Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Superiority of Total Body Workouts

Lately, I keep seeing people posting on online forums about breaking up their strength training routines in all kinds of "creative" ways.

A decade ago, like many people (although not many women), I used to split my weight training into body part splits like Legs, Back and Biceps one day and Chest, Shoulders and Triceps the next. When I think about it now, it doesn't surprise me that so many serious lifters ended up with shoulder injuries. (Luckily, I wasn't one of them.) Our body works in an integrated fashion and true muscle isolation is pretty much impossible so lots of shoulders were being overtrained, big time.

Back then, besides your basic circuit program, most workouts were based on the bodybuilder model. I don't know why because it really makes little sense if you think about it but that's how it was done. But as Maya Angelou says, "When you know better, you do better" so I have moved on from that method of training and now spread the gospel of total body training. :-)

Most people's main objective is dropping fat. Three total body strength workouts per week will help you accomplish that better than body part splits. (If you really want or need to divide your workouts, go with a lower / upper body split.) Concentrate on compound exercises, which are those that use more than one muscle. Your program should primarily consist of exercises like Squats, Lunges, Presses, Rows, Pushups, Deadlifts, Pulldowns, etc. Besides the fact that those exercises are more functional, you'll burn more calories doing them than you will isolation exercises like Bicep Curls and Tricep Kickbacks.


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