Should I do split training or full body workouts?

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Simon Long

Simon Long

Simon is a highly experienced personal trainer and behavioural psychology expert
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A question I hear often is whether your resistance sessions should be done as a full body session, or as split training. For the uninitiated, split training is when you train one or two body areas in a workout instead of doing exercises for all of the body areas.

The answer, as with everything around health and fitness, is not a simple one. How you should structure your workouts will very much depend on what you are trying to achieve, i.e. what’s your goal?

If your focus in muscular endurance, also known as muscular tone or definition, or fat loss then a full body workout would be the most beneficial. This is because you can do one exercise straight after another, which increases your heart rate to a higher level, prompting more weight loss. It also allows you to do exercises straight after each other, as they are not targeting the same muscle. This encourages muscular endurance to develop faster as the body is under a longer period of intense training.

A full body workout is also beneficial for someone who is new to training, as it is less likely to over train a body area which could quickly lead to injury. It also allows you to train again quicker, as the recovery time will be less due to a lower number of exercises and sets being done on each body area.

However if your goal is to increase muscular size, strength or power then you should aim to use split training. This is because to prompt the kind of muscle growth you want you will have to lift much heavier weights and you will need to do a greater number of sets per body area. Split training offers two advantages in this case. Firstly if you tried to do this volume of training for all of the body areas in one session then the session would be very long, as in 6 hours+. Your body would tire doing such heavy lifts for such a long time, meaning that the exercises near the end of your workout would not be performed optimally.

The second advantage is that such intense training requires around 5 to 7 days recovery. By doing split training you can let one body part rest whilst you train the others. As splits usually go into 6 areas it works perfectly for training  days a week with 1 rest day before you start again. If you where wondering the usual splits are chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulder and legs.

So there you have it. Your choice is dependent on your goal. I hope that helped. If you have any further questions please feel free to get in touch.

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