You Should Be Doing Full Body Workouts

I use full body workouts, the majority of my in person clients use them and a good chunk of my online clients use them.

I still see guys and gals wandering around the gym doing body part splits. For the guys every day seems to be chest day whilst girls tend to obliterate their legs.

For those that don’t know, body parts splits are where you devote an entire day to a specific body part. Monday could be chest, Tuesday legs, Wednesday back, Thursday Shoulders and Friday glutes and abs.

This would be all well and good (perhaps still not optimal) if going to the gym CONSISTENTLY five or six times per week.

To hit the necessary volume of training for each body part we’d need to break down each day as above. I still don’t feel this is a great tactic as research shows that training a body part more than once a week is beneficial.

Are You Too Busy For Splits?

A good chunk of my clients and followers have busy jobs, perhaps have families and frankly can’t be arsed spending 8-10 hours a week in the gym! In the words of the famous vine; ‘ain’t nobody got time for that!’

There is no point setting out to do a routine like this if you’re not going to stick to it. If you can’t get to the gym 5 times a week then don’t work out like this. Be realistic. For these routines to work you need to have unwavering consistency.

Plus why bother? You can get great results from 3-4 days per week in the gym, if you train correctly. That can be a big if.

Volume

I’ve spoken about volume before in a previous blog. Volume simply refers to the amount of work done on a body part in a given week. I simply explain to people that it is the number of sets done per body part per week, excluding warm up sets.

For most people that’s going to be 10-20 sets per body part per week. That’s why full body routines work so well. It can be pretty easy to hit 10 sets.

For example, you might do 3 sets of barbell bench press on a Monday, 4 sets of dumbbell bench press on a Wednesday and 4 sets of incline dumbbell bench press on a Friday. BOOM! 11 sets for chest done within the week.

A similar structure can be employed for other body parts. So for the most part I’ll include an exercise for chest, back, legs, glutes, shoulders and core. There are little caveats within that but generally that’s how it works.

A session might look like this;

Back Squats (Legs) 4X6

DB Bench Press (Chest) 3X8

Chest Supported Row (Back) 3X12

Hip Thrust (Glutes) 3X12

Lateral Raise (Shoulders) 3X15

Ab Roll Outs (Abs) 3X12

That’s all the body parts covered and if the other two or three sessions look similar then it can be easy to hit the necessary volume for the week.

Are All Body Parts Treated The Same?

Not all body parts are created equal. For example, the glutes can take a relatively high amount of volume compared to say hamstrings. Especially in females.

So perhaps for hamstrings 10-12 sets per week would be enough to elicit fantastic gains but that might be leaving a little in the tank for glutes.

You could either add in more sets/exercises within your session for your glutes or perhaps add in an abs/glutes day on top of your three days per week. That is if the glutes are a priority for you. The same can be said for shoulders.

What Do You Want to Work On?

There are certain body parts we want to look well. The majority of women want a decent bum, therefore a little extra glute work can be thrown into your full body routine. For example, the routine above might now look like this;

Back Squats (Legs) 3X6

DB Bench Press (Chest) 2X8

Chest Supported Row (Back) 3X12

Hip Thrust (Glutes) 3X12

Lateral Raise (Shoulders) 3X15

Bulgarian Split Squats (Glutes) 2X10

Ab Roll Outs (Abs) 3X12

One exercise added, yet the same total number of sets as we cut out a few on upper body exercises. That added up over the course of a 3-day week would lead to 6 extra sets for the glutes.

Like anything programs might have a similar structure but the specifics in terms of exercises, sets and reps will vary depending on the individual’s goals and training history.

If you don’t care much for your chest, then yes cutting down on the total volume to swap for an area that you are fonder of is a good idea. Just don’t neglect areas all together.

Conclusion

Full body workouts are the answer for most people. They mean we can train up to 50% less with much more than 50% of the results.

So before you decide to give the latest body part split a go, try full body and see do you stay consistent and get the results you want.

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If you’re interested in taking part in a program with me why not send me an email to jamesmcdowellhealth@gmail.com

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