I am going to make a comparison between two styles of exercising in order to suggest some possible benefits of each. To begin, we need to narrow down fitness workouts to only include Functional Fitness style exercises. Therefore, we are not using muscle isolating exercises, but are only comparing different ways of using complex multiple-muscle exercises which are core centered. We are only in the world of P90X, Crossfit, Gym Jones, Kemme Fitness, and the like.
In this world of Functional Fitness we see things ranging from bodyweight exercises to Deadlifts with heavy barbells. Yes I purposely found an image of a beautiful woman doing a Deadlift (subliminal way to generate traffic to my site).
A side point is that there are a great many exercises in this world which use large parts of your body just in the one exercise itself. A good example is the Deadlift, which builds strength effeciently for your entire body, except parts of your shoulders (you need to add some type of press above your head to achieve total-body). Another good example is the Burpee. However, there are clearly a large number of exercises Functional Fitness programs use that could be classified as either upper body or lower body. Or even some can be considered legs, or chest, or shoulders, or hamstrings, etc.
The comparison in this post is a comparison between having a workout that targets the entire body as compared to a workout that might be lower body focused or upper body focused, etc.
If you are new to Kemme Fitness, it might help to share with you that all of our workouts are total body, although there are some that seem to fatigue some muscles more than others. A good example here is the Push-up Challenge workout. As you might guess, your chest burns out before your heart does on this workout! However, my point was that I try to have every workout be total-body, so obviously I am going to be biased in this comparison. In fact, I will need some help with comments on this post to give us some more insight into the benefits of the more targeted workouts such as lower-body day and leg day. The only benefit I see with these types of workouts is that a person could really build strength in that area of the body and can ensure they hit those parts hard. So increased strength is one benefit with the targeted workouts.
Now to talk about what I actually know about. I am going to throw out there some of the benefits of a total body workout and why I choose these over all else.
#1: No matter how great of a shape you are in, you can only exercise a certain part of your body so long before you need to give it rest. For example, try doing 150 Push-ups. I’m guessing you aren’t doing them all at once. Having a workout that alternates body areas allows for other areas to rest slightly without having to actually stop working out. Thus, your heartrate stays elevated and you keep your anaerobic and aerobic capacities working hard.
#2: If you are not targeting a specific part of your body, you are more likely to avoid being too sore the next few days to keep on your fitness schedule. You might not come back to leg day for half a week, but if your quads are fried from a heavy leg day, you might not be up for any leg exercises for a week. This is more of an extreme point, but I’ve been there on accident many, many times.
#3: Doing well rounded workouts is more in line with Functional Fitness because there is a higher likelihood you will be using more well-rounded movements that mimmick daily life.
#4: You could (well I’m going to try anyway) make an argument that you can have more intense workouts by making them total-body. Because you are alterating things like Push-ups with Leg Raises with Split Squat Jumps, you can maintain good form the entire workout, at a fast pace, with high intensity. If you are doing an upper body day, you might have a hard time finding enough differing exercises to allow a region of your body to recover, and so you might not be able to keep going at an intense pace.
I clearly had my side chosen before writing this post, but really my point was to show with the comparison why total-body workouts might be a good choice for you, depending on your goals. If you know more about why to do a leg day, etc., then leave a comment on this post.