Full body workout routines are effective if you want to get fitter, leaner and stronger.

Whether you are training for fitness, sports performance or to achieve effective weight loss, it is necessary to incorporate functional full body workout routines and more effective exercises into your training regime.

The most effective fitness programmes are based mainly on ‘big bang’ exercises that get you the most return on your investment. They get you better results in less time.

Full Body Workout Routines

Why use full body workout routines in a training plan?

And what is a ‘functional exercise?

Let me begin by saying, term ‘functional exercises’ is a greatly misused description of exercise, and many personal trainers rave about their functional exercise sessions when in fact every exercise serves a function.

Whether that function is to improve your body composition, bone density, blood pressure, mood, tone up your posterior, get ripped abs, sports performance or whether its to improve your ability to lift a dumbbell whilst balancing on a bosu is a question you should ask yourself.

What is it you want to achieve?

If it is to maximise your fat loss and fitness while creating a truly functional physique, then the best exercises and programmes for this are full body workout routines consisting of simple compound exercises.

In this article I hope that you’ll learn more about what an effective plan contains, and the rules to follow in order to achieve fantastic results.

Compound Or Isolation

This brings me on to the use of compound and isolated resistance exercises as a means of bringing on improved sports fitness.

Full body workout routines should be comprised of compound exercises as their main activity. A compound exercise describes a movement about 2 or more joints such as a squat, lunge or press up.

An isolation exercise ‘isolates’ muscle fibers, involving motion about only one joint. Not great for weight loss since we want to burn as many calories as possible. In terms of function for sport and life in general we rarely use only one joint in isolation either.

Compound exercises on the other hand rely on (and stimulate) excellent neuromuscular coordination between an abundance of muscles around the body all playing different roles from the prime movers to the stabilizing effect of fixators and synergists.

As a person you will never rarely use just one joint at a time and for most goals such as common weight loss and performance goals it is best to incorporate specific compound moves into your routines.

Suspension training and full-body body-weight exercises like burpees and lunges are effective if you exercise from home or the gym, or even outside.

How Do You Know Your Workout Routine Is Effective?

Sign of an effective workout? Delayed Onset Of Muscular Soreness (DOMS)!

A sure sign of an effective workout is the delayed onset of muscular soreness (DOMS) 24 to 48 hours post workout.

Particularly uncomfortable after a new routine, or a period of inactivity through illness or work commitments or for those new to exercise, the DOMS is characteristic to proper training and is a sensation you will grow to love, and even be a talking point among fellow exercisers.

It is OK to ache, and nothing to worry about! All it means is you are experiencing overload and adaptation – a good thing if you want to get results.

Contrary to popular belief the DOMS is not a result of lactic acid build up (see myths) from your high intensity exercise sessions. It is the result of muscular breakdown on a cellular level, with inflammation as a result of pushing the muscle beyond its ability (overload). The resultant breakdown, although uncomfortable, is a great sign as it will elicit a reparation response and your muscles will adapt and you will get fitter.

However one method to prevent DOMS, or at least reduce its severity, is to gradually progress your intensity of exercise over time, particularly if you are new to exercise.

It is also suggested that the eccentric phase of a muscle contraction is the most damaging to the muscle fibers and so an initial exercise routine that minimizes time under eccentric tension might reduce the aches and pains the next day. This is the lengthening of the muscle under load.

I believe however that if you are able to tolerate aching for a few days at the beginning of your program you will benefit – push yourself to your limits if it is appropriate to do so.

If however the DOMS is likely to put you off training, or if you are susceptible to getting injured then a gradual and sustainable approach will be the best option for you.

Just remember if you never push yourself in training, you will not get the results you really want. You don’t have to smash it every time, but if you gradually try to push your limits further over a period of time you will soon see improvements.

Endurance, Hypertrophy, Strength and Power

Within exercise circles the use of terminology to describe current fitness or the outcome of a training session is often misused.

Proper physiological descriptions of endurance, hypertrophy, strength and power are important because depending on your session aims you will be looking to develop aspects aspect of fitness, and knowing how endurance differs from power is necessary for progression.

Endurance is described as the sustainability of your effort, so for example in a triathlon you are able to reach the event distance.

Adding overload such as distance or sets to a workout will increase endurance of a specific fitness.

Endurance loads in terms of reststance workouts are to keep the load up to 67%1RM (1 rep max), and in aerobic workouts the pace should be between 60-80% HRR.

Moving through hypertrophy, strength and through to the other end of the scale is Power.

Power is the ability to move a weight at speed.

An example of a power move is a jump squat either using just body-weight or with a medium weight such as a power-bag or dumbell.

Power moves are very effective weight loss exercises and the beauty is that you can exercise from home doing them, however they are more advanced than endurance and should be progressed to.

Safety first – start easy, get more advanced and intense, and remember connective a-vascular tissue develops more slowly than vascular muscle tissue and fitness, so you may feel able but if you progress too fast you might pop a ligament. Beware!

Anabolism – Essential For Growth

Often associated with being athletic, an exercise junkie and a gym user is the image of muscle growth.

You train because we want to lose body fat and get stronger or faster or to prevent or repair injuries. But do you consider your muscles to be in a state of either growth or degeneration during your training cycle?

During phases of adaptation (after your workout) you will adapt to the training load that has been imposed. This muscle building is called anabolism or anabolic. The ideal environment within the body for anabolic adaptations to take effect are those of low stress, correct hormone balances and a plentiful supply of nutrients.

Very intense, short exercise and proper recovery is the best way to create an anabolic environment in the body.

Catabolism or a catabolic environment in the body is observed when muscle is physically broken down by the external training stress, lack of stimuli (sedentary lifestyle or a plaster cast), long periods without proper nutrition or during and after long steady exercise sessions.

Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) taken from the muscle itself can also be used by the body as a fuel source if no alternative BCAAs are provided through nutrition. This is usually seen in long endurance events over 3 hours duration.

Keep your workouts short and ensure they are full body workout routines which are tough for effective weight loss results and see your health and fitness skyrocket!!

I hope you find this information useful and interesting and that it illustrates clearly some of the concepts behind my training plan. If you would like more please do order your online personal training plans and start getting real results you always wanted.

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