The full body workout, is becoming more and more popular among bodybuilders. The question is: can you do a full body workout 3 times a week?
Use our workout plan finder to search for the right workout program for you!
Traditional weight training has been a staple for generations of men and women trying to lose weight and build muscle mass. The typical weight training program involves working one or two muscle groups for an extended amount of time, then moving on to other muscle groups down the road.
The short answer to the question is a simple "yes". However, nothing is really as simple as it sounds. Whether or not you should do a full body workout 3 times a week depends on your overall health, your training goals, and your tendency to also do cardio workouts. All these things must be considered in order to determine if you can, or even should, do a full body workout 3 times a week.
What's the point of the full body workout?
Regardless of whether or not you do a full body workout 3 times a week, the point of this type of workout is to maximize the amount of time you have to devote to exercise and bodybuilding. With the traditional method of weight training, you must invest an awful lot of time over months and months to achieve the best results. The theory behind the full body workout is to make better use of that time by exercising all of your muscle groups in a single session.
Engaging in a full body workout doesn't mean you'll be extending a one-hour session into two or three hours. Rather, your one-hour time will remain the same while you do more intense and focused exercises at fewer reps. The key to a successful full body workout is to use combination exercises whose movements engage all of the body parts. These types of combination exercises get all of your muscles pumping which results in a better overall workout.
Can I do a full body workout three times a week and still be safe?
The safety issues involved in a full body workout are the one area where the experts disagree. It goes without saying that this type of workout is difficult to do three times a week or more, especially for those new to weight training or not in shape.
A full body workout puts tremendous strain on the muscles because the focus is on short bursts of very intense exercise. It also puts a fair amount of stress on ligaments and tendons as well. While doing a full body workout 3 times a week certainly is possible, many experts recommend you exercise caution in doing so.
There are some who believe that a better approach is to do the full body workout only twice a week while engaging in less strenuous workouts the alternating three days. This provides more than adequate exercise and still allows two days of rest. While there is no scientific evidence to prove this is a better method, proponents argue that this type of workout program greatly reduces the risk of injury and stagnation.
Can I combine a full body workout with a cardio workout?
You can combine both cardio and full body workouts, and in fact, it's even recommended. But resist the temptation to engage in a full body workout 3 times a week along with intense cardio training 5 days a week. Doing so results in over training, which impairs the body's ability to rebuild muscle during rest periods. At the very least, athletes who over train will reach a point of stagnation; at worst they may even digress.
What many athletes fail to realize is that rest is just as important to bodybuilding and weight loss as exercise, supplements and nutrition are. As you work your muscles and cardiovascular system, you "damage" the body's tissues to a certain extent. Your body needs sufficient rest time to rebuild those damaged tissues and make you stronger.
Without sufficient rest your body will reach a point where it can no longer effectively rebuild tissue. Knowing this, it would seem that the best combination of cardio and full body workouts tends to lean toward the 2/3 approach -- two days of full body workout and three days of cardio.
The jury is still out on the long-term effectiveness and safety of a full body workout three or more times a week. As always, use common sense and consult your doctor and personal trainer before beginning this type of exercise. And even with their blessing, if a full body workout doesn't produce results for you, don't be afraid to abandon it in favor something else. Ultimately, you must find a workout program that you enjoy and that helps you reach your goals.
If you'd like the advice of a professional before beginning your workout program, use our personal trainer finder to locate one in your area!