Wed | Aug 21, 2019

Fit 4 Life | Full frequency

Published:Thursday | March 29, 2018 | 2:13 PMMarvin Gordon
Full-body workouts – the absence of a workout split – are perfect for boosting frequency.

For many people, volume seems to be the logical choice for getting the most out of training. And it's understandable: It seems to make sense. Want better results? Train harder; train longer.

More and more, however, research and industry practice are showing that frequency – that is, not how often you train, but how often you train each muscle/group – is king when it comes to results. 

Full-body workouts – the absence of a workout split – are perfect for boosting frequency. With whole-body training, you focus on reducing volume and using compound (multi-joint) movements. And, in case you are thinking it: No, full-body workouts are not just for beginners.

Here are some ways full-body workouts can help you.

Boosts overall health

Full-body training goes further toward developing 'total fitness'. It simultaneously develops cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and body composition. It also allows time for specific training without taking away from these basic components of fitness. 

Hastens fat loss

Full-body training burns massive amounts of calories because of the number of muscles involved. This type of training also has a HIIT-like effect on post-training metabolism – that is, your body burns more carbs and fats for fuel for up to a day after training.

Faster muscle growth

Greater frequency brings greater muscle growth but the mass building effects of full-body workouts don’t end there. Full-body workouts have been shown to deliver greater hormone response – possibly because of the focus on compound movements. It improves testosterone-to-cortisol ratio. Higher levels of testosterone will help to boost muscle growth.

Boost strength and fitness

Higher frequency training – with adequate recovery, of course – will lead to greater strength in trained muscles. Research has shown that this is true not only for beginners but experienced athletes as well. This shouldn't surprise anyone; the adage 'practice makes perfect' applies to training as well. Full-body training also delivers greater cardiovascular improvements.

Full-body training tips 

* Long rest

Give yourself at least two days of rest between sessions.

* Go hard

With reduced volume, you can go all out – or close enough to it in each exercise.

* Change as a constant

Vary your training from session to session. Change the exercises. Change the order. Change intensity. Change will grant more rounded development.

* One is enough

One workout per muscle group is OK when you are going to be hitting that group again soon. 

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email:;