Time to salute “General Training”
If I were a desk worker, keen to lose body fat and gain a foundation of lean muscle, would I benefit from dedicating one of my weekly training days to focusing on my arms?
Of course not. This is neither necessary nor the best use of time, yet often I see people in the gym clearly concentrating on body part split programs. Now, if you happen to be a high level bodybuilder, who has already developed a high amount of lean body mass and needs to work on certain muscles to develop better proportions, then a body part split routine is a good option. However, when it comes to the needs of the vast majority of people exercising in the gym split routines are far from optimal; they could even be limiting your overall fitness development.
Why general training outranks other options
Too many people underestimate the importance of general movement in training, yet it is better to incorporate as much of it as possible. Many of us may believe that we have very specific goals, such as fat loss, lean muscular development or building strength. Yet all of these goals are very general in their nature, so instead of narrowing the focus, concentrate on general training.
The human body is interconnected and is designed to move in many different ways, with some aspects suffering more than others depending on the work environment. For example, if you have been sitting at a desk all day, causing your hips to get tighter, is there more benefit to be had from moving through all the ranges of movement in all your joints, or spending an hour focusing of elbow flexion and extension (Bi’s and Tri’s)? Go figure, but the more important point is that your training should be aimed at trying to nurture your body, working to bring it into alignment, rather than isolating each part. This in turn brings us back to the importance of performing compound movements, which are movements involving more than one joint.
Stop wasting time and underutilised muscles from wasting away
I virtually live in the gym, but most people don’t have the time or inclination to spend hours there. They want to use their time efficiently. By placing compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, presses and rows at the heart of your programs, you will not only save time but develop more fully as a mobile and flexible person. Let these movements guide you in how to organise your workouts to best develop your body in the gym. In turn you will feel the benefits in your wider pursuits, as they transfer to all your daily activities. By combining muscles to initiate movement, you will develop more muscle, more strength, more endurance and better overall movement patterns. So resist working with isolation – start following General Training if you want to win the fitness battle.
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