When it comes to your workouts, what training split do you prefer? Some people like to do workout splits that involve total body exercises.
But, should you do full body workouts every day? While a full-body workout training split has its advantages, it’s best not to do it every day. It’s important that your muscles have adequate rest and recovery time to prevent overtraining. So, if you prefer a full-body workout training split, keep it to 2-3 workouts per week for the best results.
Let’s take a deeper look at how you can structure full body splits in the most effective way possible.
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What Is A Full Body Workout?
A full-body workout consists of a training session that hits every major muscle group in the body such as the back, chest, shoulders, legs, arms and abs. However, unlike training splits in which you do multiple exercises for one muscle group, you’re doing fewer movements for each one and hitting them in a balanced approach.
Benefits Of A Full Body Workout
IT DOESN’T MATTER AS MUCH IF YOU MISS OUT ON A SESSION
When you are committed to a full-body workout training split, you don’t go a workout session without working each of the major muscle groups. That means, if you do end up skipping a session, it won’t matter as much as if you were focusing on one muscle group at a time. This is because the sessions previous to the skipped session and the one afterwards will have worked your muscles in turn so there’s not one group left behind.
IT REQUIRES A LOWER TIME COMMITMENT
A full-body workout training split means that you need to make less of a commitment to working out. Doing full-body workouts every day will not give you the best results because you need rest time in between. This means you only need to go approximately 3 times per week with alternating days off. With a lower time commitment to the gym, that means you have more time to fit in other things in your life.
MAXIMIZE CALORIE BURN
Good news for those who want to burn more calories fast—full-body workouts maximize the number of calories burned. By using your entire body in one training session, you’re bound to get that heart rate up compared to days where you just work your chest and triceps, for example. Each workout session will burn maximum calories, which if you’re looking to burn fat or work on your calorie deficit, can be a big advantage.
REDUCED RECOVERY TIME IN BETWEEN SETS
When you have a leg day and you’re doing your fourth leg exercise, chances are, your legs are spent. This means that you’ll need more time to recover in between sets while also not being able to lift as heavy as you probably could, had you been fresh. By incorporating a full-body workout, you’re not going to be intensely focusing on one part of the body. The exercises that you do will be balanced and spread out, meaning that you won’t need as much recovery time between the exercises.
CAN FULLY RECOVER BETWEEN WORKOUT DAYS
This is only an advantage if you schedule a rest day between each workout (as you should). By allowing at least one full day of rest, you can ensure that you’re allowing your body adequate time to repair and recover. In other training splits, like the one muscle group per day one, for example, you might be using a previously worked muscle the next day as a secondary muscle, meaning that it hasn’t had that time to fully recover. Full-body workout days with alternating recovery time can help you avoid this..
FORCE YOUR BODY TO ADAPT TO BIGGER LOADS
Full-body workouts are more taxing on the body, that’s for sure, but it does mean that your body will eventually learn to adapt to this load and stress. It’ll mean that you’ll become fitter and be able to work more efficiently.
Disadvantages of A Full Body Workout
VISIBLE CHANGE IS SLOWER
It’s more challenging to target specific muscles in a full body workout, which means that visible change is slower. You won’t be able to notice a difference in your physique as quickly as you would if you were following a body-split program. However, the important thing to remember is that even if visible change is slow, it doesn’t mean that there is no change. It’s still happening, just at a more moderate pace. This may make it easier to give up or think that your program isn’t working, but it’s a good time to practice trusting the process and keeping to a consistent gym schedule.
DOESN’T ALLOW AS MUCH FOCUS ON WEAKER SPOTS
While full-body training helps focus on each muscle group in a balanced way because it doesn’t have the targeted focus on specific parts, it means that you won’t be able to concentrate on your weak spots as often. While you would be able to get better with your compound exercises, fewer isolated exercises mean that you can’t focus on these spots that need greater improvement.
MORE TAXING ON THE BODY
Exercises on a full-body workout split are more taxing on the body than those you’d do on a body-split program. You’ll be doing more compound movements, which affect multiple muscle groups at a time. They do work your body harder, which also means that it places more stress on the body. On the other hand, body part split training workout routines do tend to finish sessions with isolated movements, meaning that it works just one muscle group at a time such as bicep curls. This means that it can give the other parts a rest while you do them.
How To Train For A Full Body Workout
HOW MANY DAYS PER WEEK SHOULD YOU TRAIN FULL BODY WORKOUTS?
Full-body workouts are a great training split to follow. However, doing a full-body workout every day is not ideal. This is because you’ll be stimulating your muscles in one session, and to do this daily will not give them enough time to recover. 2-3 days is a good rule of thumb to follow. For instance, a 3-day program would most likely mean fitting a workout in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Another option is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or Sunday. As long as you have at least one day in between each workout, you can opt for the days that best work for you.
WHAT EXERCISES SHOULD YOU DO IN YOUR FULL-BODY WORKOUT?
The best exercises that you should do in your full-body workout are compound movements. Compound movements are those that work for more than one muscle group at a time, which means that you’re getting more bang for your buck. This will ensure that you’re making your training more efficient without taking too much time. Some compound movements include the squat, deadlift, bench press and overhead press.
For more ideas on exercises that you can do in your full-body workout, check out the FitBod app.
HOW MANY EXERCISES SHOULD I DO PER WORKOUT?
One of the adjustments that people find harder to make when transitioning to a full-body program, is cutting down the number of exercises to do, especially if they’re coming from a body-split schedule. You don’t and shouldn’t be trying to do all your chest movements in one day. Remember, you have to train your entire body in one session so spread your chest exercises across the 2-3 days so you have enough time and energy to hit your shoulders, back, legs and core as well.
HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR FULL BODY WORKOUTS
There are a couple of ways that you can structure your exercises to ensure that you train your body in one session in an efficient manner.
The key is to take advantage of supersets. Supersets are when you do two sets back to back that work opposing muscles. This way, you can manage your time at the gym efficiently, get through your workout faster while ensuring that your muscles aren’t overworked at one time. For example, you can a seated hamstring curl paired with the leg extension. As long as the exercises don’t use the same muscles, you can superset them.
Another way you can approach your full-body workouts is by doing a circuit. A circuit consists of using two exercises paired together that use completely different muscle groups such as doing a dumbbell overhead press and a dumbbell squat. Put simply, an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise. This means that you can target different parts of the body in one set before resting, effectively halving your time in the gym or at least significantly reducing it.
Related Article: Supersets vs Circuits: Differences, Pros, Cons
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Who Would Suit A Full-Body Workout Training Split?
Depending on your lifestyle, some people may prefer body-part splits, push/pull/leg split and full-body workout splits. Here are those who may be better suited for full-body workouts:
THOSE WITH A BUSY LIFESTYLE
While this can apply to most people in this day and age, people who have less time to commit to the gym may prefer this type of training. Only needing to spend time in the gym for 3-4 days will be more appealing and much more manageable than having to go in every single day or for most of the week. Though the sessions themselves may take longer, you’ll ultimately have to spend less time travelling to and from the gym as well.
THOSE WANTING TO DEVELOP GENERAL FITNESS
If you don’t have any specific physique goals such as bodybuilding or any strength-focused goals like powerlifting, then full-body workouts are ideal. It’s great for those who just want to get moving, stay fit and healthy and improve overall fitness because it’ll get your heart rate up while hitting every major part of the body.
Who Would Not Suit A Full-Body Workout Training Split?
THOSE WITH SPECIFIC PHYSIQUE OR STRENGTH-FOCUSED GOALS
If you’re a bodybuilder wanting the end goal to be of a certain physique, then it’s best to keep to your hypertrophy or body-split program. Full-body training won’t give you enough time to target specific muscles for them to grow and to maximize your results for your own ambitions.
Likewise, if you’re a powerlifter or Olympic weightlifter, then it’s best to keep to your specific strength training program that is optimized for your goals. A full-body training program may be too generic for what you’re looking for and most likely won’t get you better results.
What Are Alternatives To A Full-Body Workout Training Split?
We’ve mentioned a few of them throughout this article so far, so if you’re reading this and thinking that full-body workouts are not for you, then here are some other types of training splits that you can follow, depending on your lifestyle and health and fitness goals.
The Body Part Split – Arguably the most popular split, this one focuses on one body part per day. This means more training sessions (such as 5 or 6) that hit a different body part each time. It’ll give you an in-depth session on that said muscle group so you can really ensure you get a thorough workout for that muscle group.
Push/Pull/Legs Split – This is another common training split, growing in popularity in the recent years. This categorizes each exercise as either a movement that uses the pushing motion, an exercise that “pulls” or a leg exercise. The argument for this split is that you can continuously work the same muscles in the one session to further stimulate them.
Upper and Lower Split – Generally, the upper and lower split is spread across 4 days throughout the week—two for the upper body and two for the lower. The appeal of this programming is that it can allow you to really focus on muscles in the upper body at a time and have a thorough session, before switching to lower the next day. It also means that you can definitely get rest days in between so that you can fully recover.
A full-day workout is a popular and effective training program to follow, however, it’s not recommended to do one not every day. To get better results, focus on a full-body session 2-3 days a week, allowing for recovery time in between.
About The Author
As a health and fitness writer, Emily combines her two passions—powerlifting and writing. With a creative writing degree under her belt, she spends her mornings lifting weights, her nights putting pen to paper, and eating too many snacks in between.