How can I follow a total body exercise program?

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Following a total body workout is a super efficient way to maximize the time you have and gain results. Here are some examples of total body exercises that can be combined to create a total body workout program.

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A total body exercise program stresses  all the major regions of the body. (Chest, Back, Shoulders, Arms, and Legs.) Typically these exercises can all be performed in one day, or split across the length of the week. When performed in one day, a day of rest should be provided before repeating the workout. A great way to perform a single total body workout is by setting up a circuit with an exercise that works each of the areas mentioned above. Perform one exercise and move on to the next without resting. Perform each exercise, and do 1-3 rounds of the entire circuit.

Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Short and intense total body exercise sessions can be performed anywhere -- from your living room to the gym -- and do not require heavy equipment. I believe that the most effective exercise mimics life and am therefore not a huge advocate for weight machines. In life, our muscle groups work in coordination with each other. They push and pull against gravity while being pushed upon by the ground reactive force. Machines artificially work one muscle group at a time without the added benefits of gravity.

For instance, when you go up and down stairs, climb hills, and squat down, your knees are under tremendous pressure. Weak or imbalanced leg and core muscles are not strong enough to stabilize your kneecaps, and this leads to knee pain. Strengthening your quads with a traditional leg press machine takes gravity out of the picture and works your quads in only one direction. I teach my patients total body exercises, such as wall squats, to regain real-life strength in the butt, core, and quads.

Finally, for the greatest benefit, we must not only MOVE intensely in the functional way our bodies live, but we must also confuse our muscles. Our 650 muscles are built for efficiency. With repetition they not only get stronger but adapt to use the least amount of energy for any given motion. That is why doing the same exercise becomes easy after a while. Exercise circuits are designed to keep your muscles guessing. They work in a new way every few weeks and never get a chance to rest on their laurels.
Dr. Vonda Wright's Guide to Thrive: 4 Steps to Body, Brains, and Bliss

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Dr. Vonda Wright's Guide to Thrive: 4 Steps to Body, Brains, and Bliss

Dr. Wright unfolds her Guide to Thrive by preparing readers for six remarkable months of body, brains, and bliss transformation, using her framework of the four practical steps. As a scientist and...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.