Benefits of The Full Body Workout. HIIT, Sprints and Calisthenics Circuits

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenics

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There is so much to benefit from doing full-body workouts with regularity. A full-body workout routine is a combination of all the functional movements based on real-world situational biomechanics. Functional movements usually involve gross motor movement involving the core musculature, which refers to the muscles of the abdomen and spine, such as segmental stabilizers.

Calisthenics or bodyweight training relies on functional exercises and owing to this reason it is considered to help increase functional strength. Let’s take a look at pull-ups, squats, burpees, and pushups – these are all complex movements useful in real-life situations. They tone the muscles, enhance vascularity, cultivate power and strength, and help burn energy, etc.

However, all these exercises have other purposes too besides what I’ve mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Therefore, working out your entire body in a single workout session can:

  • Increases the capacity of transporting oxygen throughout the entire body. The body will be able to recover faster and endure more workload,
  • Improves vascularity,
  • Enhances stamina and muscular endurance. Putting it in practice, you will be able to do more repetitions before hitting failure and fatigue,
  • Burns calories which can lead to loss of excess body fat,
  • Preserves if not improve overall fitness. I have noticed that by doing full-body calisthenics routines I could still swim or run exceptionally even when I had been taking a long break from these activities,
  • Shreds the muscles by first reducing the body fat and then by their direct training through compound strength exercises like pull-ups, and all this is occurring at the same time.

These are some of the major benefits of the full-body workouts, and what you will notice by doing them consistently is how hard it is to keep your pace up. This type of training can be done in many different ways as follows:

Calisthenics Full-Body Circuit Training or HIIT

Full Body Workout Benefits

You can train your different body parts, one after another in a circuit fashion (see workout example in this video). For example, pull-ups emphasize the core and upper-body musculature, but in order to complete a full-body movement, you can add something for lower-body like squats or burpees as they work not only the legs but also the midsection. Connecting these two in a circuit and utilizing only a brief rest period between them will make this a very intense workout and it will engage all body parts to provide all the benefits mentioned previously.

In a circuit workout, you can add as many functional exercises as you would like to, depending upon your fitness levels. You can’t integrate absolutely everything and expect to keep up a great pace for an entire hour or so.

The exercises you can use are numerous like: planks, burpees, jumps, box jumps, pushup variations, dips, pull-ups variations, mountain climbers, squats, walking lunges, jumping jacks, sprints, leg raises variations, sit-ups, etc. This kind of training can also be called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), where within a certain time interval, you put in a lot of effort and intensity. This sort of workout will stimulate a fat loss response afterward, train the muscles and improve fitness levels. Many people use this method of training over other ones and successfully train with it several times during a week. What they change from one workout to another are the exercises, based on their goals or preferences. You can do it a little more oriented to cardio or to strength. 

Sprint Interval Training (SIT)

Sprint Interval Training

By sprinting, you get the involvement of the entire body, but it doesn’t mean that your shoulders or biceps will grow in size. I did, however, experienced in the past some muscle soreness in my spinal muscles, trapezes, and shoulders after doing a lot of sprints.

Therefore, sprinting can be considered a full-body movement that is also extremely functional and vital for us and our well-being. Putting this aside, there are certain methods you can utilize to increase the intensity even more, by sprinting.

Sprints are extremely complex and can be done over short and long distances (40 meters and 400 meters). They can be done on the track or on foot trails in the forest. Depending on how you train, you can trigger plentiful benefits:

  • Increases the mass in your legs and calves. A good example is to watch to Olympic sprinters over marathon runners,
  • Improves your running performance skill,
  • Grows calves and increasing your muscular endurance if you do uphill sprints,
  • Burns a lot of calories and turn it into cardio training with the purpose of losing excess body-fat,
  • Enhances metabolism and digestion too, much needed to get fitness results.

On top of all these methods, there is one that can make your muscles and heart scream for mercy even more, and that method consists of SIT workouts.

You can run for long distances, without interruption and then make yourself sprint for certain distances or times. Then you slow down again and repeat as soon as you catch your breath. By sprinting on hills or at a very high intensity and for lots of sets, you will definitely achieve everything I have mentioned above.

You can use both methods or do only one. However, I recommend you to try them and make your conclusions after experimenting with both.

How to Adjust and Benefit of Your Full-Body Workouts

Keep in mind that for certain responses from your body, you will have to act in a specific manner. Example:

  • To burn calories and lose weight it is best to pick your exercises, intensity, intervals, and repetitions in a way so you can train for at least 30-40 minutes (including short breaks),
  • If you want to make sure that you have done enough for your muscle growth too, then include 3 variations for the same muscle group among others.

Experiment with all these aspects because it is important to last and keep on training. If you cannot squat for an entire minute followed by 20 pushups, then squat for 30 seconds and do pushups for 15 reps.

Let’s assume that your main purpose is to get lean and shredded upper body muscles, then you need to add pull-ups variations and pushup variations among exercises the emphasize the lower body and midsection. These exercises are there only to make the heart pump more blood, help you burn more calories and burn the muscles to failure.

I usually pick 2-3 exercises and make a circuit workout out of them. Then I plan to repeat that cycle for 4-5 times until I move forward to other variations with the same plan. My purpose is to train for 40-60 minutes.

When I go for a run combined with sprints, I usually warm myself up with a 15-20 minutes jog before attempting sprint intervals. If I don’t do those intervals though, then I just sprint different distances using established breaks and for as many sets as possible.

The main point is to keep myself moving and not failing faster than required. This, I have learned from mistakes and brainstorming on how to improve. However, you will have to keep the rest periods pretty short in order to get a high-intensity training. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called HIIT at all! Right? Usually, the strength exercises will require a lot more effort (pull-ups or wall-assisted handstand pushups for example). Try to combine them with light exercises where you can catch your breath while performing, like Jumping Jacks or Rope-Jumping. With HIIT workouts there are several ways you can approach them:

  1. You can set a timeframe during which you keep performing. Like, 1-minute rope jumping followed by 1-minute of pushups,
  2. Or you can go for a 1-minute rope jumping followed by 20 pushups (doing both aerobic and anaerobic exercise),
  3. You can also jump the rope for 30 seconds followed by the same for another 30 seconds but with a totally higher intensity. And you can do the same with other exercises too.

All these are very viable and to determine which ones are the best for you, all you need is to go out and practice and experiment with them. So, go out and train!

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