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I can't remember if I ever posted on this topic before. Waterbury has touted the advantages of full body routines on T-nation.com. What do you gusy think of this?
Full body routines are of no use to powerlifters and bodybuilders. In short they suck!
Not for my money
I have done full body routines in the past and I did very well on them. Typically do a M-W-F or train every other day. Normally do a short routine of maybe 5 basic compound exercises.
Bent over rows
Many people base a full body routine on around 20 rep squats, brutal but effective.
Full body routines arevery generic routines, you will not become Mr America on it, nor will you set PL records.
Steve Reeves and practically all the early (i.e. the pre-steroid) bodybuilders used full body routines.
The early powerlifters did as well.
There is something to be said for training full body. At the very least, it is fun answering somebody when they say: " I'm training arms today, how about you?" and you can answer "I'm BODYbuilding".
When I did personal training I always started people on a whole body workout for a certain amount of time. This amount of time would vary upon many factors. Some would stay on this for 6 months. Others for only 2 weeks.
I actually think when training athletes, a full body routine works very well. For powerlifters, Ernie Frantz and his crew have done squats, deadlift and bench all in the same day for years with some great success. For me, it just takes too long to do all that, so I split my workouts by the movement. But don't dismiss full body routines, the body works as a unit, there is some good logic to work it as a unit.
Full body routines are good for MMA fighters, boxers and people who can only come to the gym 2-3 times a week..
Full body routines are also a greet choice for people like me(powerlifters) to lose fat and improve overall conditioning, but only for a short period of time.. The one i used had upper body days and lower body day, i used a circuit of 5-6 excersises for 5-6 sets.
For serious powerlifting its not a good choice because powerlifters have lift days, its not easy to deadlift,squat or bench at the end of a workout. Its also difficult to include speed work or weak point training in that routine.
The most important point is that powerlifting is cns orientated, unlike bodybuilding in which training mostly revolves around building a symmetrical body, i dont believe its easy to build such a body with a full body routine, a body part split is a better option.
I have had good success in the past building mass when including full body routines. In fact, that's where I got most of my added mass from during my younger years of lifting, a good 70 lbs. Also, it does work rather well for composition training. But when powerlifting, it always seemed when ever I tried to work two lifts in the same workout it just wasn't happening. My energy would be too drained after doing the first lift to put full effort into a second lift. Those are just a few comments, . . . a lot more where that came from.
Having that said, there is a time and place for everything. I think it's really dumb and a waist of time to sit and debate on which one is better. A smart lifter or trainer would know when is the right time to apply what method, as opposed to swearing to one method over the other as if it were written in stone.
whats the doc's opinion on full body routines for hypertrophy?
You're crazy. Basically all the Super-dominant IPF lifters use full body routines 4-5 times per week. I'm using a full body routine (4 main workouts and 2 extra) and I'm making some of the best gains of my life. If you approach it with some logical thought and you apply a little understanding of the training process, it's not that difficult to do. Also, lots of high level strongman competitors do full body routines.
Doc will probably tell you it's a matter of Good, Better, Best. Personally, I think the full body workouts are Better than most. Are they the Best? That's up to you.
Doc will probably tell you it's a matter of Good, Better, Best. .
could you be more specific - i.e. what would be regarded as good better and best?
full body as the best? or good and splits as the best?
Hopefully Doc will chime in here and tell you personally, but here's what I think...
For getting in shape, walking around the block is "good", but lots of things are "better" and you have to find what is "best". It's a continuum and everything falls on the continuum from "good" to "better" to "best".
The specifics of what is good/better/best depends on your current needs. Without a solid assessment of those needs, it's impossible to tell. For example, if you're trying to build strength, but your ability to recover from work is low, your technical skill is pretty good, and you respond well to high training-stress workouts, then *maybe* a split routine suits you "better" than a full body routine.
On the other hand, if your work capacity is high, your technical skill is either low or very high, and you respond well to frequent bouts of lower training-stress workouts, then *maybe* a full body routine is "better".
I know your question was with regard to hypertrophy, but since I don't have a lot of experience training others specifically for hypertrophy, I can't comment difinitively on it.
Mike, you are right. Each of us has to look at our specific goals (assuming "us" means those of us who are well-versed in training), and decide what is BEST for us at this point in time. For newbies, "best" is almost always anything at all that gets you out of the couch potato rut you're in and get to the gym!
As for "full-body" workouts, I think they're OK for newbies or fitness buffs with limited time on their hands. But for athletes and aficianados, it's stone-age thinking! PERIODIZATION is a concept that seems to be so hard for people to grasp. It is so somple! Build a house! Start with the foundation! Progressively and with care, choose the next successive steps toward finishing the house!
Full body routines are of no use to powerlifters and bodybuilders. In short they suck!
I guess there are not any strong Olympic weight-lifters in the world, since most of them use some type of full body training. And all this time I thought a 500lb clean and press was somewhat impressive....
Would you care to define "full body routine" for us? I know, for me at least, I'm referring to training my Bench and Squat/Deadlift in every training session. It's still periodized, but just not in a "this is my squat workout" and "this is my bench workout" manner (which is what they mean by split routine).
There have been several examples of people using "full body" workouts in a periodized scheme and it's worked well (super-dominant IPF, Oly lifters, Stronmen). And if I'm not mistaken, the 80 day cycle calls for squatting and benching on the same day.
Waterbury defines a full-body workout as one that includes at least:
1 compound upper body push
1 compound upper body pull
1 compound lower body exercise
By that definition, most of my workouts are full-body.
Good point mike I know this one former ipf world champion powerlifter who does the same.
It is so somple! Build a house! Start with the foundation! Progressively and with care, choose the next successive steps toward finishing the house!
ok i see your point doc, but lets say someone who is non assisted, still wants to progress - and has gone beyond newbie stage (from a bbing perspective) are there no valid arguments in your opinion for a full body based routine -or atleast the combining of multiple muscle groups on a single day for a multiple number of times a week?
Same here hbriem. I use the deadlift, bench press and barbell row all in one workout and have made very good progress. Works just about everything.
Right. I understand that. But Doc said that he doesn't like "full body" workouts (in effect). I am wondering about his definition because it doesn't seem to click with past reccomendations.
And does anybody else feel like Chad Waterbury's programs suck?
For an advance powerlifter splits are the best, Why employ a full body routine when you can use a split, usually the purpose of a full body routine is to save time, comparing it with a split routine in terms of performance and results is just absurd. A very few lifters use full body routine, they have years of training experience, knowledge,drugs and time at thier disposal, their purpose is not to save time and train 3 times a week, they usually train 2-4 times per day!..
My friend Micheal is a vegeterian, he out squats me by 10kgs, so that doesnt mean that i will start eating veggies and quit the meat..
I would find it extremely difficult to squat ,bench and pull the same, at my level preventing injuries is a major factor for continous progress..
Full body routines are not just about saving time. In something like olympic lifting when you are doing something like a full clean and full snatch, where in your so called splits do you put that exercise? Is it a deadlift or a squat? I would say its both. If you working on a Clean and Press it becomes fully impossible to do splits. This is why most Olympic lifters do full body routines every workout. Now I can agree that it may be smart to occasionally have a greater focus towards upper or lower body, but full splits are not necessary and I would argue that they are less common than whole body workouts. I would bet that most athletes do some type of whole body training as well.
I never said its not applicable for athletes or olympic lifters, im strictly discussing powerlifting here. In powerlifting full body routines are uncommon and majority of lifters use splits.
Check this link out. Korte knows what he is talking about and many of the International Powerlifters train this way.
Many international powerlifters start out as olympic weightlifters. Saad, If it works for Olympic Lifters why not for powerlifters??? You show me a guy with a 400+ clean and jerk and I promise you they will compete very well in powerlifting.
Thats one the simplest routines i have ever seen, it will work but your not considering stagnation, its a one dimensional routine, it will be very difficult to address weaknesses in this routine. The most important thing here is the level of the lifter, i dont think its possible for everyone to perform this routine effeciently, why? because not everyone has the CNS capacity of a champion olympic lifter or powerlifter. Most lifters will get burned out after the second day..
Flexibility of options is of utmost importance when selecting a routine, in powerlifting there is a huge dependency on assist movements and their rotation, i would find it very difficult to apply these concepts in a full body routine.
I use periodization concepts, i believe in preparing my body for various skills and abilities, gives me a lot of options and flexibility in terms of training for hypertrophy, speed strength,power and peaking..
I have been lifting ofr 10years,im 24 and i would find it difficult to do a triple on 600 on squats than 3sets 3reps with 600 on the deadlift and than again 3sets 3 reps on the bench, that would increase my chances of injury and would a lot out of me, i guess im not up it at the moment but thats my point, you do need to be hard boiled for this sort of routine so its not for everyone.
Saad, I agree that 3x3 is a very poor example of... well, anything. However, I do think that it is not only possible to train full body 4-5 times per week (while being drug free, a non-mutant, etc), it's more common than you think.
Every super-dominant IPF powerlifter I can think of uses some type of full body routine. They are still periodized. They still use special exercises. But training the movement frequently allows for even greater technical mastery. Brian Siders, Wade Hooper, the Russian and Ukrainian teams, and many others use full body templates.
And if you think it's only for low level lifters, you need to think of it differently. I just did a 705 squat for a double with no belt last Sunday (in the midst of a brutal full body cycle). I started full body routines 2-3 months ago and then I could squat 710 for a single with a belt. I've gotten significantly stronger. I also deadlift after I do my shirt benches. Shirt work will usually be over 600 and deadlifts will be over 700. It can be done and done safely, but you need to program it well and show discipline in training. You absolutely cannot max out everyday. In fact, you train much differently than how you do with a lower frequency program. The use of assistance exercises can still be programmed. Don't get stuck in dogma! It can be done and it does work very, very well.
If you're curious, take a look at my training log:
Very nice lifts, your training log makes sense. But again your not a beginner you CNS can take a lot of beating, i would say its a good routine for peaking but i would not dare to try it. Im also drug free and my body and mind takes time to recover..
To each his own and I won't try to pressure you or anything, but you might be surprised at the efficacy of such training.
I've noticed that my strength has improved rapidly since training in this manner, but also that my groove is very, very fresh all the time when training this way.
Some things to consider -- I almost always leave at least 1 rep in the tank for my sets. I do the same volume during the week that I did on a split routine, but it's broken up into smaller chunks. For example, before I did 6 exercises per body part with say 5-6 sets each in any given week. Now, I do the same number of exercises for relatively the same number of sets, but instead of having them divided up into 2 days per week on my split routine, I divide them up into 4 days and combine upper and lower body.
BTW, you're posting some good lifts yourself.
Traditionally, a full-body workout included all major muscle groups. I've always arranged them in a simple "pull-push" superset fashion, as follows:
bench, bent rows
leg, curls, leg extensions
crunches, back raises
...and like that.
OTOH, I have grown enamored of Murph's strongman workout system wherein the specific movements are ALL total-body. Tire flipping, farmer walks, stone lifting, stuff like that.
In NO WAY is Olympic lifting or powerlifting "total body" workouts! It's for this reason that I have always BEGGED everyone to go back to foundation training once in awhile!
I'm a relative beginner and I started late, but I wanted to add my thoughts on this so that wiser heads may comment.
I only train 3 times a week for just over an hour. I need to fit everything into that schedule. I know that the hardcore guys will just say that I'm a wuss but so be it.
Mondays I squat, usually 5-12 sets depending on where in a cycle I am. Wednesdays I bench press, also 5-12 sets and Fridays I deadlift, usually a little less, 3-8 sets. This is the basic template for most of my routines although I vary the details.
I seem to need to bench more than once a week, otherwise I go backwards, so I need to fit some more bench in there. Therefore I add some bench assistance work, close grips, DB bench, speed bench or machine chest press after deadlifting Fridays.
I need to do some upper back work. I usually do DB rows on Wednesdays after benching and weighted chins of various types after squatting on mondays.
To balance the bench press I like to do military presses and push presses. I like to do 3-5 sets of either one for after squatting.
I can't perform the full Olympic lifts very well, but I enjoy doing power cleans. I don't really know if they do my other lifts any good and progress has been slow, probably due to bad technique. I usually warm up for deadlifting with a few sets of power cleans using low reps often 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps.
Squatting only once a week gives me horrible DOMS, so I like to do a little more leg work on Wednesdays after benching, leg press, split squats or lunges.
Sometimes I do some arm isolation work (tris and bis) afterwards but I confess that I'm really lazy about that and don't often have the time for it.
The weighted chins with a plate on my lap seem to provide plenty of ab work.
So, to sum up, my basic training template is:
Squat 5-12 sets
Military or Push Press 3-5 sets
Weighted chins, 3-5 sets
Bench Press 5-12 sets
DB Row 3-5 sets
Extra leg work 3-5 sets
Power Clean 3-5 sets
Deadlift 3-8 sets
Bench Press assistance 3-5 sets
By Waterbury's definition, these are all "full-body workouts" even though it is a split specialised for powerlifting. Push-Pull-Legs each time.
I train athletes (mostly football) and I use total body workouts. Workout template generally goes something like this:
1) Explosive movement
2) Squat or dead
3) Unilateral lower body
4) Upper body press
5) Upper body pull
7) Auxillary Finisher (like grip, neck, external shoulder rotation, etc)
Workout is 3x per week and they do some SAQ work (or running type conditioning depending on the time of year) 2x per week on non-lifting days.
Moderators, make this one for the archives! I believe that this is a DAMNED good overview of this topic!
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