Working in a corporate desk job, I always looking forward to my lunch time workout! It gets my blood going, perks me up for the afternoon and ticks off that box that says I need to get some exercise in for the day.
If you have a commute like mine (around 2hrs), then a pre-work gym session means waking up earlier and entering a near-packed gym. Conversely, hitting the gym after work means I get home later and have little time to spend with my son. That’s why I prefer the lunch break workout. And my favorite type of workout is the total body workout! For me it the best workout for your lunchtime break. If you have an hour for your lunch break, then with a total body workout you can spend around 30 min working out, and the remainder to get ready/get dressed.
Build muscle, Burn Fat
This type of workout targets the largest muscles in the body (chest, back, legs, shoulders) in one session which means a higher testosterone and growth hormone release and makes your heart work faster compared to just focusing on specific body parts, i.e the bro split. As a result, you achieve faster levels of fat loss, and muscle mass gains!
In a full body workout, you will be utilizing those compound muscle groups therefore working as many muscle fibers as possible – thus releasing the greatest amount of testosterone. For example, a bench press not only utilizes the chest muscles, but also shoulders and arms.
Leg exercises especially are known for this, and in a full body workout you will have at least one leg exercise per workout. Being a major muscle group, you’ll find that incorporating leg exercises as part of your total body workout certainly leaves you breathing hard. Read on below for an example of my total body workout split.
In case of an injury to a particular muscle group, the total body workout allows you to omit the exercise(s) that aggravate the injury and replace it with others that don’t.
With a split body workout though, if one major muscle group gets injured that could throw off an entire day’s workout, so that will definitely put a large kink in your program plan.
When targeting specific body parts, i.e. leg day, it really can be a chore visiting the gym and performing those same workouts. However with a total body workout, you can go from exercising your shoulders to pumping your legs before finishing with your chest. It just makes it more interesting, and your WHOLE body will feel like it’s been through a workout.
What’s more – with a targeted workout, say arms – as you work your biceps and triceps in a session undergoing different types of exercises you find that your effectiveness drops due to bicep/tricep muscle fiber fatigue. As a result, you may not realize the gains that you were seeking.
With a total body workout, once you’ve fatigued your chest you still have energy to target other parts of your body thus ensuring there is no drop off in effectiveness of the workout.
The total body workout is also great for the the trainee looking to get as strong as possible with a set of compound movements. Many popular power lifting programs involve full-body training. Each primary exercise is rarely trained to failure each session, but usually some version of the compound lifts is trained several times per week with different intensity and load. If your goal is to get as strong as possible in a specific exercise, you should train that movement more than once a week. And that’s what an effective total body workout plan can target. Read on below for an example of my total body workout split.
My total body workout
As mentioned, I prefer a 30-35 minutes total body workout during my lunch break as it allows me to do so much more in the time available. Essentially, I want most of my body to be feeling sore. See below an example of my workout split for a week (training 4 days). As you can see I aim to incorporate all of the major muscle groups, i.e. back, chest, legs and arms/shoulders into the workout.
|Pull ups and dips||Barbell |
|Pull ups |
|Incline chest |
|Leg press||Shoulder |
|Bulgarian single |
leg squats with
|Triceps||Incline seated |
|Overhead tricep |
|Chest cable |
|Flat bench |
|Leg raise for quads|
|Ab workout||Lower |
You can use this great guide from BodyBuilding.com for the different workouts listed above, or the CrossFit YouTube channel. Essentially, I normally perform 4 sets of 6-10 of each of the above exercises, and use a weight where I fail on the last rep. You want to aim for progressive overload, i.e. increase the weights to gain muscle mass but not compromising on form!
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