Are you stuck in the same training rut? Do you have so many training injuries that you’re ready to switch up your routine and try something new? A great way to get your mind and body excited about intense training all over again is by incorporating whole body routines back into your regimen.
It’s generally accepted in the bodybuilding community that as a beginner, your training volume is low, and your routines look more like circuit training. You hit every muscle group with just a few sets and allow adequate time for recovery. Once a lifter begins to progress, they split their major muscle groups up and train them on separate days with multiple exercises.
When determining how often a muscle group can be trained, what it all comes down to is the total volume and intensity. If you normally perform 12 total sets during your bicep routine once a week, then you could do biceps twice in one week, 6 sets at a time.
The concept of manipulating the total sets you perform for any given body part is discussed in my article ‘Bringing up Lagging Muscle Groups’. Instead of having two complete workouts for a muscle group within a short period of time and reducing your bodies ability to recover, the concept of the article is centered around manipulating the total volume (volume = sets X reps X weight) you apply to a muscle group in a given training period. The same concept can be applied to training all the major muscle groups of your body in one workout, multiple times a week and allowing for more rest days for adequate recovery.
What are the benefits to using this training style? For starters it provides a break from the mundane, allows you to get more creative with super setting (performing exercises between two different muscle groups at the same time with minimal rest) and performing different exercises, and leaves you with a motivating whole body pump every time you leave the gym. One of the major benefits behind this training approach is the potential to exceed your normal training volume by simply being able to lift more weight as a result of the fact that you will have 24 hours or more between exercises of a given muscle group.
This is not to say that you will be able to give maximal effort every time, but similar to Dogg Crapp training you will have the freedom to maximize the weight and exercise intensity knowing that you won’t have another exercise for that same muscle group during that session (ex- rest pause sets, drop sets etc). Another major benefit to this training style is the ability to maintain exercise intensity despite injuries.
Many who have ailing joints will dread a chest or shoulder day. With this method you won’t have to perform similar movements throughout an entire workout. This will increase your chances to effectively work a muscle group and focus on minimizing injury. In my article ‘Ideal Repetition Speed and Rest Periods’ I discuss how the importance of the anabolic hormone response to exercise is making a comeback.
In theory, you will be able to maximize growth for smaller muscle groups like the biceps when you are able to illicit an acute hormonal response from major chest or back movements early in your routine. However there isn’t any conclusive research to prove this.
Here are two things to keep in mind while performing a routine like this:
- Your legs are too large and too demanding of a muscle group to train in the same days as the rest of your body. They will still need their own separate day.
- As always perform larger muscle groups first, and avoid fatiguing secondary muscle groups early in your routine (ex- don’t train triceps before chest).
Below is an example of what an intermediate/advanced level whole body routine would look like:
- Day 1 - Chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders, abs
- Day 2 - Off
- Day 3 - Chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders, abs
- Day 4 - Off
- Day 5 - Chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders, abs
- Day 6 - Legs, calves
- Day 7 - Off
- Bench Press - 12, 10, 8, 6
- Dead lift - 10, 8, 6, 4
- Tricep pushdowns - 12, 12, 10, 10
- Straight bar curls - 12, 10, 8, 8
- Lateral raises - 12 X 10
- Decline bench crunches - 4 X 15
A New Diet
Looking to re vamp your diet for weight loss/maintenance? Low carbohydrate dieting is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its quick onset of weight loss for bodybuilders and recreational lifter a like. Some of the most common struggles with low carbohydrate diets are centered on a lack of energy and compliance to limiting daily intake of carbohydrates.
Recent research by Israeli scientists on obese police officers confirmed that consuming carbohydrates in the evening increased dietary compliance and subsequently weight loss. How is this possible? It has always been assumed that consuming carbohydrates in the evening would lead to an increase in fat stores.
The reasoning behind this is based on the fact that there is less potential for energy expenditure in the evenings and because leptin levels (signal satiation) work through circadian rhythms throughout the day, and they are highest in the evening. Although this is true, what must be remembered when it comes to weight loss is that the two factors that supersede nutrient timing are the total number of macronutrients consumed in a day and most importantly: the total number of calories consumed in a day.
If you were on a very low carbohydrate diet of only 100 grams of carbs a day and you consumed that quantity at night before going to sleep, do you believe that would halt weight loss? While it wouldn’t be ideal, your body would still have to metabolize more fat for fuel when the sum of the low carbohydrate days are added together.
Noticeable fat loss doesn’t happen in a day, you can’t eat healthy for one or two days and expect a change; fat loss occurs when a sum of calorie/macronutrient restricted days are put together. With that in mind, consider this: consuming carbohydrates in the evening does spike insulin, however the large spike in leptin levels increases satiation and thus compliance with a dietary regimen the following day.
So don’t be afraid of consuming carbohydrates at dinner time while on a low carb diet, as long as you’re not surpassing your total daily carbohydrate limits, this strategy will actually work to increase diet compliance.
Dustin Elliott is the Head Formulator for Betancourt Nutrition.