Split workout programming is great, but to get the most bang for your buck, especially if you’re short on time, you’ll want to try a full-body workout. “A total-body workout is a more efficient way of working out, as it targets different muscle groups and provides more flexibility as you improve your range of motion,” explains John Gardner, Co-Founder and CEO of Kickoff.
Full-body workouts are rich in history. They can be traced back to Roman gladiators who utilized bodyweight workouts in their training. While you may not be gearing up for battle anytime soon, you can still train like a gladiator using a full-powered, full-body workout. Here’s how.
What are the benefits of a total-body workout?
Whether you’re looking for a difficult workout or a time-efficient one, you’re able to hit every major muscle group in your body – think back, chest, shoulders, glutes, legs and core—without spending hours in the gym. “This type of workout is ideal for people who are pressed for time or simply don’t have the patience to focus on one aspect of their body at a time,” says Reena Singh, Fitness and yoga Expert at MantraCare.
You can do a total-body workout anywhere with just your body weight and still benefit. “Full-body workouts can be done at home, at the gym or on vacation if there is a lack of equipment available,” says Singh. A lot of these exercises are compound exercises, which basically means that it works more than one muscle group at once. “This allows you to achieve more in less time and with fewer repetitions of each exercise,” Singh explains to Lively. Examples of compound exercises include bench presses, squats, biceps curls, deadlifts and overhead presses.
Finally, you can expect to pack on some serious strength when you incorporate these workouts into your routine. “Full-body routines help build muscle tissue,” explains Singh. Eventually, your workouts will feel easier and you’ll feel stronger.
Who can benefit from a total body workout?
“It is recommended for anyone to actually focus on total-body workouts to work on strengthening the muscles at the same time,” says Gardner. Of course, there are exceptions to this (e.g. if someone has certain injuries that prevent them from working a certain muscle or body part). It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting a new fitness program.
As for when you should complete a total-body workout, any time of the day works. Instead of only working one muscle group at a time on different days, you save time by working many muscle groups at once. When it comes to duration, it’s recommended to incorporate it into your schedule three times per week, and be sure to take rest days. “This will give your muscles enough time to recover in between workouts and help prevent any potential injuries,” says Singh.
Try This 10-Minute Total Body Workout
Only got 10 minutes? Try this total-body workout created by Singh. It will get your heart pumping and max out your muscles in no time.
How to do it: Complete as many reps of each move as you can in 50 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds (or as needed) before moving on to the next. Warm up with a one-minute walk on the treadmill.
Start by coming on to all fours on a mat or bench. Extend your legs back. Make sure your back is straight and aligned with the rest of your body. Lead with your face first as you lower yourself to the mat or bench. Push yourself back to the starting position just before you approach the floor. Repeat.
Squat down as you would with a bodyweight squat, with feet about hip- to shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forward or slightly to the sides. At the bottom of the squat, drive through your legs to jump straight up. Repeat.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. While keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise both of your arms over your head so that they are perpendicular to the floor.
Start standing with arms at your sides. Step forward with your left foot and lower the right knee until it is nearly touching the ground. Pushing through the heel of your left foot, drive upward to return to starting position. That is one rep.
Start in a high plank position, keeping body in a straight line and hips lifted to engage abs. Drive right leg toward right elbow, then left leg toward left elbow. Make sure feet pick up and land at the same time and stay between the shoulders. One foot exchange is one rep.
Sit at the edge of your chair and extend your legs out with a slight bend at the knee, heels touching the ground. Press into chair to lift your tailbone off the chair and slide your body slightly forward so you can clear the front of the chair. Slightly bend at the elbow to lower yourself down until elbows are bent between 45 and 90 degrees. Slowly push back up to starting.
Start seated on the floor, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your spine long and core braced, slightly lean back and lift your feet a few inches off the floor. Slowly twist your torso from left to right.
Start in a high plank position with hands stacked directly under shoulders and body in a straight line from head to toe. With a flat back, brace your core and hold.
Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.