Full body workouts are hands down the most time efficient way of working out, without question. If you’re limited to 2-3 three sessions per week, then full body sessions are definitely your answer. But then, even if you’re not limited by time, they can be a seriously efficient and effective way of training.
But for some reason they are genuinely underutilized, often considered only for beginner or novice routines, with most people tending to opt for a body part split instead.
Whilst body part splits can still lead to some serious gainzz if implemented correctly (and with right population), they do not have the same set of advantages that full body workouts do.
Advantage 1: More energy spent
Full body workouts revolve around one or two compound movements per movement pattern, ditching the use of any isolation movements. These exercises often require the integration of the entire body, and as such means that they use multiple muscle groups per exercise. This in turn, results in wayyyy more energy being used per session than we are likely to see during other programming ’styles’. This in turn can contribute to fat loss and body composition goals.
Advantage 2: Greater training frequency
Full body workouts provide the opportunity to train particular muscle groups and specific lifts more than once per week, which therefore provides greater opportunity to build strength in those movements, and increase the size of those muscle groups.
An increase in training frequency can often be enough to stimulate some serious strength gains in people who tend to train a particular lift or muscle group only once per week.
Advantage 3: Greater opportunity for recovery
It could be argued that we don’t get bigger or stronger from the training we undertake, but rather the way in which we recover from it.
By training 3 times per week we give ourselves more time to recover, which could theoretically further increase our improvements in strength and further contribute to muscle hypertrophy.
Advantage 4: More Free time
Training 3 times per week is probably going to take less time out of your week than training each individual muscle group once per week, which leaves you with a bit more time for other things, whether it be an additional cardio session, going to dinner with your significant, spending time with your family, or watching season 1-5 of Game of Thrones (again....).
Rather than body parts or muscle groups, full body workouts are better built around movement patterns.
Knee Dominant: Squat variations, Split Squat variations
Hip Dominant: Deadlift Variations, Single leg deadlift Variations, Hip Thrust Variations
Horizontal Push: Bench Press, Push ups etc.
Horizontal Pull: Bent over rows, Dumbbell Rows, face pulls etc.
Vertical Push: Overhead Press, handstand push ups, etc.
Vertical Pull: Pull Ups, Lat pull down, etc.
Using one or two movements from each of these categories would be a fantastic way to produce a balanced full body training program, which might look a bit like this.
1A: Front Squat
1B: Pull Ups
2B: Weighted Push Ups
3A: Bulgarian Split Squat
3B: Face Pulls
4A: Barbell Overhead Press
4B: Bent Over Row
Add in some core work at the end there and BOOM! You have a time efficient full body program that you can use.
Now obviously this program isn’t perfect for everyone. For those aiming to increase their Big 3, they are much more likely to prioritize the Squat, Bench and Deadlift. For those who prefer bodyweight training, they can prioritize gymnastics based movements.
What I wanted to demonstrate is that full body workouts are an efficient and effective way of training that can be tailored to your individual goal, and shouldn't be discounted just because your favourite bodybuilder has a chest day on youtube.
If your not sure where to start, fill out the contact form below and i will be in touch soon!