Benefits of Full Body Workouts

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenic

October 24, 2018

A full body workout routine is a combination of all the functional movements based on real-world situational biomechanics. Functional movements usually involve gross motor movement involving the core musculature, which refers to the muscles of the abdomen and spine, such as segmental stabilizers.

Calisthenics or bodyweight training relies on functional exercises and owing to this reason it is considered to help increase functional strength. Let’s take a look at pull-ups, squats, burpees, and pushups – these are all movements useful in real-life situations. They tone the muscles, enhance vascularity, cultivate power and strength, and help burn energy etc.

However, all these exercises have other purposes too besides what I’ve mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Therefore, working out your entire body in a single workout session can:

  • Increases the capacity of transporting oxygen throughout the entire body. The body will be able to recover faster,
  • Improves vascularity,
  • Enhances stamina and muscular endurance. Putting it in practice, you will be able to do more repetitions before hitting failure and fatigue,
  • Burns calories which can lead to loss of excess body fat,
  • Preserves if not improve overall fitness. I have noticed that by doing full body routines I could still swim or run exceptionally even when I had been taking a long break from these activities,
  • Shreds the muscles by first reducing the body fat and then by their direct training through compound strength exercises like pull-ups, and all this is occurring at the same time.

These are some of the major benefits of full body workouts, and what you will notice by doing them consistently is how hard it is to keep your pace up. This type of training can be done in many different ways as follows:

Circuit Training

You can train your different body parts, one after another in a circuit fashion. For example, pull-ups emphasize the core and upper-body musculature, but in order to complete a full body movement, you can add something for lower-body like squats or burpees – as they work not only the legs but also the midsection. Combining these two in a circuit fashion and utilizing only a brief rest period between them will make this a very intense workout and it will engage all body parts to provide all the benefits mentioned previously.

In a circuit workout, you can add as many functional exercises as you would like to, depending upon your fitness levels. You can’t integrate absolutely everything and expect to keep up a great pace for an entire hour or so.

The exercises you can use are numerous like: planks, burpees, jumps, box jumps, pushup variations, dips, pull-ups variations, mountain climbers, squats, walking lunges, jumping jacks, sprints, leg raises variations, sit-ups etc. This kind of training can also be called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), where within a certain time interval, you put in a lot of effort and intensity. This sort of workout will stimulate a fat loss response, train the muscles and improve fitness levels. Many people use this method of training over other ones and successfully train with it several times during a week. What they change from one workout to another are the exercises, based on their goals or preferences.

Sprint Interval Training (SIT)

By running, you get the involvement of the entire body, but it doesn’t mean that your shoulders or biceps will grow bigger just from it. I did, however, experience in the past some muscle soreness in my spinal muscles, trapezes, and shoulders after very long distance runs or sprint variations.

Therefore, running can be considered a full body movement that is also extremely functional and vital for us and our well-being. Putting this aside, there are certain methods you can utilize to increase intensity even more, by sprinting.

Sprints are extremely complex and can be done over short distances or long. They can be done on the track or on foot trails in the forest. Depending on how you train, you can even trigger certain benefits like:

  • Getting bigger legs. A good example is to watch to Olympic sprinters over marathon runners,
  • Improving your running performance skill,
  • Growing calves and increasing your muscular endurance,
  • Burn a lot of calories and turn it into cardio training with the purpose of losing excess body-fat.

On top of all these methods, there is one that can make your muscles and heart scream for mercy even more, and that method consists of SIT workouts.

You can run for long distances, without interruption and then make yourself sprint for certain distances or times. Then you slow down again and repeat as soon as you catch your breath back. By sprinting on hills or at a very high intensity and for lots of sets, you will definitely achieve everything I have mentioned above.

You can use both methods or do only one. However, I recommend you to try them and make your conclusions after experimenting with both.

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How to Do It

Keep in mind that for certain responses from your body, you will have to act in a specific manner. Example:

  • To burn calories and lose weight it is best to pick your exercises, intensity, intervals, and repetitions in a way so you can train for at least 30-40 minutes (including short breaks),
  • If you want to make sure that you have done enough for your muscle growth too, then include 3 variations for the same muscle group among others.

Experiment with all these variables because it is important to last and keep on training. If you cannot squat for an entire minute followed by 20 pushups, then squat for 30 seconds and do pushups for 15 reps.

Let’s assume that your main purpose is to get lean and shredded upper body muscles, then you need to add pull-ups variations and pushup variations among exercises the emphasize the lower body and midsection. These exercises are there only to make the heart pump more blood and help you burn more calories.

I usually pick 2-3 exercises and make a circuit workout out of them. Then I plan to repeat that cycle for 4-5 times until I move forward to other variations with the same plan. My purpose is to train for 40-60 minutes.

When I go for a run combined with sprints, I usually warm myself up with a 30 minutes jog before attempting sprint intervals. If I don’t do those intervals though, then I just sprint different distances using established breaks and for as many sets as possible.

Leg Raises Variations

The main point is to keep myself moving and not failing too soon. This, I have learned from mistakes and brainstorming on how to improve. However, you will have to keep the rest periods pretty short in order to get a high-intensity training. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called HIIT at all! Right? Usually, the strength exercises will require a lot more effort (pull-ups or wall-assisted handstand pushups for example). Try to combine them with light exercises where you can catch your breath while performing, like Jumping Jacks or Rope-Jumping. With HIIT workouts there are several ways you can approach them:

  1. You can set a timeframe during which you keep performing. Like, 1-minute rope jumping followed by 1-minute of pushups
  2. Or you can go for a 1-minute rope jumping followed by 20 pushups
  3. You can also jump the rope for 30 seconds followed by the same for another 30 seconds but with a totally higher intensity. And you can do the same with other exercises too.

All these are very viable and to determine which ones are the best for you, all you need is to go out and practice and experiment with them. So, go out and train!

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