4 Benefits of Total Body Workouts

August 5, 2015

About the Author: Eric Bach

Four Benefits of Total Body Workouts Overview

-Total body training improves workout efficiency by minimizing the fluff to get you strong and muscular in a hurry

– You’ll hit major movement patterns multiple times per week in a variety of intensities and rep ranges to stimulate the most number of muscle fibers

– When in a time-crunch, total body training is best for making huge strength gains when you’re short on time.

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Some experts say you need to work every body part individually once per week. Others say work the body as a whole, integrated unit.

I side with total body training, especially if you’re a busy professional, or student.
You don’t have all day or time each day to hammer your palmaris longus and flexor carpi ulnas because your uncles’ bodybuilding magazine said so.

Instead, you need workouts that offer the best bang for your buck.

Time efficient with enough training to build muscle and strength, but efficient enough to get you on with your life. That’s where total body training comes in. Here are 4 Benefits of Total Body Workouts.

1. Potentially Faster Gains in Strength

If strength is your goal, it’s imperative to perform movements that allow you use the most weight and greatest number of muscles. Compound movements such as squat, deadlift, and bench press variations are really FULL-body movements that build total body strength.

Back in 2000, a study compared 1 day and 3-days per week of equal-volume resistance training (McLester, et al 2000). Twenty-five experienced subjects were randomly separated into training groups.

Group one performed one day per week of strength training with three sets to failure, using rep ranges moving from three to ten reps per set. Group two performed workouts three days per week with one set to failure per day while working in the same rep ranges.

The workout volume between the two groups was exactly the same, yet group two had greater increases in both lean body mass and improved one-rep max strength. With total volume held constant, spreading the training frequency to three days per week produced superior results in both strength and size.

2. Build Muscle Faster

For those interested in size, while it’s true that isolation work (think: bicep curls, pec deck) is great for hypertrophy unless you’re a competitive bodybuilder – and most you aren’t – the more you stimulate a muscle to grow, the less likely it will grow.

Basically, endless isolation is a poor use of your time, unless you already have a significant base of total body strength, and time your curls, bro.

Plus, It doesn’t make sense to train your “legs” one day only then wait the magical 5-7 days to train to squat again.

With full-body training – assuming appropriate loads and rest – you’re “targeting” any given muscle group 2-3x per week, for a great training frequency.

3. Total Body Training is More Time Efficient

If you’re busy with family obligations or a fast-paced career you have minimal time to train.
I get it, most of my clients are extremely busy with a limited schedule, too.

Instead of trying to perfect everything its best to pick the most effective exercises in a total body training split.

You burn a heckuva lot more calories in a given session when you perform a full-body training session as opposed to just doing an “arm day” or “shoulder day.”

4. Focus on the Essentials

The truth is that most people will only be in the gym for an hour, warm-up included.  When you factor in the inevitable gym selfie and#gymlife tweets, the actual time training really isn’t that much.

While I can harp on being hardcore and just getting your work done, social media isn’t going anywhere. To maximize your training, in spite of a lack of focus, total body training eliminates the fluff and focuses on the essential movements.
Focus on the big lifts like squats, chin-ups, deadlifts, presses, and sprints in your training. Sometimes getting in, hitting the major lifts, and creating a physiological response is your best option


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McLester, J., Bishop, E., & Guilliams, M. (2000). Comparison of 1 day and 3 days per week of equal-volume resistance training in experienced subjects. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 14(3). Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2000/08000/Comparison_of_1_Day_and_3_Days_Per_Week_of.6.aspx


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