If time is money, modern life is in debt, especially when it comes to finding time for the gym. But never fear: the full body workout is here. Doing exactly what you’d suspect, the full body workout combines a series of compound exercises (each targeting multiple muscle groups) to hit all the right spots in one session. Proponents of such a workout say this not only saves you precious time, but it can also help build consistent size and improve cardiovascular performance.
But is this more holistic regime the right choice for everyone, and how do you make the most of your full-body experience? Luckily, we have some expert personal trainers on speed dial to talk you through the pros and cons of the full body workout – and guide you towards the right workout plan.
Why try a full body workout?
“Full-body workouts are designed to exercise and stimulate every major muscle group in the body in a single session,” explains Farren Morgan, founder of The Tactical Athlete. “Popular full-body exercises often target the back, legs, core chest, shoulders and arms, like running, cycling, swimming, or stair climbing.” If you’re more gym-inclined, it’s not just these more cardio-driven exercises that do the full-body business, as the aim is to reach all the major muscle groups. The deadlift, squat and bench press fit the programme, along with movements like the dumbbell press and kettlebell swings.
“Full-body workouts can be an effective way to build muscle and strength, especially for beginners or for those who are short on time and want to get a lot of work done in a single session,” adds Anthony Maritato, trainer and founder of PT database choosept1st.com. “They can also be useful for addressing muscle imbalances and promoting balanced physical development.”
Do full body workouts actually work?
Full-body (or ‘compound’ or ‘multi-joint’) exercises are proven to have a tremendous all-round benefit. A comprehensive study published by Frontiers in Physiology found that both single-joint and multi-joint (MJ) exercises were equally valuable in improving body composition. Crucially, however, full-body workouts offered greater gains in physical performance capabilities like strength and aerobic capacity – including a whopping 12.5 per cent increase in VO2 Max.
“The benefits of working everything at once is you combine cardio and strength training which has been shown to increase fat loss, burn more calories and reduce heart health risk factors,” explains Chris Antoni, founder of Tailor Made Fitness.
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