What is a Full-Body Workout? Benefits, and All You Need To Know

A full-body workout is a workout that targets all the major muscle groups in one session. If you’re new to workout culture, there may be some terminology you need to catch up on. One of the more popular terms is “full-body workout,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

But we’re here to provide you with more than just a definition. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about full-body workout plans.

What are the benefits of doing a full-body workout?

  1. It stimulates more muscle and burns more calories than other workouts

In contrast to a body part split workout, in which muscle groups are separated and worked out on different days, a full-body workout targets many muscle groups all at the same time. With a standard training regime, you’ll perform big compound movements multiple times per week, which stimulates muscle fibers to grow and adapt.

Full-body workouts also maximize the number of calories burned in a single session. By using your entire body in one training session, you’ll get your heart rate pumping more than you would in only working individual muscle groups.

Each workout session can burn anywhere from 500-1200 calories. Indeed, as a 2015 study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found, full-body workouts burn more calories per minute than other types of workouts of a similar length and intensity.

2. It offers more flexibility

In a standard full-body workout training split, you’ll work out each of the major muscle groups in every session. For best results, most trainers recommend doing a full-body workout around 3 times per week, with each session lasting between 45-90 minutes.

So, let’s do the math: 3 sessions per week multiplied by roughly one hour per session is a 3 hour per week commitment. Compare this to some other types of workouts and the full-body variety starts looking pretty attractive.

  1. Those with a busy lifestyle

Folks who have less time to commit to the gym tend to prefer full-body workouts for some of the reasons noted above. After all, spending 3 days per week in the gym is far more efficient for those with hectic lives and work schedules. Though the sessions themselves may take a bit longer, you’ll ultimately save quite a bit of time if you go the full-body training route. Finally, if you’re only hitting the gym three times per week, that means less travel time to and from the gym, which is always a plus.

2. Those wanting to develop general fitness

If you don’t have any specific physique or strength-focused goals, full-body training can be ideal. Because it gets the heart pumping while hitting every major muscle group, it’s great for those who just want to stay fit, healthy, and to improve overall fitness.

3. Those with specific aesthetic goals

If you do have a short-term goal, such as getting a toned beach body or fitting into a wedding dress, full-body training can be of great help too. It may sound too good to be true, but you can make a drastic change to your body in as little as 12 weeks. For the most powerful workout, we recommend adding HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) to your full-body workout routine.

What kind of exercises can you expect with a full-body workout?

Some of the most common types of exercises included in a standard full-body workout routine include:

  • Functional Movements

  • Dynamic Exercises (such as Plyometrics)

  • Cardio

  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

  • Resistance Training with Weights, Bodyweight, Kettlebells, and Resistance Bands

How do I know if my full-body workout is working for me?

Your aim should be to progressively improve your training load, so you should be able to see progression simply by means of your training intensity.

For instance, if you are doing training with resistance weights, you should see an increase in the number of repetitions and resistance weight.

But some other signs include:

  • Good sleep

A surefire sign that you had a good workout is if it’s followed by a good night’s sleep. Tossing and turning every night? One of the best ways to improve your sleeping is to get a good workout in.

  • Soreness

If you train hard for over a half-hour and feel sore later on, this means you really worked out your body. Good job. Now take a recovery day, and then get back at it.

  • Increased hunger, energy, and appetite

These are all self-explanatory and should be easy to tell. If you’re not seeing an increase in any of the three, you might need to increase your workout intensity.

How does recovery factor into a full-body workout?

Hard-worked muscle groups typically need anywhere from 24-48 hours to recover, but it depends on the type of movement and muscles that are being trained. You may be able to train some muscle groups every day, while some may take two or more days to recover.

But as mentioned above, in terms of full-body training, the rule of thumb should be to take a full day to recover after any training session. Your muscles––and overall health––will thank you.

What kind of results can you expect from a full-body workout?

If you keep to a three-day-a-week full-body workout regimen, your body should appear leaner, fat deposits should shrink, and your muscle tone and definition should improve.

That’s all subject to your maintaining good nutrition, of course, but you should see positive results within a few months. Make sure you stick to a consistent schedule, though, because the muscle can fade as fast as it grows.

Where should you go for a full-body workout?

While every city is bound to have plenty of great gym and training studio options, for the Chicagoans out there we have one chief recommendation.

If you’re in Chicago, CrossTown Fitness is hands down the best spot for a group full-body workout.

They offer 200+ amazingly intense HIIT classes per week, and so your options are nearly infinite. They put novices and HIIT veterans in class together, so people of any fitness level can join in the fun, and you can burn up to 1200 calories per class.

If that’s not enough, with three locations in the city, there’s bound to be a gym, trainer, and class that’s perfect for you. So, if you’re in the market for a full-body workout, be sure to check out Cross Town Fitness!

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CTF is Chicago's Premier HIIT studio. Each class is guaranteed to be different with each visit. Our trainers design each class to include interval cardiovascular routines, mobility and strength training. Open to all fitness levels, this class puts first-timers and fitness die-hards side by side to make progress at their own level together in one community. **New Check-in Protocol: Everyone is required to sanitize shoes (Healthy Sole) and hands upon entering any CTF studio. Everyone is also required to take a surface temperature reading and must wear a mask at all times. During class, we will provide everybody with their own personal spray bottle to sanitize equipment between stations. **20,000+ Visits since Re-Opening & ZERO Covid-19 Cases!

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