Everything You Need to Know About the Full-Body Workout

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Finding the perfect workout regimen can be quite the challenge.

In fact, many of the people in my Mark Dressen fitness trainer London sessions spend weeks trying to plan the right routine. It’s tough because you have to make several important decisions, about how often you should train, which days you should train on, and what muscle groups you need to work the most for measurable progress.

It’s easy to see why so many people give up on weightlifting and decide to opt for a full-body workout instead. Most full-body workouts involve a simple collection of exercises, don’t take much time, and can hit all the major muscle groups in your body. But, full-body workouts might not be as amazing as you think.

So, what’s the truth?

Long story short, you can build a fantastic frame using full-body workouts – but it might not be the fastest, most efficient option – particularly for people who have been lifting weights for a while. By the time you come to the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what a full-body workout is, what they do, and how you can get the most out of yours.

Let’s get started.

What is a Full-Body Workout?

In simple terms, a full-body workout is an exercise regimen that trains all the primary muscle groups in the body through a single workout. Instead of organizing your workout according to muscle groups and spreading them out over the course of the week, you train everything at once.

To ensure you get the best results, most full-body workouts focus on drawing attention to a few key compound exercises, like bench presses, military presses, squats, and deadlifts. They’re simple, and they’re effective. Plus, another benefit of a full-body workout is that it doesn’t place a huge demand on your time. Most of the time, you’ll only need a few 60-minute workouts per week to reap the benefits.

Since most of the advantages of full-body workouts come down to a few basic exercises, it’s worth knowing which movements are the most effective when you’re trying to build the muscles throughout your whole body. The primary exercises that most fitness trainer London sessions recommend include:

  • Lat pulldowns
  • Chi-ups
  • Barbell rows
  • Barbell Lunges
  • Military Presses
  • Flat barbell bench presses
  • Barbell deadlifts
  • Barbell back squats

If you focus your effort and energy into becoming particularly adept in these important exercises, then you should find that you begin to develop strength and muscle in no time – in the right circumstances. So, why are full-body workouts only effective for some people?

Why Full-Body Workouts Might Not Work for You

Up until now, you probably thought that full-body workouts seem simple to do, and effective too – so why aren’t they perfect for everyone? The simple answer is that full-body workouts fall short in two important areas: they don’t work well for heavy compound weightlifting, and they don’t allow for much flexibility in the frequency and volume of your workout.

If you want to gain both strength and muscle throughout your body as quickly, and effectively as possible, then you’re going to need to use plenty of heavy compound lifting in your training. Ultimately, most experts recommend using about 80% +1RM compound lifting to achieve the most noticeable results. Since whole-body workouts don’t allow for this degree of compound lifting, they could seriously slow down your gains.

If you were to use the right degree of volume in your workouts to start boosting your muscle gain as you would with heavy compound lifting during a full-body workout, you’d need to perform deadlifts, presses, and squats back to back across hours at the gym. Give that a try, and you’ll quickly discover that you’re going to have a really hard time getting through your exercise without feeling as though your head’s going to explode.

At the end of the day, when you try to string countless heavy compound weightlifting practices together in a single workout, you’ll lose steam quickly, damaging the quality of your workout.

Good Workouts Require High Volume

The only way you’d be able to squat, push, and pull heavy weights several times a week during a full-body workout, is to keep your volume incredibly low – which isn’t good for improving your muscle growth. However, weightlifters can’t always have the best of everything – you can’t have a plan that includes high intensity, high frequency, and high volume without risking injury.

The progressive fatigue that is created by full-body workouts can cause major problems because it reduces your ability to overload your major muscle groups, which means that you can’t achieve your full muscle and strength growth potential. At the same time, you end up with an incredibly grueling workout that you hate going to the gym for. In fact, you’re likely to give up on your exercise and fitness goals entirely because you’re so overwhelmed.

Instead of focusing on whole-body workouts, it could be more effective to find a workout program that emphasizes heavy, compound lifting for each major muscle group, while helping you to find the sweet spot for weekly volume.

While full-body workouts can be effective for people who are new to weightlifting, whose bodies are incredibly responsive to weightlifting, and can see results with low levels of volume, they’re not right for everyone. If you’re not one of those people who just want to maintain muscles strength, or start building your body from scratch, then you might need a different type of workout.

The Last Word on Full-Body Workouts

Full-body workouts can be an excellent way for you to build up your muscles when you’re just getting started. They can also be incredibly effective for people who don’t have a lot of time to devote to their exercise routines, and simply want to make sure that they maintain their strength over time.

Full-body workouts are easy to understand, don’t require a great deal of investment in terms of time, and can bring you up to speed on how to maintain good form too. However, once you’ve put in a year or so of good training, you’ll struggle to keep building your size and strength with full-body workouts alone. In these circumstances, you’ll get much better results with compartmentalized workouts that allow you to properly optimize frequency and volume for every muscle group.

Marc Dressen
Personal Trainer London

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