The tradition of training the whole body in a single workout is very old. Bodybuilders like Steve Reeves and Reg Park used to train three to four times a week, and each of their workout sessions included various exercise forms to train the whole body in the single session itself. This technique of training is also known as the “Mixed Body Workout” format.
But now, we see everyone following the “Split Training” method. From the 1980’s onward, bodybuilders started training in the split format, which was basically a format where they targeted only a few muscles in a single workout, and therefore trained different muscle groups over different workout sessions. And some of us follow the same split training format till date.
But why this shift from the Mixed Body format to the Split Body format? Is the latter decidedly a better way of working out?
If you are a beginner, it is good to have this question in your mind. Here are the 5 benefits of Mixed Body Workouts that will help you decide for yourself which is the best format for you:
Advantages of Mixed Body Workouts
Improved Blood Circulation – This type of routine is an excellent choice if you want to improve your blood circulation.
A beginner at the gym is most likely not at his healthiest best. This kind of workout gives the awesome feeling associated with enhanced blood circulation to all parts of the body – increase in stamina, flushing out of toxins, healthy and glowing skin, boost in athletic performance, and a farewell to fatigue! All this in just one session.
To help your body redistribute blood efficiently to all the muscles, it’s suggested to go for an ITS approach (Inferior To Superior approach). For instance, you may start with training your weakest muscle group (generally your calves), then your quads and hamstrings, and after that, your back. Your can end with arm or shoulder exercises. This approach ensures gradual increase in blood supply to all body parts.
Standing in a cold shower post your workout will enhance your blood flow even more. Cold water immediately after the workout reduces the skin temperature instantly. As a result, the blood flow towards the skin and underlying muscles increases in order to raise the temperature to normal. This will ultimately enhance the overall circulation and works wonders for the skin.
Developing Nerve Muscle Connection – Initially for a beginner, it is difficult to engage all the muscle groups at the same level of intensity. For instance, you might be naturally better at engaging the chest muscles than the legs. Starting with Mixed Body Workout is always a better option here. Here you will do a few sets of each muscle group in a single workout and this will give you enough time to develop nerve muscle connection throughout the body.
Decreased DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is felt 24 hours after an intense workout, and may persist for as long as 2 to 3 days.
I know some people love the feeling of soreness. For beginners, this feeling may not be very pleasant. It is not very uncommon for gym trainers to force people to do few extra repetitions. However, while DOMS is normal (and even welcomed by regulars at the gym,) an unpleasant soreness and exhaustion is not a good experience when a newcomer starts off at the gym. Chances are, they will relate this unpleasantness to their first training experience, and that may mar all subsequent sessions. They may never even return to the gym after that!
In such a situation, a Mixed Body Workout is the best option, with a of total of 25 to 30 sets which will provide the satisfaction of having done a “good workout”, while at the same time, not leave your muscles heavily sore for 3 days. Plus, the rate at which hypertrophy (muscle growth) occurs in this case is same as that of split training.
Increased Nervous Stimulation – The more muscle groups you involve in a single workout, the more area of overall skeletal muscle mass is covered. This entire area is connected by the nerves. So, you even stimulate the nervous system more, as there are more conduction pathways involved. The overall blood circulation increases throughout the body among other nerve signals. This is the ideal workout target you should look for. This will boost your metabolism and will help you sleep well.
Flexibility – You can always add more variety into your exercises with a mixed workout plan. If you perform supported exercises on one day, you can do unsupported exercise on the next day. The Mixed Body Workout plan allows for a lot of flexibility.
You do not need to always follow a single sequence or routine. You can vary your routines very easily and without hampering your progress. Varying your routine also provides an added benefit of overall improved neuro-muscular and physiological functions – every step you take eventually leads to a stronger you. And as you feel your strength and stamina increase, you may benefit immensely by the addition of advanced training, specifically targeted towards your goal.
So what is the takeaway? Mixed Body Workouts can definitely be considered one of the better options for beginners and advanced alike, allowing you to incorporate different variations and repetition ranges in your training, developing and strengthening your neuro-muscular responses, and providing a sustainable and enjoyable regimen that will eventually make you fall in love with your gym! So, give this form of exercise pattern a chance, and step up the gear in your journey towards your fitness goal.
Article courtesy – Akshay Alawani