouts simple and effective is likely to yield far greater results.
And that starts with movement patterns. Getting really good at the 6 basic movement patterns creates the solid foundation for your future growth. Fail to focus on movement patterns in the early days, and you'll hit challenges with more complex exercises and lifting heavier weights, further down the line. And that means you hit plateaus and even risk injury.
The 6 movement patterns to base your total body workouts on are:
- Squat (ie; the squat. Duh!)
- Hinge (ie; Romanian Deadlifts - RDLs)
- Vertical Push (ie; Shoulder Press)
- Vertical Pull (ie; Lat Pulldown)
- Horizontal Push (ie; Bench Press)
- Horizontal Pull (ie; Barbell Row)
Get good at these exercises and your progression to a weight training black belt will be off to a good start.
But where does a total body workout fit into this? Surely, you can practise these movements in any workout split?
Of course, you can train these movements in any training programme, but a total body workout approach has advantages. Because workouts are less varied for session to session, you can repeat movements more frequently. Your training volume is also spread out across the week, making it easier revisit movement patterns multiple times throughout the week.
2. Less To Learn Results In Faster Progress
"Focus on the exercises that give you more bang for your buck"
After movement patterns come the exercises themselves. As a beginner, the worst thing you can do is try and learn a bunch of completely different exercises, across multiple workouts.
Think about it. The average workout might have 5-6 exercises. If you're working out 4 times a week with a traditional workout split, that's up to 24 exercises for you to learn and master.
I don't care if you're the Yoda of the weight room, THAT'S not easy. In fact, to nailing those exercises is going to take time. Lots of it, which is time you could spend building badass butt cheeks and delectable delts.
So, with full body workouts, you could cut your learning curve in half.
Creating 2 simple and effective workouts you repeat during the week, means you'll only need to focus on around 12 exercises. As an added benefit, you'll be repeating exercises more frequently, enabling you to progress workout intensity and exercises complexity, much faster.
So instead of becoming entrenched in the mindset that more exercises are best, switch your focus to becoming a master of the exercises that deliver the biggest bang for your buck.
Don't be a jack of all exercises and a master of none. Become an expert at the basic exercises and you'll progress faster.
3. Total Body Workouts Reduce The Pressure
"Skipping a workout doesn't have to be a big drama"
Starting out a new training programme with all the motivation of a dog with 2 dicks, can make it easy to get carried away. At the start of your new programme you say to yourself,
"Yeah... I can train 7 days a week. NO problem."
But reality soon hits you. And what you meant by 7 days a week, was more like 3 (if you're lucky). Suddenly, that 6 day training split isn't looking like a good fit.
However, a training split made up of 3-4 total body workouts eases your overall time commitment to training. While we'd all love to dedicate tons of time to working out, it's unrealistic for the average person. So if you are time-crunched, total body workouts become the sensible option.
Each workout might be slightly longer, but you can train all body parts multiple times in the week with less overall time spent in the gym.
And it also works for the times when you need to skip workouts.
No doubt you've been in the situation where making it to the gym was simply impossible. Work, family, and social life conspired against you and something had to give. And it was the gym that was the first thing to bite the dust.
And not only do you feel guilty about it, but your training routine has been derailed. With a traditional training split, a couple of missed workouts might mean you didn't train half of your body in a given week.
But that's the beauty of full body workouts.
When you can't make it to the gym for 2 or your 4 training sessions, it's not a huge issue. You've still managed to incorporate training volume for all major muscle groups across the week. Obviously, the extra sessions would be ideal, but hey, that's life. And you need to roll with the punches and adapt.
If you're always busy and find yourself skipping workouts frequently, total body workouts make that less of a headache.
4. Recover Faster With Total Body Workouts
"The faster you can recover, the more frequently you can train"
With total body workouts, your training volume is spread out across multiple sessions. For example, rather than having 15 sets of back exercises in one session, you can spread that over 3-4 workouts. Planned correctly, you can still equate the training volume so you don't miss out on the gains. In fact, there's a logical theory that says you might be able to accumulate MORE training volume.
You see, if you're training one body part to annihilation in one particular workout, the sets you do at the end of those workouts my be compromised by fatigued. And that's especially true if you're a beginner.
But if your volume is evenly spread across multiple workouts, you might be able to perform all the sets for all body parts at a greater intensity. Possibly lifting more weight for more reps, and creating the opportunity for more muscle growth.
After all, you'll be less sore and fatigued for those later exercises and sets with a total body approach. You'll be well rested before each workout. So it could be an approach that allows you to maximise recovery and train harder in each workout.
With the right programme design, total body workouts can help you recovery quickly and train harder in each workout.
5. Combine Other Activities Into Your Routine
"If you have a life outside the gym, total body workouts are ideal"
Not all of us want to live in the gym. You may well have sports and activities you enjoy, outside of the Iron Paradise. So utilising total body workouts can help incorporate other activities into your week.
A weight training programme based on total body workouts gives you more flexibility. You're not rigidly imprisoned within a 4-5 day a week schedule to ensure you train effectively. You can lift weights 1-4 times per week and still get great results, while playing football, rugby, or doing a little swimming, running, or cycling.
Often, these sports are your primary focus. Weight training is your means to improve in these sports, through the addition of a strength component within your training. In these situations, full body workouts create the perfect marriage. Like Lance Armstrong and EPO (although your approach will be legal).
Total body workouts allow the flexibility within your training to incorporate other sports and activities.
6. Total Body Workouts Are Ideal For Training At Home
"Training at home can still get great results"
If you can't make it to the gym to train, then total body workouts are often the best option.
Most home workouts are done with limited equipment. Sadly, most of us aren't The Rock, and don't have enough space or spare cash to kit out a home gym with all the equipment of the local commercial gym. So you're going to have to get by on the bare minimum. Maybe a bench and a few dumbbells at most.
So you need to be creative and efficient in how you train. A well-structured total body workout is a great way to train using very basic equipment. With no requirement to dream up 6 different chest exercises for one workout, you have the ability to train hard, all within the comfort of your own home.
If the gym isn't an option. Create total body workouts based around a minimal amount of exercises you can perform with basic equipment.
7. Reduce The Boredom And Keep Training Varied
"Each full body workout has a bit of everything"
Maintaining motivation and your interest in training can be a challenge for a lot of people. Doing the same workouts week after week can get monotonous.
And that brings a double-edged sword. Because on the one hand, you need a level of repetition and consistency to see results. After all, if you change your workouts more often than a hooker's bedsheets, you're actually working against yourself.
Ask yourself if you want to a new workout every week, or if you want an awesome AF body. I know which one I'd choose.
Having said that, total body workouts provide a good halfway house. You get the consistency and repeatability you need to improve, as well as variety in each workout. No longer simply smashing lots of chest volume, but combing some quads, glutes, shoulders, and maybe even some arms all in one interesting and varied session.
If you find yourself becoming bored with training the traditional way, spice things up the varied, and challenging total body workouts.
8. A Full Body Workout Equals Greater Fat Loss (Maybe)
"A total body workout might just burn a few more precious calories"
Ooooooo. Now you're interested. Could a total body workout programme lead to greater fat loss? Well, the answer is... maybe.
And the reason for the non-committal answer is two-fold.
A full body workout might burn more calories in a given session depending on exercise selection and total volume. But if you think about it in a broader context, it makes sense. Training shoulders isn't that taxing.
"It is the way I train."
Pipe down in the back. I wasn't talking to you.
Your delts are a relatively small muscle group. And the exercise you'll often use to train them aren't particularly dynamic (that doesn't mean they're ineffective). So there's a strong argument to say your overall calorie burn would be less, when compared to total body workouts.
The calorie different is unlikely to be worth writing home about. Additionally, training itself is an inefficient way to create a calorie deficit. Sure, it helps. But most weight and fat loss will be a direct result of managing your nutrition effectively. Think of training as the method of sculpting the body you want. And nutrition as the main means of reducing body fat, so you can see it.
Total body workouts might help you burn more calories, but it depends on a number of factors. Ultimately, train hard, whatever you do.
The Bottom Line On Total Body Workouts
Total body workouts are a great way for beginners and those with erratic and unpredictable schedules to build muscle and get in shape.
For some reason, total body workouts have attracted a negative stigma. More traditional workout splits have been around for so long that approaching your training with a different mentality seems alien. But for the right person, in the right circumstances, they're very beneficial.
They offer variety, flexibility, and the ability to hone key movements and exercises, thereby creating a solid foundation for the future. A well-constructed total body workout need not be inferior to a workout focused on 1-2 body parts.
As with many aspects of training and nutrition, there's many different ways to achieve the result you want. So don't feel pigeon-holed into one way of training, because that's what everyone else is doing. And take the time to figure out what you enjoy and what fits your lifestyle, while still shaping that body you can be proud of.
And if you want to get started on a training programme based on some awesome total body workouts, just scroll down and grab your FREE Lean Life Kickstart Pack now.
Your Next Step To Mastering Nutrition And Shaping A Leaner, Healthier, Stronger Body
Here’s what to do next to get on the fast track to a leaner, healthier, stronger body. Simply click the link below and I’ll send you my Lean Life Kickstarter Pack. In it you’ll find a free 4 week beginner’s training programme (complete with exercise videos and a workout tracker), a guide on calculating your calories, plus so much more.
So if you want it, grab it here.
But for now, all I’ll say is… Keep living the Lean Life and I’ll see you soon.