In the Army, you will need to have a combination of speed and strength. Having the balance between the two is important. If you are built like a brick shed it is likely you will be slow. However, If you have the frame of a long distance runner it is likely you will have great cardio fitness but will lack overall body strength.
If you train in a way that focuses on developing muscles throughout your whole body as well as cardio, you will improve at balanced levels. Unless you are a body builder, full body workouts are a fantastic way to build muscle and improve fitness. They also improve your cardiovascular fitness and require less time to complete.
Main Rules for a Full Body Workout:
- Train every 2-3 days - Your body needs time to recover after a heavy workout (at least 24 hours as a minimum) but keeping a regular routine is important in order to see consistent improvement.
- Lift Heavy – To maximise the effect of each workout it is important to push your body to the limit when lifting weights. This means that for each exercise, use a weight that will push you to failure or near failure with each set. You will make optimal progress by doing this.
- One hour or less - If you follow the advice of lifting heavy weights, staying in the gym too long can actually have a hindering effect on muscle growth. Intense workouts with lots of compound exercises will increase testosterone production which aids muscle growth. However as you lift, and even more so if you workout too long, a hormone called cortisol is also produced which has a catabolic effect of your muscles.
- One exercise per muscle group – Follow the other steps in this guide and by using basic, heavy exercises you will find that one is enough for each muscle group. For example, do bench press OR incline bench press with the most weight you can manage for one set, but not both. Maximise the effect of this by using a different exercise each workout.
- Change the order of your workout – Rotate the order of exercises so that you start on a different body part first each session. Start with chest one day, back on the next workout and then legs on the third workout. This ensures your whole body gets the maximum attention and you will progress evenly.
- Post-workout Protein – Drink a protein shake or eat a meal high in protein immediately after you complete you workout. This is important for your muscles to develop and to aid recovery.