Monday, August 1, 2011

Full Body Training

I started lifting somewhat consistently after high school at a local Ballys. I think I probably pulled a workout out of a magazine and along with a couple buddies, and started a 5 day routine. The typical moves for the typical chest, back, legs, arms, shoulder days with cardio barely mixed in a few times per week. The workout was pretty solid and with a real strict diet I dropped a few lbs, but as time went on, the workout became somewhat stale and a little monotonous. And like a lot of other people, when things got boring, I stopped going.

A few years ago, I headed back into the gym and again back to the same 5 day routine. Again, I had success early, as most people with any new routine, but again... I started getting bored. But this time, there was no quit. I had to find the right style for me for whatever my goals were at that moment.

My first adjustment, thanks to my very good friend (and amazing trainer) Dave Engeman, was to speed it all up! Same routines, just at a faster speed. You see a lot of people working their "arm day" and they'll perform an exercise... and wait a minute... talk to some buddies... and wait another minute... and eventually move on to the second set, which can force the workout to last over 2 hours! (They must love hanging out in weight rooms.) So my days stayed the same, but I started doing fast supersets with maybe 15 seconds rest in between exercises. At this point, it was probably the best workout I've ever done. Results came fast and it was the exact push I was looking for. My workouts were done in 30-40 minutes tops and I looked like I just got out of the pool. BUT....

I stopped taking days off, because I enjoyed the workouts so much... why? Because they were fun! However, with all that speed and lack of rest, I may have pushed things further (heavier) than needed to be at times.  And I think this may have led to an injury and a bit of over training. So I was forced again to re-examine things, which was ok.
I then turned to full body circuits. For those who are unfamiliar with what that entails... it’s just like the name states, working every major muscle group with minimal rest in between exercises. For example, I'd start with a chest move, then a leg move, then a back move, followed by a core move, shoulders, then legs again and back to the top. Now, there a million different ways to put together circuits so I'd try to never duplicate anything in the same week.

Example Workout (that may look a little familiar to the 12:30 workout group
Push-Ups - Failure
Body Weight Squats - 30
Bentover Row - 20
Sit-Ups - 20
Barbell Shoulder Press - 20
Walking Lunge - 20 steps
repeat 3x
Fairly simple, but when performed with a decent high intensity (weight and speed) you're heart rate reaches a cardio level, you're muscles rest just enough to not fatigue too fast, and you burn calories much faster than you would with a straight set routine.

I currently work a full body routine for myself and a great majority of my clients. Right now, I'm in love with big moves at virtually any rep range, (deadlifts, hang cleans, benches, squats, lunges and presses w/ some intense core movements). Yesterday’s workout was 4 sets of hang cleans mixed with decline sit-ups, shoulder presses with lateral raises and some plyometrics, then ran 4 miles. SO it was very much shoulder oriented, still had Daves style mixed in, but also the full body feel and intensity. Today was flat bench mixed with squats and calf raises, then single leg power step ups.  So I feel that my routine is more functional in my movements and speed, still powerful in my exercise selections, and doesn’t crush me to the point where cardio is impossible because I'm too sore or tired. So regardless of your goals or current level of fitness, a full body circuit could be the answer you’re looking for.

Good luck with all of your training adventures

This Is Blue Chip