Most would agree that everyone wants to get the most out of their time when they are at the gym. To get the “biggest bang for their buck”, if you will. In order to make the most of your gym session, total body workouts are the best option for almost all trainees.
Most people share one common goal when exercising: To lose weight. However, there are other fitness goals other than losing weight that people set for themselves. For example, some may start out wanting to lose weight but then modify that goal to include improving body composition, strength, and improving your stamina or endurance.
All of these examples show why it is important to stress the body as a whole unit, not just by individual muscle groups or areas. By working the entire body, you can stress each major muscle area and still recover in time to do it over again. Exercising in this fashion creates a large metabolic deficit to recover from, therefore, making you burn more calories, get stronger, leaner and continue to improve your overall body condition.
A large part of the importance of total body workouts is to emphasize that anyone can do it. Runners should do more strength training and strength trainees should also do more cardio. If you aren’t a runner or a strength trainer and are just focusing on having a healthy body, total body workouts are still beneficial because you are getting a well-rounded workout that incorporates all types of training.
As a runner, if the majority of your training consists of running then you are neglecting the fundamental need of your musculature. Running helps your aerobic conditioning, and if you keep pushing your aerobic system without increasing your strength you are more likely to succumb to an injury.
I recommend that runners should spend at least two days a week incorporating strength training into their workout, making sets of exercises consist of about five repetitions. Make sure to do compound lifts and movements that are heavy, but relative to your ability, and that those lifts stress a lot of muscle mass. For example, squats, deadlifts, bench press, chin-ups or any combination of, are all great types of lifts.
Many strength athletes who are interested in gaining muscle mass or getting stronger will train around the five to 15 reps and are likely already doing some of the compound lifts recommended for runners. However, this is mostly anaerobic activity and neglects the aerobic pathway for the majority of their training.
If you focus on gaining muscle and becoming stronger, just remember that strength takes longer to increase than just body conditioning and you will progress pretty fast on the aerobic scale. So, for those who primarily focus on weight training and not cardio, work in more cardio to get an entire total body workout in. Spend about one to two days a week doing low stress conditioning for 20 to 40 minutes doing things like biking, the elliptical, running or other cardio.
Also, do not forget the importance of stretching, which is applicable to any type of workout—not just a total body workout regimen. The less mobile you are the more work you will need to put in by doing pre and post workout stretching, whereas the more mobile you are the less work you will need to put in, post workout stretching. Stretching before and after a workout is a great warm-up and cool-down and will help prevent any injury during exercise.
Total body training can help any trainee be more efficient with their time at the gym and get a bigger return on their investment. Total body workouts target every muscle in the body in one session, and there is a variety of exercises you can do to change it up each day and still work the whole body. By working all of the major muscle groups, you will be able to reach your fitness goals faster with every workout.