Full body workout VS split
I’ve spent more time than I would care to admit pondering this question and I’ve spent years of my life experimenting with various full body workouts and split routines.
I understand how confusing and frustrating this question can be. For example, tons of smart trainers I know who have great physiques focus their strength training workouts on split routines. But yet they train every one of their clients with full body workouts!
Why the contradiction?
Just so we’re on the same page, a full body workout means you are exercising your entire body with all muscles being stimulated in one workout, where as a split routine (aka training split, or body part split) you separate your muscle groups, or movement patterns on different days. For example, if you are working out 3 days in a week, you can complete chest and back exercises on one day, legs on another day, and shoulders and arms on the third day, which is a type of body part split.
The following will teach you about the pros and cons of full body workouts and split routines so you can decide which type of routine is right for you.
- Balanced Body – You will be able to build a well balanced body by hitting all muscle groups in one workout, which is more natural and more closely mimics real life. Many physiologists think of the body as one muscle because all muscles are connected to each other, so splitting up the body each workout may not make functional sense.
- Miss A Workout, No Biggie – If you normally workout 2x per week and you happen to miss a workout, you have already worked out all your muscle groups with just one workout. Not a big deal.
- Maximize Calorie Burn & Fat Loss – When someone has 30lb to lose, I like to keep them on their feet with their legs moving, so full body workouts can work very well. Most smart trainers out there train their overweight clients with full body workouts 2-3x per week. Regarding muscle building, a full body workout can debatably create a more powerful hormonal response to help build muscle, but it’s harder to fully stimulate a muscle with sufficient volume to spur growth.