Let’s debunk a couple of myths: Cardio and aerobic exercises are not the only types of full-body workouts, and full-body workouts are not inferior to split routines for strength gain. Full-body workouts provide you the opportunity to stimulate, tone and build your muscles in a balanced manner. Building strength during your full-body workouts is a matter of applying the proper combination of weight, technique and repetition. Once these principles are correctly incorporated, you will be able to emphasize the strength-building aspects of your workout, encouraging greater stabilization, balance and power for your physique.
In order to support weight -- body weight or external -- with sufficient stabilization, your muscles must be able to exert a proportional amount of counterforce or strength. The more resistance your muscles are trained to overcome, the more they will grow in order to be able to exert more strength for the required task. During your full-body workouts, your muscles must be placed under increasing levels of stimulation to encourage them to grow stronger.
You can build strength during your full-body workouts using free weights, machines or body weight. If your workout uses free weights or machines, begin with light weights and focus on technique, adding weight systematically. As you grow stronger, add more weight to your workout. If you want to build strength using your body weight, start with the basic forms of body-weight exercises and as your strength increases switch to more advanced variations. For example, begin with standard pushups and then switch to superman or one-hand pushups as your strength increases.
To gain the most out of your full-body strength training, proper form must be maintained throughout your workout sessions. During each exercise some muscle groups will be directly stimulated while others will perform as stabilizers. When proper form is not maintained, muscles that should stabilize receive too much stimulation and ones that should be targeted don’t receive enough. This limits your strength-training efforts and may also lead to undue stress or injury.
The frequency of your training regimen is determined by various factors, such as your specific strength-training goals, the intensity of your workouts and amount of time you afford to muscle recovery. Generally, for full-body workouts, training three times a week is adequate. On your off days, set aside enough time for your muscles to rest and recover, avoiding strenuous activities or stressful situations. As your training proficiency increases, you will be able to make specific changes to your training regimen to best suit your goals.
- Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images