Do you go down the split training style and lift weights every day of the week, but target different muscle groups? Or do you do the whole body in one hit and spend the next day resting, before hitting the gym again?
I have dabbled in both…and will continue to do so. This post isn’t to recommend one way or another as it is completely goal dependent.
Over the last 4 months or so my training has been the split, I would train upper body twice a week and lower body twice a week, hitting different muscles each session.
Starting this week I decided to swap back to doing 3/4 full body sessions a week.
Being on an upper/lower split or another type of divided workout set-up can become a problem if, for example, you can’t hit the gym on one of your scheduled days for whatever reason.
You then must decide whether you’ll do the workout that was missed on the next session, or if you’ll just skip that workout entirely and go on to the next!?
If you repeat the workout you didn’t manage to do then you fall behind for the week but if you skip it, then those muscles didn’t get worked as they should and have had a prolonged rest-time.
On the other hand, with full body workouts, if you miss a workout, you simply wait until the next opportunity and you’ll still be hitting the full body once again – targeting all the muscles.
What’s also great is that even if you do miss a day, if you can make it to the gym the next day you won’t throw off your weekly schedule, because you will always have some point in the week where you have two consecutive days off.
Another benefit of full body workouts is that it is easier to manipulate and change up your workout, helps you concentrate on muscles that might be ‘lagging’. I’ll give you an example:
Previously on one of my upper days I would do chest press (incline) super-set with dumbbell shoulder press, I have a fairly weak upper body *working on it* and would find it difficult to even get through 3 sets of 8 sets at 8kg each arm, it started to annoy me as I thought I wasn’t improving at all. I decided this week to START one of my full body sessions with dumbbell shoulder press super-set with bent over row and I managed EASILY to do 3 sets of 12 reps at 8kg each arm therefore will increase next time. I had clearly built up the strength but just wasn’t able to use it properly due to that exercise being later in the session, by which time, my upper body muscles were pretty tired!
However, one thing I love about the split, is that you really do feel like you have worked hard after each session! Spending approx 1 hour on one or two muscle groups is extremely demanding on the body and you can feel that afterwards and sometimes in the following days…! If you want to improve strength in a certain area, splitting up the body is probably better so you can really concentrate and spend more time on the area you want to improve.
I will carry on with full body workouts probably for the next 4-6 weeks then maybe switch back to the split when I get bored – which is inevitable.
Hope this encourages you to give them both a go, to see what works best for you!