Whole Body Workout Smartly – part I

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Since we became fans of full body workouts here on Builder – but we are still not against split workouts, big difference! – we receive a lot of questions from our readers regarding this training system. One of the most common questions we get is should you do more than one exercise per muscle?

Every workout plan is just a sample that should be personalized because everybody is different, not everyone can do the same exercises perfectly. There's no workout plan that can be called "the gold standard" for everyone. You have to know what works best for your own body.

That being said, there are some rules everyone has to follow. One of the key rules is that the muscles need to rest for at least 48 hours following a workout. That means you mustn't work out for two consecutive days if you choose to do a full body workout program. This is why we will always tell you to do full body workout on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

The other key rule everybody has to follow is you don't reach failure during a full body workout. So for example, when you're doing bench press, make sure you always have the power to push the bar into the top position where your chest can reach peak contraction. The third rule is you never work out while having muscle soreness. That means your muscles need more time for recovery.

The last, fourth basic rule – which is the answer to the question of the article – is that we do only one exercise per muscle group (legs, chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders) at a full body workout. Every basic rule must be followed for the sake of proper regeneration. Think about it: you stimulate a muscle three times a week instead of one.

If you would annihilate every muscle with every occasion, they couldn't recover in 48 hours. And by the way, please do not mix up the term protein synthesis with the term recovery. The first lasts 24-48 hours, the latter can take more time if you are not careful about overtraining. Protein synthesis and recovery are two different things!

Protein synthesis is the anabolic window generated by the workout, which will disappear after 48 hours if you are a natural lifter. The time of recovery depends on many things, but you should be able to tell if your muscles are regenerated. Muscle soreness can be a good indicator of this: if you have it, that means your muscle needs more rest.

And this is where the title of this article stems from: you have to construct your full body workout plan smartly. We wrote Monday-Wednesday-Friday full body workout split in vain if your chest is still sore on Wednesday. If that is the case, simply do not train chest on that day. If your whole body aches, just delay the Wednesday workout until the pain goes away. Of course, delaying workouts is not the best thing to do, so if your recovery takes more time than 48 hours, we have some advice for you:

  • decrease the number of sets/reps (stimulate your muscles, don't annihilate)
  • increase your protein and carbohydrate intake
  • sleep more (at least 8 hours a day – this is where most of the recovery occurs)
  • drink more water (most of the body consists of water)
  • do the negative of the exercises a bit faster (most micro muscle damage occurs at the negative, and the slower you do it, the more damage and muscle soreness your muscles will receive)

If you have followed all these steps and you still suffer from continuous muscle soreness which is stopping you from doing 3 full body workouts a week, try to work out two times a week. This will still cause more stimulus in your muscles than a split workout routine.

In the next article, we'll continue with which exercises should you choose for the perfect full body workout, so stay tuned!

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