Reasons to Consider a Full Body Workout. (Esp. for Newbs).

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by A-Unit, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. A-Unit

    A-Unit Master Don Juan

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    Throughout time, we've always WANTED to split the workouts up. Magazines push it. You hear about it, esp from the super gifted genetics freaks like Football players. And someguys in the gym might say they had success on it, too. But that's suspect. Generally if a guy has a POP in success, I would attribute it to the following...


    1) He's a newbie have newbie luck and growing
    2) He hasn't measured properly or doesn't measure at all
    3) He's been lifting a longtime, but the past programs hindered any progress he would have made...here's the triggers.
    -he finally began eating more protein/calories.​
    -he began working out less/more to recover and grow better.​

    The program is really the LEAST important part of it. The most important parts are:
    -having the proper nutrients throughout the day
    -recovering
    -genetics
    -executing the lifts properly
    -lastly, the workout

    In reality, you could lift heavy boulders and tree stumps in a greater progression and grow, IF, you ate and rested properly. Guys who do tons of physical labor get and remain big because of this fact. So it isn't the PERFECT layout of reps, sets, and so forth. Reps and sets are catered to GOALS and how you're best going to lift. If you trude out 4 sets at 12 reps at the same weight, you likely won't be lifting very long because due to boredom. That's like cardio. There's no progression in performance, strength, or stamina, which is THE POINT of practice..to subject yourself to ABOVE average intensity so that during the moment you need it, you have it. Athletes practice outside the gym MORE than they do inside the game so that they can survive the multi-hour beating their body takes. They OVER condition themselves for the hours of the game so that last at near 100% intensity throughout the whole game.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    So why do a FULL body workout versus splitting it up?

    1) We're focusing on the MAJOR groups and compound lifts, so our list of extraneous exercises is short. If you progress in squats and deads, you progress through 70% of your muscle - the stuff that will dramatically change the rest of you.

    2) You can lift MORE frequently, jamming more workouts in per group. For instance, if you do squats once a week, you get 52 growth periods a year. DC/IA advocates about 72-90+, but doing a revolving split, usually every 4-5 days lift again. But if you do the fullbody workout, esp. for a newbie, you'll be doing it again in 5 days or less, probably 4, and get double, maybe triple the workouts in a year. You may not ADD 50lbs, but you WILL be entirely different.

    3) Brevity. Lifting is wonderful, but stagnant muscle that has no purpose but that which it can do in the gym is left for the competitors, not the guys who work for a living, have kids, a family or play sports. You can be muscular and not fast, or be able to stretch, which completely sucks. Lifting can the look of your body, and can also change your future by ensuring good posture and that you don't encounter osteoporosis so soon, but it's limited in that you won't be flexible, nor necessarily "in shape". It's just a catalist for that possibility. It allows you to incorporate STRETCHING, more than just muscle stretching, but TOE TOUCHING, which helps HUGELY, and also to do cardio.

    4) Muscles lift TOGETHER, not separately. Your bicep doesn't workout without the forearm, shoulders, back, side abs, traps, and another minor muscles playing into the equation. At higher weights, more muscle is incorporated, hence the appeal of COMPOUND lifts. To separate the body from its natural formation is to go against nature, and the inherent STRENGTH our body offers. By doing the body in a day, roughly 1 hour after a cardio warmup, you can look forward to going back again soon, after recovery. Personally, I do and have done split workouts, and it works for some, and not for others.

    5) Schedule. If you lift 3x a week, on top of cardio, that's alot of dedication. I respect anyone who can do it flat out, but life DOES get in the way, or sickness, etc. In my case, my gym is about 20-30 min depending on traffic. I work a varying schedule, play flag football, have a gf, and do other things. Fitness IS important, and I try to do something each day, but as evidenced by other writings, to not be on SOME schedule for lifting will slow your gains down. If you do chest, then you're sick, or work late, then you'll be days off.

    If you want to progress, and see progress, consider going to a full body workout. Then, you can do it as frequently as you're recovery and schedule allows. Given, at a LOWER bodyweight and strength, you can do this. If you begin doing 400lb+ squats, then you may have to split off into multiple days since the effort to do 400 and would compromise your recovery. However, doing less than your bodyweight on squats, and your bodyweight on deads as you're growing won't compromise much. Moreover, if you're experienced and focus on work sets after warmups, you can still keep growing. The point is to trigger the response and then wait while feeding it.

    One following workout would be...

    Squats
    Lying Leg Curls (hamstrings)
    Deadlifts
    Dumbbell Incline Press
    Dips
    optional: shoulder press
    optional: machine wide grip pulldowns
    optional: calves

    You make sure you're out in an hour. I do 2 work sets, and my warmups come from squats, and the cardio. After the workout, I stretch for 10 minutes. I write optional, IF you have the time or intensity. The rationale behind this is thus:

    If I nail more than 70% of my body more than once a week, perhaps 3 times in 7 days, or 8, I'm going to grow more, and probably have more fun, since I"m focused on progress, not on the millions of exercises I could do. And I'd rather grow frequently and quickly on the 70%, than spread myself thin, miss workouts, and stagnate. Biceps and triceps will get killed via Deads, Dips, and Incline DB presses. Calves I left out because hamstrings matter more in a lot of ways. Shoulders can be added or not added as energy permits. You'll get indirect work from the progress in other areas, and it makes sense to focus on the 80/20 rule. In this case...20% of all exercises we COULD do, account for 80% or more of body progress. And 20% of our body, accounts for 80% of the size we desire to achieve. When it comes to pure strength, no 1 will ask what you can curl, or pushdown, or even push overhead. What they will ask is what you bench, squat, or deadlift. And future health will rely on those exercises, not on bicep or tricep workouts.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Throughout your lifting career (if you choose to accept it), you'll do a variety of workouts for a variety of purposes. I posted this as a RECO, because the NEWB, and even the intermediate trainer, may not be up to snuff on his lifts, need more time, or be seeking more performance. Schedules may not dictate sufficient time. And, based on individual genetics, some guys may see more progress, and some may see less. Test it out.




    A-Unit
     
  2. shaunuk

    shaunuk Master Don Juan

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    Nice post A-Unit, awesome information. I'm wondering if I could have you (or anyone elses) comments on a full-ish body workout I'm doing:

    squats [!]
    deadlifts [!]
    bench press
    pull-ups
    military press
    lying leg curls
    biceps [*]
    skullcrushers [*]

    [!] only either deadlifts or squats will be done per workout, meaning
    only 2 of the "big three" will be done. i.e. monday could be
    bench press and deadlifts, wednesday bench press and squats
    and friday bench press and deadlifts

    [*] a few sets of this direct arm work will be thrown in at the end of
    a workout as energy allows. bicep exercise can be barbell curls,
    chin-ups, whatever

    So I'll be doing 2 "big lifts" for each workout, squatting 1-2 per week, and throwing direct arm work in as I can be arsed.

    I aim for around 3 sets of each exercise, in the 7-10 rep range (except for the leg curls)

    Improvements? Should I be doing all three of the big lifts each workout in a full-body? Squatting more often? You get the idea.. :)

    cheers,
    -shaun
     
  3. A-Unit

    A-Unit Master Don Juan

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    Re:

    Based on my schedule and for the sake of variety, I'm going with a FULL body split as thus:

    -Squat
    -Lying Leg Curls
    -Deadlifts
    -DB Incline Press
    -DIPS
    -pulldowns if possible
    -DB Military Press if possible

    Time being a factor, I want to work the most muscle in the shortest time and get back to the gym. I'll be doing this for 6 weeks, but it should provide 12 periods of lifting stimuli, as compared to squating once a week which would yield only 6 periods of lifting stimuli.

    This isn't by any means the holy grail, but when you're a newb, or even want to mix it up, what matters more in the long-run, your skull crushing ability or your squat ability? What matters more, your bicep curls, or your deadlifts? Pulldowns + deadlifts = big arms. And any time you add in the lifting of heavy weights, regardless of direct contact, you're going to develop strength AND size. Biceps won't effect back size, but back size WILL effect biceps size and strength. Focusing on the supplemental work is like putting the cart before the horse.

    Intensity in the gym is finite, based on how rested you are, your nutrition, and genetics. If you haven't eaten well, you'll find it hard to pound out iron for an hour. If you don't recover well and you lift too soon, you won't lift effectively. And if you lift too long, you'll be going in the opposite direction.

    Some guys will say they can't put them together (squats and deads), and that's fun, but each person is different, doing different rep schemes and set #s and have different needs. Plus it's fun to experiment with your body and see what works for you. Honestly, no one can tell you what works for you. They can guide you based on working principles, but the underlying notion is, we're all different right down to the genetic core. So long as you lift big weights on big exercises, and don't get too cumbersome with reps, you'll grow, IF you feed and rest yourself. If you go too high on the reps, then you can risk injury, or not gaining anything because it wouldn't push you hard enough. Find the sweet spot.

    Some programs say a 5 rep scheme works for strength+size. Others go for 1-3for Strength. And some go over 10, up to 20, depending on the exercise. They're not mutually exclusive or absolutes. What is absolute is PROGRESSING and IMPROVING. That's the bottom line. Doing 20 reps db incline presses over time, might yield something, but it will take longer than doing 4-10 reps and improving by .5-5lbs per week, or by rep. The mentality is we have to go from a 150lb bench to a 300lb bench or we didn't improve at all. Not True. In both cases they're wrong. The 300lb bench will come as a result of muscle growth, and muscle growth comes from nutrition, rest, and proper implementation of muscle building protocols in the gym.

    I am playing around a bit with my own body to see how it reacts and recovers. As long as I'm lifting and progressing, I'm happy. Your workout protocol looks good. Nail the major 1's and you'll be pleasantly happy. Keep a strict record of what you do and that you're truly progressing and not just inflating the record book. And then reassess over a 6,10, or 12 week period whether it worked or not. Bouncing ship is the #1 detriment to ANY program, regardless of how good it is or bad it is.


    A-Unit
     
  4. TyTe`EyEs

    TyTe`EyEs Master Don Juan

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    I don't see how you can keep up your intensity after doing both squats and deadlifts on the same day. I'm currently doing a 3 day split and I'm happy with it. I go to the gym 3 times a week at an hour a pop. It takes me about 15 to 20 minutes just to do my squats. The same goes for my deads. If I did a full body workout I'd be there for 2.5 to 3 hours!

    I also don't like the idea of maybe fitting in chins and maybe fitting in shoulder presses.

    If it works for you, more power to ya.
     
  5. yake

    yake Don Juan

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    So you do weighted dips?
    Mmmh. D'you think I could do without them if I definitely included military presses?
     
  6. A-Unit

    A-Unit Master Don Juan

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    Re:

    I do regular dips, and up the reps. I do 2 sets. You can mix and match as you choose. I haven't added weight yet, but I grow and improve everyweek.

    As far as intensity, that's because I do 2 worksets, of about 6 reps a piece, near the max I can do at that level. I'll go back in a few days, and bang out a little more, either more reps at a certain weight, or more weight at the same reps. I lifted 1 way for an 11 week period, and took off 1.5 weeks. Again this is what I'm doing now, and what a I newb could, too.

    How many work sets do you do?

    I know guys are on the 20rep place (aka the widow makers). With warming up, 1 max set at 5-8 reps + a widowmaker, that would wipe you. Genetics also play a role. Some may require a greater stimulus to trigger growth, other's could require very little.

    I'll return to split routines, esp if the intensity of DEADS + SQUATS is tough, but DEADS are physically easier for me than anything else, b/c of how I'm built (longer arms, wider back, long legs). I get leverage easier than shorter guys who look bigger. Even my Powerlifting coach could squat easier than he could Dead. His bench was easier too b/c his arms were shorter, and he was staulkier. I'm sure there are guys who blast out squats easier just based on their build. I'm narrow waist-built, and was smaller leg-built when I was younger. Squats kill me, but not until days later.

    With my fullbody, I'm looking for well-rounded physicality. I do 5-10 cardio, lift, then post workout I stretch. And my goal is too minimize time, maximize muscle targeting. I figure I'd grow more doing deads more frequently, than devoting time to biceps on a separate work out. Likewise, you can grow more from doing squats more frequently, than spacing out a calf workout. Not to mention the squats will aid your overall healh much better.

    To each his own,


    A-Unit
     
  7. TyTe`EyEs

    TyTe`EyEs Master Don Juan

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    I kind of like the idea of being able to squat two times a week, it just doesn't fit into my schedule. I usually do 3 work sets of around 5-8 reps, full squats. After the 3rd set I'm usually ready to call it an evening (deadlifts aren't as draining, but still tough). I've always liked the idea of full body workouts, I just haven't been able to pull it off.


    I wish you luck with the new routine. You might want to add in some BB rows, though.
     
  8. kickureface

    kickureface Master Don Juan

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    shezz, i highly suggest buying starting strength by mark rippetoe
    or head to stronglifts.com
     
  9. emelec

    emelec Don Juan

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    i dont understand the schedule for this either.
     

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