Forget all you've learned about body-part splits being the best training method, total body workouts are here and they're the way forward. Working your whole body every session may not be in vogue and might not sound as impressive as saying you're doing a workout dedicated to your gluteus medius or that Tuesdays are your day for bringing up your sterno-cleido-mastoid muscle, but if you want the best fat-burning, strength-building workout, total body training is your route to success.
Generally you'll do a total body workouts two or three times a week. Rest is just as important as training, as it's during rest that your muscles rebuild and grow and it gives your central nervous system a much-needed break. The American Council on Exercise recommend taking at least 48 hours between sessions, meaning that a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, weekend day schedule works best. Make the most of your rest days, you need them for optimal performance when you are training.
Don't go mad and think you've got to hit every single muscle group from seventeen different angles as your typical bodybuilding magazine might suggest. One of the beauty of total body training is that you only need a few select exercises. Each workout should include a quadriceps exercise, one or two hamstring and glute exercises, two upper body movements -- one push exercise and one pull and one isolation movement for a weaker body-part, says Marianne Kane, co-founder of Girls Gone Strong and owner of MyoMyTV.com.
Equipment and Exercise Type
A gym newbie or someone wanting the easy way out would do their full body session on the weight machines -- perhaps the leg extension and leg curl, a chest press and seated row, and maybe finish off with a few light sets of dumbbell exercises. But that isn't you. To get killer results, you need to choose killer exercises. Pick the toughest exercises you can think off such as squats, deadlifts, pushups, bench presses and rows. Try to stick to free-weights or body-weight exercises where you can as these tend to be far more challenging and recruit more muscle groups.
It doesn't matter who you are, you don't get a lean, slender, toned physique by taking the easy road. Each workout you have to progress. Aim to lift more weight than the session before, take less rest, or add in extra sets and reps. If you don't push yourself, you'll never see the results you crave. By the end of your workout you want legs like jelly, your face should be the color of a freshly-cooked lobster, and people should be stepping round you to avoid the tidal wave of sweat running off you. Remember, go hard or go home.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.