The Effectiveness of Full Body Workouts for Bodybuilding

The effectiveness of full body workouts has always been questioned and classified as a controversial subject amongst bodybuilding experts. Let’s tackle the subject and conclude if they are truly beneficial or a complete waste of time.

Building a physique to perfection takes countless years of hard work, trial and error, and dedication. Beginner bodybuilders will always spend their first few years of training learning their body and analyzing what works and what doesn’t for them. The first years will always be filled with wrong information and constant mistakes that even current world bodybuilding champions probably once committed. By the time you finish this article you will take away a perspective that shows why the effectiveness of Full Body Workouts is basically very low for bodybuilding purposes.

The Effectiveness of Full Body Workouts in Bodybuilding

Arnold Mirror PictureBodybuilding is the heart of every existent weight training discipline. The purpose of lifting weights has its origins in gaining muscle, getting stronger, and being healthier.

Weight training takes up a short part of our day that needs to be maximized and utilized to its maximum potential. Full Body Workouts at a short glance seem like an all-in-one package but they’re not. Full Body Workouts distract from the true purpose of bodybuilding training.

Full Body Workouts are time and energy consuming, they require a lot of effort and the returns they offer are not worth it. Full Body Workouts lack what the classic bodybuilding training style offers; hypertrophy, recovery, and progress. From a bodybuilding standpoint full body workouts are a complete waste of time as progress will be extremely limited compared to the classic training methods used by bodybuilders.

Arnold Concentration CurlWith these types of workouts you can’t really do more than three exercises per muscle group without spending upwards of two hours at the gym; this leads to extensive workouts that lack hypertrophy focused lifting.

Full body workouts are long, incomplete and a case of mix and match that don’t give the human body enough time to rest, recover, and grow, not to mention that muscle fibers won’t be stimulated from every possible angle.

Bodybuilders tend to focus on one or maybe two body parts a day that mix well and target them with upwards of five exercises from different angles.

Training Variations

You will never see a professional bodybuilder perform a full body workout unless they are a few days out from a bodybuilding contest due to the fact that they can’t force their muscles to work too hard or they will suffer an injury from their diet depletion. Another variation that is often used and compared to full body workouts are Push Pull Legs (PPL) type workouts. The premise is the same as our previously discussed training style yet from a bodybuilding standpoint it’s not sufficient.

Arnold Schwarzenegger MirrorIt’s true that with the Full body workout of PPL variations you are targeting your muscle fibers more than once a week but that can actually be counterproductive.

From an anatomy standpoint, muscle fibers are stimulated and injured while you train, and healed while you recover. Training frequency should be determined by the mind-muscle connection and not by a training schedule. Some people can be sore for up to seven days, how would they train the same bodypart twice a week if they can’t?

Set training styles and schedule are created to help beginners but they aren’t meant to be followed religiously. The most effective training style in bodybuilding has always been one body part a day- maybe two. This way you are training the muscle group as hard as you can from different angles and movements, stimulating growth and then letting it recover for a few days until you train it the next week. As they say, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it, bodybuilders have used that training style for years for good reason.


While full body workouts may be useful for beginners, they lack the efficiency and results that are needed for bodybuilding. Full body workouts don’t fully target the different fast and slow twitch muscle fibers that are required to enhance hypertrophy. High frequency is a common denominator in full body workouts, hindering rest and recovery periods that are required to rebuild muscle, enhance energy, and gain strength.

Arnold Barbell Curl

A better alternative to that of full body workouts would be the classic bodybuilding style that focuses on no more than two body parts per workout session. Training frequency will vary depending on the individual’s lifting intensity and how quick the muscle recovers. Training a muscle while it hasn’t fully recovered is counterproductive and should be avoided at all costs. The point of this article is not to criticize the effectiveness of full body workouts but instead to educate the younger generations and show them that there are better and more effective ways to build a physique.