Most of our everyday gross movements incorporate nearly all of our major muscle groups and although I work hard not to be judgmental when I see a young man who has obviously worked his upper body to the exclusion of the lower body, I cannot understand it. Because it defies logical sense.
If we forget about the oddity of lack of symmetry when you look at such an imbalance for a moment and concentrate on the practical reasons to develop the body evenly, this concept is important to understand as far as health is concerned. I deliberately used the picture at the head of this post to show that we all naturally move in the coordinated effort of using the whole body at the start of our life and slowly work on perfecting fine body movement for very specific tasks. For the reasons we desire to develop our large muscle groups – for strength development as a primary aim – we always should keep this in mind in planning our Strength program.
The second concept of whole body development is so that we do it with coordinated movements that closely mimic our natural movements. There are physical labor jobs and some sports (such as gymnastics) where this more natural development takes place as a consequence of the physical demands of the labor requirements. Even though my chosen sport of Olympic Weightlifting requires whole body movements I never determined that it covered a balanced program because the movements where specific and overload the musculoskeletal system in a not-so-natural way. The consequences of this are constant injuries and uneven muscular development . There have been sports and sports conditioning programs over the last few decades that use the Olympic movements but the movements should be done with a degree of precaution and only used as a part of the overall program.
So this concept leads into the third concept to consider is that the stresses on the body should be shared between as many joints as possible and the more coordinated they are the better crossover to the natural development of the body. So always consider working the whole body in your strength and muscular development program as a priority. This concept still holds true if your primary focus is on muscular development because the exercises that give you the optimal results are Deadlifting, Squats, Bench Press, and PullUps and Press Ups for the arms. All these exercises have a shared loading and some degree of coordination and balance. Even what is considered the best Core Exercises use the whole body to a degree. These are exercises such as the variations of the Plank in particular. You also work your Core muscles as a consequence of using whole body exercises within your workouts.
So in short, always think of symmetry, functionality expediency when designing your Strength program.
If you require specific program ideas you can contact me through this website.