When it comes to getting a full workout, isolated exercises are a mistake. Unfortunately, most modern gyms are stuffed with equipment for just that kind of activity. So people work out like crazy, and then they wonder why they are not seeing overall results.
Getting a Better Understanding of a Workout
There are two types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise involves pushing the cardiovascular system so it can maintain a higher level of performance for a long period.
This improves lung capacity as well as blood pressure management and heart function under stress. Because aerobic is a high-energy burning activity, it can reduce weight, but it will also eat into muscle for the same if the body is not nourished properly for the given energy demand. Aerobic exercise, however, will not build strength and power capacity.
Anaerobic exercise involves building power and strength capability. Weight-lifting is a common example. With the right fuel, usually protein, the body builds greater capacity to produce far more energy output. This is caused by muscle increase. However, anaerobic exercise will not increase endurance, lung capacity or heart resilience.
So obviously, a full workout needs to have a balance of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises augmented by enough food and rest to allow the body to recovery and produce more over time.
Full Exercise Approach
Again, the typical gym equipment is not usually going to work. This is because most workout equipment is designed to only work an isolated part of the body. That leaves the rest untouched and often weaker than the part worked out. That then can lead to injuries later on.
Instead, a full exercise approach involves a full body engagement. Swimming, for example, is both anaerobic and aerobic. It requires a great amount of cardiovascular conditioning but it also engages the anaerobic muscle-building side because one must push through the water’s resistance to swim faster.
Another good example would be a weighted run versus just running alone. By carrying a heavy weight, the body must produce both power to lift as well as endurance to maintain the run distance. Both combine a full workout done together.
Many Crossfit programs incorporate these combination approaches for a full fitness workout, and they use a freeform approach which avoids body part isolation discussed earlier.
Reduction in Injury
Another reason why one should look for combined workout approaches like those above is that when the body is exercising in free form, all the muscles and ligaments are being worked and strengthened.
When one only uses equipment, this creates inherent weaknesses that can lead to over-development of a muscle but weaker parts elsewhere.
When the person then tries to use their greater strength in free form, it usually results in a painful muscle tear or strain. Compensating for the injured part can then also lead to secondary injuries and more strains.
So, if you want a full workout, focus first on understanding how the two forms of exercise work on the body. Then find an activity that combines both in the same.