Train Like You Live, Work, Play

3 Aug

When it comes to Strength training, everyone has an idea about how it should be done.  Some of it is (and should be) evidence-based; some of it is anecdotal; some of it is based on experience; and some of it is based on hearsay and perception.  Occasionally, an athlete will share his/her training plan with me, saying that “today is ‘legs’ day,” or “back and arms” day, or “core” day.  Unless you’re a body-builder, I’m not a big fan of the “body part” training approach.  I’ve never encountered an athlete – or anyone else, for that matter – who uses only part(s) of his/her body, on any given day.  The body is intended to function as a coordinated, connected system of movements, relying on an interrelationship among and between its muscles, bones, and connective tissue.  Total-body training, each and every time you train, is the best way to maximize your body’s efficiency.  Each and every one of your strength workouts should involve every muscle group/joint; go through a full range of motion; and use all 3 planes of motion (frontal, sagittal, and transverse).  Total-body training should be functional (focus on movements, not muscles), incorporating elements of balance, coordination, stability, and flexibility, in addition to strength.  While there’s not necessarily any one “best” way to Strength train, there is certainly an evidence-based rationale for total-body training – vs. body-part training – to improve performance.


Your thoughts?

13 Responses to “Train Like You Live, Work, Play”

  1. Kyle Bowen August 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM #

    I understand what you mean when you say that the body is composed of a interrelated parts and that it should be trained using all of these systems. My only question is how can you train potentially up to 5-6 days per week and not overwork your body to the point in which you get negative returns? If you train one part of the body hard and let it rest for a week it seems that it would allow for full regeneration and a fresher more energetic workouts consistently. Just wondering if you can clarify that.

    • Brian Lebo August 16, 2012 at 5:22 PM #

      Thanks for your comment, Kyle. First of all, it’s important to identify your training goals (hypertrophy, strength, power, endurance, etc.). Your training frequency, intensity, and volume should be aligned with these goals, and your training should reflect your body’s daily needs, or regular routine (whether sport, work, or life). Certainly, rest and recovery are important components of strength training. I know lots of people who are quite satisfied with the “body part” training approach. I prefer alternating days of “push” and “pull” exercises, for individuals who want to train 5-6 days per week. For example, Monday’s exercises might look something like this: Squat, Bench Press, Shoulder Press, Dip, Weighted Twist. Tuesday’s exercises could include Back Extension, Row, Lat Pulldown, Chinup, and Plank. Wednesday could repeat Monday, etc. Obviously, there are lots of other exercise choices, but this is one basic example of a training strategy that would allow for more frequent, full-body training. Your thoughts?

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  1. Every Day is Leg Day | Athletic Performance Training Center - November 3, 2014

    […] And, forget about body-part training.  Even if you workout for aesthetic reasons, each and every workout should be a total-body workout.  It’s more functional and better reflects the demands and movement patterns of sports and everyday tasks — Train Like You Live, Work, Play. […]

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