02 May How To Ignite Muscle Growth in 3 days or less
A Total Body workout is the premier workout choice for men looking to build or maintain solid muscle, without having to invest too much time in the gym. Total body workouts are great time savers as they concentrate on hitting the 3 major muscle building exercise types. Those three exercise types are:
Pressing exercises – movements utilized to train the chest, shoulders and triceps
Pulling exercises – movements utilized to train the back, biceps and forearms
Squats & Deadlifts – movements utilized to train the quads, hamstrings, back, and abs
The idea of the total body workout is based around minimalism.
Get as much as you can out of each and every movement, rep, set, and workout without feeling as if you have to live inside the gym.
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How it works
To see results you should aim to hit this workout anywhere from 2 – 3 days a week. Optimally hitting this workout 3 days a week is a surefire way to produce the best results over the 8 week period. A full body workout is designed to promote the quality of each session over the quantity of a brute force, 5 day a week plan.
Multi-joint vs Single-joint Movements
The key to the total body workout is that it utilizes the quick muscle building properties of multi-joint movements. For reference, a multi-joint exercise is an exercises in which 2 or more joints are used to accomplish the lift. While, with a single-joint exercise only 1 joint is used to accomplish a lift.
The barbell curl is an example of a single joint movement, whereas only the elbow joint is used to move the muscle from a stable to flexed position.
The squat is the perfect example of the multi joint movement as it requires the hip, knee and ankle joints to all work in synchronisation. Because movements like the squat, deadlift, and bench press incorporate so many different muscle groups they create an anabolic environment which promotes full body muscle growth!
Structuring The Workout
But I thought a full body workout was supposed to be easy? There is a misconception floating around the fitness community that a full body workout is lighter, or easier than a split routine. This could not be further from the truth. A total body workout is designed to save its user time, not to spare them from the sweet punishment of a grueling workout.
A real full body workout performed by an athlete with a goal in mind will induce maximum muscle contraction with heavy weights. It should provide enough time for a full recovery, before again hitting the iron-church for rounds 2, 3 and so on.
A total body workout should cram as much exercise and muscle movement into as little amount of time as possible.
Again, a full body workout is not a light workout. Don’t look to conserve your body for exercises which will come later in the routine. You should aim to lift as heavy as you can (safely) during each exercise.
If that doesn’t make sense, simply what I mean is go hard on each and every lift. Don’t reduce the amount you can bench because you know you have to squat or deadlift later in the routine.
Overtime your muscle endurance will increase and you will be able to recover faster from each lift, and each workout in general.
As a rule of thumb, larger muscle groups generally take anywhere from 90 – 270 seconds to clear lactic acid and reduce the PH buildup before they are able to perform heavy movements again.
Smaller muscle groups on the other hand recover much quicker and should be ready to go in as little as 30 – 45 seconds.
Following this system will keep your workouts fairly intense, but most importantly, brief.
Sticking to 60 minutes or less is a fairly good rule of thumb.
The barbell bench press or dumbbell bench press is the king of the chest or pectoral muscle workouts. You can opt to use a flat bench or incline bench to perform these movements, where each will hit the muscle in a slightly different way.
The dumbbell bench press is highly recommended because it enables you to move with a greater range of motion.
The bench press and dumbbell bench press also incorporate the triceps and shoulders into the movement.
Deadlifts are the king of the back and hamstring movements. Because they incorporate so many different muscle groups into one exercise they are considered to be a staple in most workout programs. If, for some reason you are unable to perform a deadlift, dumbbell rows and lat pulldowns are great substitutes.
Dumbbell rows engage the lats, or latissimus dorsi as well as the traps, or trapezius. Pulldowns on the other hand primarily activate your lats, which will give you that wide back and V cut look.
Consider pairing the bench press with your dumbbell row, or lat pulldown to easily transition from one movement to the next.
Or, if you prefer starting with lat pulldowns you can move a portable bench over to the pulldown machine and grab a pair of dumbbells to perform your set of chest presses.
If there was only one workout you were allowed to perform in some strange, hypothetical post-apocalyptic gym, it should be the squat.
The squat incorporates the most muscle groups, as well as the largest muscle groups. Squats highly stimulate the production of growth hormones in the body which are key to the building of strong muscles.
Learning about proper squat form is key because it can be very easy to perform the exercise wrong, or worse, to injure yourself. For a proper squat form guide you can look here
In your full body workout you should look to incorporate both squats and lunges as both will engage the glutes, quadriceps, inner thigh muscles and hamstrings.
Leg curls are also an important finishing exercise in any leg routine as they work the knee end of your hamstrings.
Maximizing The Total Body Workout Benefits
In order to get the most out of each workout session there are a couple things you need to be conscious about, both inside and outside of the gym.
First being, progressive overload. Progressive overload is defined as – the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. It was developed by Thomas Delorme, M.D. while he rehabilitated soldiers after World War II.
The reason why progressive overload is important is your body is constantly fighting to become stronger than the stress placed upon it.
In simpler terms, your body doesn’t like the fact that it cannot dumbbell curl 30s for more than 8 reps per set. So, as you rest, your body fixes itself and becomes stronger. Now it can curl dumbbell 30s for 10 reps! It will laugh at your silly attempts to continue lifting dumbbell 30’s for 8 reps as it has already mastered this stress level.
To continue the growth of your muscles you need to constantly be increasing the amount of weight used, reps performed, or sets completed.
Continuing to perform the same workouts in the same manner week in and week out will only lead to a muscle growth plateau.
How Long Until I See Muscle Growth?
It will take a minimum of 6 – 8 weeks of consistent training before solid muscle growth will become apparent.
While this may seem like a long time, you will notice that with each week you perform the total body workout exercises your reps, and weight used will increase. Sometimes dramatically!
This is due to the fact that beginners make very fast gains in their first couple of weeks to months, because their bodies are unused to the stress of training.
An 8 – Week Beginner’s Outline – Key Points
Do one exercise for each of the major muscle groups. And if you’re really serious about growing some muscle, Squat!
Make sure to practice good form at all times. If you are a true, fresh off the boat beginner your first two weeks of exercise should be done with light weight as you work on perfecting each exercises movement.
If a barbell or dumbbell exercise proves too difficult, find its machine counterpart and work with that before going back to free weights. Things like pullups and dips can be performed on a weighted pull-up/dip machine.
Follow the total body workout three times per week with one scheduled rest day in between each workout.
For example ( Monday – full body workout / Tuesday – rest / Wednesday – full body workout / Thursday – rest / Friday – full body workout )
As you can see, the total body workout is anything but a light or easy workout. This program can be used for both adding lean muscle mass or fat loss depending on the amount of calories you’re consuming at the time.
If you simply want to maintain your status, use moderate weight in which you can complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions per exercise.
However, if you want to increase your muscle mass and strength, use primarily heavier weights in which you can complete four to six sets of six to 12 repetitions per exercise.
But Wait… What Should I Wear?
If you haven’t yet, check out our All-Star post on the 10 Key Benefits of Compression Wear. It should open your eyes to the possibilities of the impact your clothing choices in the gym can have. Aside from compression wear, we stock all sorts of athletic apparel for the everyday athlete.
React Baselayer Long Sleeve
Enjoy superior comfort in a top designed to keep you dry and cool throughout your workout or event.
The React Baselayer Long Sleeve features mesh panels for ventilation and soft, quick-dry material that moves with your body. Raglan sleeves and flat seams eliminate bulk and bunching. Available in black, green, red, and blue.
Quick Dry Slim Fit Top
Look good and stay comfortable in a Quick Dry Slim Fit Top.
Whether for casual wear or training, the soft knit material will keep you dry while two-tone raglan sleeves keep you moving. Mesh underarms provide cooling ventilation. The Quick Dry Slim Fit Top has grey sleeves with available black or white torso.
Apex Full Zip
Warm up or cool down in the comfort of the Apex Full Zip. The soft material is interrupted by black seams that boldly define your shape and draw the eye.
A tapered fit keeps warmth where you need it and the full zipper allows for a gradual transition before and after workouts or running.