Tuesday Training: Why You Should Do Total Body Workouts and a Total Body Workout to Build Strength and Blast Fat
If you’ve been following my Tuesday Training posts and workouts, you’ve probably realized that I am a huge fan of total body workouts where I use various compound exercises.
Compound exercises simply mean that we are working multiple muscles at one time versus doing isolation exercises where we work only one muscle at a time. An example of compound exercises are squats. Squats work every single muscle in our lower body, but they also engage our core and upper body as well. An example of an isolation exercise is a seated leg extension. During a seated leg extension, we are only working your quadriceps.
While I think there is a time and place for isolation exercises (correcting muscle imbalances, increasing the size of a specific muscle, rehabilitation for muscle specific injuries), a training program with the majority of the exercises made up of compound exercises is preferred and recommended for greater strength building gains and greater results.
That’s why I’m surprised when I see so many people at gyms and in general still working muscles individually. For most people, this is not the ideal or most effective way to train, build strength and reduce fat.
5 reasons why you should be doing total body workouts with compound exercises:
Burn more calories during a workout. When we work multiple muscles, we recruit more muscle fibers being used. That equals more calories burned. Even though I don’t count calories and don’t generally recommend calorie counting (instead ditch the processed foods and opt for eating real whole foods), we all know that more calories burned means greater fat loss.
Get stronger. Strength training is just like any other skill. The more you practice, the better you will get. (This does NOT mean you should strength train everyday. Rest and recovery are extremely important and the other half of the equation to muscle building) Let’s say we want to build strength in our legs. Check out these 2 scenarios: We have a specific “leg day” and work our legs one day a week or we do total body workouts with compound exercises that work a bunch of muscles including our legs 3 days a week. Which one do you think builds more strength? The answer is the latter scenario where we work on our leg muscles 3 days a week. When we are able to work multiple muscles a few days a week, our body and our nervous system gets efficient at it and the result is we get stronger. Also, when we use compound movements we are able to lift more than isolated movements. The end result is that we’re able to build more strength with compound exercises.
Get cardiovascular benefits. The more muscles we can use during an exercise, the more our heart rate goes up. Kettlebell swings are a great example because they work all the major muscles in the body. Do a few minutes of heavy kettlebell swings and you’ll soon be gasping for breath, your heart will be pounding and you’ll feel like you ran a bunch of sprints. Compound exercises work more than one muscle group so our heart rate will increase so we will be getting great cardio benefits and at the same time we’ll be getting strong.
Simulates real life activities. In the real world we use multiple muscles to do pretty much everything from lifting groceries out of our car to playing a game of beach volleyball to carrying a child up the stairs. Our body and muscles work together as one unit. When we do compound exercises, we work our major muscle groups in a coordinated manor just like we would in real life. This allows for use to perform better at real world movements and activities.
Reduces the risk of injuries during real life activities. This goes along the same lines as #4, but because we are working and practicing “real life” muscle movements, we have a greater chance of not getting injured. Compound exercises test our balance, coordination, stability and reaction time. Like I said in #2, the more we practice something, the better we get. If we are consistently practicing and testing those things, the more likely it is that we will be able to catch ourselves if we encounter an unstable surface or that we’ll be able to quickly jump out of the way if something is coming toward us.
This weeks workout is a total body workout favorite of mine. It will really test our stability, balance, coordination and will blast fat and get us strong . We’re going to do it in a circuit with no rest in between exercises so we can get an even greater cardiovascular workout, too.
As with all my workouts, take additional rests if necessary and always pick a weight that will be challenging to you to reap the benefits. It’s the perfect amount of weight when you start to struggle on the last 2 reps. I always give easier modifications, but if you need me to further modify or explain anything, please leave a comment down below. Also, remember to take a few minutes to warm up (jog/march in place, jumping jacks, arm swings, etc.) and remember to stretch your muscles after the workout.
Total Body Workout to Build Strength and Blast Fat
10 step up and press
10 pushup to row
10 lunge with rotation
10 chest press with crunch
20 oblique twists
5 walkout plank
Rest for 60 seconds
Extra credit “finisher” for maximum fat blasting: do one of my tabatas (quick 4 minute workout that will get your heart pounding)