Slider Top

[5] [true] [slider-top] [Random News]
You are here: Home / Full Body Workouts vs. Split Routines

Full Body Workouts vs. Split Routines

| No comment
A full body workout is when you work out all muscles in one workout. A split routine is when you work out one or a few muscles during a workout. Over the course of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 days you work out your entire body. Full Body Workouts are good for the following situations:

Full Body Workouts

1. Beginner weight lifters

For anyone brand new to weight lifting, full body workouts 2 times per week are an excellent way for the body to acclimatize to lifting weights. A beginner isn't going to hammer any particular muscle group with 12 sets to failure. Instead 3 to 5 sets per muscle is a great start ... and this volume can easily be done twice a week.

2. People unable to go to the gym more than 2 to 3 times per week

Sometimes life gets busy. At the end of 2011 my wife had a baby. Talk about insanely crazy. I couldn't get to the gym for a few months. After that for a while the best I could do was 2 times a week. In this situation full body workouts were terrific. They also were a great re-introduction to lifting after a few months off.
If you can only get to the gym 2 to 3 times per week, a full body workout each visit is a good way to incorporate a resistance training regimen in your life.

3. People returning to weightlifting after a prolonged break

If you've taken 2 months or longer off from the gym, a full body workout for a couple of months is an excellent way to get your body back into resistance training. If it's been 4 months or longer, you don't want to stroll into the gym and hammer your muscles with 12 failure sets. You probably won't be able to move the next day (I've done this and am speaking from stupid experience).

4. Building muscle isn't your primary goal

If you simply wish to add some resistance training in your workout regimen and aren't concerned about building massive slabs of muscle, full body workouts are good. They're good because you don't need to spend as much time in lifting weights and can dedicate more time to other fitness activities such as sports, running, cardio, yoga ... whatever your fitness priority is.

Split workouts are good for the following scenarios:

1. Your primary goal is to build muscle (mass or lean)

In other words, you want to create a very muscular physique (either mass-focused or cut). Splits provide the time and exercise variety to progressively exhaust and isolate muscles sufficiently for creating your ultimate muscular physique.

For example, suppose you're like me where you easily develop your triceps, legs and back, but lack in upper chest and bicep develop, you can create a split routine that places a little more emphasis on upper chest and biceps to create a more balanced physique.

2. You have 3 to 5 days to go to the gym

If you do splits, you must be committed. If you're on a 4 day split, but routinely only get to the gym 2 days a week, the split workout won't work all that well.

Can beginner weight lifters do split weight lifting workouts? In my view, yes. That's how I started and they worked very well for me.

Obviously you aren't going to incorporate advanced lifting techniques. Instead focus on the basics. The basics are compound movements complemented by isolation exercises. Set volume per muscle should be limited to accommodate a beginner weight lifter (6 to 9 sets per muscle).

How are split workouts scheduled?

Splits range from 2 day to 5 day splits. Some people may do a 6-day split, but that's not common.

Are split workouts appropriate for circuit training?

Yes. You can easily design 2 or 3 day circuit training splits. A good circuit training split would be a 2 day split where day one is upper body and day two is lower body.

Are split workout cycles okay for supersets?

Absolutely. I've done many phases that were supersets and I almost always scheduled my superset workouts across 3 to 5 day splits.

Supersets Accommodate Any Schedule (Literally)

You can design a superset workout that’s only 10 minutes long or 90 minutes long. The key is determining your primary fitness objective and designing a superset workout that will achieve your objective within your time constraints.

One extreme is designing a 12 minute superset workout. If you only have 12 minutes a day, you can still get a good workout in by doing supersets.

Sample 12 Minute Superset Workout: 5-Day Split

Objective: Build lean muscle

The best approach for this time constraint and objective is to focus on weightlifting and creating a 5 day split. I allow 2 minutes per superset (including rest). Therefore a ten minute superset routine will contain 5 supersets. The following is what the workout would be:

Day 1: Chest and Biceps

Bench Press: 1 x 12, 1 x 10 (where the first number is the number of sets and the second number is the number of reps)
Barbell Curl: 1 x 12, 1 x 10

Do bench press followed immediately with barbell curl. Take a very brief rest, do it again for prescribed number of reps. This is the approach with the remaining days/exercises/sets. In other words, one set of bench press and one set of barbell curls comprises one superset.

Cable Crossover: 1 x 10
Preacher Cable Curl: 1 x 10

Day 2: Back and Triceps

Wide-Grip Cable Pulldowns: 1 x 12, 1 x 10
Close-Grip Bench Press: 1 x 12, 1 x 10
Narrow-Grip Cable Pulldowns: 1 x 10
Reverse Grip Cable Pushdowns: 1 x 10

Day 3: Shoulders and Abs

Military Press: 1 x 12, 1 x 10
Lying Down Leg Raises: 2 x 30 (rest/pause to hit 30 reps)

Side Lateral DB Raises: 1 x 10
Bicycle Crunches: 2 x 40 (rest/pause to hit 40 reps per set)

Day 4: Quadriceps (quads) and Stretching

Leg Extensions: 1 x 12
Smith Machine Squat: 2 x 12, 1 x 10
Sun Salutations: Do a sun salutation in between each set of quads.

Day 5: Hamstrings and Calves

Lying Down Leg Curls: 2 x 12
Seated Calf Raises: 2 x 12
Seated Leg Curls: 1 x 10
Standing Calf Raises: 1 x 12