Full Body Training: Exhaustion or Exhilaration?

     When training with full-body workouts, a couple of options are best when designing your workout program.  First, you can use a "heavy-light-medium" system of training—a lot of the full-body workouts here at Integral Strength reflect this option.  Or, second, you can use a system of training where none of the workouts are "all-out"—rather, each workout is more of a "practice session" for the various exercises.  In this second option, the workout sessions aren't necessarily not hard, but they are not "intense" either.  You stop each set a couple reps shy of failure, and you never do so much work that you can't train the muscle group—or the lift—48 hours later.
Bradley Steiner's Tips
     Years ago in IronMan magazine, sandwiched between all of the glossy pictures of steroid-bloated bodybuilders and the various pics of semi-nude (though admittedly beautiful) women, there was real training advice.  Bill Starr had monthly columns that, once you read a few dozen of them, allowed you to become a semi-expert in the field of real training.  Stuart McRobert had articles that were all pretty darn good—the advice was practical, no-nonsense stuff.  I had articles that, not to be too self-promotional, weren't half-bad.  And, of course, there were also plenty of articles on full-body, basic workouts from a number of other writers/trainers who peddled such practical wisdom as what was found once-upon-a-time in the "golden age" of bodybuilding yore.  Amidst all of this, Bradley Steiner wrote a column—not to mention quite a few additional articles—for decades in the magazine.  And his advice was as bare bones as it came: nothing but the basics, full-body workouts only, limited amount of sets and reps, keep it simple—that sort of stuff.
     Steiner's workouts would fit in the second category of full-body workouts discussed above.  In one of his articles in the mid '90s, he had this to say about the "indicators" that reveal whether or not one is training correctly:

  • You feel comfortably and pleasantly tired when your workout session is done.  You feel as if your mind and body have been renewed.
  • You feel energetic—not as if you have the strength to train again, but as if you'd do it again if you could.
  • You feel positive about your training.  You're deeply satisfied with the session you've just finished.
  • You're buoyant, almost high, about an hour later.
  • You're relaxed when it's time to go to bed.  You sleep deeply and well, and you feel good when you wake the next morning.
  • You feel absolutely super on the day following a good workout.
  • When you train right, you enjoy it.
  • When you train correctly, you find that you make steady progress.
  • And, finally, you feel exhilarated, not exhausted—and that's a good way to feel.
Steiner's advice, obviously, is still sound as ever today.


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